Tom Rosenbauer shares 10 tips to targeting big trout in this weeks Orvis Fly Fishing Guide Podcast.
Yes catching small trout is fun but who doesn’t like catching big trout, at least one in awhile? I think we all do. Everyone gets lucky once in awhile, but if you are after big trout then there are few things you can do to up the odds of catching one.
Big trout are big for a reason. They are smart and wary! But there are certain times when they are more eager to feed or throw caution to the wind, including:
No secret here but big trout like to get the most food while expending the least amount of energy, which means eating bigger meals. You won’t catch as many fish but fishing streamers more often will increase the odds of catching bigger fish.
Big fish are lazy and look for places to hang out that provide protection from the current and predators, and provide enough room to hunt for prey. Slower currents along seams (transition areas between fast and slow currents) or created by obstructions in the river, like bump outs along the bank or large rocks are ideal. Moderate water depths (2 to 6 feet) provide good holding areas, and pools of sufficient breath allow enough room for large trout to hunt.
The tailout of a pool, where the river bottom slopes up, is like a conveyor belt providing a constant supply of food during a hatch and also provides a great vantage point to survey a pool. This is prime real estate and will often be occupied by the largest trout of a pool during a hatch even if the trout resides elsewhere when the hatch is off.
Big trout will not tolerate a smaller trout feeding in front of them while feeding. If you see a pod of rising fish, target the lead fish.
Big trout won’t be the first to respond to the start of a hatch, they let the smaller trout go first. Wait a few minutes after a hatch starts and see if any larger fish then start to feed. How do you tell which are the big trout? Read #7.
Big trout make very little distrubance when rising but make a bigger wake due to their girth. Study the subtle rises and sometimes you’ll see a big head or shoulders poking out. That’s your fish.
It is not unlikely for big trout to hang out in skinny water during a hatch. Lazy by nature, big fish can sometime be found in very skinny water (less than 6 inches) where they can rest their fat bellies on the bottom and sip flies as they come by.
Don’t charge into a pool at the beginning or during a hatch. Study it first. Look for all the clues given above and see if you can tell where a large trout might be feeding.
Every fish is different and each has their own personality, but one trait that all big trout have in common is that they don’t hook themselves and they are not easy to catch. You need to put your time in on the water and expect to take a few less fish if you want that big trout.
Now go catch that big trout!
Ken is an avid fisherman of 40+ years who loves to explore and find new places to fish. He created DIY Fly Fishing to help you do the same.
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