Fly Fishing Tips 2 min read

10 Tips On How to Catch Big Trout

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

November 17, 2011

Tom Rosenbauer shares 10 tips on how to catch big trout in this weeks Orvis Fly Fishing Guide Podcast.

Targeting Big Trout

big trout

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.

1. Fish At The Right Time

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:

  • Low light conditions in the early evening through dawn. These conditions conceal big trout making it harder for predators and prey to see them.
  • Right after a rain storm. A burst of runoff from a storm increases water turbidity and disorients baitfish making them easier to catch. Big trout know this and take advantage of the cloudy water and confused baitfish.
  • When there’s an abundance of food. Ever been to a buffet? Hard to resist eating right? Well big trout are no different. At the heigh of a hatch or when a lot of food is gettting washed into the stream (terrestrials, crane fly larvae, etc.) big trout will often strap on the food bag.

2. Big Fish Like Big Meals – Fish Streamers

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.

3. Fish Where the Big Fish Hang Out

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.

4. Focus on Tails of Pools During Heavy Hatches

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.

5. Target the Lead Fish

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.

6. Wait

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.

7. Look for Subtle Rises and Large Shoulders

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.

8. Don’t Over Look the Skinny Water

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.

9. Take it Easy

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.

10. Persist

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!

photo credit: bugeaters