Please enjoy this article on Tips to catch trout. Trout are a popular freshwater fish species, they have beautiful colours and can grow to impressive sizes. They are powerful fish and fun to target with light spinning gear or fly fishing. Trout are great for catch and release fishing and also eating. In Victoria, the most common trout are rainbow and brown. We also have brook and tiger. You can target tout in many various methods with bait, lures, flies and fishing by land, boat or kayak, wading upriver streams and trolling in a boat or kayak.
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Despite what you might think trout are an introduced fish species. Dating back to 1864 the first trout eggs were shipped from England and released in the Plenty river Tasmania. Trout has since flourished in our lakes and rivers, so you would be forgiven for thinking they were a native fish species. Trout thrive in cool and clean water conditions which are well oxygenated or have running water. They reside within the shade and seek shelter in snags, submerged rocks, logs and trees. During the warmer months, they head for the deeper waters to stay cool. They’re often caught in the shallows whilst feeding on baitfish, bugs, crustaceans, small fish and insects. They actively feed on dawn and dusk which are the peak time to target them.
We conducted a test to see which would perform better for stocked trout power bait or lures. Watch the video below to find out the results which were interesting.
Trout are stocked in many lakes around Victoria prior to each school holiday break. You can follow the latest trout stocking schedule and details here on our Victorian Trout stocking guide. Ensure that you have an active Victorian fishing license. Redfin is a frequent bycatch when targeting trout but that isn’t bad news. If you would like to know more about redfin then please read our guide on the best lures to catch redfin.
This guide Tips to catch trout will now break down the key areas on catching trout.
Rod and reel selection to target trout
Fishing rods and reels have come a long way in recent years. Technology advancements have made gear lighter and stronger and perfect for targeting trout. Ultra-light spin outfits are more accessible and affordable than ever. This new form of ultra-light gear turns light freshwater fishing into an exciting sport. We would recommend when fishing with lures to use a rod around 7 foot in length. That is a 1-3 or 2-4 kilo class, couple with a 1000, 2000 or 2500 size reel. Have the reel spooled with a thin diameter 6-10 pound braid and an equivalent fluorocarbonleader. My go-to for many years has been a 6 foot 10 rod that 2-4 kilo paired with a 2000 size reel spooled with 8 pound braid.
The budgets for trout rods and reels vary greatly. Entry-level outfits such as a Shimano Catana and Sienna 2500 combo, then there are high-end options such as a Miller’s rod grub freak paired with a Daiwa Exist 2004. There are also popular choices such as the Shimano Zodias paired with a Stradic Ci4+ 2500 reel or a Daiwa TD Black paired with a Luvias 2004. There is no right or wrong answer here just pick something that feels comfortable for you and within your own budget.
The best lures to catch trout
One of the most popular forms of catching trout is with lures and soft plastics. Cover lots of ground with your spin combo in hand and a handful of lures. Hunting for trout and mixing up your retrieval speeds, pauses and twitches until you find a mix of what’s working on that particular day. Sometimes just a slow or medium continual slow roll works best. There are quite literally hundreds of different trout lures on the market. Below we share a list of our favourite lures that we have had great success with. When unsure try and match your lure with the bait that’s widely available in the system that you are fishing. We have broken these up into different categories of lures.
The best hard body lures to catch trout
Hardbody lures and minnows have been around for a long time. Light-weight realistic looking lures with great action. These generally come in suspending floating and sinking. Not much has changed in recent years other than some increased action and new colours. Before choosing a hard body lure you need to give some thought to the type of water and depth. Some examples are using light and floating lures when fishing in shallow streams or using heavier and diving when fishing in deeper lakes.
Some of our favourites include the
- Daiwa double-clutch ( 60 and 75 in natural and black/gold colours )
- Daiwa DR joint minnows
- Daiwa Presso minnows
- Daiwa Tournament spikes
- Jackall Colt minnow 65 ( good for shallow waters )
- Rapala countdown series ( CD5 Spotted dog, light minnows, floating minnows )
- Rapala X-Rap ( F9, XR08 and clown )
- Savage Gear 3D prey minnow
- Halco Laserpro 45
- Nories laydown minnows
- EcoGear mx48
- EcoGear mw62f
- EcoGear sx40
- Bullet lures 5-0 minnow
- Bullet lures 3cm lure
- Duo Spearhead Ryuki Quattro and 70S
- Zipbaits Rigge 46
- Jackson Trout Tune
In the video below we had great success with the Daiwa Presso minnows
The best spoons to catch trout
Metal Spoons are a great option for trout, especially in deeper lakes. The heavier weight of a spoon allows you to cast great distances. They come in flashy colours and bring out the predatory instincts of a trout when casting in the right spot. These are generally cast and just slow roll with some occasional pauses and lifts.
Some of our favourites include the
The best soft plastics to catch trout
Soft plastics are also very effective when targeting trout. They are low cost and come in a whole range of colours and sizes. You can also easily adjust the jig head weight to fish the desired depth and area you are fishing. You will need to use jig heads anywhere between 1/6 and 1/20 depending on the system, tidal flow and depth that you are fishing.
Some of our favourites include the
- Squidgy wriggler
- Zman slim swimz
- Zman grubz
- Savage Gear slim minnows
- Fish arrow 4 inch minnow
- Berkeley t tail minnow
- Strike tiger softie
- Gulp 3-inch minnows
- Strike Tiger nymph
Surface lures to catch trout
Fishing with surface lures is another awesome choice when targeting trout. Infact surface fishing is one the most fun form of fishing. Your heart skips a beat when a big trout smashes your lure from the surface. The bent minnow is a top choice here which can be cast and worked or trolled. You should also experiment with small poppers, cicadas, hoppers and stick baits that you generally target other species such as estuary perch and bream with.
Old classics to catch trout
Never forget the old classics when targeting trout. These are lures that have been around for many years and still today account for many trout catches. Some of our favourites Blades, Blue Fox Vibrax spinners, Savage Gear Rotex spinners ( fire tiger ), celta spinner, Mepps Aglia spinners, Tassie devil ( pink, rainbow and holographic popular colour choices )
How to Catch trout with bait
Trout are aggressive feeders and fishing with bait is another good way to target them. You may choose to go with a traditional bait fishing rod that is more flexible and has a nibble tip which is more aligned with bait fishing. Make sure you check the rules and regulations of the system you are fishing to ensure bait fishing is permitted. We break up using baits into 3 categories, live baits, dead baits and artificial baits.
The below video shows the basics of catching trout with powerbait and worms.
Good live bait options include scrub worms, earthworms, minnows, mudeye, maggots, yabbies, crickets, grubs, grasshoppers. These work really well suspended from a float, on a small running sinker rig or a paternoster rig.
Artificial baits will include power bait and bread dough. The range of power bait in today’s market is quite amazing with trout nuggets, and floating salmon eggs in a range of colours and scents. These work particularly well on stocked trout which are used to feeding on these and trout pellets in hatcheries.
Below shows some good Tips to catch trout and best ways to rig up for bait
Running Sinker rig
A great all-purpose rig that will catch much freshwater fish
Berley feeder rig
Is a great rig using berley in the cage to attract trout in the area then using maggots or powerbait on a small hook
These can be a great choice when suspended baits such as mudeye and worms at a certain depth
Fly fishing for trout
Another very popular form of targeting trout is by fly fishing. Fly fishing is an art of its own, there is no other fishing style quite like it. Many will try this style of fishing and be hooked for life. When starting its best to seek the help of a professional or someone experienced who can help you with casting and rigging techniques. Fly fishing requires specialised rods which allow you to cast very light artificial flies. This works exceptionally well in shallow streams with occasional deep pools. Using the current of the water to move your fly into the strike zone. Trout are happy to reside in calm areas or quite quick running water. They move upstream waiting for easy meals to pass by.
Best Locations to catch trout
Victoria has numerous lakes and rivers across the state that are wonderful for targeting trout these include some of the following. Eildon Pondage, Goulburn River, Rubicon River, Lake Purrumbete, Lauriston Reservoir, Hepburn Lagoon, Newlyn Reservoir, Tullaroop Reservoir, Blue Rock, Lake Toolondo Acheron River, Steavenson River, Tanjil River, King River, Ovens River, Kiewa River, Mitta Mitta River, Lake Catani, Lake Eildon, Lake Eppalock, Lake Hume, Lake Bullen Merri, Lake Wendouree, Lake Dartmouth
Also, don’t forget that more family-friendly lakes are being established and stocked and good Tips to catch trout.
Final notes from the author
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