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Common Trout Fishing Errors

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Common Trout Fishing Errors

Written by: Len Harris

Photos by: Len Harris

Trout fishing can be frustrating when

the trout are not cooperating. Some of the

time it is not the trout being willy. A trout has

the brain the size of a pea. Trout are instinctive and

react to situations that are out of the normal for their

environments. More often than not it is

angler error that caused the lose

of a trout or not even getting that hook up.

Before you even get out on the stream you have

very important decisions to make. Your

gear you use is the first common error an

angler makes. They don't use the proper tool

for the job. Just because your friend uses a

2 weight rod on trout doesn't mean you should.

That 5 foot ultra light spinning rod is not the tool

for the job along with the trendy 2 weight rod.

The 4 pound test mono for your spinning rod is

inadequate in tight quarters. That 6x leader on your

fly rod is good for 10 inch trout but for most situations

you will break off on the hook set. That fly rod may

need to be left home because your back cast is restricted.


A 2 weight fly rod or an ultra light spinning

rod would NOT have been the correct tool

for the job for this monster.

More gear problems. That line needs to be

maintained. Line needs to be kept clean and

out of direct sunlight when stored. The reels

you are using are very important. They need

to be kept free of dirt. During the closed season

they need to be cleaned and lubricated. Too much

lube attracts dirt and too much is as bad

as not enough. Sharpen those flies and hooks

during the closed season. Your leaders won't

last forever. Even if they are in an envelope you

should test the leaders for strength.

Dress for your surroundings. The colors you

wear are very important. It is not necessary to

wear camouflage. It is important to wear earth

tones and match the time of the year you fish. If

you are fishing early season the colors need to be

more washed out and browns will be the the ticket.

When the world turns green, the drab greens

should be used. Leave that white tee shirt at

home. It does NOT blend with the surrounding.

Your cap is important also. Your cap will give you

away right away. Red and bright yellow caps are a

no go. A dark cap with white

lettering is like a neon sign.


Wear drab colors or go home without a life long memory.

Scout your area before going out. Know

the holes and the approaches to them. If the

approaches are open in early season it does

not mean it will be clear in mid summer. Your

back cast could be seriously hindered when the

foliage grows up. There is nothing wrong with

clearing a casting lane in front and behind you

like a bow hunter does. I have had many holes

ruined by a stray twig that blocks your cast.

Know what the trout are biting. Take stroll

on a country road and see what is hopping or

crawling on the road. Sit at your local bridge

and see what floats by. If it rained buckets the

day before the water should be dirty and a small

fly on the surface may be futile. Don't limit your

arsenal to flies only. There are very good spinner

for muddy water and the trusty night crawlers

is a sure fire bait after a big rain.


A big flashy spinner was the ticket this day after a big rain.

So you are getting out of your car and putting

on your gear. Make sure you don't over or under

dress. If you are fishing muddy slippery banks those

felt boot waders or wading boots will turn in to skis .

A lug sole is a must. Look in your vest before you

head out. Make sure you have brought your entire

arsenal. A good pair of hemostats are essential for

unhooking trout. Make sure your net is big

enough for the trout you have targeted and

the attaching release is in functional order.

You are approaching your first hole. Your shadow

control is very important. If your shadow hits the

water you might as well throw a big rock in the hole.

You have spooked that hole. Your approach should

be light of foot. Try to avoid stepping on twigs near

your hole. The snapping sound rings through the

ground and the smart bigger trout won't bite.

Jumping down a bank within 20 yards of a

hole is a bad move also. Stay out of the water

unless it is absolutely necessary.

You are there now. The hole is in front of you.

Your early season scouting comes in to

play now. You know where those fish are

laying. You have to decide if you want

quality or quantity now. If you are targeting

the biggest trout in the hole the cast needs

to be made accordingly. The smaller or

subordinate trout will be in the not so

good feed lanes. The big trout will

have the best feed lane. You need to

present your cast above the prime run.

Fight the urge to cast too far or trying to

drop the cast on the trout's head.

Your choices before you hit the water are as

important as the ones on the water. Don't assume

your gear worked good last fall and it will be fine this

spring. You know what assume means correct?

Broke lines and a poor outing. Check your gear

and tight lines to all.

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Len, Your post would make a good start for writing "The Trout Fisherman's Bible!" Well done Sir! 1DIRTBALL

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Excellent advice Len. Need to buy a hemostat now that I fish with crawlers more. Casting AHEAD of where you believe the big trout is at is key. I need to think about this more. I think all too often I start casting in the middle of the run versus the beginning of the feeding lane. Stealthy approach and slow wading - especially avoiding "crunching" gravel sounds are key. Examine the hole first and the way the current is going. Then decide what is the best angle to cast from. Another tip would be to fish in low light conditions if your goal is to catch big trout. Big trout sleep all day and feed at night. If you are an avid fly angler try a mouse pattern with 0x tippet.

Now Len the attire I think is important but not as important as the other stuff. Your buddy Joe shows up in PJs and urban attire and still consistently catches monsters!

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great tips Len!

i see your from wisconsin, do you ever fish the rush river? me and my dad have been there a couple times and we see some really giant fish.

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