Skip to main content

Trolling For Rainbow Trout In Still Waters

Trolling For Rainbow Trout In Still Waters

Across the United States and Canada, thousands of lakes and reservoirs have been stocked with rainbow trout. From small pits and ponds to massive reservoirs, these fisheries provide anglers with an opportunity for fast fishing. You need a basic understanding of rainbow trout location and a simple presentation system that puts your bait in front of as many fish as possible.

Tackle

Rod: 6 1/2- to 8-foot medium-power spinning or casting rod.

Reel: medium-capacity spinning or baitcasting reel.


Line: 8- to 12-pound-test mono.

Rigging

Keep your bait and presentation options for still-water rainbows as simple as possible. You'll catch trout by stillfishing or casting natural and artificial baits, but trolling often produces several more fish in the course of a day. Walleye-style livebait rigs can be used to present night crawlers, small minnows, and other natural baits, but the versatile three-way rig is a better option when fish are holding off the bottom. Livebait triggers neutral trout, but flatline trolling with spinners, spoons, minnowbaits, and flies attracts more strikes when fish are active.


Location

Rainbows in lakes and reservoirs often elude anglers because they relate more to temperature bands than to obvious structural elements. During spring and fall, they often hold just below the surface over deep water, but even during summer they're likely to be in the top 20 feet of the water column if a comfortable temperature range is available. Points, humps, and other structural elements that extend into water ranging from 55F to 60F make prime trolling targets, however, since these areas support the preyfish and invertebrates that rainbows feed on. Obviously, a temperature probe that can be lowered into the water column is more useful for locating trout than a surface temperature gauge.




Presentation

Trolling shallow-running baits like spinners and minnowbaits at their normal running depth often is effective during spring and fall. During summer, use deeper-running lures like spoons and plugs, or increase running depth with clip-on weights or three-way rigs. In stained water or when trout are scattered, try trolling baits behind cowbells -- a series of small spinner blades on a braided wire leader. Attach a 12- to 24-inch leader to the snap at the terminal end of the cowbell. When trout are wary due to clear water or fishing pressure, try trolling baits behind planer boards. Boards also are effective when trout are feeding on or near the surface.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Fishing

Always Ready

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Learn

How Jay Pzrekurat RIGS a Dropshot for Smallmouth Bass

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Learn

The BEST Smallmouth Bass Bait EVER?

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Learn

Josh Stracner Shares his FAVORITE Fall Baits for Bass

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Learn

Josh Stracner talks about why you NEED 2D Sonar

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Learn

Why Josh Stracner LOVES the Strike King Rage Swimmer for Fall Bass

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Learn

Mark Zona talks about his SIGNATURE SERIES Rods from Lew's

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Learn

Mark Rose talks about the POWER of the Strike King Zeus Worm

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Gear

Mark Davis DEMONSTRATES that Less is More with a Dropshot

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Gear

Veteran Pro Angler Mark Davis says you NEED to Take Another Look at the Carolina RIG!!

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Learn

Mark Rose's TOP 5 Fall Bass Fishing Baits

Pro angler Bill McDonald compares the classic Rage Bug compared to the new Rage Scoun Bug, which is a new profile that i...
Learn

Bill McDonald talks about the NEW Rage Scoun Bug

In-Fisherman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top In-Fisherman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now