how to fish for rainbow trout in a lake

How to Fish for Rainbow Trout in a Lake

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Fishing is not too hard to learn; you just need to know the basics, have the right equipment, and learn from experience.

Fishing depends on what type of fish you are trying to catch; you cannot use the same technique and lure when catching different types of fish.

Many people are trying to learn how to fish for rainbow trout in a lake.

It may not be too complicated, but you should know exactly what you have to do and the types of lures that you have to prepare.

In addition, you have to study the habitat of the rainbow trout, as well as its feeding patterns.

If you want to know how to catch rainbow trout in a lake, we will give you a few simple tips on how to do it.

What Is a Rainbow Trout?

Rainbow trout is popularly known as a game fish, and it comes from the family Salmonidae.

The “rainbow” from its name came from the colors found on the sides of these stream dwellers.

Rainbow trout are smaller compared to steelheads because they are only about 375 mm long and 5.5 pounds in weight.

They only last for three to four years on average.

Best Times to Catch Rainbow Trout

Fishing for rainbow trout in a lake can be done throughout the year.

If you suddenly thought of fishing rainbow trout in the lake near you, you can just go there and start fishing.

However, there is always the best time of the year to start catching them.

The standard time to catch rainbow trout in a lake would be late spring.

The weather is perfect for fishing, and the temperature of the water is not too cold and not too warm as well, which is perfect for rainbow trout.

You have to remember that if you are uncomfortable with the temperature (freezing or too hot), it means that the rainbow trout feels uncomfortable, as well.

When catching for trout in lakes, you have to pay attention to the cloud cover and water temperature.

Trout are very comfortable to feed when the water temperature is between 34 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit.

You have to check the water temperature every hour to know if it is a good time to catch rainbow trout.

Trout cannot dilate their pupils since they don’t have eyelids, so they usually seek shade when the sun is up to avoid the bright lights.

If you want to catch rainbow trout effectively, you should try to fish when the sun is covered by clouds or find shady areas as they would probably stay there.

If you are still new in rainbow trout fishing, you will probably notice professional anglers fishing before dusk until it is night time.

How to Fish for Rainbow Trout in a Lake

If you are all about fishing, rainbow trout is one of the fish that you should try.

It is one of the easiest to catch from all the other types of trout, but it is also very challenging at the same time.

They usually jump when they are hooked, so it is definitely a worthy adversary when you are a light tackle.

Other than that, it is pretty amazing to fish for rainbow trout because they are usually packed in areas with scenic views.

Fishing trout is very challenging, and the beauty of nature compliments it.

If you want to know how to fish this amazing freshwater gamefish, here are some of the things that you have to do to get started.

1. Choose the Right Fishing Rod

Before you decide to go out there and catch rainbow trout, you should first prepare your rod.

Using a light-action rod with about four- to six-pound test line can be a good start.

This rod allows you to use different techniques as you see fit, and it has less friction on the water.

This means that you can cast your line to the bottom of the lake.

Although your main equipment would be a light-action rod, you better bring a heavier rod with you.

You never know when a rainbow trout heavier than 35 pounds would appear, so you should always have something to help you catch it.

Use an open-faced spinning reel along with a thin line and number six or number 10 hooks.

2. Choose the Right Lure

When it comes to lures, you can use artificial lures that mimic a real baitfish, or you can use live bait.

You just have to switch between these two types of lures if you are having a hard time catching rainbow trout.

Artificial Lures

Rainbow trout feeds on a wide range of native species found on the lake, so the best thing that you can use as an artificial lure would be the ones that can mimic their food preferences.

If it is your first time in rainbow trout fishing, you can ask around the local shops in your area.

The local anglers there will be able to help you in choosing the best lure.

You might also want to try to add some metal foil beads to the artificial bait, as it can help attract the trout.

Live Bait

For live bait, you have three options to choose from: minnows, salmon, or nightcrawlers.

Any of the three would be good bait when catching rainbow trout.

If you want to try other baits, you can always visit your local tackle shop.

They can help you find good live bait for your rainbow trout fishing.

3. Where to Find Rainbow Trout

Although rainbow trout is pretty common, it is not easy to find them.

If it is your first time fishing for rainbow trout, you may have a hard time finding a good location or pinpointing the area where they might be hiding or feeding.

We will give you a few simple tips to find the best places to fish for rainbow trout.

North American Lakes

Most of the rainbow trout are actually found in Ontario, Canada.

In fact, almost 25 percent of their population worldwide can be found in this location.

You have to look for areas that are cold, and don’t think about fishing in the areas around the Southern US.

The population of rainbow trout also decreased over the years because popular anglers love to catch them.

In order to meet the demands of these professional anglers, they are often stocked in lakes.

Deep, Cold Lakes

Even if there is a lake near you, it doesn’t mean that you can catch a rainbow trout there.

This type of fish loves to stay in deep and cold water, so you won’t find them in shallow lakes.

Ask Professional Anglers

The best way to find rainbow trout is to ask professional anglers.

If they have been fishing for a long time, they would definitely know the best place to fish rainbow trout.

You can ask around in your area for professional anglers, or you can go to your local tackle shop to ask for help.

They will be able to provide valuable information on where you can find rainbow trout in your area.

how to fish for rainbow trout in a lake

More Rainbow Trout Fishing Techniques

Once you’ve prepared all of the equipment and lures that you need for your rainbow trout fishing, the next step is to try different techniques that would make your fishing more effective and save you more time.

1. Get yourself a depth finder.

One of the most important things to know when fishing for lake trout is to find out what depth they are currently staying in.

If you want your life to be much easier and catch more rainbow trout, investing in a depth finder is a good option.

Rainbow trout loves to be in the water with a temperature of about 53 degrees, but the depth and their eating habits would change based on the weather.

During spring and fall, rainbow trout usually swim between 35 and 45 feet underwater.

During late spring and in the summer, they would move deeper to about 50 to 65 feet.

When the weather is icy or extremely cold, they are usually closer to the surface at about 10 feet.

These are just estimates, so you still need a depth finder for better chances.

2. Try jig fishing.

Jig fishing is one of the most commonly used techniques when it comes to catching rainbow trout.

This is a good choice if the fish are concentrated in a specific area.

You can also use this if, let’s say, a group of rainbow trout is staying on a shade waiting for their prey.

You can try using a white bucktail jig or a spoon jig, or you can try artificial bait; just make sure that it looks just like the food of rainbow trout.

This is pretty simple to do, too; you just have to cast your line and wait for the jig to hit the bottom of the lake.

Take note that if you are using lightweight lures, it might take a while for the jig to hit the bottom.

Once the jig managed to hit the bottom of the lake, you can pull it up slowly and move the rod up and down or side to side.

3. Try troll fishing.

This is a pretty good technique to use when the fish is not concentrated in a single location.

This means that the rainbow trout are scattered around the lake.

There are three different ways to do troll fishing:

  • Slowly wind the line when you are in a static position.

This would attract the attention of the rainbow trout, and they would all move to your area.

  • Sweep the line from side to side.

You can also do this when you are in a static position while you are slowly winding the line.

  • Draw one or more fishing lines while you are in a moving boat.

You can move around the like while carrying one or more fishing lines that are already cast.

4. Always watch your line.

When fishing for rainbow trout, you have to be very observant and look at the line at all times.

Small and large rainbow trout have different habits once they are caught in the hook.

Bigger rainbow trout would swim slowly after biting on the hook, while the smaller ones would swim immediately after biting so the line would vibrate fiercely.

You have to feel the line before you reel it, and make sure that you do it slowly.


Learning how to fish for rainbow trout in a lake is more than just using advanced techniques.

There are so many things that you have to learn at the same time, including their eating habits, the areas where they can be found, and the right bait to use.

It is a very common fish, but it would require skill and experience to catch rainbow trout successfully.

It is better to do your research first before you start so that you won’t have to waste a lot of time going around an area looking for rainbow trout.

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