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How To Catch Trout

The name trout refers to a number of types of freshwater fish that are members of the Salmonidae family. The two most common species found in the UK are the native variety, Salmo trutta, which is found in much of Europe and Salmo Gairdnerii (also known as Oncorhynchus mykiss), which originates from the Pacific Northwest region of the USA, but has been introduced extensively to waters throughout Europe and beyond.

Salmon Trutta

Salmo trutta, the brown trout, is usually a speckled brownish colour with black and rust coloured spots. It lives in streams, rivers and lakes. A migratory form of Salmo trutta, known as the sea trout or sewin, also occurs in the UK and other parts of northwest Europe. It is more silvery in colour than its freshwater relative. The lifecycle of this variant is very similar to that of the Atlantic salmon, to which it is related. The fish usually remain in freshwater for the first 2 or 3 years of life, before migrating to the sea. When they have matured fully, the fish return to freshwater, in order to breed.

Some rivers support populations of both migratory and non-migratory fish, whereas in other rivers one or other type predominates. The reasons why different rivers support different proportions of the two varieties is not clear, but is likely to be influenced by variations in ecology between different river systems.

Salmo Gairdneril

Salmo Gairdnerii, the rainbow trout, is silver in colour with a pinkish sheen which gives rise to the 'rainbow' effect. They can be found in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and large ponds and are popular with commercial hatcheries.


Salmo trutta normally grows to about 12 inches (30 cm) long. The fish can grow up to 21 inches (53 cm) in length. The UK record for a wild Salmo trutta specimen is 31lb 12oz (14.4 kg) for a fish caught in 2005.Salmo Gairdnerii often grows to a length of up to 18 inches (45 cm) and weighs around 6? lb (3 kg). The UK record for this type of fish is 36 lb 14 oz (16.75 kg) for an example caught in 1995.

How And Where To Catch Trout

These fish are commonly found in cool, clear lakes and rivers. Young fish tend to prefer deeper, slow moving pools and backwaters. In shallower waters, rainbows are more likely to be found than browns.

Breeding Habits

Both types of fish are bred extensively by commercial fish farms. In the wild, they usually spawn in channels containing gravel or small pebbles.Browns spawn in late autumn or early winter when the water temperature is between 6c and 9c. The female excavates a number of hollows, called redds and deposits around 2,000 pale greenish eggs in each of them. They hatch after 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the water temperature. Rainbows spawn between March and August. They prefer a water temperature of between 6c and 10c. These fish, too, excavate a number of redds and the female deposits 800 to 1,000 yellowish orange eggs in each of them. They hatch after 4 to 7 weeks.


These fish have quite a varied diet that includes small fish, insects, insect larvae and small aquatic invertebrates. They will take a variety of baits including minnows, maggots, worms, sweet corn and even pieces of marshmallow. However, in many UK fisheries, food baits are banned and anglers are expected to use fly fishing techniques to attract their quarry. Anglers and tackle specialists have created a huge range of artificial fishing flies and continue to develop new variants in their quest for fishing success. Most fishing flies are designed to look like potential food items for the fish, so the final form of the flies very much depends upon the materials from which they are assembled.

Surface flies: designed to look like insects, the mayfly being the prime example, which attract fish to the surface of the water.Underwater flies: designed to look like aquatic larvae of fish or insects, or to appear like small fish such as minnows. Attention attractors: flies, which are usually in vivid colours or cause water disturbance when moved about, that don't look like any specific food item, but will still attract the fish's attention.Some anglers use more than one fly at a time on the same line; for example, an attention attractor and a nymph mimic.


Fly fishing attracts a lot of mystique regarding rods and casting. Rod technology has been transformed by the introduction of carbon fibre but some anglers still prefer to use traditional split cane rods.For river fishing, a rod between 9 and 10 feet (275 to 305 cm) long is recommended, whereas for lake or reservoir fishing an 11 foot (335 cm) rod is normally preferred.


The angler's personal casting technique seriously influences the type of line, the weights used on the line as well as the type of fly to choose. Some lines are designed to float, others are designed to sink. The fisherman's decisions as to whether he wants the fly to float on the surface, to sink slowly or to sink rapidly will be influenced mainly by the water conditions. The choice of fly, type of line and distribution of weights on the line can all have a substantial effect on the speed that the fly moves through the water and whether the fish will be encouraged on to the hook.

Lakeside Fishing

How to catch trout for a right-hander, a wind blowing left-to-right is preferred, so that any gusts of wind will move the fly (and hook) away from the angler. Alternatively, having the wind blowing towards you often brings more effective results, but makes successful casting that bit more difficult.

Boat Fishing

When trout fishing from a boat on a lake, use short, overhead casts from a sitting position. Roll-cast the line forward to bring the fly to the surface, then follow this manoeuvre with a back cast and finally, a single forward cast. The line is then pulled in gently and the next cast is made.

River Bankfishing

The standard technique is to cast downstream at a 45 degree angle to the bank and then to draw the line in slowly. If you want the fly to go deeper into the water, casting upstream can be effective, as the flowing water will aid this process.




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