10 Essential Spring Trout Fishing Tips for Beginners

By Debbie Hanson

Apr 25, 2022

List of essential spring trout fishing tips. What to know about springtime fishing for trout when it comes to tackle, gear, best places, best times to fish

One of the best things about spring trout fishing is that anglers of all ages and experience levels can get out to enjoy it. Whether you want to fly fish in a Colorado river for cutthroat trout or catch rainbow trout in a stocked lake with your family, springtime fishing for trout has become a much-anticipated ritual across many parts of the U.S.

Springtime Fishing for Trout: Tips to Get Started

Consider these helpful spring trout fishing tips regarding places to fish, techniques, and trout fishing gear if you’re new to trout fishing.

1. Choose the right destination

If you want to find the best places to trout fish, consider destinations such as the Fryingpan River in Colorado, Henry's Fork (a tributary of the Snake River) in Idaho, the Green River in Utah, and the Deschutes River in Oregon. If you’re wondering where to fish for trout closer to home, check with your state fish and wildlife agency to find out if they publish a trout stocking schedule for waterways near you.

2. Identify good trout fishing spots

Good trout fishing spots are generally characterized by rocks, gravel bars, holes, and a change in bottom contour. You should also be looking for eddies and current seams or shadow lines created by a bank when river fishing for trout.

3. Know when is trout season

Check with the appropriate state fish and wildlife agency to find out when trout season opens in the state where you plan to fish. You can always do online search for “when is trout season,” followed by the abbreviation for the state. Since trout season dates will vary for different states, be sure to confirm that any information you find online is up-to-date and that it has been issued directly from the state agency.

4. Know the best time of the day to fish for trout

The best time of day to fish for trout is during the early morning hours. To be more specific, fish from dawn until about two hours after sunrise. The next best time to fish for trout is late afternoon, from about three hours prior to sunset until dusk. When determining the best times to fish for trout, realize that water temperature and cloud cover will also play a role.

5. Get appropiate fishing equipment and tackle for trout

When buying trout fishing equipment or tackle, for family fishing trips you’ll want to look for ultralight spinning tackle. The best rod and reel for trout in small streams and rivers is a 5 to 6-foot ultralight rod and reel combo. If you’re fishing for trout that are trout bigger than 20 inches or plan to do any trolling (such as when lake trout fishing), go with a medium power rod.

6.Choose the best line for trout

The best fishing line for trout is generally 4 to 8-pound test monofilament for still fishing or spinner fishing. The weight of the line depends on the species and size of the trout you are targeting (go on the heavier side for larger trout). When trolling with a medium power rod, use 10 to 20-pound braid main line with a 6 to 10-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon leader.

7. Pick the right bait for trout

If you’re fishing with kids, use live or natural baits for more bites. The best bait for trout during the spring is garden worms (also called red wiggler worms). Garden worms are smaller worms that are generally around two to five inches in length. They are the best and most often used trout bait, particularly in spring when they are found in rivers, creeks, lakes, and ponds after a period of rainfall.

8. Know the best fishing rigs for trout

The best trout fishing rigs to use with live bait would be either the fixed bobber rig (best for shallow ponds and small streams) or the slip bobber rig (when trout are feeding in the middle of the water column in deeper water).

9.Choose the right lure for trout

Small inline spinners are among the best trout fishing lures, particularly those that come in gold or colors that match the local baitfish in your area. Inline spinners in sizes #00, #0 & #1 are good trout fishing lures when used on an ultralight spinning combo for brook trout, rainbow trout or brown trout in rivers or streams.

10. Know what to consider if you are fly fishing for trout

When fly fishing for trout, a 9-foot fly rod rated for 5-weight line is the most versatile when fishing for trout in lakes, creeks, and rivers. Fly patterns like the Mop Fly, Squirmy Wormy, Griffith’s Gnat, and Woolly Bugger are good patterns to start with for spring trout.

Spring trout fishing can be a whole lot of fun for everyone in the family once you have the right gear and knowledge to get started. Get outside and enjoy one of the best opportunities to fish this spring!

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.