Urban Trout Right Now
Throughout the country and especially in the West, early fall often signals the start of a second, "urban" trout-fishing season. This is serious aquaculture at its best. Lowland-lake operators contract with hatcheries to purchase major tonnage of a variety of trout species to stock in these metropolitan reservoirs. Rainbows, Alpers, lighting, brown, brookies and even inland farm–raised steelhead are planted in great numbers in these low-elevation lakes.
Similar to alpine trout, these fish often need to be finessed by the savvy angler. To begin with, the most important thing is to use very light leader material. I recommend 2-pound test fluorocarbon. If you're going to soak baits – usually by floating them above the bottom – you'll need this gossamer leader to fool these fish. Whether you are fishing from the bank, in a boat, kayak or float tube, this 18- to 36-inch length of 2-pound leader is singularly the most important link between you and a limit of trout.
Next, consider your hooks. With this ultralight leader you'll have considerable line stretch, so a needle-sharp hook is mandatory. The Owner Mosquito and black-treble hook models are exceptionally sharp and my recommendation.
Think about your drag setting. Let's say your spinning reel is spooled with 6-pound monofilament. And you're tossing out baits on that 2-pound fluorocarbon leader. You'll thus need to set your drag for 2-pound test, not 6-pound. This is a common mistake that novice trouters make: They forget to recalibrate their drags to the lighter settings necessitated by the lighter leaders. Too many quality trout are broken off by fishermen who don't make that lighter drag adjustment.
Do you also know: So many of those big, double-digit-weight trophy rainbows planted in these city lakes are caught just a short distance off the bank? That's right. So many of these lunkers are actually scored in only 5- to 8-foot depths. Making that long, impressive cast may not be your best option. These planted trout are raised in shallow pens or ponds at the hatchery. They're accustomed to feeding in very shallow water. Also, there can be a lot of natural feed on the bottom in the lake's shallow strike zones. Worms, freshwater clams, grubs, aquatic bugs and the like live in the nutrient-rich shallow areas. So just keep this little secret in mind when you're tempted to make that 70-yard-long cast out into the middle of the reservoir.
Lastly, I want to talk about so-called "still fishing" with baits. In my seminars, workshops and writings, I have a saying: "If you're "still fishing" with bait, most likely you're still not getting bit. That's right. Every so often you need to wind in a few feet of line so you'll be sure to cover more territory. Your bait may be hung up in brush, rocks or weeds. By reeling it in a few feet, you can be fishing in more open water where the trout can see it better.
Also, most of the floating baits, live night crawlers, marshmallows, salmon eggs or Velveeta cheese all have an inherent scent. This built-in smell can draw trout in from considerable distances. By winding in a few feet of line, you will actually be creating a "vapor trail" of sorts that will bring trout to the bait.
Tight lines and good luck!
about the author
Ronnie Kovach is one of the foremost outdoor personalities in the nation – a self-made entrepreneur and independent businessman who's also a best-selling author of five books, a longtime radio host on Angels Baseball Radio Network and TV host on FOX Sports West.