A very popular P&T (put and take) species. They become more active in colder weather. It's the fly fishermen’s delight as it takes a fly readily, leaps often, and fights hard.
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My favorite pre-spawn tactic for catching Rainbow Trout is to jig on very light tackle. I like to jig with a 1/32 oz or a 1/64 oz jig head on 2lb test monofilament line, I like to jig with 2lb test so that you can cast further and the line is less noticeable to the fish. I like to put anything on the jig from 2-3" plastic worms, 1" plastic minnows, and 1" maggots, these are just some example and my favorites to use.
For post-spawn rainbow trout fishing: I like to fish post-spawn the same way I do with pre-spawn but sometimes the fish aren't as aggressive and are more timid. If they are shy I like to use Berkley's power dough bait or Berkley's floating power eggs on a Carolina rig with a size #8-14 treble hook, hook size depending on the average size of the fish at the fishing location. Berkley's Powerbait on a Carolina rig seems to work year round for me and all of the places i've been to, there isn't a trout fishery I have fished and haven't caught a trout. I like to jig first and then try Berkley's Powerbait if I get desperate because it's basically cheating. My preferred rig for bait fishing is powerbait and for jigging I just tie on a jig head (1/32-1/64oz) with a simple Palomar knot.
Best pre-spawn tactic for catching rainbow trout: For spin fishing...rainbow trout love the HD trout lures, Tasmanian devils and cast-masters (silver and gold). For flyfishing rainbow trout love eating bugs that are in their system like San Juan worms and eggs and scuds and midges and pheasant tails and nothing beats catching a rainbow trout on a dry fly... the key is to see them rising there’s a lot of stalking and scouting and hunting and sighting that goes into successfully catching rainbow trout.
Post spawn tactics for catching Rainbow Trout: Post Spawn rainbow trout are hungry and love to eat whatever is in their system at the time like worms and eggs and midges and stoneflies and pheasant tails. Rainbow trout feed 80% of the time under the water. Nothing beats catching a rainbow trout on a drive fly the key is to find them while they’re rising. The best way to catch rainbow trout year-round is to see them feeding before you fish at them ... to sneak up on them and be very stealthy so you don’t spook them ... wear clothes that blend in with your surroundings keep a low profile and try not to disturb the water around them. The best setup is fly fishing with dry flies
I believe that there are more than just pre-spawn and spawn if i had to separate them it would be into 4 seasons in a year to make it easier to understand treat them like the seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall). each season has its own quirky patterns when it comes to trout in Idaho. For example, during the spring here in the state of Idaho most of the waters are murky and filled with sediment. because of this the fish generally aren't really hungry and their prey drive is at a lul. during this time I find it best to play with bright silver or bright colorful lures. these tend to produce the bigger fish during the spring time. During the winter and fall months in Idaho I tend to start switching to more natural baits like nightcrawlers, maggots, and any other bug I find on the walk to my spots. One thing that I can recommend to anyone in search of the bigger fish in Idaho is depending on the water color use the correct color lure to give the best flash. For example, silver in murky water brass or gold in clear water. This is something kinda well known to most anglers I would assume but this is a trick my dad taught me at a very young age. One more thing is to use in between a 1/4oz - 1oz lure, even the smaller 8" trout find a way to fit it in their mouth.
No one has caught any Rainbow trout on Fishbrain yet, so we can't suggest a water to catch them at yet!