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Trout Fishing Tips - Same for Bluegills?!

Stocked Trout Fishing Tips For Success

Ok - so you live around Chicago or any place trout are stocked and it's the annual trout stocking - your fishing panic is building as trout fishing opening day approaches. Anglers around you are loading up their tackle boxes and getting their annual trout stamps purchased so that they can hit the waters for opening day morning - ready. If you have never been trout fishing during the inland trout stocking and you are making the 2012 trout fishing your first, there are a few things you should know. Opening Day Trout Fishing Crowds

The crowds can be thick. Don't expect a pristine setting, but instead think Black Friday (Saturday) with trout. Anglers will be crowded in very tightly in many places along the shore of your favorite pond. Be patient as the skills are not great of your neighboring trout fishermen. Expect to have your line cast over and a tangle is not out of the question in these tight, trout fishing ponds.

Hit or Miss Trout Fishing

Stocked Trout can be biting everything that moves through the water and they can also be swimming past every single piece of fishing tackle and bait that you throw. Don't expect that your perfect method will work every single time. The rainbow trout they stock in lakes around cities have been shipped across state lines and have had to adjust from their new environment. Expect maybe to get a few hits but adding time to your fishing might just help you to catch a few.

Live Trout Baits

Using live bait to catch the stocked trout is usually the way to go. There are some times when the artificial baits will work because these trout can be daft - and can hit anything during some times. If you wish to be the most consistent at catching the rainbow trout - you need to mind the eyes. Small baits appeal to the trout because of their superior eyesight they rarely miss a bait. The more natural your offering, the faster they will swim at and take your bait. They can see insects the size of a pencil dot so trout can tell the difference between fake and real. Think spikes, waxworms and small minnows to score. You will find that spikes offer you far superior hook-up rates than the power baits or artificial jarred baits and can be less expensive (when you buy in bulk).

Small Trout Hook

The smaller your hook is and the finer the wire, the more likely your bait will hang up in the water column and the slower it will drop on the fall - both extremely appealing actions to stocked rainbow trout. Size 14, 16 & 18 are excellent choices to increase your trout takes with the stocked trout we have in the Spring trout season. Go with actual trout dry fly hooks to get the right size and try calling your bait shop to make sure these small trout hooks are in stock.

Thin Leaders Catch

Back to the eyesight - these fish can see tiny things so stealthy line will help prevent the trout from swimming past your bait. 2lb. and even 1 lb. leader line might be the difference between you scoring your first stocked trout and getting skunked. When the fishing gets tough- a thin line will score. The exception to fishing these skinny lines as your leader would be if you are dealing with a thick weed line on your lake. If this is the case- you might need a rake or rake head to clear a path through the weed. If you can create this channel - you can reel your trout in after playing them on the light line. The secret to playing fish on the light line is allowing the trout to run a bit and keeping them in the water. Backreeling is hitting the switch and physically reeling backwards toward the running fish - letting line out from your reel manually. Open face reels have a switch at the back bottom of the spool. Flip this one way and the reel only cranks in. Flip this the other direction and you can reel either forward or back. Keep tension on your fish with the rod tip and reel back and forward until you feel you have control. With control you should be able to slide the fish - when quiet over your waiting net in the water. With light lines you will need a landing net.

Big Float - Little Float - More Trout

Limiting out many times I have been trout fishing during Illinois' trout stocking seasons, I have learned a lot. On some days, the trout can be taken using the largest float but seldom are numbers caught on a round bobber. The thinner your bite indictor is, the more you will se the trout hit. Trout might hit baits accurately - but they also are quite adept at ejecting the bait when they feel resistance. If your bobber is wide, the fish can easily get rid of your hook before you can get a hook set on these very fast stocked rainbows. I have caught them using long-casting waggler floats but recently have had more luck using much smaller pole floats to hook up. There are some days where the stocked trout "hit short". On these days you will notice (with a property balanced waggler) that the rainbows are hitting the float, it goes under and then pops back up with no fish. With the smaller pole floats, casting is limited, but the fish rarely let go of this setup. A.5 or.8 gram float is a killer bite indicator for the stocked trout in DuPage and Cook Counties. The rig I used is sold here:

http://chicagofishingschool.com/?page_id=143 . This float caught more fish and limits of stocked trout than anything I saw on the water. Scratch off those times where they will bite anything and everything - this float produces in calm, wind and cold as well as everyday conditions. Look for a post from my fishing with trout pictures this weekend!


Trout Boots

While you might be high and dry up on shore, a pair of boots can be worth their weight in gold. Keeping your feet dry while landing fish, stepping at the waters' edge and just setting up is really important to your comfort. All water is cold once it seeps into your shoes, and without a pair of even short fishing boots, your cold feet can mean a very tiring, even dangerous trout fishing outing. Waterproof boots where you can step right into the cold water, will keep your comfortable and warm for the whole fishing trip. Once wet, your entire body temperature can lower and you can run the danger of hypothermia and strain which can lead to a dangerous day. Especially in the colder water and weather, keeping your feet dry will mean a lot. The nice thing about having your fishing boots- you can take them off, place them on paper and save your car from all the mud. Slip into some warm, dry shoes at your car and you are all set for a comfortable ride home - instead of a shaky, shivery trip of dread.

Follow these tips on your next "Trouting" and you will be rewarded. Some of these items will contrast with how you do it now- keep an open mind and try one or two, I hope they work for you, but you can't tell if your fishing will be better until you try.

Use these tips to catch more stocked rainbow trout will help you out when you head out to ponds, lakes and river - everywhere that trout are stocked for special fishing seasons. Catch you again soon - see I practice catch-and-release with you, and you should do the same with the fish you catch.

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Comment by Johnny wilkins on April 9, 2012 at 12:05pm

I fished on the clock Sunday a.m. I drove out to the lake again, but I only had from 6:45 until 9:00 to fish before heading home - could I catch 5 again on the quill?

It was tough, but I managed 7 fish landed and 5 keepers rainbow trout.

The guys to the right and left of me combined on 1 fish on Powerbaits. The trout were hitting the grub precisely and I noticed that even with a properly balanced quill float, the trout would not take the hook on the first pass. At least 14 instances where the float went down only to come back up instantly... sometimes it would be followed by a trout returning to finish it off. Other times - no fish...

Maggots - live bait ruled the day and a proper float also could not be beaten by straight-lining in an artificial bait. Not the way these fish were taking the bait....

I return to the water tomorrow night for a short session to see if I could make it 3 times out in a row with a limit of 5 trout on the quill float - fishing Old School!

Comment by Johnny wilkins on April 8, 2012 at 3:16pm
I fished a lake so not a stream like you... But I had a 30- trout day, hooked up fish on the setup for the two kids next to me when they had none and then my new anglers 4 trout in their first day ever.
Day 2 is where my methods really kick in as I was able to drive :30 min. To the lake, get fishing and get back to make church by 10:45 and I landed 7 . My neighbor with Powerbait got 1 fish. Neighbors to the other side caught zero and 1.

My secret weapon- 200- year-old float. The porcupine quill ruled!
That said - trout can make a day really long!!! I feel for you... Who knows where those trout went.
Comment by John Sheehan on April 8, 2012 at 2:55pm

Opening Day NJ 4/7.Got skunked with Trout all I caught was Common Shiners .

Comment by Johnny wilkins on April 5, 2012 at 3:02pm

I call it chumming for people : ) when that happens.

I should get some giant hooks for when the "human school" arrives.

Comment by John Sheehan on April 5, 2012 at 1:52pm

You dont need credit from them Johnny .Nice job!

Comment by Johnny wilkins on April 4, 2012 at 6:39pm


Trust me - I used to think I was really good and then I figured out the fish were REALLY good at what they did. When I thought I had the perfect float - the fish would steal my bait right from under it. When I thought I had balanced it out perfectly - they would strike it and it would pop back up. Insectivores like gills & trout are excellent sight-feeders and they respond when the bait falls to their liking, moves to their liking (close up). Anything to throw them off like line, hooks or odd presentation - and the fish move on...

The new way I measure how well I am fishing is not how many fish I attract to my spot or how many I hook up on, or even how many I land. Living near a city, my best days are when I can empty an entire shore. I did it last Spring one time and again last Fall in the next picture - note the far shore has one angler on it. I can do better. The entire crowd pictured descended on me as I was hooking up on trout along with the two guests I had with me. I was able to get them four and five trout and was on to my 3rd trout when the crowd was really getting thick. Fish are attracted to fish activity and anglers are attracted to fish activity like Bears wading into a Salmon run - the urban angler is quite willing to move in on your fishing at times. Poor casting skills, bad manners and a medium side-wind add up to a long day on the water getting your limit. One of the fish in my limit was actually reeled in by an angler that cast over my line after I hooked the fish. He reeled me in (with me kicking and screaming) because I had a light leader. Amazingly, I dropped my rod, went by him and netted the fish to show him that he wasn't connected to anything more than my line. Must have been a magic 1.5 lb. leader I tied... judging from his line - he was toting 6 lb. (some people call that ultralight..).  

A couple Springs ago I had my kids with me and we were catching a lot. Of course, I worked to attract the school for 4 hours before we started hooking up. :45 min. later all the anglers on the far bank, walked 1/2 mile around to my side.  They were casting closer and closer to my float and shouldering in on my kids' fishing spot.

They never give me credit for presentation - it is always just the spot - the first thing that enters their brains- that spot is better than their current spot. 16 feet out this water goes 23 feet deep straight down. Most of their rigs don't reach 5 ft. down. The spot in the background I took my limit in that wind storm 11 days after the opener.

Comment by Leo Nguyen on April 4, 2012 at 3:37pm

LOL I know..I know. Use worms to catch trout. Use trout to catch bass. Use bass to catch bass chasers..food chain ;-)

Comment by John Sheehan on April 4, 2012 at 3:35pm

dont forget chub pieces for Brook Trout  Leo after you catch chubs on a worm.Food chain,ah you know.

Comment by Jen Nayfly on April 4, 2012 at 3:31pm

Been using trout flies to catch bluegills for years! Right now the gill are hitting my brown stillwater nymph.

Comment by John Sheehan on April 4, 2012 at 10:48am

Thanks Johnny I'll let  you know how I do .Opening day is April 7th this Saturday .I will be fishing Ringwood Brook minutes from my house .Small brook and I'll try about three or four holes I usually catch at .

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