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Archive for the ‘Trout’ Category

There is that point in every beginner’s life where they decide to switch from bank fishing to fishing from a boat. If you’re just getting into boat fishing, the easiest thing to do is to go to a lake that rents row boats and take one out for an afternoon.

Once you’ve mastered the challenge of just DEALING with all your fishing tackle in the boat, then you can try trolling.

Just What Is Trolling?

Put very simply, trolling is drawing a baited fishing line through the water. Trolling can be done with one or more people in the boat. But, if you’re just getting started, I think it’s easier if one person runs the motor and the others fish.

It’s a challenge to try to run the motor

AND fish

AND deal with anything you catch

AND not get the line fouled in the motor.

If you’re trolling for lake trout, then you’ll want to use a lure specifically designed for trout. I’ve tried trolling with worms or Power Bait with no success; the lures are specially designed to get the job done.

My favorite lure for trolling for lake trout is a flatfish lure. I’ve had mine since I was 8 so it actually has a name: Sir Gregory. Go figure!

flatfish lure

Sir Gregory has been retired from active fishing (I would hate to lose him after all these years) and just hangs out in my tackle box for luck.

Here are my three biggest tips for getting started with trolling.

1. Troll Slowly

Big fish will not expend any more energy than necessary to catch a meal. Also, most lures will not perform correctly at fast speeds. The best advice is to troll SLOWLY, the slower the better.

When ESP Boss and I troll, sometimes he refuses to use a motor and rows instead. Of course, this may have something to do with a full reel of line being wrapped around a new electric motor and ruining it. (I was 9 but he’s never gotten over it!) A plus of using oars is that the movement of the lure is a bit erratic as it moves quickly and then slowly with the rhythm of the rowing.

People trolling for trout

Notice that there is very little wake? That's because they're moving slowly as they troll.

However, if you must use a motor, make sure it will throttle down to a crawl, or, better yet, purchase a multi-speed electric motor. You can use the electric motor for trolling and save a larger gas motor for power. Just be sure that your type and size of motor is permitted on the lake!

Most of the lakes listed on EatStayPlay.com have motor information.

2. Vary Your Speed

While slow speeds are critical, this does not mean the same slow speed all the time. A lure running through the water at a constant speed, at a constant depth and giving off the same vibration pattern will not catch many fish. The movement is too regular and there’s nothing to indicate an easy meal or that something (i.e. the lure) is in trouble. Troll slowly, but adjust your speed every few minutes to change the lure’s speed and vibration pattern.

3. Troll In “S” Shaped Curves

The best results mean that you shouldn’t troll back and forth in a straight line. An “S” pattern is great, because every time the lure is on the inside swing of the boat, it will drop deeper and slow down. On an outside turn, the lure will speed up and rise. With each turn, you will impart a different action to the lure, signaling meal time to nearby fish.

Trolling for trout

As the boat gets closer to shore, it'll swing in a wide curve to pull the lures through the shallows. And to tempt any trout lurking there!

If you know where the fish like to hang out in the lake (EVERY lake has hot spots), then swinging curves to pass the lure through these areas should also get results.

Readers Weigh In:

  • Do you prefer to fish from the shore or a boat?
  • If fishing from a boat, would you rather troll or bottom fish?
  • Do you have any trolling tips to share?

Every so often I run across a trout fishing idea and think “WHY have I NEVER heard of that?! That sounds like a fantastic idea!” This is one of those ideas.

Fishing Worm

Before I discovered a worm threader, I hadn’t been a big fan of using night crawlers as trout bait. No, it has nothing to do with being squeamish (I’m not) or the fact that you get dirt under your fingernails trying to get the worms out of the container. It was that I never seemed to catch anything with a worm; it’s a waste of bait as the worm gets soggy or eaten (with no fish on the hook), and left over night crawlers aren’t even great for my garden.

A gang hook set up is a one-up on a worm threader. The worm is presented in a more “natural” fashion and you get the advantage of two hooks instead of one.

I haven’t tried this set up yet (it’s still too hot for good trout fishing around here!) so, I want somebody to go out and test this one for me and then let me know.

What are gang hooks?

Gang hooks are a series of two or more single hooks tied in a straight line on a piece of monofilament leader.

What are the advantages to using a gang hook?

  • The worm will be stretched along the line, in a more natural position than wadded up in a “worm ball” around a single or treble hook.
  • You’ve got two hooks instead of one.
  • You can use smaller hooks which will better fit in a smaller fish’s mouth.
Worm Ball

A worm ball -- Gross!

How do I create a gang hook?

Using a snell knot tie a single, size 10 hook to a leader, leaving at least a 12″ tag end. Tie a second hook about 2- to 3-inches below the first (depending on the length of your worm) and clip the tag end.

If you want to, you can add the hooks to the leader directly below each other (with no space in between) to create a longer line of gang hooks. If your worm isn’t long enough to finish out the line of gang hooks, make a small ball of Powerbait to cover any remaining hooks.

Attach your gang hook to a swivel (I like two slip weights above the swivel) and you’re good to go. You can use this set up with or without weights and also with a bobber.

Gang hooks are best used in shallow areas with debris, including fallen trees and water plants. Gang hooks are less likely to catch or snag on the debris, due to its unique hook presentation.

Readers Weigh In:

  • Have you ever fished a worm on a gang hook? How did it go?
  • What is your favorite worm presentation?

The Easy Way To Clean Fish: ESP Boss’ 4 Step Process

Have you ever done a Google search for cleaning fish? You’ll come up with a million and one ways to clean a fish! Holy cow!

Some fish really do have a specific way that you have to clean them, like catfish. But for your garden variety, run-of-the-mill trout, I wanted to share with you ESP Boss’ 4 Step Process.

Before you begin, make sure the fish is clean of mud, bait, and other nasties. You’ll need a sharp knife and a cutting board. Running water is a help, but not required.

If any fish still have the hook in them, set them aside for last!

Here’s how we take care of a fish that has swallowed the hook and we can’t get it out: put TWO of the metal stringer hooks through it. That way, we can tell it apart from the others!

I prefer metal stringers to rope!

Step 1

Insert the tip of your knife at the anal fins. Cut the fish’s stomach area all the way until you reach the gill cover. You want to cut completely through the skin, but not into the spine.

You want a sharp knife and a stable surface.

Step 2

With your fingers, remove the insides of the fish. It’s best if you reach in toward the head, firmly grasp the entrails and pull them out working towards the anal fins. Run your finger firmly along the inside of the backbone to clean out the vein that runs along the bone.

Step 3

Rinse the cavity of the fish. If you have running water, great! If not, rinse out the cavity in a pan of clean, cool water.

ESP Boss rinsing a trout in camp. Don't dump that dirty water in camp or it'll attract all manner of beasties and bugs!

Step 4

With the fish laying on a firm surface (so you can see one eye), slide your knife up and under the gills. Firmly cut through the backbone so the gills stay attached to the head.

The gills stay attached to the head.

Discard guts and head. Or, save the head to use to catch crayfish!

And that’s it! Because trout don’t have extreme scales, there’s no need to remove the scales or skin. We typically cook them using the Fish Basket BBQ recipe.

Readers Weigh In:

  • How do you clean trout?
  • Any tips or tricks that I could share with newbies?

I know you all know that I live in Arizona. And, that my favorite type of fishing is in our put-and-take lakes. But, not everybody is into the “easy” ways of catching trout. If you’re feeling up to it (and can handle loosing some tackle to the rocks of a stream) then read on to find out about how to use a jig set up to catch stream trout!

Most trout in lakes will eat whatever you throw out to them, either on the bottom, trolling, or cast and reel. (Provided of course, they’re biting at all!) Stream trout, on the other hand, feed more selectively than many game fish.

Whatever big trout are feeding on, whether it is insect larvae or minnows, it’s important to use a presentation that looks and moves like the real thing. If you can, creep up to the stream, not letting your shadow fall on the water, and see if you can spot what the trout are after. If you can’t figure it out, (and who can read a trout’s mind!) then don’t be afraid to try different baits or techniques.

Most of the major diet items for a stream trout can be imitated by a jig.

Jig: type of fishing lure, it usually consists of a lead sinker with a hook molded into it. There is then some sort of body on the shank of the hook. The jig is very versatile and can be used in both salt water as well as fresh water. Many species are attracted to the lure which has made it popular amongst anglers for years.

The head of a jig can consist of many different shapes and colors along with different features. The most common is the round head, but others include fish head shaped, coned shaped, etc. These heads come in many different weights usually ranging from 1/64th of an ounce to over 1 ounce. They can also be found in a wide array of colors and patterns. The hooks also vary. These variances can be on the hook type, color, angle of the hook or the material of the hook. Some jig heads even offer a weed guard.

Tiny 1/64-ounce jigs tipped with plastic nymph imitate nymph-stage insects, while a larger 1/16-ounce jig with a 1-inch white curlytail grub imitates a larger pupae or small baitfish.

Nymph-stage insect: stage between larva and mature insect; given to young stages of insects which undergo a partial metamorphosis. The nymph is usually quite similar to the adult except that its wings are not fully developed. It normally feeds on the same kind of food as the adult.

Jigs can be worked slowly (bounced lightly across bottom) or swum through deeper waters of pools and runs. In summer, cast jigs along under-cut banks, around deeper wood, below cascades into plunge pools, and behind boulders in runs.

Since jigs are already weighted, they often don’t require additional weight to sink them to the bottom. Depending on the way the water moves, however, they can raise in the water column, so keep an eye on how the jig sits in the water.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What set-up do you like to use to fish for trout in streams?

My Sure-Fire Trout-Catching Setup has been one of my most popular articles ever. And since it’s just the tip you need to fish for trout in weedy, rocky lakes, I wanted to illustrate just how to set it up.

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