Lake Fork Fishing Tips
From Lake Fork Guides
Bass Fishing for TroutArticle: November, 2009
In an effort to escape the Texas heat in the summer, my family and I pack up and head to the mountains for a couple weeks each year. Not only is the climate cooler in the summer, but most of these areas harbor excellent trout streams. Although I have yet to master fly fishing, I do take along a bass rod and some lures each year and I’ve developed a simple system to catch a lot of trout from streams. The beauty is that you only need a few basic baits and since the trout aren’t accustomed to seeing these lures, I’ve often had great success when fly anglers on the same streams are struggling. Moreover, with all the public lands and small streams, you can easily fish without a boat. So the next time your travels take you to trout country, here’s an easy way to add some angling fun.
Trout are famous for eating insects and many fly fishermen love to catch them on dry flies, much like topwater fishing for bass. Although they eat a lot of water-dwelling and terrestrial insects, the diet of larger trout is often predominantly small minnows and baitfish. Accordingly, many trout are caught each year on small in-line spinners, like Mepps or Rooster Tails. Fishermen have thrown these for years and the trout seem to be somewhat conditioned to them, so I’ve found a number of better performing baits. For me, small jerkbaits, swimbaits, and crankbaits produce very well.
Basically, I use my favorite bass lures, but I just go to a bit smaller sizes. Small jerkbaits, like Lucky Craft Pointer 48 work great for numbers of fish. A fast retrieve with 3 or 4 snaps followed by a pause triggers active fish. Other days, small crankbaits work great and I use the Lucky Craft RC 0.5 in water that is 2’ or less or if there are a lot of weeds, switching to the RC 0.5 DD when the water is deeper. Just cast these out and reel them back with a few pauses like you would bass fishing. Finally, swimming a 3.5” Live Magic Shad rigged on a ╝ oz Screwball jighead will catch the very biggest trout when you’re on rivers with fish 18” and bigger. Simply swim the Live Magic Shad on a steady retrieve for active fish or hop it along the bottom when they are more finicky. Since most of these streams are very clear, I stick with natural baitfish colors for all of my lures, with mostly white or silver bodies and natural accents.
Because you’re fishing in very clear and normally shallow water with light baits, this approach requires long casting spinning rigs with light line. A long rod with a soft tip not only flings 1/8 to ╝ oz lures a mile, but it’ll cushion the impact from hard runs and big jumps while using light line. Dobyns Rods’ 702SF, a classic medium light action rod, is perfect for this application. In addition, I like Lake Fork Trophy Lures’ PowerSilk monofilament line for this fishing in the ISO 10 lb/US 6lb rating. This line has zero memory and casts like a bullet, yet it has low stretch for good feel and enough abrasion resistance to fight fish through rapids and over rocks without breaking. This light setup presents small baits better, plus you’ll also enjoy a more sporting fight.
Once you’re rigged up, the pattern is much the same as fishing for bass in rivers. Feeding trout often hold in or on the edge of current around little current breaks. Big rocks, laydowns, humps, underwater points and island, and deeper holes all deflect the current and allow trout to dart out of these small slack water areas and grab their meals. Eddies formed by river bends and the areas around rapids at the beginning and end of slower, deeper pools are normally hotspots. Make long casts to these wary fish and use your long rod to guide your lure along the edge of where swift water meets the slack water created by the current breaks and you’ll be in business. Just like bass fishing, pay attention to the types of areas that you catch your first few fish from and you’ll likely be able to develop a consistent pattern to fish up and down the river.
Although they fight valiantly and produce some great leaps, trout aren’t as hardy as bass, so handle them with care. Pinching down the barbs on your hooks makes releasing fish easier on you and the trout. Furthermore, hold trout out of the water a little as possible, preferably removing the hooks while keeping the fish in the stream.
Most of the better trout streams are beautiful rivers that run through quiet forests with a panoramic mountain view. Wading a cool mountain stream in a beautiful setting is a great way to beat the heat. And if the fish are biting, it is downright divine.
Fishing Tip by Lake Fork Pro Tom Redington