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Trout Fishing For Beginners

Spinning Reel Reeling in

Trout fishing is a common starting point for new fishermen and if you’re wanting to learn how you’ve come to the right place!

We will cover everything from the best times of year to trout fish, resources for checking lake stocking reports, essential gear, tips, and more! 

If you’re looking to learn how to lake fish for trout or just looking for local places to go then keep reading!

License Requirements for Trout Fishing

To fish for trout, you will need a recreational fishing license unless younger than 15.

Licensing fee depends on license type and age. This Washington State License Fee Table will show you what to expect.

When to Catch Trout

Trout fishing in the area is excellent year-round but especially during the Springtime since the lakes tend to get stocked with more trout. Check the stock report here.

With that being said, if you’re brave enough to fish the colder elements, you can still catch trout in the winter. 

Finding Trout

Clean cold water that has shelter and a food supply like insects is the place to find trout. Lower elevation lakes are great places to find trout in the colder months, but as the temperature rises in the summertime, it’s best to go to a higher elevation lake where the waters are colder. 

Trout like to move around for their food, but they don’t want to travel far from safety to do so. Therefore, looking for trout near logs, rocks, underwater vegetation, and stumps increases the likelihood of finding trout.

Basic Trout Fishing Gear

Backpack and fishing equipment on a forest river.

One of the great things about trout fishing is that it’s easy and affordable to get set up and started. Here’s a list of the basic starter fishing gear for trout:

Recommended Starter Gear:

  1. Lightweight Fishing Rod (Okuma® SST Kokanee Rod)
  2. Casting or Spinning Reel (Pflueger® Trion)
  3. ¼ – 1 oz. sinker
  4. 6 – 10 lb. monofilament fishing line
  5. Size 8 hooks (Gamakatsu)
  6. Clip-on bobber
  7. Swivel
  8. Slider
  9. Bead 

Bait Choices

  1. Worms
  2. Powerbait

Items 6 through 9, under recommended starter gear, depend on how you want to rig up or what you’re going to be fishing with, which we will cover next.

Fishing for Trout

There are several ways to rig up for trout fishing. We’re just covering the basics here. Using powerbait and providing a way to rig up and use a bobber and worms effectively. These are not the only ways to catch trout. They are, however, effective.

Using a Bobber & Worm for Trout Fishing

Fishing for trout with a bobber is primarily used in a lake setting. It’s also an excellent option for younger children as they can watch the bobber when the fish bites. 

First, any clip-on bobber will do just fine, but we recommend Beau Mac® Cigar Floats.

Using anywhere from 12” to 20” leader, tie it to a size 8 snelled hook. 

Then cut your worm in half and secure it to your hook. 

Powerbait Trout Fishing Rig

Start with putting a lead on a slider, then follow it up with a bead, and lastly, follow up with a swivel. 

Next, tie up to a leader (up to 5ft.) to a size 8 hook.  

Add 2 power eggs (2 will help ensure your bait is buoyant) to your hook, and voila, you’re fishing. 

Why Powerbait is Effective for Catching Trout

Trout have keen eyesight, so bait visibility is critical.

Powerbait is effective for catching trout because of its buoyancy. The bait floats above the weeds and grass making it more visible and, therefore, more effective. 

It also stays on the hook better than real corn (another acceptable choice for trout fishing) and distributes more scent. 

While trout have good eyesight, they also have a well-developed sense of smell, making the scent of the powerbait just as crucial as its buoyancy. It makes the difference from a simple nibble to an actual bite. 

Best Powerbait Scents to Use

When it comes to powerbait, here are our top 4 scent recommendations.

  1. Garlic 
  2. Original
  3. Cheese
  4. Roe 

5 Trout Fishing Spots Near Me

Not sure where to go? The most popular trout fishing spots near us are as follows:

  1. Lake Sacajawea in Longview, Washington
  2. Kress Lake in Kalama, Washington
  3. Horseshoe Lake in Woodland, Washington
  4. Swift Reservoir between Cougar and Northwoods, Washington
  5. Silver Lake in Toutle, Washington

Common Trout in Washington

Brown trout

Fishing for brown trout

These fish average 12-18 inches.

Bull trout

bull trout can not be kept

Bull trout can not be fished for or kept. If you catch one, it must be kept in the water while retrieving your hook and released.

Cutthroat trout

trout fishing for cutthroat

There are three kinds of cutthroat trout; westslope, coastal, and Lahontan (this is a non-native cutthroat). These fish average 8-12 inches. 

Rainbow Trout

fishing for rainbow trout

Fun fact: rainbow trout and steelhead are the same species! However, steelhead travel to the sea and rainbow trout do not. Rainbow trout average 11-18 inches. 

Trout Fishing with the Family

Trout fishing is a great way to get your kids interested in fishing because they’re relatively easy to catch, abundant, and the start up is affordable. 

Plus, if you fish the right spot, you can catch trout all day long, creating hours of lasting memories. 

Happy fishing everyone!

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