When is the Best Time of the Year to Go Trout Fishing?

Last Updated on April 3, 2021 by Bruce

While you can catch trout throughout the year, there are advantages to each season. Keep following our trout fishing tips in mind as you trout fish throughout the year.

Spring Trout Fishing

Trout fishing is often associated with spring. There are more insect hatches in the spring, and more food sources are often introduced into the water as a result of melting snows and rain. After being less active in the winter, trout really begin to feed in the spring. The following tips will help you catch more trout in the spring.
Observe Your Surroundings: When you first arrive at the river or stream at which you are fishing, take a few minutes to observe what is in the water, on the bank, and in the air. See which types of insects are hatching, and look for minnows, crawdads, or insects in the water. Pay attention to color and size as well. If you are fly fishing, make sure you have a variety of flies to match the hatch. If you are fishing with lures, make sure you have a variety of sizes and colors to match what you see in the water.
Fish With the Current: The waters begin to move faster in the spring, so if you are fishing a stream or river, you want to use this to your advantage. Spinners and spoons work great in the spring. Cast up or across-stream and retrieve your lure through the current. Many trout will be feeding on insects near the surface, so you usually do not need to add any weight to your lure. If you are fishing with natural bait like worms or insects, use a small hook, add a sinker or two to your line, and fish just like you would with a spinner. After a long winter, a night crawler is almost irresistible to a trout.

Summer Trout Fishing

With rising temperatures, summer trout fishing can be a bit more difficult. However, there are often less fishermen on the water, so if you know what you are doing, you can catch plenty of trout in solitude and peace.
Use Spinners: Spinners are meant to imitate small fish like minnows, and during the summer, there’s an abundance of minnows in most streams and rivers. Use a small size (1/32-1/24 oz.) and a natural color (black or dark green).
Fly Fish: Fly fishing is very productive in the summer, as insect hatches are abundant and varied.
Fish Deep Holes: With warmer temperatures, trout will become a bit less active and seek out the cooler areas of a stream or river. Fishing deeper holes can be very productive. If you are fishing with a spinner, put on a sinker or two to get your spinner close to the bottom. If you are fly fishing, using nymphs and wet flies will be more productive than dry flies on the surface.
Fish the Riffles: In warmer temperatures, trout will seek out places where oxygen is more abundant. Natural springs, small waterfalls, and riffles provide more oxygen and will attract trout. Cast your lure or fly up or across-stream and let the current take it over a riffle.
Fish at Dawn and Dusk: This is an old “rule,” but during the summer it can be especially helpful. When water temperatures become too warm (more than 62 degrees Fahrenheit), trout become less active. Fish during the cooler parts of the day when trout are more active.

Fall Trout Fishing

As temperatures cool, trout will again become more active. However, studies have shown that trout will feed less during the fall than they do during the spring or summer. Part of this has to do with the fact that many of the insect hatches have already happened. However, there are still plenty of trout to be caught during the fall season.
Use Natural Baits: Natural baits like insects and worms work well during the fall, especially after a light rain.
The presentation is Key: This is always the case, but in the fall it is very important to pay attention to presentation. As the waters become more transparent, spinners and hooks become more visible to the trout. Also, trout will be more wary as a result of fishing pressure from the summer. Use small hooks, light lines, and if you are fly fishing, fish with a longer leader (12-15 feet).

Winter Trout Fishing

Winter is one of the most overlooked seasons for trout fishermen. While many are inside in front of the fireplace tying flies, plenty of trout are waiting to be caught. Trout don’t hibernate, but they do become less active during the winter, so you will have to modify your techniques.
Fishing in the Afternoon: Because of the colder temperatures, trout will not be as active, so you want to fish during the warmer parts of the day.
Use Natural Baits: Again, trout are not as active in the winter, so they are less likely to chase a spinner or spoon. Use natural baits like night crawlers and try to get your bait as close to the trout as possible. In many cases, a trout will not move more than a few inches to go after your bait, so you want to make sure you fishing the right locations.
Fish Structure: Again, this is always the case, but in winter it is especially important that you fish near structure. As trout are less active, they are going to be hiding near undercut banks, fallen logs, and other types of structure. Try putting a few sinkers on your line and letting the current slowly take the bait to the trout.
Remember, if you are not on the water, you are not going to catch fish. Although you will need to modify your fishing tactics, you can catch plenty of trout throughout the year.