Thursday, April 27, 2017

Trout Fishing With Powerbait Is About More Than Those Little Jars Of Dough Bait

If you fish for trout you are undoubtedly aware of the trout bait known as Powerbait. Powerbait is, without question, a very effective bait to use when you are trout fishing.  However, something some anglers don't realize is that fishing with Powerbait is about more than those little jars of dough bait. You see, whether or not you realize it there are many Powerbait products which the manufacturer (Berkley) forms into various trout catching shapes, some of which drive trout crazy.   From simple trout worms, to eggs and nymphs the list of products under the Powerbait brand is very extensive. And many, if not all, of these trout baits catch fish and some of them should be a part of your trout fishing repertoire.

I'm going to outline a few of the baits that I use and the basic rigging method that I use while I am fishing for trout.  First we have the 3" floating trout worm.  These little worms are probably my favorite type of non traditional Powerbait product.  There are two effective ways to rig these trout worms, threading and wacky.  Threading involves taking a size #8 or #10 light wire fishing hook and "threading" the worm onto the hook starting with the head end so that the shank of the hook is covered and the barb is sticking out. Wacky involves simply hooking the worm once directly through the middle.  The wacky method looks strange, but is nonetheless effective.  Although all of the colors that these worms come in seem to work at various times, many trout fishermen insist on the color pink or bubblegum anytime that you are talking about trout fishing with Powerbait worms. 

Now, because we are using a small fishing hook and a 3" Power worm is quite light, some weight needs to be added to your line to make casting and retrieving possible.  I like to use a few split shot sinkers, 12 or so inches above the worm itself.  The amount of weight that you add will depend on various factors such as:  where you are fishing for trout, the depth of the water, and whether or not you are dealing with current.

 Next we have the PowerBait Power Nymph.  These little trout baits can be fished just like I outlined above or by using a small jig head.  This is my favorite method for using Power Nymphs.  I get a small jig head, usually 1/6 to 1/8 ounce.  I then thread the Power Nymph onto the jig head and am good to go.  This little rig will catch trout in both rivers and lakes and is a very effective trout fishing technique.

The bottom line is that when you think about trout fishing with Powerbait, there are more options available to you than you may realize.  And many of those options are at least as effective as those little jars of dough bait that we all know so well. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Beating The Run Off - Catching Early Season Rainbow Trout

At this time of the year, when the trout fishing season is just starting in most areas, if you like to fish for rainbow trout in the flowing water of a river or stream like I do you need to get out on the water sooner, rather than later. What I mean by this is that if you can fish your favorite trout river early in the season, you can beat the run off and normally enjoy some pretty productive trout fishing.

Over the years I have learned that after a long winter of very little fishing pressure and very cold water temperatures, as spring temperatures rise, thus raising the water temperature of the rivers and streams, the rainbow trout that reside in said river will become very active. What this means for ultralight spin fishermen is that there are a couple of weeks of really good trout fishing early in the season, as long as you beat the run off. Once the run off from the mountains turns rivers and streams into "chocolate milk",  catching rainbow trout becomes much more difficult.

So the goal for river and stream fishermen, early in the season needs to be to beat the run off. There is normally a one to three week window where this is possible. In Northwest Montana we are in the throws of this sweet spot right now.The rivers are becoming more and more stained by the day, but the trout are still feeding quite heavily.  In two weeks it will be over, but for now catching early season rainbow trout is as productive as is gets. 

Drift fishing is my technique of choice, whether the bait is a live worm or a Rooster Tail spinner, anytime that I am trout fishing a river and in the early spring.  This technique is a great way of beating the run off and an excellent way to catch some early season rainbow trout.  At this time of the year, don't expect to be fishing in clear water, and remember that stained water isn't a problem.  You should still catch trout, right up until the point that the water starts to look like chocolate milk.  At that point the run off has taken the river and catching trout will become very difficult.


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Still Fishing For Rainbow Trout

Although my favorite manner in which to catch a rainbow trout (or any fish for that matter) is while I am standing in the flowing waters of a river, I am by no means a "trout fishing snob" and realize that many a rainbow is caught while fishing in a lake or pond. Make no mistake, in the spring of the year when the rivers and streams in my area become to high and muddy to effectively drift fish you will often find me still fishing for rainbow trout.

Therefore, I figured it was a good idea to outline the personal method that I use to still fish for rainbow
trout. Although the method isn't a state secret or anything, it is nonetheless very effective and should be known by any trout fisherman who enjoys the act of still fishing. So, for those of you who may not know, still fishing refers to the fact that the bait is "sitting still" while you are fishing. In other words a hook is baited and cast into a lake, then the bait is allowed to "sit still" until a inquisitive rainbow trout bites the offering.

The rudimentary picture that you see to the right is the rig that I personally use anytime that I am still fishing for rainbow trout.  It's very simple, but at the same time, very effective.

As far as the best bait to use when you are still fishing for trout, it's hard to go wrong with Berkley Powerbait or Berkley Power Eggs.   Rainbow trout (especially trout that have been stocked) love these baits!  The only difference that I've noticed between the two is that the eggs are easier to deal with and bait a hook with that traditional Powerbait.  Although, if you are using a small treble hook (I suggest #12 or #18) traditional Powerbait is much easier to use, because you can just mold it around your hook creating a small ball of trout bait.

Once you have a rig such as the one pictured above baited up and ready it is cast out and allowed to sink to the bottom.  Once on bottom, the slack line is slowly reeled in and your fishing rod is propped against a stationary object or rested on a forked stick or other rod holder.  At this point, the still fishing begins.

Still fishing for rainbow trout means waiting for a hungry trout to bite your offering.  My general "rule of thumb" is to wait 20-30 minutes and if there haven't been any bites, I reel and and re cast.  If this happens more than 2 times, I change spots.  And just in case you didn't know, when a hungry trout is biting your offering the tip of your rod will begin to bounce, at which time your gently pick up your rod and as soon as you feel weight, set the hook by lifting your rod straight back.

What was just outlined is the way in which I have caught hundreds of rainbow trout over the course of a couple of decades.  Although very simple, the technique is very effective and because it has worked for me, I know it will be very effective for you as well anytime that you feel the need to head out fishing for trout.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Is The Spring Of The Year The Best Time For Trout Fishing?

When I was learning how to fish for trout in Central Pennsylvania almost 30 years ago (good God the time really flies by) it was widely accepted that the spring of the year was the best time to fish for trout.  After all, the spring is when the season started and coincided with the fish and game department stocking the lakes and rivers with literal truckloads of trout.  So, I accepted the unwritten rule of the spring being the best time of the year to fish for trout and have lived by that moniker for most of my fishing career.

And while this idea isn't necessarily untrue, I have since learned that for me and my fishing sensibilities, the fall has proven to be more productive when fishing for trout, especially when you are referring to large trout, which I define as trout that reach the 18 inch mark or longer. In any case, in many area's of the country, especially the Northeast United States, the spring of the year is a great time of the year for trout fishing, there's no doubt about it.

Nowadays I live in the western United States (Northwest Montana to be exact) and the spring is no doubt a great time of the year for trout fishing with one small caveat if you like to fish for spring trout in small rivers and streams like I do. Here in the west, if you want to have a successful outing trout fishing the small rivers and streams that I like you need to hit the water early.  That means going trout fishing from mid March until late April, which is to say early spring.

And, just as you would probably imagine, this early spring trout fishing can be quite productive here in the Sweater United Sates.  Right up until the point that the waters become to high and muddy due to snow melt in the mountains to drift fish effectively, which as you may or may not have gleaned is my preferred method when it comes to trout fishing?  So, is the spring of the year the best time of the year for trout fishing?  It sure can be and depending on the area that you live and fish and the method that use when you are out fishing for spring trout. 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Are Polarized Glasses Really Worth Using When You Are Fishing?

As a fisherman who has been on the water chasing fish for more than two decades, the answer to whether or not I need to wear polarized glasses when fishing is really quite simple.  Of course I do!  Now, keep in mind I spend most of my time in rivers, so being able to see into the water is very important, both for safety and strategy.  

There was a time when technology and manufacturing quality hadn't caught up to the products that were being sold to fishermen and there were a lot of inferior polarized glasses on the market.  This is the time when I was originally introduced to the world of polarization and glasses and at that time also had a limited budget.  What this meant is that I would purchase inexpensive polarized glasses and invariably be disappointed the their performance.

Luckily, this all changed about 5 years ago and now find very serviceable polarized fishing glasses in the $25-50 range.  I mean sure, the you can spend more than that (which I now do) simply because I prefer certain manufacturers, but the bottom line is that you no longer need to.  There are plenty of choices for the frugal fisherman and with online reviews, you can be confident in your purchase decisions. 

So, the answer the question posed in the title of this article, probably, depending on your preferred fishing style and/or method.  But, with the decrease in cost and increase in technology and manufacturing processes, for the very minimal investment that is now required there is probably no reason not to have a pair of polarized glasses on hand any time that you hit the water.