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.