How To Catch Spawning Rainbow Trout

There is no question that Rainbow Trout are a fascinating and beautiful fish to try to catch.

Naturally, ask any angler, and chances are they will have a litany of strategies to use in order to try to catch this elusive example.

Such options as using baits and lures, trying out a variety of strategies on a given day to see what they respond to, and allowing for their eyesight are all good steps to catching as many Rainbows as possible.

However, some individuals also like to take advantage of catching the Rainbow trout when they are spawning. Moreover, even if you aren’t intentionally going after the Rainbow Trout when they are spawning, you should still be aware of their habits while they are spawning simply to adjust for catching them. Here are some things to consider: 

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Be aware that ethics are involved in catching Rainbow Trout while they are spawning. 

If you are new to the game, you will quickly learn that there is a heavy debate over whether you should even attempt to catch fish at all when they are spawning. This goes for Rainbow Trout enthusiasts as well. Some say absolutely not, while others say absolutely, and still others will say yes, but with some conditions attached. For those who go with the third option when it comes to catching Rainbows during their spawning times, here are some of the strategies they use to have a clean conscience: 

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Have a plan made up ahead of time for any picture fish you might encounter. 

If you land the Rainbow Trout of a lifetime and you have to throw it back without being able to take a picture of it, that would be a shame. However, if you have to choose between throwing the fish back right away or scrambling to get your camera ready to take a picture, you should definitely throw the fish back without a picture. This is because catching a trout is a very traumatic experience for them, and seconds count.

This is why if you think you are going to catch a picture fish, you and your buddies should have a plan in place ahead of time so that you can still take a picture of your fish and still be able to throw them back as quickly as possible. 

Do your best not to mishandle the fish. Trout are delicate.

Along these same lines, whether the fish you catch is a picture fish or not, you should do your best to avoid mishandling them at all. This means you should remove any of your Rainbows from the water as quickly as possible and keep them out only for a few seconds, you should only hold the fish over water, and you should cradle the trout gently without squeezing it. Of course, the proper catch-and-release techniques would be a whole article in of itself, but these are definitely the basic considerations. 

Do your best to engage in a no-kill policy. 

Of course, this leads us to our third point: when fishing for Rainbows, you should always keep a no-kill policy at the forefront of all of your sporting endeavors. This is not only because it is humane to the fish, but also because it will keep the population of Rainbow Trout solid for everyone else who wants to fish them. Moreover, it will encourage more spawning to occur, and yet again provide for a solid population of Rainbow Trout both on a spawn and pre-spawn basis. This is a great way for you to be courteous for all of the other anglers out there. 

Be careful in the spawning beds. Watch Your Step.

The next thing you will need to do when fishing for Rainbows is to be careful that you don’t step in their spawning beds. Rainbow Trout can lay hundreds, sometimes thousands, of eggs, and the simple act of you not watching where you are going and stepping in the wrong spot in the river bed can lead to a whole generation of Rainbow Trout being killed off. 

The first thing you want to do is is to educate yourself on the best way to identify a spawning bed. It can be difficult at first, but once you know what to look for it should be easy.

A Rainbow Trout spawning bed, also called a Redd, is an oval-shaped patch of gravel that will usually be three feet wide and they will be located in water of at least one to three feet. They are often characterized by the gravel, which is usually a lighter color than the surrounding riverbed. If you notice mounds and depressions in the redd sites, that means that the Redd has nests. Needless to say, if you are wearing waders, be very careful not to step in these areas. 

Finally, once you have identified a redd, make sure that you avoid walking upstream of it because it will muddy up the water and if there is one thing these eggs in that spawning bed need, it’s clean water. 

Keep your catch a bit limited. 

In some cases, you should limit your catch of Rainbow Trout, especially if you are in an area where the catch for the spawning trout is going pretty fast and furious. While there are many reasons you should do this, one of the main ones would have to be because there is a greater likelihood of accidental mortality. Of course, this will occasionally happen no matter how careful we are, but as outdoorsmen we all owe it to nature to be as careful as possible. 

Go with relatively small hook sizes. 

It really is a good idea to go with small hook sizes. This is true not just with all fishing endeavors, but it is especially true for spawning fish as well. Part of the reason for this is because the larger hook sizes are more likely to damage the vital organs of the fish. When you consider that the spawning Rainbows are already in a bit of a delicate situation, you can definitely see why you should be picky when selecting your hook size. 

Be aware of the exact time when the Rainbow Trout are spawning. 

This might seem simple, but although Rainbow Trout will normally spawn between March and May as a general rule of thumb, another important concept to note is that it depends on the different strain of Rainbow Trout as well. Depending on the subspecies, there are even certain Rainbow Trout strains that will spawn all year long. Thus, you should be prepared to ask questions. If you are fully knowledgeable of the location you are fishing at, then chances are you already know just when the Rainbow Trout are spawning. However, if you are visiting an area, be prepared to ask some of the local anglers what they know about the Rainbow Trout spawning times. For example, many of the local fisherman will be able to tell you the strains that will even spawn in the fall months instead of the spring! 

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Adjust your bait accordingly.  Eggs

You definitely shouldn’t neglect your bait during spawning season either! During the spawning season, this Rainbow Trout are going to prefer different types of bait than what they would normally prefer. Hands down one of the most productive techniques you can utilize during Rainbow Trout spawn fishing season would have to be fishing with trout or salmon eggs. Part of the reason for this is because trout and salmon eggs do an excellent job of mimicking the natural grouping of fish eggs. This will definitely entice the trout during the spawning season simply because that is what they are focused on anyway. 

These fish eggs, which are normally called egg sacks, are one of those things that will literally entice the trout so much that they will almost ignore all other baits completely during the spawning season. Rainbow Trout will be so attracted to these fish eggs primarily because they are usually composed of either salmon or cured trout.

When you bundle this concoction together in netting and in groups of 10 or 15, you have a combination that is almost irresistible to the spawning Rainbow Trout. Additionally, you also could consider doing some fly fishing during the spawning period as well. The spawning Rainbow Trout always seem to respond well to the artificial lure that is used during fly fishing simply because it resembles a fly insect or a similar type of prey, hence the name fly fishing. Spawning trout are especially on the lookout for nourishment during the spawning season, so there is no question they will go for what they think is a tasty insect meal. 

Keep some solid Rainbow Trout fishing techniques in your arsenal. 

Since most of the time these Rainbow Trout will spawn in the Spring months, there are some tricks that you should have up your sleeve in order to have a better chance at catching them. Indeed, there are many techniques to use, and almost all of them pertain to the normal time when the Rainbow Trout are cruising along the shore looking for a mate. As long as you keep some specific pointers in mind, the Rainbow Trout spawning time is a great time of year for you to catch just about as many trout as you want, and right from the shore, too! Think about the following: 

Jigs and lures are fine, but be prepared to divvy up your approach from time to time. 

Remember when we said that trout prefer salmon or trout eggs? While that is definitely true, these items can definitely be a difficult thing to acquire at times. Thus, as long as you use them right, you also can go with jigs and lures. Of course, you have to realize that the Rainbow Trout can be very finicky, and what might work one day would be a total wash the next day. Take the example of one gentleman who was fishing for trout on Quartz Lake in Alaska one day. He noticed that the trout were very lazy that day, and he also noticed that his jig was kind of heavy and dragging on the bottom of the lake. Since the fish were not going down to the bottom, he decided to retrieve his jig and start over. What to do? He thought. 

Well, he solved his problem by simply adding a small bobber to the line so that he could control the depth of his jig. This led to an immense amount of spawning Rainbow Trout being attracted to his line. Indeed, it seemed like he literally couldn’t keep them off his line! Of course, this leads us to our next point as well. 

You need the right amount of tools. 

Of course, there are a lot of fishing hobbyists that simply enjoy getting out on the lake and just catching whatever type of fish that comes along. If you’re like that, then all the more power to you. However, if you ever decide that you want to specialize on the type of fish you want to catch, you are going to have to get the right tools.

For spawning Rainbow Trout, at the very least you will need to have a solid pair of waders, a fishing vest, a solid and durable rod and reel, a nice landing net, a camera (for taking pictures of your catch), and a nice trout tackle box. Along with these items, you will vary up your bait. You should really stock up on the eggs if you are going to have success with spawning trout, and you should also have plenty of jigs, bobbers, and lures as a backup as well. 

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Be careful about your line selection. 

Finally, it doesn’t matter whether the trout are spawning or not, you need to make sure that you shop around when it comes to the fishing line that you use. A good rule of thumb is to fish with the lightest line that you can possibly get away with. This is because Rainbow Trout (and all other trout) have good eyesight, and they could get scared off by a line that is too visible. That is why you often want to go with a two-pound test line in most of your trout fishing situations. 

If you keep these tips and ideas in mind, you should have no problem being able to catch as many spawning Rainbow Trout as you want. Tight Lines My Friends.

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