Types of Trout

15 Trout Species to Fish

If you’re an avid angler, you know that trout is a prized gamefish. With over 15 species found in both fresh and salt water, trout are beloved by fishermen around the world. From identifying the type of trout you’re targeting, to choosing the right bait and tackle, here are some tips to help you get started.

From left to right: Brook Trout, Rainbow Trout, Rainbow Trout, (and 3 Bluegill); image via Jacob Ivanov quora.com

Trout are known for their strong fighting spirit and terrific acrobatics when hooked. While trout may seem to be similar, there are actually several varieties of these fish that have adapted to different environments. Knowing which types of trout you’re likely to encounter on your angling trips can provide invaluable insights into areas where they congregate and what bait or lure they’ll respond to best.

Rainbow Trout

Native to western North America, these fish are renowned for their colorful pink-hued sides and bright red spots. They thrive in rivers and lakes and can reach sizes up to 20 pounds. They are easily identified by the bright colors on their skin and have an average size of 12–24 inches and a weight of up to 8 pounds. Rainbow trout feed mostly on small insects, crustaceans, and fish.

huge rainbow trout
huge rainbow trout by helti is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Location is key when it comes to catching rainbow trout – the trick is to find a spot where they’re most likely to be. Look for spots that have moving water, such as near a river’s inlet or outlet. You can also check underneath bridges and in deeper pools of streams. Once you’ve found a good spot, don’t forget to check the wind direction as this can affect where the fish are hiding.

Baits & Lures

When fishing for rainbow trout, it pays to use a variety of baits and lures. Live bait such as worms, leeches, and crickets can be effective, as can artificial lures like spoons, spinners, and jigs. Experiment with different colors and sizes to see what works best. And remember: when using live bait, make sure that your hook is sharp so as not to miss out on a bite.


When it comes to landing a rainbow trout, technique is just as important as bait and location. Use light-weight spinning rods with 6–8 lb test line for the best results. Start by casting the line where you think the fish may be hiding, then slowly retrieve the line while maintaining contact with the bottom. Be prepared for several runs from the fish before it can be landed.

Once hooked, keep your rod tip up and reel at a steady pace until the fish is within range. Then net it quickly and keep it wet until you’re ready to release it back into the water.

Cutthroat Trout

These aggressive fighters have a distinguishing slash of red under their jaw. Found mostly in the western United States, they are known to congregate in mountain streams and lakes. Cutthroat trout are native to western North America and have reddish-orange markings under their jaw that resemble a slash mark—hence their name. Cutthroat trout usually measure up to 20 inches long and weigh around 3 pounds. They are opportunistic feeders who consume mainly insects, mollusks, and small fish.

Cutthroat Trout
BONNEVILLE Cutthroat Trout by Aquila-chrysaetos is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0


When it comes to finding cutthroat trout, you’ll want to seek out winding rivers and streams that are surrounded by rocky terrain. Here, you’ll likely find pools or eddies where the water is much calmer than the surrounding areas. These spots tend to be packed with cutthroat trout, so they’re the best places to start your hunt.

Baits and Lures

To get the most success with cutthroat trout, you’ll want to use small artificial baits like spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs, worms, and soft plastics. Live bait such as worms or nightcrawlers can also work well in these conditions.


When it comes to actually catching cutthroat trout, it’s all about patience and precision. Use a light tackle setup and a slow, steady retrieve, working the bait just below the surface and pausing every few turns of the reel. Make sure to keep an eye out for subtle changes in water flow, since this will indicate when a trout is lurking nearby. Be sure to take care when releasing your catch – cutthroat trout are notoriously delicate and should be treated gently when putting them back into the water.

Spotted Seatrout

Spotted seatrout, also known as speckled trout or simply “specks”, is one of the most sought-after game fish in the Gulf of Mexico. This saltwater species loves shallow inshore waters, typically near grassy bottoms. This makes it relatively easy to find for those with little knowledge and experience in local inshore fishing.

Speckled Trout
Speckled Trout or Spotted Seatrout by Rennair is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0


Aside from their excellent fighting abilities, spotted seatrout also taste great. Their mild, slightly sweet-tasting flesh is prized among chefs and seafood enthusiasts alike. If you want to get more out of your inshore fishing trips, targeting spotted seatrout should definitely be on your list!


Spotted seatrouts are plentiful along the Southeast Atlantic Coast from New Jersey to Florida’s Gulf Coast and throughout the Gulf of Mexico, as well as parts of Texas. They can also be found in certain rivers inland, such as the Savannah River in Georgia.

Baits & Lures

When it comes to catching spotted seatrouts, live bait is usually the best option. Everything from shrimp and squid to mullet and menhaden will work; however, artificial lures can be equally effective if used properly. Plastic shad, grubs, and jigs are all great choices for fooling these delightful gamefish.


The key to success when targeting spotted seatrouts is to find the right location. Look for areas with sandy or mud bottoms that provide plenty of coverage. Once you have identified a good spot, cast your bait or lure right into the strike zone and wait for a bite. When the fish strikes, quickly reel it in but be careful not to pull too hard, as this can cause the line to snap. Once caught, use a net to bring them aboard for a successful catch.

Golden Trout

Named after their vibrant yellowish hues, golden trout dwell in high alpine lakes in California and Nevada. They are smaller than many other types of trout and rarely exceed 6 pounds. This majestic species of fish is renowned for its brightly-colored scales and fighting spirit, making it a favorite amongst experienced anglers. Golden trout rarely exceed 10 inches in length and tend to weigh around 2 pounds. This species feeds mainly on insect larvae but will also take small crustaceans and minnows if available.

Golden Trout
Golden Trout by Froghorn Leghorn is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


The golden trout can be found throughout the Rocky Mountains, ranging from Montana and Wyoming down to Colorado and New Mexico. But the best place to find them is in California, where the Kern River is home to some of the most abundant populations of wild Golden Trout in the nation. Their preferred habitat is cold, clean streams and lakes, making them ideal hunting grounds for seasoned anglers.

Baits & Lures

When targeting golden trout, anglers should consider using smaller baits such as salmon eggs, worms, or grubs. These will help to attract their attention without overwhelming their delicate palates. Lures such as spinners, spoons, and even wet flies are also effective when used in conjunction with live bait.


Golden Trout are notoriously tricky to catch due to their wariness of lures and baits. As such, a stealthy technique is essential when fishing for these beauties. Carefully tread water when wading, cast your line with precision, and maintain super light line pressure on the take. Above all else, remember to be patient – these fish won’t make it easy for you, but the reward will be worth it in the end!

Brown Trout

The brown trout is another widespread species, being found in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Brown trout can vary in color from dark olive green to brownish-gold with a white belly. They typically measure up to 28 inches in length and weigh around 7 pounds. Brown trout feed primarily on invertebrates and smaller fish.

Brown Trout
Brown Trout by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Brown trout are most commonly found in North America, Europe, Asia, South Africa, and New Zealand. They prefer clean water with fast currents and temperatures between 5-15°C (41-59°F). Look for areas of slower-moving current, pools, deep bends, and stretches with lots of cover such as rocks and logs. Concentrate your efforts on these areas when looking for brown trout.

Baits & Lures

Worms and minnows are popular baits for brown trout, while spinners, spoons, poppers, and crankbaits are all effective lures. To increase your success rate, you should use natural colors that match the baitfish in your area. Alternately, if you’re fishing at night, try glow-in-the-dark lures or fluorescent-colored ones.


When fishing for brown trout, use a medium to light action rod with a 4-12 lb test line. You can either fly fish with long casts or cast from the bank with spinning gear. If using bait, cast your line into the current and let it drift downstream with the flow. If using a lure, make short hops near the bottom and retrieve quickly with pauses every few seconds. This technique works well during both day and night. Once you’ve successfully hooked onto a brown trout, aim to tire it out rather than trying to haul it in too soon. The key is to keep constant pressure on the fish while simultaneously steering it away from any obstacles or snags. Once the fish runs out of energy, net it carefully before releasing it back into its habitat.

Lake Trout

Known for their large size and impressive fighting abilities, lake trout inhabit deep lakes throughout North America. These silvery fish can grow to more than 20 pounds and make for a thrilling catch every time.

Janella's lake trout
Janella’s lake trout by briandjan607 is licensed under CC BY 2.0


They prefer deep waters with rocky bottoms, preferably with a temperature between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to lake trout fishing, the US has plenty of great spots to explore. Lake Superior is a popular destination and offers lake trout over 12 pounds. On the East Coast, you can find lake trout in Clear Lakes in Maine, Great Sacandaga Lake in New York, and Sebago Lake in Maine. The West Coast boasts Lake Shasta in California, Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, and many other lakes.

Baits & Lures

For catching lake trout, one of the most effective tools is a jigging spoon. There are many different varieties on the market, so take some time to experiment and find the one that works best for your style of fishing. Live bait like smelt and minnows can work very well for lake trout as well. Other good options include worms, leeches, crankbaits, and spinners.


When it comes to technique, trolling is the most effective way to catch Lake Trout. This involves using one or more lines with lures behind a slowly moving boat. This will create a wider area in which you can attract fish. Jigging is also an effective option. This involves dropping a vertical line with a lure to the bottom of the lake and working it back up by jerking the rod.

With some research into the best locations and the right equipment and technique, you can have a successful day of fishing Lake Trout. Remember to keep an eye on water temperature and depth when selecting baits and lures. Be sure to follow all local regulations when out on the water, and enjoy your day out on the lake!

Brook Trout

Often mistaken for coastal salmon due to their pink stripes, brook trout live in tributaries of larger rivers and streams. Renowned for their delicate flavor, these little guys usually don’t exceed 3 pounds. The brook trout is one of the most colorful types of trout, boasting bright yellow spots with blue halos, along with red-orange stripes down their sides. This species can reach a maximum length of 24 inches and weigh up to 9 pounds. They mainly feed on aquatic insects and occasionally eat small invertebrates too.

Male Coaster Brook Trout
Male Coaster Brook Trout by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Midwest Region is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This freshwater species is found in North America, and with its lively coloration, it’s no wonder that anglers around the world flock to find this fish. If you’re looking to do some Brook Trout fishing of your own, here’s what you need to know.


Brook Trout primarily live in streams where there is cool water and plenty of cover. Look for areas with rocks or logs, as well as slow-moving pools. Also, be aware that they tend to stay deep, so if you want to catch one, consider using longer casts.

Baits & Lures

When it comes to baiting your hook, worms are a great choice for Brook Trout. They also respond well to spinners, minnows, and crayfish. In terms of lures, small spoons and jigs work best.


To catch a Brook Trout, cast your line upstream from where you think the fish might be and let it drift downstream. Pay attention to how the bait moves in the water, as Brook Trout like to ambush their prey.

Dolly Varden

Found in coastal Alaska, these brightly colored rainbow-like fish tend to grow quite large and often reach 10 pounds or more. Their appetite for small baitfish has made them extremely popular among anglers seeking a challenge. These hard-fighting fish can be found in some of the most beautiful and remote locations across the globe. With a bit of knowledge and skill, you too can join the ranks of anglers who take pleasure in battling these feisty creatures.

Kenai River Dolly Varden Char
Kenai River Dolly Varden Char by USFWSAlaska is licensed under CC PDM 1.0


Dolly Varden is native to the cold waters of the Arctic and Pacific oceans. They inhabit regions near coastal Alaska, British Columbia, Russia, Japan, and even Norway. In addition, they can also be found in many of the streams and rivers that dot the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. When looking to find this species, many anglers seek out areas with a deep river bed or rocky structure where they are known to congregate.

Baits & Lures

Successfully catching a Dolly Varden requires baits such as shrimp, herring, squid, octopus, and small chunks of salmon or other fish. Anglers can also achieve success using lures such as spoons, jigs, spinners, and flies. When selecting a lure or bait, focus on colors that mimic natural prey like red, orange, pink, or white.


When fishing for Dolly Varden it is important to use an appropriate rod that will allow you to have greater control when casting and battling these powerful fish. It is also important to pay attention to weather conditions; wind and rain can affect water levels, which could make it difficult to find the best spots to cast your line. Furthermore, stay aware of surrounding wildlife activity; bears and other predators may be lurking and can be dangerous if not handled properly.

Bull Trout

With a predilection for cold water and an impressive growth rate, bull trout inhabit lakes and rivers throughout the northern US and Canada. These burly fish often exceed 15 pounds and prove to be a hardy adversary. Bull Trout are the undisputed stars of the trout family. These powerful fish have a habit of putting up a challenge and can often be found in remote waters throughout North America. If you’re looking for an adrenaline-inducing fishing experience, then look no further than the Bull Trout!

Bull Trout
Bull Trout by USFWS Mountain Prairie is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Bull Trout are typically found in cold water streams, lakes, and reservoirs on both sides of the Rocky Mountains. The best locations to find this species are usually deep pools and slow-moving shorelines. They also prefer low-light conditions, so it’s best to target them in the early morning or late evening when there’s minimal sunlight.

Baits & Lures

When targeting Bull Trout, roe and shrimp are great baits to use. Mepps spinners, spoons, and jigs are also effective lures that can be used to entice these fish into striking. Flies such as streamers, wet flies, and nymphs can also be successful in catching Bull Trout.


When fishing for Bull Trout a slow presentation is key. Since these fish don’t move around much they won’t chase after your bait. You’ll need to make sure your bait or lure is presented in the same area for several minutes before moving on. Paying close attention to the current and the bottom structure can help pinpoint their location.

Tiger Trout

A cross between Brook and Brown Trout, this hybrid fish is found primarily in Wisconsin and Michigan. Its distinct spotted pattern gives it its name – and also makes for an unforgettable experience when it strikes your line! With its beautiful coloration and abundance of spots, it can be seen in many freshwater rivers and creeks throughout the United States. Tiger trout are aggressive feeders that can put up a good fight when hooked – making them a worthy adversary for any fisherman.

High Uintas Tiger trout
High Uintas Tiger trout y utfisher is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Tiger trout are native to the eastern U.S., but they have been introduced to some states in the west as well. They prefer cold water, and therefore can usually be found in streams and rivers with clear, fast-moving water. It’s not unusual to find tiger trout in shallow waters or in deeper pools.

Baits & Lures

Anglers often use natural baits such as worms, crickets, grubs, larvae, and even small fish, in order to catch tiger trout. Soft plastics, spinners, spoons, and jigs work well too. When selecting lures for this type of trout, choose those with flashy colors and look for ones that mimic baitfish in terms of size and shape.


Many anglers like to use a “still fishing” technique when trying to catch tiger trout. This method involves positioning your line near where you expect the fish to be swimming while keeping it relatively still and waiting for a bite. That said, it’s also possible to hook tiger trout by casting out a lure and then retrieving it slowly and steadily.


Yet another hybrid who hails from the Great Lakes region, Splake is a blend of Lake Trout and Brook Trout. They possess the hard-fighting nature of Lake Trout with the colorful markings of Brook Trout, making them an ideal catch.

Splake by bugeaters is licensed under CC BY 2.0


For the adventurous and curious angler looking to catch something unique, splake are a great target species. A hybrid of both brook trout and lake trout, splake are found across North America in small lakes and colder ponds. They prefer clear, cold waters that contain plenty of aquatic plants and invertebrates, which provide ideal habitats for feeding and spawning. In some areas, they are stocked from hatcheries as a supplement to existing fish populations or as a management tool to reduce the competition between the two parent species.

Baits & Lures

When it comes to bait, splake are omnivorous feeders, so you have a lot of options. Live minnows and worms can be effective, as well as jerkbaits, spinners, crankbaits, and spoons. To increase your chances of success, use bright colors and noisy lures that mimic their natural prey. Fly fishing is also a great way to target splake since they have an affinity for surface insects during the warmer months of the year.


The best technique for catching splake depends on the time of year and the conditions of the water. During the spawning season, look for males hovering near redds (nests) where females will be depositing eggs. In the summertime, focus your efforts in shallow waters where splake will move up to feed at night. When targeting deeper water depths in winter and early spring, a slow trolling approach with scented baits is recommended for maximum effectiveness. Anglers should also keep in mind that these hybrids are very cautious when it comes to taking bait and require a slower approach to ensure a successful hookup.

Palomino Trout

Mostly found in California’s Central Valley, Palomino is a unique type of Rainbow Trout that originated in Germany as recently as 1877. With a mild flavor, these smaller fish are sure to please the pickiest palate!

Palomino Prize
Palomino Prize by MTSOfan is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Palomino Trout live primarily in freshwater habitats like streams, rivers, and lakes. They are common in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, where they often inhabit fast-moving waters with plenty of cover. The ideal spot to target this species is a deep pool near the head of a stream or river, preferably with a rocky bottom and plenty of structure.

Baits & Lures

Anglers typically find success using small spinners, spoons, jigs, crankbaits, or soft plastics when fishing for Palomino Trout. Live bait such as worms or grasshoppers also works well.  It’s best to use brightly colored lures, such as those that imitate small baitfish or insects, as they can be quite effective at attracting these fish.


Unlike other species of trout, Palomino Trout have keen eyesight and a preference for fast-moving water. As such, it’s important to present your bait or lure with precision and accuracy. Additionally, a slow and steady retrieve are typically most effective when targeting this species.

Casting is the best way to entice Palomino Trout. The trick is to keep your line low, your lure near the bottom of the water, and alternate between fast and slow retrieves. When you feel a strike, set the hook quickly but gently.

Gila Trout

The Gila Trout is a species of trout native to the Gila River and its tributaries in Arizona and New Mexico. With their vibrant colors and impressive sizes, these fish are sure to draw the attention of experienced anglers alike. This western native was considered extinct until 2004 when some were discovered living in Arizona’s Gila River Basin. Endangered due to habitat destruction, they serve as an excellent example of why conservation is so important.

Releasing a Gila Trout
Releasing a Gila Trout by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Southwest Region is licensed under CC PDM 1.0


The best spot for catching Gila Trout is along the Gila River. This river is located in the US states of Arizona and New Mexico and spans 570 miles. There are numerous access points available for anglers seeking out these prized fish.

Baits & Lures

When it comes to baiting and luring these trout, there are many proven tactics that can be used. Live bait such as worms and minnows will often produce the best results, however, certain lures such as spinners and crankbaits can also be effective. Fly fishing can also be very productive for catching Gila Trout.


When fishing for Gila Trout, try to use a slow, stealthy approach. These fish can be spooked easily and therefore patience is key when attempting to land them. Also, be sure to cast far upstream of where you want to catch your trout and allow the current to take your bait or lure downstream. Once you have a bite, be sure to set the hook firmly and fight the fish with a gentle tugging motion.

Apache Trout

Another endangered species from Arizona, Apache Trout are greenish-yellow with darker spots along their sides. They feed primarily on aquatic insects and usually stay close to cover. These colorful fish are native to rivers and streams in the Southwestern United States and offer an exciting challenge for those looking for a fight.

Threatened Apache trout (Oncorhynchus apache)
Threatened Apache trout (Oncorhynchus apache) by USFWS Endangered Species is licensed under CC BY 2.0


Apache trout can be found throughout Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. They are typically found in swift-moving, clear-water streams with areas where they can hide from predators. To find them, look for deep pools near riffles, especially those with plenty of cover like vegetation and rocks.

Baits & Lures

When fishing for Apache trout, spinners are the go-to bait because they provide a steady stream of vibration that attracts the fish’s attention. Other good choices include spoons, crankbaits, and salmon eggs.


The key to catching Apache trout is to use the right technique. Start by casting upstream of where you think the fish might be and allowing your lure to drift downstream. As it moves, vary your retrieve speed so that the lure looks more natural in the water. In addition, make sure to keep your line tight at all times to ensure you feel every bite.

Marble Trout

Found only in Italy’s Apennines Mountains, marble trout are steel blue with white speckles across their backs. They prefer cooler temperatures and can grow up to 6 pounds in weight.

A close-up of a Marble Trout being held out of the water in Idrija pri Bači, Slovenia.
A close-up of a Marble Trout being held out of the water in Idrija pri Bači, Slovenia. ” by FishingBooker is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0


The marble trout can be found in only a handful of drainages and rivers of the Adriatic basin, stretching from north to south in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro. Due to its migratory nature, it can sometimes be found further away from its typical habitat. If you’re interested in catching this majestic fish, prepare to travel as far as necessary to get the best chances!

Baits & Lures

Various baits are effective when targeting the marble trout. Live baitfish, shrimp, worms, and even cicada nymphs have been known to work. If you’re looking for more variety, artificial lures such as spoons or spinners are also successful options. Experimentation is key to finding out what works best for your particular situation.


Once you’ve gathered your supplies, it’s time to get ready for the actual hunt! The trick with the marble trout is to use a slow and steady technique – these fish can be easily spooked if you go too fast. Try to keep a low profile when approaching their favorite spots – they tend to lurk around submerged objects such as stones or logs. You should also consider tying a float above your lure so you can keep track of it and stay within the fish’s vicinity.

Steelhead Trout

It’s a fact that many fishermen don’t know: Steelhead, which are popularly targeted species throughout the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Great Lakes, are actually sea-run rainbow trout. Though this fish is prized by anglers for its hard-fighting nature and excellent table quality, it is evolutionarily closely related to common rainbow trout.

A Funny River steelhead trout is sampled for age, sex and length
A Funny River steelhead trout is sampled for age, sex and length by USFWS Fish and Aquatic Conservation is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The two species are so similar that they can interbreed, though in practice this seldom occurs due to their different migratory habits. While Rainbow Trout remain in freshwater streams their entire lives, Steelhead undertakes an arduous journey each year to the open ocean in search of food, then return to spawn in their home rivers. This remarkable adaptation gives Steelhead access to both nutrient-rich marine waters and high-quality spawning grounds.

Though Steelhead and Rainbow Trout have the same scientific name (Oncorhynchus mykiss), slight differences between them exist in terms of morphology and behavior. Steelhead average larger than other members of the species, with individuals reaching weights around 35 pounds. They also have distinctive steel-grey heads and backs compared to the bright, vivid coloring of their freshwater counterparts.


Steelhead Trout live mainly in the Pacific Ocean, so if you’re interested in catching these silver-scaled beauties you should focus your efforts on the coasts of North America, Europe, and Asia. However, if you can’t make it out to sea, don’t worry – Steelhead also inhabits many freshwater tributaries that lead into the Pacific Ocean, particularly in Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Alaska, and California.

Baits & Lures

When it comes to catching a steelhead, the type of bait or lure you use will depend on the location and season. During spawning periods, small alevins and nymphs are often used as bait. In later months, when the fish move into deeper waters, traditional lures such as spinners, jigging spoons, inline spinners, and feather jigs will work well.


To successfully catch a steelhead, patience is key. Once you have your lure or bait in the water, give your line plenty of time to sink so that it reaches the bottom of the river or stream. Reeling it in too quickly won’t give the fish enough time to find your bait or lure. Steelheads are eager biters, so if you keep your lure or bait in their path, they’ll almost assuredly take it.

Trout Fishing

Trout fishing is one of the most popular pastimes for anglers across the globe. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced veteran, trout fishing can offer a unique and rewarding experience. To help you get started, we’ve put together this guide to trout fishing – so grab your rod, bait, and tackle box and let’s get ready to cast!

Finding the Perfect Spot

When it comes to trout fishing, location is everything. Trout live in cool, well-oxygenated waters and can be found in both streams and lakes. Look for spots with deep pools where you know there will be plenty of food sources like insects, larvae, fish fry, and minnows. However, avoid areas with excessive amounts of boat traffic and general human activity since these can disturb the natural environment.

Trout Fishing
Trout Fishing by PapaPiper is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Choosing the Right Bait

Using the right bait is essential when it comes to trout fishing. While there are many options available, some of the best baits for trout include nightcrawlers, spinners, spoons, PowerBait, worms, and small jigs. Depending on the type of trout you’re trying to catch (rainbow, brown, brook, etc.), consider using different types of bait to better suit their feeding habits. In addition, don’t forget to check local regulations for any restrictions on lure size or bait color before casting out.

Tackling Techniques

Once you’ve chosen the perfect spot and selected the right bait, you’ll need to become familiar with a few basic techniques in order to effectively catch trout. Some of the most effective methods for catching trout include still fishing, drifting or trolling, jigging, spin-casting, fly-casting, and plug-casting. Each technique requires various levels of skill and knowledge; however, practice makes perfect, and mastering the art of trout fishing takes patience and time.

Safety First

Last but not least, always make sure to practice safe fishing when attempting to catch trout. Because trout love to lurk beneath logs, rocks, and other debris, use extra caution when wading in these areas as they may contain hidden hazards like slippery surfaces or strong currents that can cause injury. Additionally, ensure you have all necessary safety equipment such as a lifejacket and first aid kit just in case of an emergency.

Wid Trout vs. Stocked Trout

For anglers, the type of trout you catch is just as important as the number of them. Stocked trout typically come from hatcheries and are generally larger and easier to catch, while wild trout are typically native stock and usually require more skill to land. But how can you tell the difference between stocked and wild trout? Here are some tips for distinguishing between the two.

FTIG Trout Stocking
FTIG Trout Stocking by PANationalGuard is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


Stocked trout generally have a uniform size, which is often larger than wild trout. This is because hatcheries specifically breed fish to reach certain sizes. On the other hand, wild trout can range in size, depending on their environment and food sources.

Stocked trout generally range from 12-14 inches, while wild trout tend to be much smaller (usually 6-8 inches). There are also physical differences that can help you distinguish between stocked and wild trout. Stocked trout usually have shorter fins than their wild counterparts, as well as less defined body markings.


Stocked trout prefer still waters such as ponds and lakes, while wild trout gravitate towards rocky streams with fast currents and abundant vegetation. This makes it easier for them to hide from predators among rocks and plants.

Stocked trout tend to congregate in areas that have been regularly stocked with fish, while wild trout will inhabit any suitable habitat they find. So if you’re fishing in an area that has previously been stocked with trout, there’s a good chance you’ll catch more stocked fish than wild ones.


Stocked trout tend to be more passive than wild trout and can be caught relatively quickly once detected. However, wild trout are much more wary and difficult to catch. They will swim away when threatened and require patience and finesse when attempting to land one.

Stocked trout tend to feed more actively during the day, while wild trout are mostly nocturnal. Stocked trout are also more likely to take a bait or lure, whereas wild trout may take some time to get used to artificial lures.


The colors of stocked and wild trout can vary, but as a general rule, stocked trout tend to be less colorful than wild trout. Hatchery-raised fish typically lack the vivid colors of their wild counterparts, as they do not need to rely on colors for camouflage or mating purposes.

Where to Find Trout

Fishing for trout can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but you need to know where to look for them in order to maximize your chances of success. Fortunately, trout can be found in nearly every region of the world, so there’s bound to be a spot near you that will yield a plentiful supply of these delicious fish.

Trout Type Average Size Habitat and Range
Rainbow Trout 12 – 20″ North America (native to western US)
Brown Trout 14 – 24″ Europe, North America, various introductions
Brook Trout 6 – 16″ Eastern North America
Lake Trout 15 – 40″ Northern North America
Cutthroat Trout 8 – 20″ Western North America
Golden Trout 6 – 12″ High mountain streams (western US)
Bull Trout 12 – 24″ Northwestern North America
Dolly Varden 12 – 30″ North America, Northern Pacific
Apache Trout 6 – 16″ Southwestern US (native to Arizona)
Arctic Char 12 – 30″ Northern regions, cold freshwater environments

In the United States, the best places to find trout include the Appalachian Mountains, along both coasts, and in the Midwest. Trout thrive in rivers and streams, particularly those with cold, oxygen-rich water. In the Pacific Northwest, head to the high mountain lakes for some of the best trout fishing around. If you’re looking for a more challenging environment try an alpine lake or river along the Rocky Mountains.

In Europe, Scotland is known for its abundance of sea-run brown trout as well as lake-dwelling rainbow trout. Other popular destinations for trout fishing include Holland, Germany, Italy, France, and Spain. For an easier catch, one can often find trout in stocked ponds located throughout Europe.

Finally, if you want to broaden your horizons and catch something totally unique, consider heading south to New Zealand or Australia. There, you’ll find huge populations of rainbow and brown trout that have adapted to life in high-altitude alpine environments. Both countries also have spectacular oceanic fisheries where large species of salmon and trout can be found.

Wherever you choose to go, make sure to research local regulations and weather conditions before you set out on your journey. With the right knowledge and preparation, you should soon be reaping the rewards of trout fishing.

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