If you have never thrown spoons for rainbow trout, you should! Spoon fishing for rainbow trout is a fun way for people of all ages to catch a fish. Watching a trout strike right at the boat is an enhanced experience compared to trolling. Sometimes, more than one fish will chase your spoon to the boat, and you can watch the competition for food unfold before your eyes.
This method of fishing can be simple or complex. If you are new to fishing and looking for an exciting way to catch fish, then spoon fishing is for you. You can spoon fish from shore, a fishing dock or a boat. If you are an advanced angler and have never tried spoon fishing, you are missing out on a fun way to explore a lake.
The Best Time To Go
While spoon fishing in the spring and summer months can be productive, the best time to go spoon fishing is in the fall. When the water temperatures start dropping, rainbows begin to feed heavily as the insect hatches slow down. Fishing starts to improve in early September and the best fishing is just before the ice forms on the lake. Crisp fall mornings can be difficult to navigate until the fog leaves the lake, but the fishing is still amazing. Be careful in the fog, as navigation can be disorientating and other boats might be closer than you think as they quietly troll around. Early mornings and late evenings tend to be the most productive early in the season. Later in the fall, fishing can be excellent well into the early afternoon.
Where To Go
Choosing an area to target feeding trout can prove to be difficult at times, and the time of year should always be considered in location selection. While searching for a productive location, an angler can cover a lot of water casting in different directions. When trying to find feeding locations, casting can be more effective than trolling when targeting shallow bays and shoals. Once a fish bites, take note of the location it was caught in, including depth and bottom structure. Studying bathymetric maps before your trip can help narrow down potential hot spots on the lake. Look for changing depths that border a flat feeding area. Using Google Earth can also help locate feeding areas. Look for marl bottom, weed beds and flat, shallow areas close to dark, deep water.
After marking a few locations on a bathymetric map or electronic fish finder map, move around the lake until you find active fish holding in an area. Looking for rising fish can be the quickest way to find hungry rainbow trout. If you get a bite after casting to a riser, keep casting in the area for other fish that are usually close by. Do not leave fish to find fish. In the fall, if trout are feeding in an area, there are usually more than one trout around. Keep casting in different directions for at least 15 minutes. If you get no bites, move to another location to find more fish. Marking the productive locations on your map or fish finder can help you return to the same spot later in the day or on another trip to the lake.
Changing Structure & Temperatures
Fishing locations change as the season progresses. Keep in mind that weed beds will start to die down as the water temperature drops. This changing structure can push rainbow trout into different areas of the lake. They can still be found in transitional areas but will also seek different feeding structures as the water cools. Later in the fall, large trout can be found feeding in as little as three feet of water, but they can also be found in 20 feet of water. Rainbow trout start searching and feeding more aggressively as the weed structures die down.
What Spoons To Use & Why
Choose a casting spoon that matches the hatch on your local lake or one that has flash to attract a trout’s attention. Gibbs coho and croc spoons work well for varying conditions. Kamlooper spoons are also a productive choice and are heavy for their size, which helps when casting longer distances to spooky fish. Size and colour can make a difference some days. Copper spoons with a bright red stripe seem to attract the most fish. The copper has just enough flash to attract fish in. Also, the copper colour is darker and stands out more on overcast days. Make sure you have a few different sizes of spoons. Heavier spoons are easier to cast and go farther, but sometimes trout want a smaller presentation before they will bite. While larger spoons (3/4 ounce) can be great for casting and trolling to a new location, they also sink faster and tend to hang up on the bottom easier when you’re not paying attention. A medium (1/2 ounce) or small spoon (3/8 ounce) can sometimes outperform a large spoon, because they can be retrieved slower and kept off the bottom and in the strike zone.
Techniques To Use
When casting a spoon for rainbow trout, you need to determine where most of the feeding is taking place and what depth of water you are in or casting to. If most fish are feeding in a shallow location, position your boat so you can cast to the fish without spooking them. Boat position can be attained by either anchoring, floating or drifting across a transitional zone. These zones are defined as an abrupt depth change or weed bed structures. Drifting is the most effective method for finding active fish in an area because it is quiet, and it saves on fuel too.
When casting into a shallow area, consider the weight of your spoon. In 10 feet of water or less, you can start reeling in right away because trout will easily see and come up to strike your lure. Spoons can be dangerously effective when trout are on the feed. Make sure your line is straight and has no slack in it when it hits the water. Trout frequently hit a spoon before you have a chance to retrieve it. If fishing deeper, let your spoon sink close to the bottom before you start your retrieve. Make sure you take note of the speed of retrieval. If you are not getting a bite, change the speed and either slow down or speed up to see what the fish want. Lure action can also be attained by changing the size of spoon. When reeling in, make sure you keep your rod tip down and almost touching the water. Keeping your rod tip down will ensure your lure stays in the strike zone for the maximum amount of time possible. When your lure gets close to the boat, keep your rod down. It is not uncommon for a trout to smash your spoon right at the boat.
Landing Nets & Care
Rainbow trout are one of the top targeted species in BC. If you choose to keep your catch for a meal, make sure you dispatch it quickly, bleed it out and get it on ice in a cooler as soon as possible. If you intend to release your catch, a rubber net can help reduce mortality rates. Spoon fishing is also easier on fish compared to trolling with heavy gear and pulling smaller fish through the water like a cut plug herring. Reel the fish in quickly, take a quick picture if needed and then release it. Take care to leave the trout in the water as much as possible and do not let it bounce around on the bottom of your boat. Barbless hooks can also help increase survival rates. Using barbless hooks might reduce your landing percentages, but if you intend to release a fish, it is best to keep barbless hooks on your spoons. Keeping tension on your line at all times will help your landing ratios. Some spoons come with treble hooks, and it is recommended that you change your hook to a single hook to help the fish recover quicker and swim away to grow bigger and be caught again.
Why You Should Spoon Fish For Rainbow Trout
Spoon fishing is a fun way to have a one-on-one interaction with trout. Sometimes you can feel them hitting the spoon as you retrieve it, and they frequently return to strike your lure right beside the boat. The excitement of watching a fish chase, swipe at and hit your spoon will have you casting a thousand casts to experience this amazing fishery repeatedly. This method of fishing is a great way to get new anglers and children interested in fishing. The accomplishment gained from catching a spoon-fed trout is a memory that will not be forgotten.