Limiting Out After Opening Day

Opening Day has come and gone taking many one day anglers with it. Even a week later the shoulder to shoulder crowds that filled your favorite hole are nowhere to be seen. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be hitting the streams, nor does it mean you shouldn’t expect to fill your creel with a limit of rainbows, browns or brookies destined for the fry pan.

For almost 20 years I have patrolled the local trout streams on Opening Day, often seeing the same angler in the same spot each season. I have also noticed that I never see many of the hardcore trout anglers again until the next Opening Day. The reason is as simple as it is wrong- too many anglers believe that stocked trout stream are done for once the first day crowds hit them, believing the hordes of hooks must have caught everything that swims.

The truth is that most trout streams, even those supported by stocking, continue to hold trout all season long. Anglers who fail connect during follow up trips confuse not being able to find fish with fish not being there. With a little change in tactics and understanding of trout behavior you can continue to fill your creel well into summer.

Find the spots trout like

When first stocked hatchery trout tend to hang close to where they were put. Remember they spent their entire live in a raceway with no cover, deep holes or better feeding areas and constant water flow/temperature. By the second or third week of the season those trout stocked pre-season have moved and you need to find them. Move away from the stocking points. Look for potential cover, under cut banks or deep holes in a tight bend. If fishing a stocked lake you need to go deep. Even in mid-April temperatures are rising and trout will seek cooler water of off shore depressions.

Change Baits

Hatchery trout grew up on the same food every day, usually in the form of pellets. This means that paste baits or doughs generally work well early in the season. As time goes on these same trout start to eat  what nature provides with insects, smaller fish and worms washed off the banks making up the majority of their new diet. Mimic what nature is providing and you will tempt these fish from their hides to your creel time after time. As with any bait if your first choose doesn’t work switch it up until you find what is the popular menu item on your stream,

Lighten Up

I’ve seen Opening Day anglers land novice trout on almost anything that can hold a hook: large bass rods, lures that would frighten a steelhead and even string tied to a can.  When targeting more seasoned salmonids you need to  go light. Ultra light rod & reel, 2-4 lb. test line and micro lures or hooks will catch the big fish.

Good luck, good fishing!

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