Want to catch early season trout? Here are some things to remember. At this time of the season, you want to cover water and spoons are the best bait for the job.
A good casting spoon should do the trick. As aggressive as lake trout can be, they can also be very selective. It’s amazing how a subtle size, action and color difference can outproduce everything else.
Bottom line: Be prepared and have a variety of colors and sizes.
Late season snow can sometimes make late trout fishing season a challenge, but for those that make an effort, you can often be rewarded with a bunch load of fish.
It’s a great time to catch big fish like monster trout and brook trout that have not seen lures for months. There are no big crowds so you could have some of the best trout waters to yourself.
If you live in Wisconsin, you are in great luck. It’s a great place to fish because there are over 10,000 miles of trout streams in the state and many of which are open during that early season.
With so many waters to choose from, figuring out where to fish can sometimes be overwhelming. Check out your local trout map website to find the best spot for catching early season trout.
Here is how you can find the trout.
1. You’ll need to look for different habitat like you do in the summertime and fish in the afternoon when the water temperatures are at their highest.
2. Trout are cold-blooded fish, and they slow down in the wintertime. Therefore, they are most active during the warmest part of the day, typically late in the afternoon.
3. You will find them in slow-moving deeper water habitats such as pools and not the riffles and fast-flowing water that you target in the summertime.
4. The deepwater provides greater protection from predators, and the fish spend less energy swimming against the current. Now that you have found your spot, it is time to select a spoon.
Here is how you can use spoons to catch early season trout.
Early Season Trout Fishing Tips
It’s very important to understand the action of your spoon. A flashy metal spoon can give great action for a trout, but it won’t work every time. You need to understand the differences and how to present them.
What Action Works Best?
There are times when you just have to be flashy. And there are places where you need to be subtle. There is no surefire way of knowing which spoon action will work. You just have to cast and find that by yourself.
You just have to match the hatch. After all, a fish won’t eat what they can’t see. The only time they will go in ambush mode and become opportunistic is when streams push hard and start to pick up a little stain.
This is probably the only moment when a flashy spoon works best. Other than that, a subtle action spoon can get most of the strikes.
Especially in Spring, the weather system causes trout streams to swell. It can make some of the best angling approaches ineffective. When you fish for lake trout, you will often choose to go with bigger baits, longer casts, extra thump, and increased flashes.
For all of these tasks, a bigger spoon fits the bill well. However, the majority of the spoons tend to be small, fast and very flashy. Under more moderate conditions, a smaller spoon gives out a natural pattern that allows for a subtle presentation.
It will kick out vibrations being in muted tones that works well to grab the attention of a trout. This is suitable for moderate conditions and not for early season fishing.
There are some spoons that are fairly large with heavy metallic offerings. They are widely used for fishing great lake trout, salmon and steelhead. They get pulled behind downriggers and account for tremendous numbers of large water trout.
Their smaller versions can also offer the same types of offerings. You can get the same appeal in rivers and creeks, but you will need great casting applications.
All of the spoons out there are somewhat big and formed from metal. They are elongated with a line tie at one end and treble hook at the other.
At first glance, you would think that all of the spoons are similar and there wouldn’t be many differences among them.
If you look closely, there are numerous characteristics that can affect how the spoon casts, looks, swims and sinks. It also affects the amount of vibration they emit.
When switching from one spoon to another, it’s important to understand these characteristics and their effects. Two similar-sized spoons with a general appearance can make a huge difference between casting and catching.
The most obvious and basic characteristic is the size. For stream trout, you would normally use a spoon ranging from about three ½-inches to 1-inch in length.
Typically speaking, bigger lures will work better in a bigger water body like streams and lakes.
However, it is important to consider the size of the trout, current flow, watercolor, and forage size. It will influence the choice of trout spoon. If you want to use a small spoon to tackle a large river, you should make short casts given high skies and low flows.
Thickness and Weight
Thickness and weight are relative to a spoon’s overall size. It’s a very important factor because it impacts how easily you can cast the spoon.
The lures speed, how well you can handle it in the current and measuring the depth of water that is suitable for probing. A 2.5-inch spoon with a 1/4-ounce weight is suitable enough to in the high water that you commonly see in rivers during springtime.
The weight is heavy enough to make accurate casts, and you can control it well in the current. You can also keep it out of the rocks and off the bottom by keeping the rod held high. For low current, it is often a better choice to go with a lightweight spoon.
Another important factor to consider is the spoon’s wobbling action. Some spins while others wobble widely. There are others that jump erratically while others wiggle tightly.
Which wobbling effect is the best? There is no right answer. You just have to cast different spoons and find out which one gets the most strikes. There is no right action or formula for each situation.
That’s why you should carry a bunch of them and invest some time playing with a different action to see which spoon works the best.
Always consider the spoon’s shape because it’s related to a trout’s aggressive nature. The shape or the profile will change how the lure sinks, how it moves and what image does it give to a fish.
A narrow spoon and a broader bodied spoon will look different, and the later will look big even if both of them have the same length. The broader one will reflect more if it has a flashy metal body.
Depending upon the mood of the fish the conditions of the waters, reflecting far more light can be good or bad.
The finish of a spoon is also very important. Beyond just giving a bigger or smaller look, the shape and finish of a spoon can more or less look like the forage that the fish are used to seeing in a certain waterway.
Some manufacturers make their spoons in a certain way that mimics a small fish. Having a unique finish will give the lure a supernatural look that will trick the trout into thinking that it’s a minnow or other baitfish.
Since they are literally thousands of different color patterns, it is better to consider what colors the fish are used to seeing. Gold and copper should be used for dark water and darker days.
A natural hue like silver is better for high skies and clear water. For off-colored high streams, you should go with extra bright painted lures.
Casting & Retrieving Speed
Rather than casting and retrieving at a standard pace, try adding a little variation. Don’t retrieve at a steady speed. You want to mimic the movement of a baitfish.
Use the tip of your rod to add some jerking motion and also try alternating the retrieving speed. If you can master this technique, you can catch a lot of trout in any season.
Once you land one, there are certain techniques that you have to use to handle that fish. The gills of the fish can easily be damaged by cold air. So, time is of the essence.
Use a landing net if you have one and hemostats or pliers can help you quickly unhook the fish and return it to the water. After all, your early season catch is all about the memories.