Big Trout Fishing

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Big, trophy trout like this 15lb rainbow, caught fly fishing

If you dream about catching big brown trout or trophy rainbows, stop dreaming and make it a reality! Luck may see you land occasional big fish, doing it consistently takes skill. It is no coincidence that 90% of big fish are caught by 10% of anglers! Here you will learn skills and techniques to help you consistently catch truly trophy trout like this.

The first rule in pursuing big trout is your own mindset. You won’t catch as many fish and some days you will go blank simply because targeting big fish means ignoring the smaller trout. Secondly, decide what your target size is. Size is relative to waters and species you are fishing. Having decided this, you then need to regularly fish waters which produce fish of this size. It sounds obvious I know, however one of the greatest barriers to anglers not catching big trout is simply fishing regular waters hoping for a small miracle. Turn the odds in your favour and select venues carefully.

colourful, big, trophy rainbow trout
Beautiful, big, trophy trout!

Where to Find Big Trout

While obvious differences exist between river and lake, trout the world over have 3 key requirements, which are oxygen, food and cover. Locating areas in any body of water providing all 3 key requirements is a priority as these will be hot spots. Identifying “hot spots” or “prime lies” brings you another step along the path to catching truly trophy trout. Big trout are dominant creatures, securing the best territory they can and will guard it against all invaders. So it goes without saying, by identifying a number of “hot spots” on your water, you will cast your fly into water more probable to hold trophy size trout.

  • Examples of oxygen rich water are broken water, inlets, deep, shaded water, springs.
  • Areas of rich feeding are marginal areas, drop offs in depth, weed & silt beds, current seams.
  • Cover is provided by marginal vegetation, close proximity of deep water, broken water.

Techniques for Trophy Trout

Regardless of whether a trout is stocked or wild, is in a lake or river, fish which have little experience of anglers (for example where angling pressure is low) can be easy. Conversely, pressured fish are street wise and far more challenging to catch and this needs to be remembered.

Before deciding on techniques, we need to think of our approach to waters. Firstly is the water one where we can sight fish? If the answer is yes, then patiently stalking trophy trout in prime lies will provide the most consistently successful approach of catching big trout. Where stalking fish is not possible, a careful search strategy needs to be formulated, so you work a fly through a lie to maximum effect.

Having decided our approach, the areas of technique, time of year and day, conditions, trout and prey activity all need to be thought through carefully. Their are no rules here and brown trout react differently to rainbow trout, each species behaves in differing ways from water to water. You simply have to put the time in here, experimenting, observing and learning. Having said that we can propose a rough guide.

Large trout will often show a preference for either a large, highly mobile fly such as lures and big dries or a small fly for example nymphs & shrimp. As a very broad generalisation, spring and autumn are prime times for large mobile lures, summer fishing is most productive with small nymphs during daytime and big dries around dusk, while winter time is a mix between large lures and small nymphs. Flies need to be worked on appropriate fly lines and retrieves, again only by putting in time and effort will you find what works best for specific waters. The best advice here is to fish your fly at the level of a big trout and keep it in the fish’s face as long as possible!


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