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Stocked Trout (or the stocking of Trout) is a practice that has been around since the mid-1800s. It was in 1871 that the United States Fish Commission was established. This resulted in non-native fish allowed to be stocked for both sport and as a viable and sustainable food source. Stocked Trout (or the stocking of Trout) makes it easier for anglers to catch fish. It also offers a sustainable way for future generations to enjoy catching and eating these beautiful fish. So what are the best lures for stocked trout?
Glad you asked! When choosing lures to target stocked Trout, always consider their habitat as well as their eating and behavioral habits. Also, note that eating habits change or evolve, depending on what natural food source is available at the time.
The fish are bred in hatcheries all over the US and then transported to a more natural environment like ponds, lakes, and rivers.
So with that in mind, what are the best lures for stocked Trout?
The Top 10 Best Lures for Stocked Trout
This two and a half inch crankbait is specially designed for catching stocked Trout. It is an extremely versatile lure and is effective in deep, slow-moving water as well as fast-moving water.
The Leland Trout Magnet is a near-perfect imitation of a minnow. With trout specific colors, it has a long slender design with a unique stop and go action. It is best fished with a jerking action and is evenly weighted. This lure makes a rattling sound and can swim at depths of 2-4 feet.
Few anglers fish these soft-plastics, but they are incredibly effective. Two inches in length and designed to float, they work really well when drifted. They seem to get attention when the bite is really slow. If fishing in the spring, try fishing lures with natural colors.
The Nightcrawler is a must for all tackle boxes. Some of the features include a shorter and fatter worm design and around 400 times greater scent dispersion when compared to other plastic baits. These work great for Rainbow trout.
The original Rooster Tail Spinner has legendary status and is a must-have lure. Tried and tested over many years, they offer a substantial variety of colors and sizes to match the water conditions that you may be fishing.
The Worden Rooster Tail Spinner is available in one hundred colors and ten different sizes and offers a pulsating hackle tail and an attractive spinning action.
The Panther Martin Spinnerbait is up here with the Rooster Tail Spinner and is deadly when targeting trout in streams. Another must-have lure that also seems to get attention when the fish are hesitant to bite. The Panther Martin Dressed Spinnerbait offers one of the fastest and easiest spinning actions.
This is due to its unique shaft through design. It sends out sonic vibrations that are created by the Concave/Convex blades. The heavily weighted body increases casting distance and allows you to fish at any depth of water. Super sharp premium hooks come as standard.
Although trout bait doesn’t qualify as a lure (and rightly so), I do think it is worth a mention. Stocked Trout are fed pellets in the hatcheries where they were bred.
Trout bait (also known as Trout Marshmallows) are designed to imitate these pellets, and once the Trout are released, they will be the type of food the Trout will be looking for.
Berkley PowerBait Trout Bait is moldable and extremely easy to use. It’s recommended that you always have a few jars in your tackle box, in particular the yellow and green. Try fishing them a few inches from the bottom by adding some weight.
There are many discussions surrounding stocked Trout versus native (wild) Trout. Some enthusiasts believe stocked Trout will only feed on pellet imitations.
Others believe that if no food is available, they will evolve and change to traditional feeding and eating habits. I am one who tends to sit on the side of evolution. Therefore, I recommend the following Trout lures to try when targeting stocked Trout.
These baits are tried and tested and, in some cases, pioneered the trout lure market.
The Trackdown allows you to reach trout holding in deeper water. It is the sinking version of the original Rebel Minnow. The Rebel Trackdown Minnow has been designed for moving water, and its straight tracking makes it irresistible to fish.
This buoyant worm offers outstanding presentation and is jammed full of Berkley Gulp! Scent attractant. It is versatile and can be used as a drop shot, on float rigs, and three-way rigs. The Gulp worm also works great for Rainbow trout.
I really enjoy using this lure, and it is a great choice when targeting bigger fish. The Rogue offers an erratic action combined with loads of flash but also has the ability to sit motionlessly. It is a good choice when fishing clear and cold water and is equipped with internal noisemakers.
This quality grub imitation has a two-tone colored eye painted on the jig head and a soft plastic body. It is specially designed with a tail that enhances the display. The Lindy Fuzz-E grub entices aggressive strikes, allows the fish to engulf the entire bait, and offers improved hooksets.
The Rebel Wee-Claw crankbait has been designed to imitate a crawfish hustling across the bottom of a lake or river. This lure is only two inches long but can reach a depth of between five and seven feet. The Rebel Wee-Claw has bulging claws and a tail that is tucked under.
Tips for Catching Stocked Trout
Most anglers will agree that a bad day fishing is still better than a good day in the office. But a great day’s fishing is priceless. Stocked Trout fishing makes catching Trout easier, which results in many first-time anglers catching fish and, in turn, getting hooked themselves.
Although the strike rate is much higher, there are still a few tips to help you along the way.
Research indicates that most stocked Trout that have been released are caught in the first two days. A large chunk of the remaining fish are caught within the first seven days.
And only a small percentage make it past the first week. There are several platforms that offer information regarding the stocking of fish in your area. Get there as soon as you can to ensure a catch.
If you want to avoid the rush and fish a few days after release, try fishing areas of the lake or river that most can’t access easily. These are the spots that first-timers or novice anglers wouldn’t try. Fish every nook and cranny of each section before moving on. Trout are hardly ever out in the open and tend to hide in shadows and secluded spots. Look for any structure or potential cover and fish those areas thoroughly.
Best Times to Catch Stocked Trout
Early morning and late afternoon are generally the best time of day to fish. Make an effort to get up before sunrise to be ready to fish at first light. If you are only able to fish in the afternoon, grab your headlamp. It’s time to pack a sandwich and a flask of coffee and be prepared to fish till the sun is completely down.
If you fish this way, you will get rewarded. Not only will you catch more fish, but most trophy fish are caught at these times.
Best Seasons for Stocked Trout
In the early season, use small spinners to fish slow-moving water with cover. Look out for things like boulders and logs. If the water is clear, try lures with bright colors. If the water happens to be off-color, try something with brass or copper. When the water is dark, try fishing something yellow or even a fluorescent red.
In summer, trout move to the foot of faster-moving rapids and into the deep holes. They tend to hang around obstructions in the water that disturbs the flow. Identify these areas and fish the outer perimeter.
Rainfall is an important factor when fishing in summer. It is a perfect time to fish and puts the larger Trout on the feed. Pay attention to the change in watercolor (it should progressively get darker) and change your lures or colors of lures accordingly. After heavy rainfall, fish begin overeating and will move from cover to feeding positions.
They will then move into shallow areas. Use larger spinners during this time and look for something with loads of vibration and flash.
It is important to note that some species of Trout (brook and rainbow) will attack a lure that is traveling downstream. But, the brown Trout generally feed on prey that is traveling upstream with the current.
What Do Trout Eat?
Trout eat a host of aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, other fish, crustaceans, leeches, worms, and other foods. The food items that are most important to Trout are aquatic insects.
These insects spend most of their life cycles underwater in rivers, streams, and still waters. They grow to maturity underwater and transform into flying air-breathing adults that mate in the air above our favorite waters.
This movement from the water to the air exposes the insects to predators such as Trout and birds and often causes a feeding frenzy. This event is called a “hatch” and is the situation all fly fishers search and hope for onstream.
When insects emerge en masse during a hatch, trout become so focused on this one food item that they will often eat nothing else. This is called selective feeding.
Which lure is your favorite? Get the best lures for stocked trout today, and get fishing. We hope you enjoyed this article on the best lures for stocked trout.