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Beginner’s Guide: Rigging a Trout Line

Trout are some of the most common fish to fish for – and for good reason, you can catch them on many different types of baits and lures. There are also many different species of trout that live in a variety of habitats, which means you can likely catch them in your local river or lake. The most simple way to catch trout is with a weighted trout rig. So how do you rig a trout line? 

You’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll go over in detail how to rig a trout line, as well the best bait to use with your trout rig, and much more. We’ll also go over the common species of trout you can catch with your rig, and some general fishing tips for trout. Let’s get started!

What is a Trout Rig?

A trout rig can mean several different kinds of rigs, but the most common one is a simple bobber and split shot setup. This trout rig works well for many different types of trout (like rainbow trout and cutthroat trout) and is relatively easy to make.

Author Note: Depending on the size of fish you’re fishing for, you can use larger hooks and more weight for bigger baits. You can also adjust this rig depending on the depth of water your fishing in.

In order to rig this trout line, you’ll need a hook, bobber, bobber stopper, fishing line, split-shot weight, a barrel swivel, and bait. Once you’ve bought these items, follow the below instructions to make your rig! 

How to Rig a Trout Line

  1. First, you’ll need to decide how deep you want your bait to be. Either use a fish finder or talk with the local bait shop to determine what depth the trout like to hang out at where you’re fishing.
  2. Once you’ve decided on the depth, attach your bobber stop at this length on your main fishing line. This will hold your bobber still at this point and suspend your bait in the water at the desired depth.
  3. Then, thread the remaining line through the bobber. There should be a hollow tube down the middle that the bobber uses to slide up and down your fishing line. This allows you to adjust where the bobber is.
  4. After you have threaded your bobber on the line, cut it with approximately 6 inches of the extra line when the bobber is against the stop.
  5. Tie the swivel on to the free end and on to the remaining piece of fishing line. The swivel will prevent your line from getting twisted and tangled while casting and retrieving.
  6. Next, add your split-shot weight around 1 foot away from the end of the line. Depending on how big the hook is you plan on using, you may need to add a larger weight. Larger weights will also allow you to cast your trout rig farther.
  7. You’re almost done! Tie the hook onto the end of the line. We recommend using a Palomar knot to ensure it doesn’t slip off. Add your bait of choice and you’re ready to go!

Best Bait to Use With Your Trout Rig

Now that you’ve learned how to rig a trout line, let’s go over the best baits to use with your trout rig. Luckily, there are many different types of bait that work well with trout. We like to use trout flavored PowerBait, corn, marshmallows, and worms the most. Check out our article on how to fish with worms if you’re curious how to hook them. With the other types of baits, we recommend sliding them down to the apex of the hook curve. 

If you’re not sure what the local trout are biting, we recommend going with the trout flavored PowerBait we listed above. PowerBait is easy to find and will stay on your hook longer than some of the natural options.

Author Note: It’s also hard for most trout to resist! And as always, if you’re not sure what is working it’s worth stopping a local bait shop and talking with the fishermen there.

Best Tackle For Trout Fishing

We recommend getting ultralight to medium tackle when fishing for trout. Pair an ultralight reel with a medium-sized trout rod and 6 to 10 lb test line. We prefer using the monofilament line when fishing for trout as it is hardest for the trout to see. Since you only need a low test fishing line, monofilament is also the most affordable to use. If you plan on fishing for larger trout (like lake trout), we recommend using braided line with a monofilament or fluorocarbon leader.

How to Fish Your Trout Rig

Let’s quickly go over the basic technique of fishing your trout line. Follow these steps and you’ll be set up for success when fishing for trout!

  1. The first step to catching trout with your trout line is to figure out where they are. Depending on if you’re fishing in a stream or lake you’ll want to try casting your rig in different locations. For streams and rivers, look for deeper sections where the current is slower. This is often behind logs or other obstructions in the flow. For lakes and ponds, look for parts of the water that is protected by overhanging trees or bridges. Trout like hanging out in the shadows where they are out of the sun and it is comfortable for them.
  2. Once you have determined where you’re going to fish your trout rig, cast the trout rig either upstream (if your fishing in a river) or nearby where the trout are hanging out. Once your bait has settled to the desired depth, keep a close eye on your bobber.
  3. If you see your bobber do anything weird, get ready to reel your line in. If it goes underwater, reel your line until it is tight to see if something is on the other end. If something is, set the hook!
  4. If nothing has happened for 15 minutes, feel free to reel your trout rig in and re-cast your bait. You should also check to make sure you still have bait on your hook.

Parting Thoughts

Trout are a great species of fish to target for both experienced and novice fishermen. All you need is a simple rig and some cheap bait, and you can catch many different species of trout. If you want to learn about a more active way to catch trout, check out our guide on how to fish jerkbaits for trout.

Now that you know how to rig a trout line, you’ll be ready to catch trout of all sizes. End up teaching a younger one to fish for trout after reading this article? Let us know about it in the comments below. 

Happy Hunting!


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