Common Trout Fishing Mistakes

As important as it is to keep up with the most helpful fishing tips and techniques, especially on the river, it’s also very important to maintain a conscious mindset of what not to do on the water. Fishing for trout can become increasingly frustrating and fruitless if certain mistakes are made, and today I’ve outlined a few of the most common ones anglers commit when fishing for them.

Perhaps the most common error—trout fishing or otherwise—is using line that’s far too heavy for the species you’re targeting or the tackle you’re using. Under normal conditions, you really don’t have to use anything heavier than six pound test for trout. In fact, you can go as low as four pound test for trout and regularly land fish in the 2-5 pound range. Trout are found in very clear water and have very keen eyesight, so using fishing line that’s too heavy is a huge problem.

On a similar note, using hooks that are too big is a huge mistake when trout fishing. Most people tend to opt for larger hooks because they think their bait can be threaded onto the hook, when really, the best way to use bait when trout fishing is to use pre-tied gang hooks to rig the bait. Gang hooks consist of a pair of small hooks tied in tandem on a length of line, which not only allows for smaller hooks to be used, but also creates a more natural presentation. Stick with hooks in the 8-10 size range and you’ll be in good shape.

Another common mistake is neglecting to pay attention to what your hands are doing. Trout have a very acute sense of smell and are able to detect unnatural odors quite easily. When they smell something fishy, they’ll be less likely to strike. To get such smells off your hands, simply grab a handful of grass or dirt and rub it into them before baiting up. Doing so will help eliminate any unnatural odors that may be on your hands, so that the trout won’t get spooked.

Lastly, not using the elements—nature, the weather, the moon—to your advantage when fishing can be costly. Take a little time to study weather and lunar patterns sooner, rather than later, and you’ll find that doing so will pay off in dividends.

Like most fish species, trout can be quite finicky, easily spooked, and behaviorally unpredictable. Trying to keep track of all the things to do right can sometimes cause us to commit common mistakes that will only hurt our odds on the river. Keep such mistakes in mind when you’re targeting trout to stay ahead of the curve this summer.