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How To Fish For Trout With A Spinning Tackle

Hey, fellow anglers! Today, I’m thrilled to dive into the exciting world of trout fishing with a spinning tackle. It’s an adventure I’ve personally enjoyed, and I’m here to share my tips and tricks with you. 

So, imagine we’re sitting by the riverside, discussing our passion for fishing, and let’s get started on your journey to becoming a pro trout spinner.

Essential Spinning Tackle:

Now, let’s talk gear, shall we? Here’s what you’ll need to gear up for successful trout fishing with a spinning tackle:

  1. Spinning Rod and Reel:
  2. Fishing Line:
  3. Lures and Bait
  4. Tackle Box

We already have published a great article on the best spinning rods, we highly recommend you to check them out.

Now, I’m sure you’re eager to hit the water, but before you do, let’s discuss where to find those elusive trout. Stay with me as we explore the best spots for your next fishing adventure.

Selecting the Right Location:

Now that we’ve got our spinning tackle ready, it’s time to talk about the most critical aspect of trout fishing – choosing the perfect location. Picture yourself standing by a pristine riverbank or a tranquil mountain lake. Here’s how to select the right spot:

1. Water Temperature: Trout are cold-water fish. They thrive in cooler temperatures, typically between 50°F and 65°F (10°C to 18°C). Keep this in mind when choosing your location. Look for areas where the water temperature falls within this range, such as mountain streams or deep, shaded pools in rivers.

2. Water Depth: Trout tend to hang out in different depths depending on the time of day and season. In the warmer months, they might seek deeper, cooler waters during the day and move closer to the surface in the early morning or evening. Pay attention to water depth and adjust your fishing accordingly.

3. Current: Trout love oxygen-rich water. Look for locations with a moderate current, which helps maintain oxygen levels. You’ll often find them near riffles or areas where the current breaks, creating pockets of slower-moving water.

4. Cover and Structure: Trout are savvy when it comes to avoiding predators, so they love the cover. Seek out spots with submerged rocks, fallen trees, or aquatic vegetation. These provide shelter for trout and are prime feeding grounds.

5. Local Knowledge: Don’t underestimate the power of local wisdom. Chat with fellow anglers, visit bait shops, or check online fishing forums for insights into the best spots in your area. Local knowledge can be a game-changer.

6. Legal Considerations: Always respect local fishing regulations. Some areas may have specific rules, such as catch-and-release only, size limits, or restricted access during certain times. Ignoring these regulations can result in fines and harm local fish populations.

Imagine standing by a secluded bend in a river or the peaceful shore of a mountain lake, surrounded by the beauty of nature. These are the places where trout thrive, and with the right location, you’re well on your way to an unforgettable fishing experience. Now, let’s move on to setting up your spinning tackle for action.

Also Read: How Often Should You Fish In The Same Spot?

Setting Up Your Spinning Tackle:

Alright, we’ve found our ideal trout fishing location, and the excitement is building. But before we cast our line, let’s make sure our spinning tackle is set up just right. It’s like preparing for a concert – you want everything tuned and ready for a great performance. Here’s how to do it:

1. Assemble Your Spinning Rod and Reel:

  • Start by connecting your reel to the rod. Ensure it’s securely fastened.
  • Extend the rod to its full length, and make sure all components are properly aligned.
  • Check that the reel’s handle is on the side you’re comfortable with (left or right).

2. Spooling the Reel:

  • First, attach your chosen fishing line to the reel’s spool. Tie it securely using a suitable knot (like the improved clinch knot or the Palomar knot).
  • Next, thread the line through the rod’s guides. Make sure it’s properly seated in each guide.
  • Close the bail (the wire loop that guides the line onto the spool) on your reel to secure the line.

3. Adjust Your Drag:

  • The drag setting controls the amount of pressure needed to pull line from the reel. Set it to a moderate level to avoid breaking your line when a trout strikes.
  • Test the drag by pulling the line gently. It should give some resistance but not too much.

4. Select Your Lure or Bait:

  • Now, choose your bait or lure. If you’re going with artificial lures, attach them to your line using the appropriate knot or clip.
  • For live bait, use hooks and add a split shot sinker to help the bait sink to the desired depth.

5. Check the Rod’s Action:

  • Spinning rods come in various actions, from ultralight to heavy. The action refers to how much the rod bends under pressure.
  • Ensure your rod’s action matches the type of trout you’re targeting and the lures or baits you’ll be using.

6. Practice Your Cast:

Before you head to the water, practice your casting in an open area. Get a feel for the rod’s action and the weight of your lure.

By now, your spinning tackle is set up like a finely tuned instrument, ready to make sweet music with the trout. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a bit of time to get the hang of casting with your spinning tackle. In our next step, we’ll delve into selecting the right lures and bait to entice those trout.

Lures and Bait Choices:

Alright, angler, now that our spinning tackle is set up and we’re poised at the water’s edge, it’s time to talk about the secret sauce of trout fishing – your choice of lures and bait. Think of it as picking the perfect seasoning for a gourmet meal; it can make all the difference. Let’s explore your options:

1. Lures:

  • Spinners: These flashy, often metallic lures mimic the movement of small fish and insects. They create vibrations and flashes that entice curious trout.
  • Spoons: Shaped like, well, spoons, these lures wobble and flutter as you retrieve them. This erratic action can trigger aggressive strikes.
  • Crankbaits: Designed to imitate minnows or other baitfish, crankbaits dive and wobble through the water. They’re great for covering various depths.
  • Soft Plastics: These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including worms, grubs, and creature baits. They can be incredibly effective when rigged properly.

2. Live Bait:

  • Nightcrawlers: These juicy worms are a classic choice and irresistible to many trout.
  • Minnows: If permitted in your area, live minnows can be deadly, especially for larger trout.
  • Insects: Grasshoppers, crickets, and other insects found near the water can be excellent bait, especially during insect hatches.
  • Salmon Eggs: A favorite of trout anglers, these tiny, colorful orbs mimic the roe of other fish and can be deadly when drifting in the current.

3. Artificial Baits:

  • PowerBait: A dough-like, scented bait that’s easy to use and can be very effective. It comes in various colors and scents.
  • Gulp! Baits: These soft baits are infused with powerful scents that can attract trout from a distance.
  • Mice Tails: Designed to mimic the appearance of a mouse or small rodent, these baits can trigger aggressive strikes from large trout.

4. Experiment and Adapt:

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different lures and baits. Trout can be finicky, and their preferences can change depending on the day and location.

Keep an eye on the local hatch patterns, as trout often key in on the insects they see in their environment.

Remember, the key to success is to be adaptable and pay attention to what the trout are telling you. Sometimes, they have a clear preference for a specific bait or lure on a given day. So, don’t be discouraged if your first choice doesn’t yield results right away. Keep trying different options, and you’ll soon find what works best in your chosen fishing spot. 

Now, with your bait or lure in hand, let’s move on to casting techniques to tempt those trout to bite.

Casting Techniques:

Now that you’ve armed yourself with the right lures or bait, it’s time to master the art of casting with your spinning tackle. Imagine you’re about to perform a precision move in a dance – it’s all about finesse and timing. Here’s how to cast effectively and land your bait where the trout are lurking:

1. The Basic Cast:

Hold your spinning rod comfortably with your dominant hand and your reel handle with the other.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and facing your target area.

Pull the line out with your free hand, ensuring it’s loose and ready to cast.

With a smooth motion, swing your rod backward to around 2 o’clock position. This loads the rod.

Now, swiftly move your rod forward while releasing the line with your free hand. Imagine you’re casting the line toward your target.

As the line flies out, close the bail on your reel to engage it. Your bait or lure should land where you aimed.

2. Accuracy Matters:

Practice your aim by casting toward a specific spot, like a visible structure or the edge of a current seam.

Pay attention to your surroundings and adjust your cast to avoid snags.

3. Casting Distance:

To cast farther, increase the speed of your forward motion and release the line at the right moment.

Remember, you don’t always need to cast to the farthest reaches. Sometimes, trout are closer than you think.

4. Mend the Line:

When casting upstream or into a current, use the tip of your rod to “mend” the line. This means lifting the line off the water’s surface to prevent drag that can pull your bait unnaturally.

5. Retrieve Styles:

Experiment with different retrieval styles like a steady retrieve, jerking the bait, or twitching it to mimic natural prey movements.

Trout can be picky, so be prepared to change your technique if one style isn’t working.

6. Be Patient:

Sometimes, trout need a moment to decide if they’re going to bite. Don’t rush the retrieve; give them time to make their move.

Casting with a spinning tackle can be a bit like learning to dance – it takes practice to get the rhythm and timing just right. So, find your favorite practice spot and work on your casting technique.

Soon, you’ll be casting like a pro, and those elusive trout won’t be able to resist your well-placed bait or lure.

Read Full Guide: How to Cast a Fishing Rod For Beginners

Retrieval Methods:

Now that you’ve mastered the art of casting with your spinning tackle, it’s time to dive into the world of retrieval methods. Think of it as adding a special twist to your dance moves – it’s all about making your bait or lure look irresistible to those trout. Let’s explore various techniques to entice your elusive catch:

1. Steady Retrieve:

This is the most straightforward method. Simply turn the handle of your reel at a steady pace to retrieve your bait or lure.

Keep the retrieve speed consistent to mimic the movement of a swimming fish or prey item.

2. Jerking or Twitching:

Add some action to your bait or lure by giving your rod tip a sharp jerk or twitch.

This imitates the erratic movement of wounded prey and can trigger aggressive strikes from curious trout.

3. Stop-and-Go:

As you retrieve, periodically pause for a few seconds before resuming your retrieve.

The sudden stops can simulate a fleeing or injured baitfish, making it irresistible to trout.

4. Bottom Bouncing:

If you’re fishing in a river with a rocky bottom, allow your bait or lure to touch the bottom occasionally.

This mimics natural prey that might be searching for food or hiding in the rocks.

5. Slow Roll:

This method involves a very slow and deliberate retrieval.

It’s effective when trout are in a lethargic mood and aren’t willing to chase fast-moving baits.

6. Floating or Suspending Lures:

Some lures float or suspend in the water column. Experiment with these lures by allowing them to rise and fall naturally during the retrieve.

7. Retrieve Depth Control:

Adjust the depth of your retrieve based on where you think the trout are in the water column.

Use your rod tip to control the depth by angling it upward or downward during the retrieve.

8. Pay Attention to Feedback:

Be attentive to any feedback from your line. You might feel a subtle tug, a change in resistance, or see the line twitch.

These could be signs that a trout is showing interest, so be prepared for a strike.

Remember, trout can be selective, and their preferences may change depending on the day and location. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different retrieval methods to see what’s working best on a particular day. Sometimes, a slight tweak in your technique can make all the difference between a successful day of fishing and coming home empty-handed.

In our next section, we’ll discuss how to handle and land trout once they’ve taken the bait, ensuring a safe and successful catch.

Playing and Landing Trout:

Now that you’ve honed your casting and retrieval techniques and felt that electrifying strike, it’s time to talk about playing and landing your prized trout. Think of it as the grand finale of your angling performance – the moment when you bring your catch to shore. Here’s how to handle it with care and expertise:

1. Stay Calm and Set the Hook:

When you feel a strike, it’s essential to stay calm. Don’t react too quickly; instead, wait for the trout to take the bait completely.

Once you’re sure the trout has the bait, set the hook with a firm but not overly aggressive hookset. A quick snap of your wrist should do the trick.

2. Play the Fish:

When a trout is hooked, it will often make a strong initial run. Let it take some line and avoid immediately trying to reel it in.

Keep your rod tip up to maintain tension on the line, preventing the fish from throwing the hook.

Use your rod to guide the fish away from snags or obstacles in the water.

3. Tire Out the Trout:

Trout are known for their fighting spirit, so be patient. Allow the fish to tire itself out with its frantic runs and jumps.

Use the rod’s flexibility to absorb the trout’s sudden movements.

4. Keep the Trout in the Water:

As you get the trout closer to the shore or your boat, avoid removing it from the water if you plan to release it.

Keep the fish in the water as much as possible to reduce stress and ensure its survival after release.

5. Use a Landing Net:

Landing nets with rubber or knotless mesh are gentle on the fish’s skin and scales.

Gently scoop the trout into the net when it’s tired and within reach.

6. Handle with Care:

Wet your hands before touching the trout to avoid damaging its sensitive skin and scales.

Avoid squeezing the fish; instead, cradle it gently and support its body.

7. Removing the Hook:

If you plan to keep the trout, use pliers or a hook remover to safely remove the hook.

For catch-and-release, use barbless hooks to make hook removal easier and minimize harm to the fish.

8. Quick Release:

For catch-and-release, release the trout as soon as possible. Hold it in the water, facing upstream, and allow it to regain strength before gently releasing it.

By playing and landing trout with care and consideration, you’re not only ensuring a memorable angling experience but also contributing to the conservation of these beautiful fish. 


As we wrap up our guide on trout fishing with a spinning tackle, remember that this form of angling is not just about catching fish; it’s about connecting with nature, experiencing the thrill of the chase, and preserving our precious aquatic ecosystems.

With the right gear, location, and techniques, you can embark on unforgettable trout-fishing adventures. But let’s not forget the importance of responsible fishing. Whether you’re releasing your catch or keeping it for a meal, the health and conservation of trout populations are in our hands.

So, whether you’re standing by a crystal-clear mountain stream, or you’re casting your line into the serene waters of a tranquil lake, embrace the beauty of the great outdoors, be a steward of nature, and always fish responsibly. Your next great angling adventure awaits – tight lines, fellow angler!

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