After a rainstorm, if you’ve got a puddle of water in your backyard, chances are there’s trout in it. Think I’m kidding? Trout are among the most prevalent gamefish on the planet. According to wildlife biologists, there are 34 recognized species in North America alone. Double (some experts say triple) that figure on a global scale when you include all the hybrids and crossbreeds. Streams, lakes, rivers, seas and oceans all have some form of trout lurking within. But besides their massive numbers, trout have another claim to fame—they’re the reason fly-fishing was invented. Many centuries ago, observant anglers watched fish they had been unable to catch (trout are notoriously finicky) pluck insects off the water’s surface. Floating artificial baits were created and the rest is history.
Trout are everywhere. No matter where in the world you are, chances are good that there are trout nearby. Even desert climates—especially the Southwestern United States—have trout in their waterways. But if you want to get specific, the regions und Denver, Colorado, Bozeman, Montana and the New York Catskills are considered the trout flyfishing capitols of the U.S.
Like any species, there are always monsters among the masses. But the majority of trout you’ll be fishing for are probably in the 12”-18” range. So if you’re routinely catching two-foot trout, keep that fishing spot a secret! That said, trout are best pursued on light line, around 12# test or less. Some Reelerz believe 6# to 8# is the ideal poundage, providing both a good test for the angler and a fair fight for the fish. Spinning, bait-casting, fly—no matter which discipline you enjoy, match your tackle to the line. You don’t need trolling rigs spooled with heavy braid to catch trout.
Trout are voracious eaters, and have been known to chow down on fish up to half their own length. Besides other fish, trout feed on mealworms, bloodworms, flies, mayflies, dragonflies, caddisflies, zooplankton, mollusks (clams and mussels), and small eels. There are even stories about Reelerz catching enormous brown trout using chunks of uncooked hot dogs. When using artificial lures or flies, try to select designs that mimic the usual food sources of the trout in that specific area.
Taste & Nutrition
Not only are trout delicious, they are among the healthiest fish you can eat. Generally speaking, trout are extremely low in mercury content, including farm-raised trout. They are also low in fat (around 6 grams for a 3-oz serving) and very high in protein (20-21 grams per 3-oz serving). They can be served any number of ways, but because the meat is delicate be mindful not to overcook it, dry it out and ruin the flavor.
- Trout have exceptional eyesight, and can focus out of both corners of each eye simultaneously, translating into seeing in every direction at the same time. They’re also keen at spotting fishing line.
- If caught, pregnant female trout should be released immediately. They usually carry between 900-1,000 eggs per pound of bodyweight and are the key to keeping the species thriving.
- Trout and salmon can interbreed, producing a wide variety of hybrids.
- Brown trout can live to be upwards of 20 years old.
- Trout are not considered man-eaters, but there is an unconfirmed tale about a man bathing in an African river who was devoured by fish thought to piranha turned out to be a species of highly aggressive trout.
- Current IGFA all-tackle world record for brown trout: 42 lb 1 oz, caught by Otwin Kandolf on March 8, 2013, in Oahu Canal, New Zealand.
- Current IGFA all-tackle world record for rainbow trout: 48 lb 0 oz, caught by Sean Konrad on September 5, 2009, in Lake Diefenbaker, Canada.
- Current IGFA all-tackle world record for lake trout: 72 lb 0 oz, caught by Lloyd Bull on August 19, 1995, in Great Bear Lake, northwest Territories, Canada.