Bait Up for Spring Trout
Bob McNally 04.13.16
Some of the best spring trout anglers are dedicated bait dunkers, having deft hands in using salmon eggs, whole kernel corn, earthworms, and marshmallows for duping spring trout. They use lightweight spinning tackle, four- or six-pound test line, and small, short-shank “egg” style bait hooks, which they completely bury inside all baits they employ.
Many such fishermen believe large, spooky, deliberate-feeding spring trout can readily spot a hook in a bait and will not touch it. They also frequently change baits and bait types during a day’s fishing. Fresh bait is preferred by mature trout, which have a highly developed sense of smell. Further, seasoned bait fishermen contend that one day salmon eggs produce trout best, while another day fish may prefer corn or earthworms.
Many anglers use very refined terminal tackle with no leader and pinch a single split-shot or two 18-inches above a hook. Just enough weight is used to maintain bottom contact in stream current.
In high, murky spring trout streams, stillfishing with bait soaked on bottom often is the only practical way of catching fish. It may not be the most enjoyable or sporting way of producing trout, but there may be no other choice.
Often positioning baits in deep, outside bends of creeks produces best. And if there are deep snags, log jams, boulders, etc., so much the better since trout hold below them to deflect unusually strong spring current.
Sometimes deep, undercut banks with extensive brush and tree root systems hold a lot of early-season stream trout (particularly browns). Pitching a weighted bait up-current then allowing it to swing with the stream flow deep and under the bank is about the only practical way of fishing such water.