For me, there is nothing more relaxing, fulfilling, and enjoyable than standing waste deep in a flowing river and fishing for rainbow trout. River fishing for rainbow trout has been a passion of mine for almost three decades and I’ve had the pleasure of taking part in this activity form the east coast of the United Sates to the west coast and even had a small stint in Alaska where I had the opportunity to river fish for this beautiful species of fish.
What you might find interesting about this fact is that I prefer not to fish for rainbow trout with fly fishing gear, but rather to do so while using ultralight spin fishing tackle and gear. Yep, river fishing for rainbow trout is a passion of mine and I’m not a fly fisherman, for better or for worse, although I obviously think it’s for the better. In any case, if you are like me and like to fish for this colorful, hard fighting species of fish, you need to make sure that you are utilizing the following baits.
The first bait is more than likely the most obvious, and that bait is the live worm. Over the years I have learned that the key to using live worms for rainbow trout is that small fishing hooks are used and that the portion of worm that is used should be kept fairly small. Novice trout fishermen overlook this fact and it costs them bites from hungry rainbows. I rarely use entire night crawlers (which are the most readily available live worm) but choose to pinch my night crawler in half. And as far as my hooks go, I prefer to use #8 or #10 gang hooks for a majority of my live worm trout fishing mainly because of the natural presentation that these fishing hooks provide me.
Next we have a bait that as a spin fisherman you might have never considered using when fishing for rainbow trout and that bait is artificial flies. Flies can be used as bait by spin fishermen by employing a little thing known as a fly fishing bubble (also called a ‘casting bubble) which allows you to add weight to your line so that lightweight artificial flies can be cast and retrieved successfully. With practice, using artificial flies as bait for rainbow trout is a tactic that every serious river trout fishermen needs to have in his or her repertoire.
The third “must use” bait that every spin fishing rainbow trout fisherman must use are micro jigs. Tiny jigs, much like are used for Crappie fishing, are a very effective bait for rainbow trout in rivers when fished in deep runs or pools within a river. Micro jigs are often fished under a small Styrofoam float so that the jig can be cast and “jigged” easily. Jig heads that are as small as 1/32, or even 1/64 of an ounce are used by many experienced micro jig fishermen. The bottom line is that hungry rainbows often gobble up these tiny meals voraciously.
When it comes to river fishing for rainbow trout while utilizing traditional spin fishing gear, the aforementioned baits are all “must use” in my opinion. They have all been helping me catch rainbows for many years and I know they will do the same for you.