Sunday, October 22, 2006

Trout Feeding Habits

Yesterday we talked about what trout like to eat. Today, let's talk a bit about their feeding habits. As mentioned yesterday, trout can be picky eaters.
But there are some known facts you might want to keep in the back of your mind when fishing for trout.

First, trout tend to be active feeders early in the morning (from about dawn til mid morning) and early evening (dusk til dark). Depending on weather, season, and body of water (lake, river, or stream), trout will often appear to disappear during mid-day. They don't really disappear, but from a fishing perspective, they appear to stop biting.

Summer months (when water temps are higher), fishing for trout in lakes is especially challenging. Trout head for deeper water where it's cooler. You can still catch them, but you need to figure out where (location and depth) they're feeding.

But in addition to knowing the best feeding times, it helps to know what trout like to feed on. You already know from yesterday that trout like to eat a variety of aquatic and terrestrial insects. Trout love worms too! But have you ever been fishing with one bait (one you know they like) and have trout ignore it and take somebody else's bait? This happens a lot.

Here's a tip - trout will often feed on the "new hatch" over other insects. In other words, as seasons change new insects hatch (or become available food). Trout will often prefer the newer insect over those they've been eating for a while. So if you like to fly fish or use live bait, pay attention to the insects flying around the water.

If you're fishing with PowerBait, change colors until you figure out which one trout prefer. Trout can see color - and how well they see depends on several factors (clouds, sunshine, muddy water, etc.). At my local lake, I've watched trout hit on one color of PowerBait and ignore the rest more times than I can count. Color does matter! But just as trout will start eating one insect over another, they will often switch their color preference on PowerBait.

Here's another tip regarding trout feeding habits. They generally don't like to work hard for their food. So when given the opportunity, they will often strike at an insect they deem to be in distress. A lot of anglers use this knowledge to their advantage in their bait presentation.

You'll often hear anglers refer to the trout's "feeding lane". This term is used in river fishing a lot. Trout love to hang out in water currents where food supplies are high. Currents near over-hanging trees are a prime source of food. Insects often fall (or are blown) into the water. Trout will hold their position in the water, and let the current bring food to them. This is what's known as the feeding lane.

These guidelines should help you catch more trout. Half the battle is figuring out where the trout are. In rivers and streams, trout will often be found near food sources (like currents, overhanging trees, banks, logs, etc.). But in lakes (where currents are usually non-existent), trout will often have to cruise around to find food.

Once you figure out where trout hanging out, the trick to keep trying different things until you figure out what trout are feeding on at that moment. If you're not getting any bites after 15 or 20 minutes of fishing, change bait - try something different.

For more tips about trout and trout fishing, click here.


  1. Anonymous6:34 AM

    Thanks for this info. It explains alot as to why the fish are ignoring all the flies,lures and bait I've presented to them lately. The pond I fish, a stocked State Wildlife Area, has a perimeter "trench" where I can see the trout. They're just there like couch potatoes now where two weeks ago they took my flies with gusto. Not one of them seem interested in eating. It maybe because the pond is fished out some and the trout left have an abundance of food. Who knows?


  2. There are about 30 trouts under the bride where I just moved to. 30! None want what I'm offering, which is bacon, fake worm. I could not be live it!!! Bacon?!?! And nada!? I give up.

  3. Try cheese (velveta), powerbait, and real worms (nightcrawlers, and mealworms).