SO YOU WANT TO BE A SMALL STREAM TROUT ANGLER
So many people have said to me "How hard can catching a stream trout be?" I am here to tell you that its not as easy as some think.
Being from the Midwest I really thought I knew how to fish, as there are so many species to choose from and the one constant in the Midwest was that you can get away with 10 pound test line and a six and a half foot fishing rod.
So when I came to Vermont five years ago I wanted to catch stream trout, and of course I had my Midwestern fishing knowledge, my Midwestern fishing tackle, and I was off to catch a trout; you know, the ones you always see in paintings.
I was humbled while trying my luck with the equipment I was using, and most likely looking pretty foolish to local trout anglers.
The number one thing I can tell you about small stream trout fishing is "little fish, little equipment."
Small stream trout have a soft bite and when using 10 pound test line and your medium action bass rod, you can not feel the tap tap tap of a trout trying to gobble up a red worm, nor the light strike of a bass after your Midwest spinner.
I happened to be one of the lucky ones to learn what you need to know about this type of fishing, a four foot six inch ultra light rod with four to six pound mono line will do the trick to feel the awesome tap tap tap.
When choosing your fishing line for small stream trout, you want to use something that will stretch. I learned the hard way using 10 pound fire line, I couldn't feel the light bite of the trout, so I would recommend a mono-filament line.
For a fishing pole, graphite is the best, as it is sensitive to the light tap tap tap of the elusive stream trout. They can be pricey but well worth it. There are also some medium priced fiberglass trout rods that are good as well.
I was also fooled by the water itself. I was taught to wear polarized sunglasses which is fine and dandy in the Midwest as most fishing is some sort of lake or pond so my regular polarized lens worked just fine, until I wanted to fish Vermont's streams and rivers.
Let just say I had the wrong lens type, because our streams and rivers have gravel bottoms and makes our water look brown you need the proper lens color which would be amber, copper or rose. With these color lens you can see right to the bottom of the water out to 25 feet away, which makes for great sight fishing. Also remember that stream and river fishing is a lot different than lake and pond fishing. With lakes and ponds you have a constant for water temperature; the top part of the lake will be warmer than the middle and bottom part, which causes the fish to seek warmer water or colder water depending on the day as well as approaching storms which do not apply to streams and rivers, which I again found out the hard way.
Streams and rivers have moving water at all times which keeps the water temperature at a constant here in Vermont. It will range between 38 degrees to 50 degrees depending on the time of year.
I also thought that trout were always in the strongest part or the water other wise known as rapids, but as I came to find out that is not true. Trout will hide so they can ambush their prey. Trout will always be facing upstream, which is not so for their counter part in a lake or pond setting, trout will hide in cut away banks, next to or under fallen trees, but as I have found they love to sit behind boulders in fast moving water or in an eddy which allows them to grab tasty a morsel with out doing much work.
Trout have another cool tactic when ready to ambush their prey, and that is to position themselves right on the edge of fast moving water.
The other thing that I've learned about small stream trout fishing is the multitude of different baits to use. In the Midwest it was big fish big baits. I had no idea that stream trout were small in comparison to retention pond large mouth bass or the northern Wisconsin northern pike, so it became apparent to me that again my Midwest knowledge of fishing wasn't really going to work on my trout fishing adventures.
So, to get started I decided to use a red worm on a number 6 octopus hook with a small split shot up 8 inches from the hook, throw it into the dark water and hope for the best, most times if there are trout in the area they will gladly gobble up a nice juicy red worm.
Stream trout are also attracted to small spinners. I like to use copper or gold blades and green or red bodies, trout are attracted to the flash as it mimics a bait fish in the streams which most seasoned trout anglers know that in Vermont we are loaded with green and black dace and red and black dace and the bigger trout love to snack on them.
When hunting for trout you almost have to be a ninja. A good pair of waders will do the trick which will allow you to get to the place in the water where trout love to hide out. I see a lot of trout anglers in the water with out waders and shake my head on why they like to stand in cold water.
One last thing, and most likely the most important, is safety. It is always a great idea to tell someone where you will be fishing just in case something happens. It will be a starting point for first responders.It's also a good idea to have your phone charged in case there is an emergency, always carry some water with you sun screen and a small first aid kit and never be with out a quality bug spray, with these few tips you will be on your way to some fantastic small stream trout fishing here in the the southern Green Mountains of Vermont.
— Chris Bates and Stephanie Calabro host the popular outdoor TV show "Outdoor Secrets Unwrapped In the Northeast" on Comcast Cable channel 15 (CAT-TV). The show and articles by Bates can be found at www.theoutdoorinsiders.com as well as Facebook. To contact Bates, e-mail him at Chrisbates227@msn.com