TACKLE FOR ILLINOIS TROUT FISHING   1 comment

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Fishing for Midwestern trout is usually a little different than in western or eastern waters.  This is due to the fact that most Midwestern trout are hatchery raised and often found in ponds as opposed to rivers and streams.  Such is the case with Illinois’ catchable trout season which begins in April.

With the exception of Devils Kitchen Lake in Williamson County, the local trout are placed in the ponds and small lakes of some 50 locations a week or so prior to the opening.  The fish are usually all caught by the arrival of the warm summer temperatures which raise the water temperatures beyond that habitable for trout.

Devils Kitchen Lake is a very deep lake and the water does not get as warm allowing the fish to survive.

Spin tackle in the main Midwestern choice for trout fishing.  Out west and east there is more fly fishing.

You want a relatively light rod to match the style of fishing you are doing.  Light to medium-light action is best because it is very soft and limber allowing the casting of very small lures.  The reason for the preference of the open spinning reel for trout is the use lighter line.   It works well with 4 to 6 pound test line.  Typically drag is better too.

The closed face spinning reel tends to allow light line to bunch up on the reel.  It does not cast as well if you get a snag or after you catch a fish.  Closed face reels are for use with heavier line and for more basic fishing.

Most trout respond to lures of 1 1/2 inch or less.  In stained water you might want to use something a little larger.

Some anglers like a camo-green line because it does not put off the fish.  You can also get away with a little heaver line.  You might up-grade to 6 to 8 pound line.  You might use the heaver line with a 2 foot leader of the lighter line.  Fluorocarbon line in the 2-lb and 3-lb size tends to be brittle.  Four pound monofilament line works.

For lures you can use anything from micro jigs up.  Pink and rainbow trout seem to go together.  Red, brown and orange are good colors for brown trout.  You can dress a jig by putting a bobber six or eight feet above it.  It is not as a strike indicator.  But, rather it gives the line additional weight for casting.  In clear water a clear bobber is best.  If you need to cast a long way you can put some water in the bobber or add split shot.  You adjust the bobber according to the water depth you are wanting to fish.

If you are getting short strikes because the fish is attacking the feather portion of the jig presentation, trim the tail making the whole presentation shorter and closer to the hook.

Using the floating micro-crankbaits you can make them go lower than two or three feet by adding a split shot.  Maybe you will want to put a large enough split shot on that the bait to make it actually sink.  Let them sink longer to really fish deeper and not as long to go shallower.

For larger brown trout try a minnow crankbait.  In deeper water you can throw a crankbait that has a larger bill on it.  The longer the bill on a hard bodied bait, the deeper it will go.  If it is one that suspends, you crank the bait down and then twitch it back.  It works in really deep water.

Spinners catch more fish than any other class of lure.  More people use them.  It is basically a piece of metal that goes round and round.  It creates a visual flash and a good deal of vibration.  Fish will pick up the vibration through the lateral line and will come from a long way away.  In clear water the flash is a big advertisement.

Spoons with a wide waddle, the wider lure, are good.  The width and weight of the spoon will determine what part of the water column you are fishing.  A wider spoon works better in the upper part of the column.  Buoyant spoons seem to have the kind of waddle preferred by trout.

The technique is simply to cast and retrieve it.  You can vary the speed of the retrieve or you can cast it and allow the spoon to sink.  Simple is good when trout fishing.  It is what you are going to do most of the time if you are to be successful.

Try natural bait.  Trout have an amazing ability to consume large baits when it comes to natural ones.  They are little Billy goats.  If they are hungry they are going to eat it.  They do often prefer only very tiny offerings but it they are hungry they will take almost anything in the tackle box.

If you are fishing highly pressured areas use smaller line, smaller presentations, and be a little quieter.  In an area with a lot of trout get out your favorite lure and make it work.

Dough bait is a big Power Bait that has is not pelletized.  Power baits work best on single hooks and dough baits work best on treble hooks.   They both can add scent and color.   Scented baits add not only a scent for the fish to follow but also cover your human scent.

A couple drops of unscented soap will clean unwanted smells from your hands.  Just apply rub hands together and rinse in the water.  Use anything without perfume in it.

In spring with muddy water start fishing with something that has more vibration as a presentation.  Use scented lures and worry less about the size of the lure.  The bigger the profile the more water moved and the more vibration created.  The scent is a bonus.

When the water is low use a hook with a piece of nightcrawler on it fish.

The best way to handle a trout if you plan to release it is to grab the lure without touching the fish and with the fish still in the water.  If you use a net, get one that is very fine mesh.  Large mess will damage the fish.  Dunk the net before using it to hold the fish.  Leave the net in the water as you remove the lure.  Forceps are best for removing the lure.

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One response to “TACKLE FOR ILLINOIS TROUT FISHING

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  1. Great article Don, I would like to mention that Grandt Rods makes a line of very light EGLASS rods from 4’6 to 6’6 for trout. Awesome very flexible rods that we sell all over the country for trout. Very Good rods with small trout and tough bites. They throw #0 and 1 Mepps well and great to float live worms and fly with water floats. You can find them under the EGLASS section on our website http://www.grandtrods.com

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