The classic approach to trout fishing is with a fly rod and small fly. That is not the only way to catch trout in the Midwest.  Trout can be caught in almost the same manner as most other predator species.

Natural reproduction of trout in the Midwest is somewhat limited but they do reproduce well in a hatchery situation making them easy to stock for recreational purposes. Illinois does two stockings annually in April and October at a number of locations throughout the state. Missouri has trout parks across the state where fish are raised and stocked on site. Iowa does numerous stockings in the northeastern part of the state and has some natural reproduction success. Arkansas it the place to find river run trout, especially in the White River.

Trout are very active fish. They are very accurate sight feeders that also use their sense of smell and lateral line to zero in on the prey.  They are most active when water temperatures are in the 40 to 55-degree range.  Like other finny predators living in water with current, they will find the edge of the current and wait just out of it for prey to be washed to them.

Trout are a fish with very small scales. It makes them slippery to the touch and sometimes difficult to hold on to while removing hooks.

Probably the most often rig used to catch trout in the Midwestern states is lure/bait on the end of light line from a bait casting or spinning reel. Many anglers who use this rig are not avid trout anglers but rather are taking advantage of a supplemental fishing opportunity.

These anglers use a variety of baits including such items as cheese, Velveeta cheese spread, worms, bits of nightcrawler and even small minnows. Gold hooks in the size 6 to 8 are the most popular.

Often children will use a small float or bobber in the pursuit of trout. Trout recreational programs will often recommend such a rig as it makes a bit easier to identify for both the child and companion supervisors.

With more active trout anglers, the spinning rig is the most popular. A 6-foot light to medium light rod is a good place to start.  Lures should be limited to an inch and one half or shorter.  The open face reel can be spooled with camo green line of 4 to 6 pound test.  The lighter 4-pound line for is good.

When using jigs to catch trout, pink or rainbow colors are a primary choice. A second choice is red and orange combined with brown.  The lighter colors are for stained water and the later in clean water.  Crappie type jigs are best and the hook end should remain covered.

One can also use some of the mico-crankbaits with a split shot to help keep them down in the water. Billed crankbaits like those made by Rapala in sliver for cloudy water and gold for clear water work well.

Less common in trout fishing are the use of plastic worms. They should not be over one inch in length.  Most common colors are pink and white as they tend to resemble live bait when threaded onto a hook.  Again the point should not be exposed.  The worm can be threaded so as to cover the knot on the other end.  Split shot added about 2-feet above the worm and hook helps suspend them just off the bottom.

Because trout are so scent sensitive use unscented soap when handling terminal tackle. It helps to keep his scent off the tackle.  Apply a few drops and later rinses it off with water.

During times of muddy water conditions stalk trout and fool them into biting with a lures with big profiles, vibration or with scent applied to lures/baits. In river conditions the best hours are the last ones at dusk and early dawn.  In high water, they will be found behind structure out of the current.

Finally, when you think you have a fish hooked do not try to rip him out of the water with a jerk over your head. The best way to land the fish is with a sideways swing of the rod to set the hook.  Then you can elevate the rod to allow the fish to fight the rod and not your muscles.


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