Many years ago private estates controlled fishing for trout. Today trout fishing is available for every angler.
There are three kinds of trout that can be caught in the British Isles: brown trout, rainbow trout and sea trout.
The brown trout is found in fast flowing waters and in some lakes and reservoirs. They can grow to be large specimens reaching weights of around 9kg; however, the average trout landed is more likely to be about half a kilogram.
All trout have a distinctive speckled colouration but the brown trout can vary in colour. Dark, peaty water will contain dark fish and in clear water the trout will have a lighter colouration.
Rainbow trout have been stocked in rivers and stillwaters and can be distinguished from brown trout by its pinkish sheen.
In rivers that hold salmon there are likely to be sea trout. Their behaviour is similar to salmon because they too return from the sea to spawn in freshwater. Sea trout tend to be more silver in colour than the brown trout and the rainbow trout.
There are three methods of catching trout.
Bait FishingA general-purpose rod fitted with a fixed-spool reel is the best choice for the angler new to bait fishing for trout. On the reel put on line of about 4lbs breaking strain and hooks of size 14 or 16 are suitable.
Float fishing and legering will catch trout and for these two methods there is a choice of bait:
Traditionally, worm has been the standard bait for successful trout fishing. Try lobworms dug from the garden or pick some redworms from the compost heap.
For many trout anglers, maggots are the bait to rely on. They are readily available from tackle shops and are easy to use. Maggots kept for a few days will turn into casters. Caster is the term used by anglers to describe the chrysalis stage of the maggot's development.
Casters are effective bait for catching trout. Frequently, fish will ignore all other types of bait if casters are being offered.
SpinningTrout are predatory and will attack and devour smaller fish. Spinners are made from brightly coloured metal or plastic and are designed to resemble prey. They rotate and vibrate in the water when they are reeled in and this erratic action stimulates the hunting instinct of trout.
For the novice angler a Mepps spinner is a good choice because it works in deep or shallow water.
Fly FishingSome anglers view fly fishing as the classic method of catching trout and there are two general categories of fly fishing: wet fly fishing and dry fly fishing.
Wet flies are hooks that have been wrapped with bright threads and tiny pieces of feather which are designed to imitate insects and creatures that form part of the trout's natural diet. They are called wet fly because they slowly sink. A wet fly that works well in rivers and streams is March Brown.
Dry flies are also hooks that have been wrapped with thread and feather but have been treated with a water repellent substance that prevents them from sinking. A popular dry fly, which can be used on rivers and stillwaters, is called Adams.
Conventional rods and reels are not used for fly fishing. A specialised fly rod and fly reel is needed as well as fly line for the reel.
TipsTry fly fishing at twilight. Fly anglers know this time of day as "the evening rise". Fish are active and the surface of the water is dimpled with rings made from feeding fish.
Legering beneath overhanging trees is a good place to try because natural food is constantly dropping from branches and leaves.
Don't be in a hurry to lift the spinner out of the water because sometimes trout attack at the last possible moment.