Trout are an oily fish, and are closely related to salmon. Whilst most trout will live out their lives in freshwater lakes and rivers, some trout will travel out to sea for a couple of years and then return to freshwater to spawn, much like salmon.
Trout are aggressive, opportunistic hunters. But they are smart!
Trout tend to favour cooler temperatures, so do really well in mountain lakes and clear highland streams. The ideal temperatures range from 50-60 F or 10-16 C.
They are native to North America, Europe and northern Asia. They were introduced to New Zealand and Australia.
Trout like structure in the water, like trees or weed. they like drop-offs, some like shallow flats, and they are even found in deep featureless water. They can be found virtually anywhere in the water column. When temperatures are low, trout will tend to be in 15-20 feet of water. When it is hot, they will go deep. Trout are also known to hunt the surface, especially at night.
Because of their instinct to travel upstream to spawn, when the water temperature drops and days shorten, the hormones in the brood fish are triggered. Shortening days stimulate egg production as well, and their instinct to head to a spawning ground is triggered. Even in landlocked lakes, they will tend to head upstream, and an ideal spawning grounds would include swift following water and loose pebbles or gravel – oxygen must keep running over the eggs, and there must be as little mud as possible so the eggs aren’t suffocated. The female will cover the eggs with gravel after breeding and leave. The male often stays to protect the nest.
When the trout are spawning is often the best time to catch them, but you should check your local regulations, as some areas restrict the trout season to non-spawning times of the year. Brown trout spawn in the fall and other trout often wait until the early spring.
Spawning season is also usually over the cooler months, when the temperatures are right for the trout to be active and feeding aggressively. It is better to fish for trout in cooler weather than hot weather.
An aggressive trout preparing to breed will usually take a lure or fly – but try not to disturb a fish that is spawning. Alternatively, just downstream from where the trout are spawning, there are usually lots of other fish who are feeding on the loose eggs that have drifted down to them. Trout and other fish will park themselves in a deep pool below the spawning grounds, which is a ripe place to fish.