Imagine yourself sitting on the shore of high mountainous lake. The sun is just cresting the opposing ridge line. The refreshing smells of the tall ponderosa pines fill your lungs. Your lines are baited and in position just as the sun hits the water for the first time that day. The feeling of catching fish is ominous. The conditions are just right and you know your in position to catch some trout because you read my most effective summer trout fishing tips article just a few days prior.
Well, at least I hope you did anyways.
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Do you want to catch more summer trout? Well you have come to the right place. Today I’m going to go over some of my most prized tips on catching trout in lakes.
Now I know what your thinking, you already know how to catch summer trout…..but do you?
All About Trout – Summer Fishing Tips
Before we dive straight into my tips on catching summer trout let us first understand the species in a little more detail.
You see the rainbow trout has been introduced to almost every country in the world at this point. They live on every continent and they thrive (except Antarctica).
Rainbow trout have been a huge part of our diet for hundreds of years. Trout farms have been operational since the late 1800’s.
At an age 3-5 years a trout will begin to spawn and lay its eggs. In a single year this can be as many as 8,000 eggs.
They find a place that is as close to home as they can find, search out a gravel bed, and place their eggs.
Trout will tolerate temperatures between 30 degrees and 70 degrees. This is where a trout can survive without hardships. Trout are most happy however at temps between 55 and 60 degrees. This is where they flourish.
At temps between 55 and 60 degrees a trouts metabolism is prime. It will be more active moving throughout the day. With that comes and appetite that must be dealt with.
Lets talk a little more about these temperatures a little more and why exactly they are important.
Find the Thermocline in Summer
Say what? What the heck is a thermocline?
Well you see the water column is broken up onto three parts.
You have the upper layer of the water column that see the sun all day during the summer months. This layer is the warmest of the three layers and has the least amount of oxygen.
The bottom layer of the water Column is the coldest layer. This layer hardly if ever sees the light of day. This layer also has the highest oxygen content.
That middle layer of the water column is the sweet spot. This layer is called the thrermocline and it is just right for aquatic life to thrive.
The zooplankton thrive in the thermocline. Guess what eats zooplankton? If you guessed minnows or fry you are correct. And here’s another tough question. Can you guess what eats minnows and small fry? Well everything else in the water does but for this article were going to go with the rainbow trout.
The thermocline can change throughout the seasons. In the summer time the thermocline can be anywhere from 8 feet all the way down to 150 feet depending on where you are in the world.
In the United States we can typically have a thermocline between 35 and 75 feet in the summer months between July and September.
Fish Inlets and Outlets for Trout
Inlets and outlets are going to have moving water which creates a number of advantages for the trout fisherman.
The first advantage is going to be a more abundant supply of food. Bugs, grubs, plankton, and small fish will be brought into and out of lakes via inlets and outlets. Trout are not stupid they know this as well.
Another distinct advantage that we have already touched on is water temperature. The inlets are constantly moving. Even the water beneath the surface has a can have a small amount of current. This keeps the water temps from rising too much.
Finally the third advantage to fishing inlets and outlets is oxygen content. As new water enter the lake it brings with it a fresh supply of oxygen creating a more conducive environment for life.
Here are a couple more summer trout fishing tips.
Fish the Dams for Trout
Dams are a key location on any lake for a couple different reasons.
Most trout resivoiurs will be man made. Not always but typically dams are lined with large boulders to prevent erosion. These large rocks provide a great habitat for smelt, shiners, minnows, crawdads, and the like. When these smaller creatures venture out to feed you better believe those trout are going to be there ready to gram a easy snack.
The second reason, and maybe the more obvious reason that dams are a great location to key in on for trout, is the depth. Dams are the deepest spots a lot of times on the entire lake. This depth will create cooler waters.
In the summer months remember we are trying to key in on that 55 – 60 degree range. So we don’t want to plummet out baits all the way to the bottom unless that’s where the prime temperature happens to be.
Fish Points for Summer Trout
A point is a finger of the shoreline the sticks out into the body of water.
Points provide a lot of habitat for fry and crawdads, two of the main pieces of a summer trouts diet.
Points can be a lucrative place to find summer trout. They tend to have a gradual taper of the tip of the point that slowly moves into the water. The sides of a point can hold deeper water.
The elements make find the thermocline easier. If your able to find the thermocline likely chances are you will catch fish.
Best Time to Catch Trout in a Lake
This tip is a more of a known fact but I am going to go over it again anyways. Trout typically feed at dawn and dusk the most. This isn’t to say you cant catch trout all day long in a lake because you most definitely can.
You see, at dawn and dusk is when the insect become more active. Than ants go marching, the mosquitoes start flying curiously, and the bait-fish are hungry. When these creatures become active you can bet the trout will become active as well.
There are other factors that can influence the bite to turn on or off throughout the day as well. Local weather events and full moons are just some of these influences.
If you are lucky enough to get some random cloud cover in the middle of summer this can be a game changer for trout fishing in summer. Cloud cover can offer a break form the beating sun. Trout don’t like to roast in the sun either.
As we mentioned just a moment ago a full moon or just a bright moon can change the bite for fisherman. In my experience this is especially true in the summer trout fishing months.
The brightness all night long can be a big factor. This can cause the trout to feed all night long and sleep during the day. In my experience this isn’t always a guarantee that you wont catch fish.
Summer Trout Fishing Lures
It can sometime be hard to try and find the thermocline while fishing from shore because you have no fish finder to tell you. In these instances we have to experiment a little bit.
I like to use whats called the countdown method. In general, a 1/2 ounce lure will sink 1 foot per second. Using this method to find depth we have to start eliminating depths.
Start by casting out and immediately beginning your retrieve. Make two or three casts this way before eliminating the upper level of the water column. The next three casts you should count to 5 before beginning your retrieve.
Keep eliminating water until you catch a fish or get a bite. Replicate the same actions that induced a strike again and again to try and develop a pattern.
One of my best summer trout fishing tips, Panther Martins have been mention a few times over the months that this blog has been around. The panther martin comes in plenty of sizes to really get down to that thermocline layer we have been talking about.
Use the 1/8 ounce or 1/2 ounce sizes to really get the cast out there as far as you can. This variety pack comes with Panther Martins 3 most popular colors and in 2 different sizes.
Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Spinner
These are another great lure for getting down to the 35-50 foot range because of the 5/8 ounce size of the bait. These will cast a little further than the panther martins and give off a ton of vibration.
If your interested in more lures that will catch trout, head on over and read my best trout lures.
Best Live Bait for Rainbow Trout
In my article 11 Proven Tactics to Catch More Trout, I talk a lot about where and why to fish bait.
Summer trout fishing is not that different when it comes to live bait for rainbows. You are going to want to use something that is natural in the trouts environment.
Diet will include minnows, crawdads, night crawlers, meal worms, red worms, crickets, and grasshoppers just to name a few.
PRO TIP – Want to know what the best live bait for rainbow trout is? Its minnows. Grab yourself a fishing float, a split shot, and a single barbed hook and you have some real potential to catch some large summer trout.
If your not sure how to rig a fishing float, no worries. I have a guide for that too. Just click the link to take you over there.
Set the depth of your sliding fishing float to about 40 feet. Put a split shot about a foot in front of the minnow and chuck that puppy out there. The minnow will sink to a depth of 40 feet and become some prime food for hungry tout.
Conclusion – Summer Trout Fishing Tips
Lets recap our article
Best Summer Trout Fishing Tips
- Find & Fish the thermocline
- Fish inlets/outlets
- Fish near dams
- Points offer variance in depth and habitat
- Best time to catch trout is generally dawn/dusk
- Summer tout fishing lures – Panther Martin and Blue Fox.
- Best live bait for rainbow trout – Minnows
I sure hope you have enjoyed this article and even learned a thing or two.
Let me know what your favorite tip was down below in the comment. Also, if you have a tip that was not on this article I would love to hear about it.
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