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Trout Fishing Guide: Techniques, Equipment and Tips for Beginners and Experts

pesca de truchas
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Trout fishing, that elusive cold water trophy, requires a special approach, a fine blend of patience, technique and the right equipment. In this post, we guide you step by step to choose your equipment, understand the species, recommend lures and rigs, techniques and best times to fish for it.

Understanding Trout: Habitats and Behaviours

To become a good trout angler, it is essential to understand the habitats and behaviours of trout, understanding where the key to anticipating and responding to their movements lies.


Trout are found in a variety of water bodies, each offering a unique environment with different challenges and opportunities.

  • Rivers and streams: Trout love the cool, oxygenated waters of rivers and streams, where current plays a crucial role in their survival. They prefer areas with abundant cover, such as rocks, fallen logs and abrupt changes in depth that offer protection from predators and strong currents, as well as opportunities for ambushing prey.
  • Lakes and reservoirs: In lakes, trout can be found both in shallow water near the shore and in deep water, depending on the season and water temperature. In these environments, they feed on a diverse diet that includes insects, crustaceans and smaller fish.

Trout Behaviour Throughout the Year

Trout not only change their location according to the season, but also adapt to the conditions in order to survive and get more food.

  • Spring: The best and worst time to fish for trout, I explain. In early spring with the water temperature rising, the trout will be in their spawning phase, at that time the big females are very aggressive and easier to catch but a bad handling or an excess of stress can make them lose the year’s spawn, this spawn is the future of the river or lake, don’t forget it. So mid to late spring, once the spawning is over, is a good time to start fishing for trout without fear of ruining the spawn.
  • Summer: As water temperatures rise,trout seek refuge in cooler, more oxygenated waters. They often move deeper into lakes or seek out rivers with fast, cold currents. Fishing at dawn or dusk, when temperatures are cooler, tends to be more productive.
  • Autumn: This is a heavy feeding period for trout, my favourite, as they need to feed for the harsh winter months. Fishing activity can be excellent, as trout take advantage of the availability of food before the cold weather arrives.
  • Winter: During the colder months, trout activity decreases significantly. They move less and eat less, seeking out deep water and slower areas.

Trout fishing in Spain

The trout is one of the most endemic species of the Iberian Peninsula, being the predator par excellence of all our bodies of water. Nowadays it only lives wild in certain rivers and lakes, this is due to several factors in which the human being has had a hand. Dams, weirs, water pollution and the introduction of invasive species that prey on them and compete for the same positions in rivers and reservoirs.

To all these factors we also have to add that of the fishing preserves, created to satisfy the angler alone, although I am not against them, as without them many of us would not even smell a trout. But we have to understand that to cast 150 trout in a stretch of river every week for about 3 months, is a lot of competition for the wild trout, reducing the food and postures of these areas.

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So we have what we have sown, a bestial shortage of wild trout and in decline every year.

Here is a link in case you are interested in where to fish for trout near madrid.

Trout Fishing Equipment

I always say that the equipment is something very personal and difficult to recommend as it depends a lot on your fishing style, your scenarios and the size of fish you want to catch, so I will give you some basic advice about the different equipment and then you decide what suits you best.

If you don’t want to complicate your life go for spinning tackle, for such light lures and soft rods casting becomes a world apart which we have already talked about in this other post, BFS (Bait finesse fishing) tackle.

Rods, Reels and Lines

  • Light or Medium Light tip action rods in sizes 6.5 to 7 feet for river trout, for lakes and rivers that allow longer casts.
  • Reels sizes 1000 to 1500 will be more than enough, the quality will depend on the nose you have and the money you want to spend.
  • I think that the line is the most important part of the equipment, my advice is to always use braided line and as fine as possible depending on the conditions of the scenario we want to fish. I always use a PE 0.8 with a fluorocarbon bass which I increase or decrease the diameter depending on the conditions. It may be a thin line but with a good FG and the reel brake adjusted I assure you that it will hold a lot.

In my case I use a ST croix Victory Medium – Extra fast 6.8, shimano Vanquish reel and YGK 0.8 PE braid for fishing with small lures and in small areas.

In the case of bigger lakes and heavier lures I use a Daiwa prorex Mh – Fast 7.8 daiwa prorex reel and YGK 0.8 PE line, this rig allows me to fish with heavier lures, cast longer distances and have more hooking power in deep areas.

Both rigs are suitable for fishing for big trout in a multitude of scenarios.

Trout Fishing Guide: Techniques, Equipment and Tips for Beginners and Experts 1

Lures and baits for trout fishing

Here I can put a thousand lures that fish but without any doubt the one that for me is the best lure for trout fishing is the black minnow in size 70 and size 90.

Yes, there are many others, cheaper, more durable and with better colours but I assure you that this lure fishes in many occasions.

It is very typical for trout fishing with spoons but I personally don’t like it at all, it twists the line, it is a lure that has little mystery and it bores me, I know that sometimes it is very effective but I try not to use it in my fishing days.

Best lures for trout

  1. Black minnow size 70 and 90, weights according to depths and currents.
  2. Jerkbaits, for my suspending taste, sizes according to scenarios and trout sizes.
    • Megabass Vision Oneten Jr
    • Rapala Minnow Countdown Slow Sinking 70 mm 8g, a well known rapala for trout
    • Rapala Original Flotante 5cm, another legendary one
    • DUO Realis Rozante 63SP
    • Duo Realis 85SP
    • Jerkbait Chinook 7cm ( Cheap version)
    • Jerkbait chinook 5cm (Cheap version)
  3. Spoonsand wigglers, another very used and very effective lure. I particularly don’t use it because I don’t like it.
    • Savage Gear Grub Spinners, is the one I recommend the most because its design makes it less likely to break the line.
  4. Other vinyls
    • Mmz 4,5″ OSP Lombriz
    • Storm Wildeye 8cm
    • Roshi R-SHAD 50, 70 and 90
  5. Power Tail 30

This is my list of the most effective lures for this species, if you think there is a better one than these please post it in the comments.

Trout hooks

I have already said it before but I would like to emphasize it, trout have a much softer mouth area than predators like pike, pike perch, black bass etc… that’s why we should avoid trebles and hook kill as much as possible.

I personally like hooks that have a big eyelet, it gives more mobility when you fight the fish and avoids the hooks from unhooking.

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Tips for trout spinning fishing

The first tip I give you is to know the fish and how it moves in different scenarios, sometimes in two different rivers it will behave in the same way or similar but sometimes it will be totally different. In lakes things change even more because it can be much more complex to locate the hunting areas. So you have to spend hours on the bank and draw conclusions, maybe what works for me doesn’t work for you, and it may simply be a question of confidence.

Always fish upstream, never downstream.

With wild trout take care of even the smallest detail, remember that they are wary fish that have many predators so be aware of the shadows you cast, wind direction to try to hide the noise, how you enter the river, the shadow of your lure, the fall… and so many more small details that can make the difference between fishing or not.

When we talk about stocked trout, things change and although they are still fish, they are much less elusive and fall much more easily to the lure.

Adapt your equipment, I have already spoken to you about them and carrying equipment that is too big or the other way round, too light, can cause you to lose a lot of fish or lures.

Reading the Water: Interpreting Currents and Structures

Once you know how to read what the water is telling you, your days will become much more productive, your casts will be where you know a trout is likely to be positioned and not just where you know it will be, so you will get the most out of your time on the water.

Locating Trout

Trout are naturally lazy fish, in rivers they will always look for areas where they don’t have to make a big effort to stay static and food will pass as close to them as possible. That way it will make small lateral movements to eat and then return to its position.

That is why with a little experience it is relatively easy to find its hunting positions.

In reservoirs the situation is quite different, as they are still waters, the trout try to find areas with abrupt changes in depth, trees and submerged structures, shadows and obstacles on the banks.

In reservoirs, the time of year also has a great influence, as the most extreme climates, such as winter and summer, will tend to be in deeper layers, while in spring and autumn, with milder temperatures, they will be in higher layers of water.

En los embalses la situación es bien distinta, al tratarse de aguas tranquilas, las truchas tratan de buscar zonas con cambios bruscos de profundidad, árboles y estructuras sumergidas, sombras y obstáculos en las orillas.

En los embalses también influye mucho la época del año, ya que en los climas más extremos, como invierno y verano, tenderán a estar en capas más profundas, mientras que en primavera y otoño, con temperaturas más suaves, estarán en capas más altas del agua.

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Dry trout

This is the pinnacle of fishing, it requires a great deal of knowledge to know how to read the water, a lot of observation to know where the trout is being baited and which insect, mastering the cast and precision with a fly rod and adapting the equipment to the conditions.

It is an art and a lot of dedication to control this type of fishing, but it is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding.

The equipment used is usually rods of between 2 to 5# floating lines and tippets and nylon leaders for greater buoyancy. As for dry flies, there are a thousand different patterns and set-ups for every occasion. Here are some of the most typical ones.

  • Adams: This is one of the most versatile and well-known fly fishing rigs. It imitates a wide variety of adult insects, from mayflies to caddis and midges. Its grey body design, V-wings and brown and grey hackle make it irresistible to trout.
  • Royal Wulff: An attractive, easy-to-see setup in the water thanks to its segmented peacock and red quill body with white wings and brown hackle. It is excellent for fast, turbulent water where a visible, floating fly is needed.
  • Elk Hair Caddis: This rig mimics the adult caddis, a common insect in many rivers and lakes. The distinguishing feature is its elk hair wing, which gives it great buoyancy and a realistic profile. It is effective in a variety of conditions and is easy to adapt in different colours to mimic various caddis species.

Trout streamers

Streamers are a type of fly used in fly fishing designed to imitate forage fish, crabs, leeches, and other large prey in the water. Unlike dry flies and nymphs, which usually imitate insects and their larval stages, streamers are larger and are fished with an active motion to simulate the swimming action of prey. They are especially effective for catching large trout, as these tend to feed on larger prey as they grow.

Here are some of the most legendary stremears

  • Woolly Bugger: Perhaps the most versatile and well-known streamer. With its feathery body and marabou tail, it is excellent at mimicking a variety of prey, from leeches to small forage fish and insect larvae.
  • Muddler Minnow: This streamer imitates a minnow and is famous for its sculpted deer hair head, which creates a distinctive profile and bubbles when picked up through the water.
  • Zonker: With its rabbit fur body giving it very realistic movement in the water, the Zonker is fantastic for imitating forage fish and can be tied in a variety of colours to suit different water conditions.

Toc fishing

Toc fishing is a traditional and very effective technique for catching trout, especially valued for its simplicity and the close contact it allows with the natural environment. This method is based on the direct presentation of natural bait, such as worms, nymphs, or small fish, to the fish, using a rod, line, and sinker to detect the “toc” or bite of the fish.

Main characteristics

  • Natural Bait: Toc fishing is done with natural bait such as worms, insect larvae, small crustaceans or pieces of fish, depending on the natural diet of the trout in the fishing environment.
  • Sensitive Equipment: A light, flexible rod with a thin line is used to maximise sensitivity and to be able to detect the subtle bites of the trout. Rod lengths vary, but are generally longer than standard spinning rods to allow better control of the bait from a distance.
  • Lead: A small sinker or series of sinkers is used to ensure that the bait stays close to the bottom, where the trout are likely to feed. The key is to adjust the weight of the sinker so that it allows the bait to move naturally with the current, without dragging along the bottom.
  • Fishing Technique: Basically we cast the bait upstream and let it drift downstream, keeping the line taut to feel the “toc” or bite of the trout. Detecting the bite requires a lot of attention and sensitivity, as it can often be very subtle.

It is not my speciality as I am not a fan of fishing with natural bait but it is very effective. Be careful because there are communities that have banned fishing with natural bait.

When is the best time to fish for trout?

Weather and moon phases have a significant influence on trout activity and, therefore, on trout fishing. Understanding how these factors affect trout behaviour can greatly improve the likelihood of catching them or not.

Trout Fishing Guide: Techniques, Equipment and Tips for Beginners and Experts 2

Influence of Meteorology

Water temperature: Activity is strongly influenced by water temperature. They prefer a specific temperature range (generally between 10°C and 18°C), and their feeding activity may decrease when temperatures fall outside this range. Trout may seek deeper water or shaded areas during warmer days, while on colder days they may be less active.

2. Atmospheric Pressure: Changes in atmospheric pressure can affect the feeding behaviour of fish. Generally, a drop in atmospheric pressure (indicating the approach of a bad weather front) may stimulate trout to feed more actively. After the front has passed and pressure begins to rise, they may become less active.

3. Rain: Rain can have several effects. Light to moderate rain can increase activity by oxygenating the water and flushing insects and other prey into the river. However, heavy rains can foul the water and cause them to take refuge until conditions improve.

4. Cloud cover: Cloudy days often provide ideal conditions, as the lack of shadows and direct sunlight makes them feel safer to feed in shallow water and near the surface.

Influence of Moon Phases

There is a lot written about moon phases and I always say the same thing, I fish when I can and it so happens that when the moon is in its best phase I can’t go, it’s bad weather or a thousand other stories that prevent me from fishing. So this is just a guideline, if you want to go fishing, GO FISHING, don’t let yourself be influenced.

Moon phases: The moon affects the tides and, although this is more relevant for sea fishing, it can also influence rivers and lakes. Some anglers believe that during the full and new moon, activity may increase due to changes in lunar gravity that affect their feeding behaviour.

2. Moonlight: Moonlight at night can influence nocturnal behaviour. During a full moon, trout may feed more actively at night, taking advantage of the additional light to hunt, which may decrease their activity at dawn.

3. Feeding cycles: Some studies suggest that moon phases may affect feeding cycles with peaks of activity coinciding with specific moon phases. However, these effects may be more subtle and vary depending on the specific locality and environment.

In summary, both meteorology and moon phases play a role in fisheries in general. However, it is important to remember that these are just some of the many factors that can influence fishing, and personal experience, observation and local knowledge will always be valuable tools for any angler.

Catch and Release

The way our waters are nowadays I think it is very important to take care of the animal as much as possible and to practice catch and release, especially with wild trout, but in the wild it is a different story.

That is why it is highly recommended to remove the death of the hooks, to use simple hooks as much as possible, to use sacks with nylon net, to respect spawning times, to keep the fish out of the water as little time as possible, etc… etc.

These are small things that can make the difference between having rivers and lakes with a lot of life and having dead environments with a shortage of fish.

Frequently asked questions

¿Qué equipo necesito para empezar a pescar truchas?

Para la pesca de truchas, se recomienda una caña de acción ligera a media, con un trenzado de entre 0.08 y 0.18 mm para equilibrar resistencia y sensibilidad. Los señuelos deberían variar según la técnica y las condiciones del agua, pero los colores naturales como el plateado y el dorado son particularmente atractivos para las truchas

¿Cuáles son los señuelos más efectivos para pescar truchas?

La efectividad de los señuelos depende mucho de la confianza en los mismos, algunos de los más populares son cucharillas, moscas secas y perdigones o ninfas, señuelos de vinilo, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, y jigs. Cada uno tiene sus propias ventajas y puede ser más adecuado para diferentes condiciones de agua y comportamientos de truchas

Os dejamos algunos de los mejores vídeos de pesca de truchas gigantes

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