Catching Trout as Winter Turns to Spring

The winter to spring transition can be one of the more difficult times of the year to catch trout, even stocked trout. Slightly warming temperatures, ever-changing water conditions, and fly hatches can start putting anglers digging for different baits in the tackle box or the fly box. Just don’t dig too deep into the tackle box and get that small hook wedged in your hand. Don’t ask me how I know.I personally love the winter to spring trout transition. The biggest reason being the warmer water temperatures will boost the trouts metabolism, driving an uptick in the trout feeding and putting the trout more on the bite! And to capture on feeding trout coming out of winter conditions, utilize these trout fishing tips:Recognize Water Temperature Changes – As water temperatures start to warm up, trout patterns start to change. Moving to deeper water, moving into faster flowing waters, and eating more food. Once you recognize the normal winter trout fishing techniques or baits are not working, or the trout are not holding in the usual winter winter, it’s time to make adjustments into spring tactics.Play Around with Bait Size – I keep my winter trout baits super small or as small as I can. But once the winter to spring transition starts, I experiment with different bait size. I typically start the day with the smaller baits like it’s true winter fishing, then I size up my baits depending on the conditions and how the bite is going. But don’t go super big, or you will have a super frustrating day. Save those big baits for the late spring and the summer!Be Patient – Winter trout fishing can be challenging and test an angler’s patience and persistence to keep making casts for maybe that one catch of the day. Trust the process, but do not get frustrated if you go a day without a bite. You will have some tough stretches. But continue to make adjustments to baits, scent, locations. Patience is a virtue and the trout will repay you with a bite or five.Inches Can Make the Difference – I walk up to a fishing hole or spot, surveying the water. I make the first cast, nothing. Another cast, nothing. A few more casts, nothing. But then you make that cast just a few inches to the left and 2 inches farther out and bang, fish on! Life can be a game of inches, and that includes fishing. The cold winter to spring waters are still not warm for the trout to want to exert a ton of energy, so making those extra casts in different positions can just be the ticket, and it all comes down to inches and putting that bait right in the trouts face!Focus on Afternoon Fishing – As the winter to spring transition starts, I continue to focus on the afternoon fishing. Letting the sun get as high as possible and the outside temperature as warm as possible to fish the water at it’s warmest. Sleeping in and hitting the afternoon bite as all the early morning anglers head home without a bite can be a warm feeling when you hook that first fish.

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