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The “Best” Approach for Early Season Trout

Trout season will soon be underway, but over the next few weeks, many trout fishermen will be anxiously planning where to go and what equipment, lures, or bait to use for those early season trout. Of course, everybody wants success and the best possible outcome, so a lot of thought goes into choosing the “best” approach. The problem is I don’t believe there is “a best” approach, but rather, there are several excellent techniques that will put a bend or maybe even many bends into that fishing rod.

As I already mentioned, there is no single method or piece of equipment that will guarantee success everywhere and every time. The truth is, a lot of times, it’s not what you are using to catch fish but rather how you are utilizing it. There is a variety of equipment, lures, and baits that will produce in many situations, but I believe what’s more important is not so much what you are using but how well do you utilize it.

I’ve been fishing for about 60 years now, and I’ve seen a lot of different approaches to taking early season trout, and many were quite successful. Over those years, I’ve tried a lot of the different approaches myself and found that the more familiar and the better I understood the different methods, the more success I had.

For example, when in high school, I was fortunate to have an expert salmon egg fisherman teach me his highly successful technique. We would often catch and release dozens of trout in a single day. At the same time, I would frequently watch other fishermen become very frustrated when using salmon eggs because they would often miss hits, or lose their bait and not even know it. One of the keys to success was holding the rod tip high and keeping a tight line as you “felt” the bait roll and bump along the bottom in a natural movement.

Over the years, I also watched minnow fishermen having great success, and I made it a point to pick their brains and try to learn the technique; the more I learned, the more adept I became using this approach. The same was true when it came to fishing artificials like in-line spinners: I’m talking C.P. Swings, Mepps, and other similar type spinners. Trust me, in-line spinners can be a very rewarding technique, especially for early season trout. Still, like all the other techniques, it is important to utilize the right size lure, the proper outfit, and a proper presentation.

Also, back in those early years of fishing, I had a couple of good friends — one was my family doctor, and the other was one of my high school teachers — take me under their wing and teach me a number of different ways to take trout with a flyrod. Like all the other methods, rods, and lures, it was all about learning how to hold, cast, retrieve, present, and sometimes feel before I began to have any success.

By the way, feel is often a very important part of fishing success. Just as feeling the hit when fishing a delicate salmon egg, I found the same to be true when “high-sticking” an artificial nymph on a fly rod; the only difference in the two methods is the type of equipment used.

Obviously, there are a number of different techniques that will be successful in taking those early season trout. Over the past twenty years or so, I have pretty much dedicated myself to fly fishing for trout. I’m still trying to master all of the techniques available in that realm of fishing, but it’s probably more important to note that it may not be what you choose, but rather how proficient you become with your choice.

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