Trout Facts

I’ve always been intrigued by trout, even since before I ever picked up a fly rod.  There’s something romantic about the idea of standing in a cold Rocky Mountain river, casting to rising fish, and hoping that the next cast will bring a fish to your net.  Further romanticized fly fishing has become ever since A River Runs Through it came out what seems like a really long time ago now…

Now, I hear people say all too often that trout are smart.  I’ve spent a substantial amount of time thinking about this very statement, and although some days I feel like the trout are outsmarting me, let’s face it.  A trout’s brain is at best, the size of a walnut.  That’s right, a walnut.  So they can’t be that smart.  What I’ve decided is that they are not smart, but they are picky as hell.



Now, not all trout are going to be super picky.  If you’re fishing private water, or have hiked in to some remote lake, stream, or river where there is little to no pressure from fisherman, or better yet, a short season, the fish are likely less picky.  Conversely, if you’re fishing a tail water that’s near a major metropolitan area, you’re likely going to have picky fish and are going to have to get creative so as to see some into your net.

Trout Distilled:

A trout most resembles Homer Simpson.  A trout is lazy, hungry, and wants to expend the least amount of energy possible while being lazy and hungry.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA equals homer-simpson


Ultimately, trout hang out in rivers and streams, in places where they don’t have to swim very hard to maintain position, but where there’s lots food nearby.  Let me explain…

If you go stand next to a river, you’ll usually see rocks sticking out here and there.  Rocks create texture in the water.  What this means is that there could be several seams of water across the river, all offering different speeds of water current.

Now, back to Homer.  Homer is sitting on the couch, he’s comfortable, he’s relaxing, and he’s not far away from the fridge either.  A trout will hold in slower water where there is food coming by in the current so as to expend the least amount of energy possible, while simultaneously feeding.  The picture below shows several seams which I’ll detail further below.




See the dark green water at the log jam between the two rocks?  There were a ton of trout in there…  Why?  Because the water is slower, and it has fast water to the right of it.  This way the fish can easily scout out the food that’s coming by, and also easily move less than 2 feet to get a meal in.

The lesson here is to look for softer, slower channels of water in the river and cast into them, or on the edge of them.  Ask yourself, where in the river would Homer Simpson be?

I talk more about water types, and how to read the water in general in future posts.  Dive into the next lesson about The Water.