Reading a trout stream is an incredibly important aspect of fishing, yet one that does not always come easy to every angler. Doing it properly means that you need to understand the psychology of trout and how they behave.
The best way to begin reading the area is by approaching it slowly and studying the water and the area surrounding it. Trout specifically love cold water that offers plenty of protection from predators from above and from down below. When you are studying the stream it is a good idea to pay close attention to ripples in the water and areas where the water is forming a whirlpool. You may have found an excellent spot to start fishing if there are ripples along with protection such as a deep cut in the bank, logs, or hanging trees in the area.
It is a good idea to be as cautious as possible when approaching a trout stream as trout have incredibly sensitive eyes. Most trout can see, thanks to movement in light, quite far beyond the stream bank. This is why you should be setting up your gear quite a ways back and keep as low as possible when creeping up on a stream. Approach in a noisy fashion, and without caution, and you will quickly find out how skittish wild trout can be.
Once you have discovered a great spot to start fishing for trout, you will need to figure out how you are going to work the stream. More often than not trout like to sit and face upstream while waiting for food to come to them. Thus, your best bet is to start fishing upstream and try to present some food to the trout in the most natural way possible. If this doesn’t work after a little while then you may want to indulge in a little more motion as trout can be lured into reacting, even if they are not hungry.
Another important factor when fishing in a trout stream is scent. Trout have a very powerful ability to detect scent and will notice instantly if lures have an unfamiliar odor. Try to remember to bring unscented hand sanitizer with you whenever you are fishing a stream in order to get rid of different smells you may be carrying with you. You can also combat odor by investing in some trout baiting scents that are ready available in most tackle shops. The best way to find out which scent works is through experimentation, but garlic scent is known as one of the better options.
The last, but one of the most important, factors for fishing in a trout stream is timing. Due to the sensitivity to light that trout are renowned for, most are much more willing to feed in the early morning and late afternoon. When the sun is at its brightest trout will usually by hiding in the shadows and less willing to pop out for any bait you drop in the water.
In terms of what they are eating, trout are not very picky eaters. They will jump at opportunity for easy food, but do have a sense of what is natural in the area. If you see mayflies scattered around the stream then you will probably have the best luck with mayflies, and so on.
This is often what makes trout fishing so much fun. Researching, planning and scouting natural habitats in order to find the trout that lurk below. Now get out there, read some streams, and get ready to have more than a few trout fishing stories to share when you get back home.