There is so much focus these days on finding the proper equipment, perfect colored flies, and best spots to fish for trout. This often means that anglers forget to focus on some of the more natural aspects of trout fishing, including understanding trout feeding zones.
If you can gain a better idea of where trout feed and why, then you will have a much better opportunity to increase your catch rate on any given day. With that said, let’s get into it and discuss where trout are looking for food and how you can tempt them into striking your line.
Trout Feeding on the Surface
It is quite rare for trout to feed on the surface of the water as they actually hit insects less than 10 percent of the time. You will be able to tell when they are doing so because you can see boils on the water and actually hear fish slurping food from the top of the water. You can see trout jumping out of the water usually at night when mosquitoes are freely buzzing around the water. When you notice this kind of activity your best bet is often to turn to a dry fly at dance it on top of the water with a quiet wake.
Trout Feeding Barely Below the Surface
Trout feed just below the surface only as often as they feed right on top of the surface, about 10 percent of the time. They will slurp down on large insects as they head up to the surface. Dry flies work well when this is happening around you but nymphing a pheasant tail can also produce positive results.
Trout Feeding at Middle Depth
This area is where the most water sits, but it very rarely contains any food that trout are interested in. This part of the water is where the strongest currents run through and there is very little shelter for any aquatic life. If you are fishing nymphs this is where they will often end up, but you can move them around with a tiny splitshot attached near the fly.
Trout Feeding Near the Bottom
This is where trout will spend the most time feeding. If there are no fish surfacing or boiling near the top of the water then it is very likely that they will be sitting right on or near the bottom. Consider using heavy streamers or adding a small splitshot to the fly in order to sink it far enough to tempt the bottom feeders.
Using a Nymph Net
Just as using a marrow spoon to bait trout is a knowledgeable tactic; it is often a good idea to bring a nymph net to the waters with you. You can skim the different areas of the water in order to see which insects are swimming about and where. Mimic the hatch with your fly and fish at the same depth and you will be well on your way to a lot of trout fishing success.