Rainbow Trout

Smaller Lakes and Ponds

The smaller lakes and ponds that are popular in many of the mountain destinations are home to some very good rainbow trout fishing.  You usually won’t find many trophy-sized fish, but these are usually well stocked action lakes that give anglers a lot of fun.  There are also lakes throughout many states that are stocked in the late fall to give people a chance to catch these fish.  When water temperatures rise the next summer, all the fish that weren’t caught and kept will eventually die due to the warmer water temperatures.

These stocked trout are not too hard to catch if you know what you are doing.  Small lures such as spinners, crankbaits and jigs will all take fish.  Most anglers choose to use live baits and natural baits such as nightcrawlers, minnows, dough baits, corn, salmon eggs and dough baits when fishing for them.

Bigger Lakes

On bigger lakes, it is a lot tougher to catch these fish.  Rainbow trout will roam the open waters in search of their preferred water temperature and to follow bait fish.  In the spring on some big lakes, you may be able to catch some fish off the shores.  When these fish come into spawn, you can catch some of these fish from shore in the fall too.  However, your best bet is going to be in a boat and you will most likely be trolling to cover water.  You can use a variety of baits when trolling for rainbows, however, crankbaits, spoons and a dodger and fly are usually the go to baits for most anglers.

Spring & Fall

In the spring and fall, rainbow trout will be found closer to shore than in the summer when water temperatures are warmer.  On lakes that aren’t connected to rivers or tributaries, plan on finding plenty of trout spawning in the shallows along the shorelines.  However, most of the better bodies of water will have a river or tributary connected to it and the rainbow trout and steelhead will run up the rivers to spawn when water temperatures are in the low 40s.  Some fish will spawn in the spring and fall.


The summer fishing is tougher on lakes as rainbow trout will go much deeper.  Plan on getting the trolling gear or jigging gear out and make sure you are using your electronics to find the bait fish in deeper water.  When you find the bait balls, there is a good chance there are some hungry rainbows nearby.

Low Light Conditions

Low light conditions almost always provide better fishing opportunities for rainbow trout.  On most of the better rainbow trout waters, there are so many rainbow trout that you will have no problem catching plenty of fish during the day, however, to target some of those bigger rainbows, the early morning and late evening hours will almost always provide better fishing opportunities.