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Stream trout feed more selectively than many gamefish. Whatever big trout are feeding on, whether it's insect larvae or minnows, it's important to use a presentation that looks and moves like the real thing.
During springtime, stocked trout in lakes and reservoirs can be found fairly shallow, feeding in the upper 10 to 15 feet of the water column. An effective technique to catch spring trout is to troll with crankbaits, either longlining directly behind the boat or with planer boards. Troll with 10 to 20 feet of line out at a speed around 2 mph.
Carolina-rigging has been the favored fall tactic of pro anglers for probing reservoir structure. Some call the technique 'power fishing with finesse' because you use stout tackle, but the action of the lure is subtle and tempting to fish. Use your sonar unit to find stumps, weedbeds, or other cover along creek channels or offshore islands.
Nighttime can be one of the best times to target big browns in tailrace fisheries of the South. Big browns are less spooky at night, moving out of heavy cover into areas easily approached and fished.
Tailraces below reservoirs can provide some of the best fishing for lots of big trout. Big browns migrate upstream and concentrate below dams during their annual spawning run.
I think that many times anglers want to make catching fish too complicated. Often times I revert back to the basics and try to let the fish tell me what they want. With each fish I catch, these small pieces to the big puzzle are answered. Sometimes very simple things are overlooked when you hurry to locate and catch fish. Don't try to rush things and pay attention to the small details.
Spring means high water in most areas, due to snowmelt and high annual rainfall. And spring means movement for river bass. A plunge-pool below a dam is a classic wintering site. As water temperatures broach 50oF, smallmouths begin to wander downstream from a dam or upstream from a reservoir, toward spawning areas.
Tracking studies have verified that river largemouths make major spring migrations from wintering areas to shallow backwaters. Though miles may separate these habitat zones, fish unerringly arrive once ice has departed.
Staging bass move toward the bank as spawn-time approaches. When reservoir flats have warmed into the upper 50oF range, look for bass among flooded stumps, brushpiles, and along the inside corners of points within feeder creeks.
Spring-run steelhead can be difficult to catch in rivers when flows run high and dirty. In high water, steelhead tend to hold longer in areas of reduced current such as the inside turn on a bend, the slow side of a long run, a shallow flat out of the main flow, or any other type of current break.