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Trout Fishing Using the 1,2,3 Strategy and Spinning Gear

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hbng84 conveys the collected wisdom of the City of Allen (Texas) Fishing Team.

The Trout Fishing 1,2,3 Strategy

The Trout Fishing 1,2,3 Strategy

Stocked Rainbow Trout

Fishing for trout, specifically stocked Rainbow Trout, does not require expensive fly fishing gear. More often than not, fishermen interested in trout fishing can use a rod they already own.

For those who have spinning gear, or can readily obtain a spinning rod and reel combo, this article details a trout fishing strategy that is robust and readily adaptable to the area being fished.

The Trout Fishing 1,2,3 Strategy is a three-step approach using spinning gear. However, it can be readily applied to other fishing methods and species.

Read on to learn more about this simple but effective producer of fish!

Step 1: Rods, Reels, and Other Things

Organize your fishing gear to target stocked Rainbow Trout. Rods and reels should be on the lighter side, as the trout tend to be small (in the 9"-11" range).

The smaller size allows for more trout per stocking and increases the chances for more fishermen to catch a trout.

Two rods and reels are ideal. This allows you to fish two different lures and/or baits. And, it provides you with a backup rod and reel in case one becomes inoperable.

Below are key items to keep in mind concerning rods, reels, and other things!

Rod and Reel Setups

  • Two ultralight spinning rods and reels are preferred. However, a medium light or medium action will also work in a pinch.
  • Rod length may vary from 4-1/2 to 6 feet or more. But, if you plan to fish lures more than bait, rods of 6 feet or more are ideal.
  • Line the reels with 4 to 6 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon to minimize your chances of spooking the finicky trout.


  • Size 10 to 16 Salmon Egg hooks or Treble hooks for catch and keep fishing.
  • Split Shot, Size 00 or Bank Sinkers, 1/8 oz
  • Plastic Beads, Swivels, and Snap Swivels
  • 4 to 6 pound test monofilament or fluorocarbon for making leaders
  • Bubble Floats, A-Just-A Bubble Float preferred

Rig Setups

Step 2: Baits, Lures, and Fishing Flies

After organizing your fishing gear, work on obtaining the baits, lures, and fishing flies listed in the sections below.

The baits include food items easily purchased at your local grocery store. The commercial baits are available at sporting goods stores such as Bass Pro Shops, Dicks Sporting Goods, or Academy Sports.

Additionally, commercial baits can be purchased online with possibly one exception—nightcrawlers. It may be best to obtain these locally so you can check their condition before purchasing them.

Lures and fishing flies can also be purchased at local sporting goods stores or online sellers. Just remember to downsize for the small trout.


Grocery Store Baits

  • Canned Whole Kernel Corn
  • Loaf of Bread
  • Velveeta Cheese
  • Marshmallows
  • Pillsbury Biscuit Dough

Power Baits

  • Trout Dough Bait
  • Power Nuggets
  • Power Worms
  • Mice Tails


  • Nightcrawlers
  • Salmon Eggs


  • Jigs: Trout Magnets (1/32oz to 1/8oz)
  • Inline Spinners: Rooster Tails, Panther Martins, Kastmasters (1/16oz to 1/8oz)
  • Spoons: Super Dupers and Kastmasters (1/16 to 1/8oz)

Fishing Flies

  • Streamers: Wooley Bugger, Near Deere (size 8 to 12)
  • Nymphs: GRHEN, Prince Nymph, PT Nymphs (size 12 to 18)
  • Dry Flies: Griffiths Gnat, Midges, Cahills (size 16 to 20)
  • Others: Mop Flies, San Juan Worm, Egg Flies (size 10 to 16)
  • Midges: RB Warrior, Zebra, RS2, WD Forty (size 16 to 20)

Step 3: The Pattern

Finally, let's go fishing or better stated, "Let's find the Pattern!"

You may have the proper gear or the right lures and baits, but it's not a guarantee you will catch a trout.

Why? Because you must find "The Pattern," which refers to the where, what, and how the trout are feeding.

Where is the location the trout are holding?

  • Are they tending to a specific area of a pond?
  • Are they actively feeding in the upper part of the water column?
  • Or, are they holding deeper?

What is the food the trout are eating?

  • Is there a hatch in progress and the trout are actively feeding on risers?
  • Was the pond recently stocked and other fishermen are catching trout on bait?
  • Is the water clear, and you can see the trout feeding below?

How are the trout acting when feeding?

  • Are trout leisurely slurping "something" just on the water's surface?
  • Or, are they frantically chasing "something else"?
  • Do you see trout swiping at floating pieces of bait, food, or debris?

Observe, Fish, and Adjust

To find "The Pattern," you must observe the area you are fishing, consider the current conditions, and note both fish and human activity.

  • Look for trout actively feeding and if able to see them, where are they feeding in the water column—near the surface, a few feet down, or deep?
  • Is the water clear or stained? If clear, lures may be more effective than bait. If stained, then bait may be the key to success.
  • When was the location last stocked? If more recently, the trout may be easier to catch compared to trout that have acclimated to the pond.
  • Watch other fishermen and the baits, lures, and fishing flies they are using. Is there one particular type that's getting strikes more than others?

Next, go fish. Specifically:

  • If two of you are fishing, one person fish with lures and the other person fish with bait. Start with a lure and bait that's based on what you observed as described in the previous section.
  • If alone and fishing regulations permit one person to fish with two poles, then fish one with lures and the other with baits. Use a rod holder for the pole fished with bait.
  • If alone and fishing regulations limit you to one pole, then set up both fishing poles with rod holders. Fish one with a lure for ten minutes, and then switch to the other pole with bait for ten minutes. Keep switching every ten minutes.

And then, make adjustments by changing baits, lures, and fishing flies and varying the presentation. When you get a strike or catch a trout, note the following:

  • For Bait:
    • Type: Grocery store, power bait, or naturals.
    • For Power Bait: Color and scent. There may be a particular color or scent the trout prefer over others.
    • Location: On or near the surface, mid-depth under a float, or the bottom, or just slightly off the bottom.
  • For Lures
    • Type: Inline Spinners, Super Dupers, Kastmasters, etc.
    • Color: Gold, silver, copper, etc.
    • Weight: 1/16 oz to 1/8 oz
    • Dressing and Body Colors: Hooks that are dressed with feathers or hair, and body sections that come in other colors like chartreuse, black, yellow, or white.
    • Presentation: Slow, medium, or fast retrieve, etc.
    • Location - In the water column as noted for bait and in relation to the distance from the retrieve—far, midway, or close to where you were standing.
  • For Fishing Flies
    • Type: Streamer, Nymph, Midge, Dry Fly, etc.
    • Color: Olive, dun, sulfur, black, etc.
    • Size: 8 to 20
    • Key Features: Bead head, flashback, weighted, etc.
    • Presentation: Slow, medium, or fast retrieve, etc.
    • Location: In the water column, distance from the retrieve, and if using a strike indicator, length or depth to the fishing fly.

Eventually, you will notice a particular bait, lure or fishing fly is catching more trout compared to others. Or, you will see a specific presentation seems to get strikes else the trout seem lock jawed.

Moreover, it could be a certain location in the water column is preferred. Or even better yet, it's a combination of presentation, location, and the bait, lure, or fishing fly you are using.

No matter the case, you have found "The Pattern" and are catching stocked Rainbow Trout using the Trout Fishing 1,2,3 Strategy!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 hbng84