best way to catch rainbow trout in a lake

using ultralight rods with 2 to 4lb monofilament line lets you be more responsive to subtle nibbles or strikes

Earthworms continue to be the most popular as they’re very effective and easy to get. Plastic worms are also effective. Shrimp and marshmallows will prove successful.


If you’re looking to fish for rainbow trout outside of urban areas you need to consider the time of year.


In Spring you’ll find Rainbow Trout in the shallows for several reasons. The water temperature is consistent through the water column leaving them to move freely and with spring comes increased animal and insect activity by the waters edge and an abundance of food for Rainbow Trout.


Summer finds Rainbow Trout in deep water, below the thermocline. They’ll move into shallow water if that’s where their food can be found. With an abundance of insects in many parts of their distribution, Rainbow Trout can be found in the shallows feasting on both aquatic and terrestrial insects falling into the water.


Fall brings the same conditions as spring but because there’s less food they’ll be scattered around the lake wherever they can find food before heading deep to spend the winter.

Rainbow Trout Tackle

Trout flies are very effective. Best flies for lakes when the Rainbow Trout are deep include chironomid pupa shrimp, larva imitations and leech flies.

Use a high-density sinking tip with long leaders. This will get the fly down deep and is good for summer fishing and also for winter fishing where there’s no ice coverage.


Kit for a typical outing

  • 2 to 4lb monofilament line
  • hooks sizes #4 – #8
  • simple ultralight rods are sufficient

Floats are not required nor recommended. The whole purpose of going with lighter kit is to be more responsive to subtle nibbles or strikes. Floats and bombers remove this sensitivity.

When to use medium-weight

If you’re fishing on a larger lake with a single rod, go with a medium-weight fishing rod and reel.

Too many fishing sites just recommend ultralight fishing gear and tackle for Rainbow Trout as though these fish are in closed ecosystems with no other fish.

Stocking Programs

Most state, provincial and regional governments in Europe, Canada and the US stock rivers and lakes to attract tourism. This is done where local rivers are not sustainable at current demand or the habitat is not conducive to natural spawning. However, these rivers and streams are located in the rural areas and not cities.


Freshwater Fisheries Society of British Columbia recently began stocking urban lakes with rainbow trout at catchable sizes ranging from 250g to 500g/1 lbs.


These fish are not shy at striking at lures and are ideal for families where young children can learn about fishing. These urban lakes are stocked between March and November.