View Full Version : Don't the trout know where there supposed to be?

07-13-2008, 08:51 AM
Hi All,

This is my first post so here is a little background before my question.

I have been fly-fishing the northern part of Cal for over 17 years. I tried to get my wife interested in fly-fishing, and have had very little success. Donít get me wrong, she loves to fish, just not fly-fishing. She is more of the bait cast and boat fisher so we donít fish together much.

A while back a friend gave me a 14í aluminum V-hull, which I have outfitted for fishing. 18 HP outboard, 46lb thrust trolling, fish finder, rod holders, folding swivel seats, cup holders, and yes even a porta-pottie for her use, all in the hopes that we can find a mutual interest in fishing.

Now I am new to trolling, never done it before in my life. So I did quite a bit of research on the net and this site, so I would have at least a little bit of a clue as to what I was doing when we went out. Well we just got back from a week long vacation in South Western Idaho near McCall. Took the boat out trolling for four of the days and did quite well for our first trip, and yes my wife loved it.

Everything that I have read about trolling for trout states that trout love cold water (around 53-56 degrees), and in the summer months, the trout will be holding in this water, just below the thermocline (which can be 50 or more feet down). I never saw a thermocline on the fish finder, so I targeted the fish holding deep using a snap weight system (as I havenít bought a downrigger as of yet), and line counter reels. Using this technique, we didnít even get a bite. I wasnít until I was setting up a run in a different location that I had let out 65 feet of line, and was getting ready to put my snap weight on, when I got a strike, and landed a nice 14Ē bow. I immediately abandoned the snap weights, and surface trolled the rest of the trip and nearly limited every time out to the lake after that.

So my questions are this: 1) where was the thermocline (surface temp was around 72* and the air temp was in the upper 80s low 90s), and 2) How come the trout donít know they are supposed to be holding deep in the summer months?

Any input would be great, Thanks.

07-13-2008, 11:26 AM
Kranfish: Welcome.

It is good to gain as much knowledge as possible about things like thermoclines, etc., for learning about lake fishing, but fish are always where you find them (they don't read the books). Different species of trout are said to prefer slightly different temperatures, but most trout will readily accept temperaures a bit higher (high 50's to low 60's) than the range you indicate and there are many other factors that affect where they will congregate. Different species also prefer different depths, but you were fishing for rainbows so I will focus on them. They are not super deep water fish in most lakes. Deep water is often low in food sources that rainbows eat and can also be short on oxygen. Fish, like people, need/want shelter, food, oxygen, a temperature they can withstand, etc. So you need to look for all of the things they need/want to understand wher they are hanging out. So even if a trout prefers 56 degree water it will feed in 64 degree water if that is where the food supply is, then move into the cooler water when it is done feeding.

When lake fishing, trolling or otherwise, you use your fish finder to try to find at what depth the fish are holding. But even if you find fish at a certain depth the ones you see may not be actively feeding. I always buy a two rod stamp (as do most of my fishing partners) so we can always have our lines at different depths (from top to deep) until we start taking fish. Then you focus on the depth where you find success.

When the fish are feeding in the shallower water you probably will not mark these fish on your finder. I believe the boat pushes the shallow fish away from the narrow shallow water cone of your finder so you seldom if ever see them. These fish you find with your fishing pole.

As for flyfishing vs. boat fishing, I love doing both, but fly fishing (i.e. the fishing method itself) is more of an indivudual activity. Even if you go with others you separate for the fishing. Boat fishing is more of a social activity. Each activity has its own rewards.

Good luck!


07-13-2008, 12:46 PM

Thanks for the welcome. *I agree with your comments on fly fishing Vs boat fishing. *Most likely the reason my wife prefers the boat fishing. I have to say that although there is nothing quite like watching a big bow rise to take a fly you have tied yourself, boat fishing has a lot of perks that I am starting to enjoy, one of which is I am a heck of a lot less tired at the end of the day.

I did get a second rod stamp this year when I got my license, and intend on using it quite a bit. *If my wife continues to go out with me I will probably get her a second rod stamp after I pick up a downrigger or two so as to be able to cover more water. *I guess I am just going to have to accept the fact that there is going to be a learning curve associated with fishing from a boat (other than a float tube) that I am going to have to get over. *My hopes are that this site along with its experienced members will help me get over that curve sooner rather than later.

I am sure one of the problems I encountered was that most of the articles I read on the net in regards to trolling for trout (before I found this site), had to do with trolling for lake trout on the great lakes. Thatís where the water temp range I mentions came from.

If any of you long time members are sympathetic to my plight, and would like to pass their knowledge on to a rookie who is a fast and willing learner, please let me know. *I am open to tutelage, comments, criticism, or hands on training.

Thanks again

07-14-2008, 06:27 AM
Welcome to the neighborhood Kranfish. I'll suggest, if your wife likes to drive while trolling, that you fashion a small platform in the front of your boat. You troll at such low speeds that manipulating a fly rod from the front would be a cinch. In our early years together my son liked to toss spinners while I trolled. No problems and we both caught fishies.

Stick around. You'll like the group here.