First Day Trout Fishing Lures and Tips
February 25, 2019 by Don Manning
As February comes to a close, anglers are starting to think about the opening day of trout season. In just a few weeks, those big stocking trucks full of trout will start to roll. Streams across Pennsylvania will get packed with trout, which means it is time to start thinking about the trout opener. These trout fishing lures and considerations will help you be prepared and ready to catch more early season trout.
The most important things that affect your success on opening day are the weather, water temperature, and the trout fishing lures you choose. Let's break down each of them.
Opening Day Weather
The weather is one thing that you can’t control, but you can prepare for it. In late March and April, you can have all sorts of weather, and it can change on a dime. You can get rain, lots of it, you can get snow, it can be windy, and of course very cold. You need to be prepared for all conditions on the opening day of trout.
First and foremost you need to have a good pair of waders. Boot foot neoprene waders are what you want when it’s cold. These type of waders provide an extra layer of protection from the weather and cold water. Also, you will need to layer up your clothing. Heavy wool socks to keep your feet warm and base layers consisting of light wool or polypropylene to maintain your core temperature. Your outer layer should be a wind or waterproof jacket. Go with a windproof jacket if rain is not in the forecast or a Gore-Tex jacket if the weather is predicted to be wet. Finally, good gloves go a long way. Choose ones that won't prohibit your fishing like fingerless fishing gloves.
Two trout fishing tips when it comes to the opening day to battle the weather conditions include having hand warmers and a small microfiber towel. Both of these items in your vest will help to keep your hands warm, which means you are on the water longer.
How Water Temperature Affects Trout Fishing
Water temperature makes all the difference in early trout season. It is usually close to 40 degrees, or even lower on opening day. The trout will be sluggish in the cold water so working your trout fishing lures slow is the best presentation. Fish slow and keep your lures and trout fishing bait close to the bottom. Also look for warmer pockets of water such as sunny pools where trout may be more active. Additionally, streams will usually be high this time of the year. You will have to fish accordingly and be prepared to fish new water if your go-to opening day spot is unfishable.
Trout Fishing Lures for the First Day
The best all around baits for early season trout fishing are numerous. Today, you have lots of lures and baits to choose from. Some of the best trout lures for spring include spinners, spoons and soft plastics. Other top choices for opening day are Berkley PowerBait, corn, bread, and salmon eggs. If you are more traditional, the best live bait for trout will be night crawlers, minnows, red worms, and wax worms.
Live Bait Techniques
Most anglers on opening day choose to start with live bait. Live bait fishing is very productive for freshly stocked trout. The key with fishing with live bait is to present it as natural as possible. Another critical tip for fishing with minnows is to keep them alive. Keeping minnows alive longer will increase the number of bites you get. A dead minnow usually will produce about half as many bites compared to a live one.
Other Trout Fishing Bait
Besides live bait, other trout fishing bait will include PowerBait, corn, bread, and salmon eggs. Again, all of these are some of the best trout bait for opening day. The trick to fishing for trout on opening day with these baits is to make a natural drift. This means using as little weight as possible to get the bait to the bottom and a small hook. Both will allow your bait to drift in the current naturally right into an unsuspecting trout.
Spinners and Spoons
Often the best trout fishing lures for spring are spinners and spoons. You will see less anglers on opening day fishing with these lures, which is an advantage. Trout spinners or spoons fished on opening day is a great technique for catching larger trout.
Small spinners, size 1/32- to 1/8-oz. work best. Use trout spinners with hackle dressed hooks. These seem to attract trout and promote more strikes. Cast your spinner up stream and close your bail, keeping a tight line, and allow it to drift down with the current. Spinners can also be cast to large pools and worked slowly near the bottom. Spinners are also perfect for bank fishing on a lake for trout.
Just like trout spinners, spoons are one of the best trout fishing lures for the first day of the season. Most spoons come in multiple trout catching colors. The standard gold and silver work the best, however. Spoons provide more action and flash than trout spinners. They can also be worked slower than spinners, which seems to increase strikes in very cold water like typically seem on opening day.
Other Hardbaits for Catching Trout
More and more trout fishing anglers are choosing hardbaits like small crank and jerk baits. These are designed to mimic minnows and other forage. Generally speaking, these lures are designed to fish for bigger trout or to fish for trout in bigger water such as lakes and large rivers. Rapala lures are the brand of choice with these characteristics. Choose natural colors that represent minnows and crayfish. Fish these baits slow and around cover like large rocks, overhanging banks, and riffles.
Soft Plastic Trout Fishing Lures
Probably the least used trout fishing bait anytime of the year are soft plastics. The most widely known of these is the Trout Magnet. These trout fishing lures are a must in every angler's vest on opening day. They are simple to fish and are highly effective at catching trout.
There are many other small soft plastic lures on the market that will also work for early season trout. Tubes and swimbaits will produce when the bite gets tough. Switch to one of these when you are fishing community holes or around highly pressured lakes.
Bottom line when it comes to trout fishing on opening day is the angler has many choices of trout fishing lures. Opening day is tough. Between the weather and water conditions and all the fishing pressure, you have to adapt if you want to catch your limit. All in all, the best trout lures for spring come down to what fits your style and what you have confidence in. Keep at least a few different lures and trout fishing bait with you and you will catch some trout on the first day.