When to Trout Fish (and find trophies)

When to Trout Fish

Hook More Trophy Trout with the Right Timing – When to Trout Fish


A lot of people think that the “secret sauce” to landing more trout is finding special fishing holes in streams and rivers most trout hunters won’t ever fish.

And while that’s certainly a big piece of the puzzle – right alongside learning how to read trout water more effectively – you also need to be sure that you’re timing your fishing trips correctly, too.


Yes, you read that correctly.


Landing more trout (especially monster trout, healthy trout) often comes down to finding the right time and the right season to toss your line in the water.



When is the Best Time to Fish for Trout?


If you want to be sure that you have every chance of landing bigger trout, real river monsters, you’re going to want to make sure that you are hitting the water at just the right time of day.

Sometimes learning when to trout fish is even more important than where to trout fish!


Trout experts the world over agree that it’s best to fish for trout when the temperature is relatively cold and when there’s not a lot of sunlight out. These are fish that don’t like to sunbathe. They like temperatures pretty chilly.


Trout have particularly sensitive eyes (they have no eyelids and are unable to dilate their pupils), so if the sun is high in the sky they are going to stay undercover and in shade to protect themselves from predators.


This is why the best time to go out fishing for trout is just before dawn or just before dusk. If possible, getting out while fishing under a full moon is into a bad idea, either.

For tips on trout fishing at night, check out our article.

When to Trout Fish – When Are Trout Most Active?


Trout are especially active in the early morning and the late afternoon, as that’s when they come out to feed instead of hover down in the depths and just sort of “ride the current”.

Trout are also a lot more active when water temperatures are colder, helping them to conserve their energy rather than have to feed constantly just to stay alive.


When you can find time to fish when the water temperature is between 34°F and 67°F you’re going to find trout really eager, really active, and a whole lot more responsive to the bait you are tossing into (or onto, in the case of fly fishing) the water.


Trout feeding also picks up pretty significantly when temperatures hit 41°F, 45°F, and 49°F. The only exception to this is when you have a hatch on the river, where insects are buzzing the surface and trout are in a feeding frenzy.


When is the Best Season to Catch Trout?


As far as the best season to fish for trout is concerned nothing beats early spring and late fall action. This is usually when the big hatches are (especially in the spring) and when water temperatures are ideal.


Summertime fishing can be effective early in the morning, later in the afternoon, or in the middle of the night as well. The only problem there is you run the risk of over-exerting trout you were planning on catching and releasing – putting their health (and even their lives) in jeopardy along the way.


Stick to early spring (especially when the snow has melted and the runoff is flooding into streams) and late fall and you’ll be pretty happy. You’ll never have to worry about when to trout fish again when you stick to these seasons!