In autumn, when the weather and water temperatures start cooling, big trout begin to shake off their summer lethargy and become active. The dropping water temperatures get the fish salivating like Pavlov’s dogs and they move in close to shore to feast before the onset of winter.
That’s exactly what makes the upcoming several weeks the most productive time of year to hook a monster.
When it is still warm (hot) in the low elevations, I like to start my quest for jumbo ‘bows and browns up in the higher elevations and work my way down the hill as the season progresses. One really nice thing about fishing for fall trout is they are typically very close to shore, so boatless anglers aren’t at a big disadvantage.
Speaking of shore fishing, I like to target large trout with bass-style gear. One of my favorite lures to throw is the 4-inch Zoom Fluke or 3-inch Tiny Fluke.
Another popular bass lure that works well for trout is the Yamamoto Senko worm. I run the 3- and 4-inch sizes and usually fish them “wacky style,” which involves placing your hook through the middle of the worm. Senko worms are very dense and designed to be fished without weight. They cast well and then have a fluttering action as they sink. With the wacky rigging, I’ll throw my worm out and let it fall. Every second or two, I’ll give it 2-3 quick pops of the rod tip, which causes the two ends of the bait to twitch very enticingly, which drives trout nuts. Sometimes, they’ll follow the worm all the way to the bottom, pecking at it as it sinks and finally inhaling it once it hits the lake floor. The only drawback to the above two techniques is you have to fish very slowly and methodically – not a bad idea when you’ve got a piece of water in front of you that you know holds fish.
Cranks and Rip Baits
But, when I’m not exactly sure where the fish are and need to cover some ground to find them, I love burning ripbaits and cranks. Lucky Craft’s 2.5-inch Pointer 65 minnow in the rainbow trout or American shad finishes is a dandy… The bait looks like a standard Rapala, but it’s neutrally buoyant and suspends when you stop reeling it. It also casts like a bomb, unlike baits made of balsa. Cast it out and burn it back in, allowing it to pause and suspend momentarily along the way.
There’s a whole host of other cranks you can fish for fall trout, like Speed Traps, Norman Tiny N Deeps, Bagley’s Crawfish, etc. Rainbows will often smack these lures, but they are particularly deadly on big brownies.
Old School Baits
Of course, you can fish “old school” style for big trout with stuff like inflated nightcrawlers, live minnows, Rapalas, spinners and spoons and do just fine, but give some of these bass techniques a try this fall and I bet you’ll be happy with the results.