If you are fly fisher, you need to have a decent idea about what does trout eat...
This includes not only what they are consuming, but also how much they are consuming and when they are consuming. This will allow you to perfect your fly fishing technique down to a tee.
Luckily for budding fly fishers, trout are easy to catch. They eat a lot of things, and assuming they are hungry, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to find a fly that they are willing to snap up.
On this page, we want to answer the question what does trout eat, which should give you a rough idea about how you can hunt down that prey.
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What does trout eat in the wild?
In the wild, trout eat pretty much anything they can get their mouth around. If an animal is smaller than the trout is probably going to try and eat it. Often, there will be a lot of competition in the waters where the trout are swimming, which means that they are going to be quite quick to snap up any viable food.
Animals in the water
Trout will eat just about any animal that is in the water. As long as the animal is smaller than the trout, then the trout will eat it. In fact, trout have been known to eat other trout if they are feeling hungry. However, they are more likely to focus on insects and crayfish.
The bulk of the trout's diet will be on crayfish, and various animals dwelling near the bottom of the water. This includes worms and snails.
Although, of course, what the trout will eat will be completely dependent on the water they are swimming in.
A trout's diet in North America will be completely different to a trout's diet if they are swimming in England or in some locations for fly fishing in Slovenia.
Animals that fall into the water
When it happens, trout love to gobble up insects that fall into the water. In fact, you will be surprised at what a trout is willing to eat when it is given the opportunity. Yes. Insects are pretty much a given here, but they will be more than happy to eat a mouse too. All that matters is that the trout is able to fit it into it's mouth in a single bite. If that can happen, and the trout is feeling hungry, then they will try to eat it.
We wouldn't be writing this page if trout didn't eat flies. In fact, in some trout rivers and lakes, trout are known to eat nothing but flies.
These places are fantastic for fly fishers. However, even if the water body is packed with other delicacies for the trout, you still should throw out a few flies. As I said; trout are likely to snap up any food when they are feeling a bit hungry.
The type of fly that you should use will be dependent on the area you are fishing, plus the time of the year. Trout are very cautious as animals, and if something looks a little bit out of place, then they are going to second guess whether eating that fly is worth it. In fact, in places with ample amounts of food, trout will completely ignore anything that looks out of place. To them, it isn't going to be worth the risk.
Food throughout the year
Honestly, the type of food that a trout will eat throughout the year will be pretty much the same. There are a couple of exceptions, though. For example; during spawning season, a trout will be more likely to eat eggs and smaller trout. During the autumn months when the water is peppered with debris falling from trees, it is likely that the trout will be aiming for 'live' food. This is, mostly, so it doesn't snap up leaves constantly.
Other than this, they just eat whatever is currently in season. They are not too fussy at all, and the only thing a fisherman needs to pay attention to is what is actually in season.
For example; don't fly fish with a winter insect during the summer. Trout will know something is wrong, and you are unlikely to get a bite.
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Does trout feed all day?
No. They do not. Well, they can eat all day, but if you are fly fisher, then you probably won't get the fish snapping at all times of the day.
You will need to carefully plan when you are putting the fly into the water. This will all be based around when the real insects are going to be the most active on the water.
In most cases, you will want to be fishing as the sun starts to set, or at least late in the afternoon. This is when the fish are going to be the most active on the water.
Although, you will also want to think about the temperature of the water. This is because trout love to feed when the water is a bit warmer, although not too warm.
For example; you will unlikely find trout are feeding during the height of the afternoon in the summer, and during the the spring, they will probably be more active in the latter part of the day.
That being said, if a trout is hungry, then it is probably going to be eating. However, try to target your fishing during the warmer parts of the day (but not too warm!) and you should probably end up getting a lot more bites. This is because the trout will have that natural intuition to eat food at these times of day, and thus they will be a lot less suspicious of anything that you are putting into the water.
How much food does a trout eat?
This is something that will be dependent on several different factors ...
This includes the size of the fish, and the time of the year they are eating. The smaller the fish, the more food is required to grow. In fact, young trout have incredibly fast metabolisms and need to be eating a lot of food each day in order to keep their growth up. As a trout gets older, it requires less and less food.
The warmer the water, the more food the trout will consume during the day. It can be a massive swing too.
For example; during the winter months, a trout will barely need to eat anything. In fact, it could eat around 1% of it's body weight each day and be fine. However, during the warmer months, a trout will need to be constantly eating. It is rare for a trout in warm water to be eating under 2% of it's body weight each day. A younger fish may be consuming up to 6%. This means that if you are fly fishing in trout-heavy waters during the warmer months (especially Spring!) then you are going to be getting bites like crazy.
What is the best bait for trout?
This is going to be dependent on the time of year and how you are fishing. I want to focus on fly fishing here, so I won't talk too much about the other types of bait that you can use.
However, you may want to look into minnow and crustacean lures if you are fishing for trout. During spawning season, you will find that eggs get snapped up like crazy too. Worms may also work in certain areas, but if you don't know if worms and the like are lurking in those depths, then you may want to give those a skip. It can make the trout suspicious to any other bait that you are using.
When you are fly fishing, you will want to pay attention to what the insects in the area look like. Although trouts are likely to eat any insect when the water is warm, you will still have more success when matching your fly to the colors and size of the natural insects in the area. It doesn't really matter if it is a wet or dry fly. What matters is that it will look completely natural to the trout. I suggest that you read up on the insects in the local area to see what will work at that time of year. Color is important. It needs to be eye-catching. Don't opt for 'mature' flies if the flies are just spawning. The larvae will work fine here.
Many fishermen will also use Powerbait as part of their set-up. It shouldn't be the main focus, but it is perfect for helping to catch the attention of the trout in the water. I will talk more about those now.
What color Powerbait is best for trout?
This is a tough question to answer. This is because Powerbait that works in one body of water may not necessarily work in another body of water. The same goes for the time of day. You may find that one color works during the early part of the day, but later on, that color no longer works and you need to try something else.
As a result, I suggest that if you are heading out to fish, you bring various colors with you ...
During the earlier parts of your fishing expedition, you may find that the natural colors of powerbait work better for you. This means green or Chartreuse. However, as the day goes on, you should switch things up. You may even want to try a powerbait that has a bit of glitter added, or maybe a bit of orange. Honestly, the color of the powerbait doesn't matter too much.
The whole purpose of the powerbait is to try and lure the trout to a certain location. You need to have it be eye-catching, but you also don't want it to seem 'out of place'. This is very much a case of being experimental with your powerbait.
Eventually, you will find something that works for that particular body of water at that particular time of the day.