How to Catch Big Trout in a Lake from Shore? [Best Way]

How to Catch Big Trout in a Lake from Shore

Fishing for trout can be very adventurous.

Pristine nature, cold and clear waters, and fishing techniques that will put your skills to the test.

However, not all trout fishing includes wading through wild rivers, and you can catch them from a shore, on a lake.

This approach is excellent for beginners too, who are still in a process of learning how to fish for trout.

Here I am going to tell you more about how to catch trout in a lake from shore, and give you the basic tips, in the following chapters:



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What is the Best Way (Technique) to Catch Trout in a Lake from Shore?

Before I get to the technique, I have to mention something Important.

Lake trout is actually a trout specie that lives in many large lakes across North America.

But the term fishing for trout in a lake here is used for fishing for other trout species in a lake, such as brown trout, and it basically describes fishing for trout in accordance with the body of water.

Here I am going to focus on the latter, and explain the basics of trout fishing in a lake.

So, how to catch big trout in lake?

There are three main techniques that anglers often use. Depending on a location, lure/bait, your skill level, and other factors, you can decide which one to use.


Bobber fishing is something that beginners often do. For that, you will need to attach your bait (I will tell you more about this in the following chapter) to a baithook. Above that hook, you should attach a small weight so that the bait can sing under the surface. Depending on how deep you want to fish, add a bobber 45-90cm / ½ -3 ft above the hook.

When you cast to a desired location, wait for a signal that the fish has bitten your bait. The boober will sink a bit or move. This technique is also good to keep your bait above weedy areas.


Another possibility is to present your bait at the bottom. This should be used when trout are located deeper in the water, where the water is colder.

To do this, you will not have to use a bobber. Just attach the bait on a hook, and place a lead about 45cm / ½ ft above the hook, to make it sink. That way, the lead will get to the bottom, but the bait will be slightly above.


And the last option is to use lures such as spoons. This technique is very efficient; however, beginners could struggle a bit.

Spoons mimic natural food, like small fish, and they move in a very attractive way. Cast the spoon, or even a spinner, to a place where trout are, let it sink a bit, and start retrieving it. You will probably have to do this multiple times, as the speed of the retrieve and depth influence your success, so you will have to find a perfect combination for a given situation.

While reeling, try to mimic a real fish. You can slow down, speed up, or make a very short pause. When you find a perfect combination, keep doing so to catch more trout.

What is the Best Bait to Catch Trout in a Lake from Shore?

To figure out how to catch trout in a lake from shore, you will have to use proper baits.

You can choose among different ones, and here I am going to mention the best.

But, before you make a decision about the lure you are going to use, make sure to check the local rules and regulations about it.


Worms are one of the best baits for many fish species, including trout. They are cheap, easy to get, and their scent and wiggling are very attractive to trout.

Hook them in a way to pierce them from one side to another 2-3 times, to make them stay on the hook, and hide the hook. You can use them under a bobber, or for bottom fishing.

They are great when the trout is a bit lazy and does not swim around actively.


Powerbait is a highly effective choice for trout fishing.

This bait is excellent for stocked trout. They come in a form of eggs or nuggets, and stocked trout like them because they resemble food they had been given.


Live bait works great, but only if allowed.

You should choose a small baitfish that naturally lives in a lake you are fishing in. This is a great option for spring and fall when the trout is actively swimming and hunting for prey.

Hooking live fish requires some skill, and the best way to do it is to hook them under the dorsal fin, through the back. You have to be careful not to hook to deep, otherwise you will kill the fish.

You can use both baitfish and powerbait with or without bobbers.

But, do not limit yourself on just these baits. You should try some lures too.


Spoons flutter and shine, which makes them highly visible to trout.

These lures work well in windy or overcast days, when you could use highly visible bait. Many spoons can be casted far away, so you will be able to reach the trout further away from shore.

The downside is that it is easy to get caught into the weeds that are not visible from the shore.


Spinners are a bit trickier to use, especially for beginners.

You could have a hard time making them spin properly, but when you figure it out, you are very likely to catch a trout soon. To make them spin, twitch the rod towards you once or twice and then start retrieving.

If you want to learn more about spinners for trout than you can read my other article with title Best Spinners for Trout.


Some lakes are regularly stocked with trout, and those fish are used to eating man-made food. Locations like that are excellent to try out some DIY: dough balls for trout fishing.

These baits resemble boilies, and are easily made with just basic and easily accessible ingredients, in every kitchen.

There are hundreds of recipes you can find, and customize them to suit your local trout and fishing conditions.

Beginners can use them to, because dough balls are easily mounted on a hook, and can be used with a simple bobber setup.

Prepare it at home and have a few with you to change the bait if other options are not working.

What Gear do I Need for Trout Fishing in a Lake?

When thinking about how to catch trout in a lake, you have to consider the gear. Luckily, you will need the basic equipment that many anglers already have.


The best way to catch trout in a lake is with a lightweight spinning or spincasting rod.

It shouldn’t be too long, so choose the one about 6ft long. Light power rating with a fast action will work excellent.


When it comes to the fishing line, I would advise mono for beginners. A 4-to-6-pound mono is more than enough for the majority of trout you will catch from shore. In addition to that, mono is less visible and that is very important when fishing in clear waters.

For those who know how to use it, I would recommend fluorocarbon. It is strong, and even less visible than mono lines.


Reel has to match the rod, so go with a spinning one.

Size 3000 is the medium one for this use, and you can’t go wrong with that. If you are targeting smaller trout, you can go with 2500, and for slightly larger specimens you can go up to 4000, but not above that.

Larger reels are not necessary for this, and their size and weight could be unpleasant to use.


With this light tackle, hook size 8 or 10 will work fine. If you want, you can take a #12, but I wouldn’t advise you to take larger ones. If you do not plan to keep your catch, use barbless hooks and release the fish after you take a picture.


Except for the gear mentioned above, you will need a bobber, and lead split shots, preferably #5. A net can come in handy if the shore is not easy to move on, so that you can easily scoop the fish.

And of course, you will need a good bait, but I already mentioned those in the previous chapter.

How to Catch Big Trout in a Lake from Shore - Gear

What is the Best Time of Day to Catch Trout in a Lake from Shore?

Before we establish the best time of the day, we must determine the best season.

When the temperatures start to rise after winter, in spring, trout will become very active. That activity period will last until the summer begins. This of course depends on a location, and it is a general rule. If you have below freezing temperatures in your area until May, the season will start later. But if the winters are mild, the best time to fish can start in late winter.

This is especially important for shore fishing. Water near the shore is shallower, and gets warmer sooner. Trout will arrive to find food after they were calm during winter.

When the temperatures are “normal” for spring, you should fish for trout in the morning. Shallow water is still cold and it is not warming up too much because of the sun during day.

Trout will feed actively until the sun rises higher.

During the day, you may have some luck if the water and weather are still cold, or if it is cloudy. On cloudy days, trout may feed during the day.

As already mentioned, morning is the best, but you can also fish during the dusk. At that time, trout will start feeding actively closer to the shore, as the temperatures start to drop.

Keep in mind that if the water was covered with ice, you most likely won’t see any real trout activity for about 10-14 days after the ice melted. The only exemption is the Brook trout, that can become active as soon as the ice disappears.

Where Can I Find Trout in a Lake? Best Micro-Locations ...

Trout that live in rivers often stay in place and wait for their food to arrive with the current.

On the other hand, trout that live in still waters, such as lakes, will be on the move. They swim around and search for food. But, at the same time, they want to remain in the close proximity of covers, so that they can hide from predators.

To find trout on a lake, first you have to find places where the trout is likely to hide. Search for covers and places like:

• Vegetation
• Logs, stumps, or rock formations
• Stream inlets where the currents are entering the lake
• Deep areas, especially during warmer months

When you find these hiding places, try to see where the trout natural food is.

Trout eat insects, small fish, crustaceans, and similar aquatic organisms. Small fish also like hiding places so when you locate the covers and the trout food, you have a good chance to find trout.

This food searching behavior frequently attracts trout close to the shore and that gives you a great fishing opportunity.

Another important thing to look at is the shade. Trout will almost never spend time under the bright sun.

Trout also like well oxygenated and cold water. So, stream inlets will provide fresh and cooler water, if there are any. During spring and fall, locating trout is much easier than in summer. Sometimes, you can even see them close to the surface.

In summer, many anglers tend to search for trout as deep as possible because the water is colder there. That is true, however, that water does not circulate, and may not contain enough oxygen.

So, in summer, you will have to find the thermocline depth. In simple words, that is a depth in which warm water from the top mixes with the cold water from below. In that area, it is cold enough and oxygenated enough for a trout to feed.

Unfortunately, this “perfect” location can be deep, and far away from shore, and that is why summer fishing for trout can significantly vary among lakes.

What is the Best Lake for Trout Fishing in the World?

Well, I haven’t visited all the lakes in the world, however, I think that the best one is Jurassic lake in Argentina.

First of all, Patagonia region where the lake is located is astonishing. Vast wilderness, clear waters, and only the most passionate trout anglers around. This place is never crowded.

Rainbow trout grow big there, and the lake is quite large and full of baitfish, which is the reason the rainbows grow fast and reproduce successfully. Nearby streams and river Barrancoso are a constant supply of fresh water.

Of course, license is mandatory, and some parts are privately owned.

But, because Argentina is far away for many, and not that accessible, I will mention one more amazing location.

Lake Athabasca, located in Northern American continent, in Canada, is a bit closer, even for the anglers from Europe.

This huge body of water has numerous streams and river inlets that bring fresh water and nutrients to trout. It is remote, so there are no crowds, but still accessible.

Strict rules apply and many anglers practice catch and release. That is another reason why trout grow large, and are present in large numbers.

But, if you don’t have the opportunity to visit any of these famous places, you can still have an excellent experience on your favorite nearby lake.

Other Tips for Trout Fishing in a Lake from Shore...

Trout fishing in a lake may seem simple, but even the smallest mistakes can prevent you from catching a big one.

Here are some basic trout fishing in a lake tips, that should help you to get started. Use them as a base knowledge, and upgrade them with your own experience later on.


Rain is your best friend when it comes to trout fishing. Rain will stir up the water, bring all kinds of bugs and trout food into it, and cool it down. Go fishing on days like this. But avoid severe thunderstorms, for your own safety.


If you can get one of these, search for very deep areas close to the shore. Try fishing on the borders of deep and shallow places. Navionics or CMap can help you ...


Twitching and making sudden stops in addition to steady move is a key to success. Mimic the injured fish and the trout should go for it.


When the lake is stocked, those new trout will stay near the stocking location for quite some time. Try to fish within that area. Many anglers do not approve of this technique, but beginners could learn a thing or two from doing so.


If you notice that there is no activity for more than 20 minutes, it is time to get your bait out to see if it is still there, and replace if necessary.


There is nothing wrong if you didn’t catch anything. Maybe you had the wrong bait, or maybe the trout were lazy during that day.

However, if you tried everything, and nothing seems to be working, it is time to take your gear and move to another location. Sometimes, that is enough to turn the situation into your favor.


Learning how to catch trout in a lake from shore is not that hard, if you know what factors influence your success.

To catch a big one, you have to locate their food source and shelter, and fish in that area. You will also need to use a proper bait, and always have another one ready, just in case that your first choice is not doing well.

Every location is different, and the only way to certainly know what works in your lake is to take your fishing equipment and start fishing!

About Me

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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