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Trout can be found in almost every pond, lake, stream and river across the country. Ponds, which are usually smaller than lakes, is defined as a confined body of inland still water. Sometimes they are natural and sometimes they are man-made. Ponds are typically stocked with trout from hatcheries and do require a specific angling approach. The tactics, techniques and gear used to catch pond trout is different versus fishing trout in moving waters. This article provides you with the best tips and top techniques needed for a successful day of fishing for trout in a pond.
Finding Pond Trout
Locating trout in ponds is pretty straight forward. If you locate the structures, inlets and grasses then you will find the trout. Structures provide a hiding spot for them to pounce on their prey and to also hide from predators. Inlets bring in oxygenated water and food supplies to the pond so this is where the trout will gather. The grasses (bottom cover) will provide areas needed to stay cool while avoiding the heat from direct sunlight.
Check with your local and state officials to find information on the designated stocked trout waters and their release dates. Knowing this information allows you to plan ahead and not miss out on the best fishing days and top locations for each season.
Species Of Pond Trout
Depending on the location, the specific species of trout that are found in ponds across the United States will vary. However, Brown, Rainbow and Brook Trout are typically stocked in waters across the country.
Brown Trout are hardier than other trout species and can handle slightly warmer water temperatures with dissolved oxygen levels. They are shy, also considered smart, which makes them harder to catch than other types of trout. Because of this, Brown Trout is a great sportsman fish. After stocking, it typically takes a week before Brown Trout move from their initial stock location.
Rainbow Trout can be found in most cool clean oxygenated ponds across North America. Compared to other trout, Rainbows can adapt to a wider range of water temperatures allowing them to live in waters between 45 – 70 degrees. Rainbow Trout are known for being easy to catch and great to eat. After stocking, they will typically venture out from their initial stock location within 3 days.
Brook Trout are native to the Eastern United States and Canada. They require year round cold water temperatures between 45 and 65 degrees. Clean well oxygenated water is also needed to provide a healthy habitat for the Brook Trout. They prefer the cover of vegetation and will remain in their stocked locations for up to 10 days. Brook trout are active mostly at dawn and dusk. They are aggressive predators but they are also cautious and easily spooked.
Top Baits For Catching Pond Trout
The most effective baits used for fishing trout in ponds are spinners, PowerBaits and worms. Because ponds are shallow, choosing the right color of the bait is extremely important. On sunny days, we recommend using natural colors because they are able to see their prey clearer. So, grab their attention by using a bait that resembles the same colors as their natural food source. On cloudy days you should choose gold, bronze and glitters. These colors will reflect the lower light conditions helping the trout spot the bait.
Pond trout will virtually eat everything that crosses their path. This includes insects, crustaceans, minnows, algae and larvae. When you match artificial baits to their natural food source tight lines will increase.
A spinner sends vibrations through the water with a blade that catches sunlight. It easily grabs the attention of trout because it has a flash that mimics smaller bait fish. Spinners are one of the most used lures for trout fishing because they are effective with light tackle and can be used year round. The Panther Martin best of the East set of spinners is our top recommendation. They have a unique design that creates a fast spin action. Also, a concave blade gives off a sonic vibration making it hard for the fish to pass up.
The three main types of spinners are inline, French and spring. Inline spinners are best used while fishing larger bodies of water because the aggressive action of the blade tempts the trout out from their hiding spots in the deeper waters. French spinners have the most common type of blade which is a raised dome and flat edge. The medium rotation speed makes them a very versatile bait and effective in both deep and shallow waters. Swing blades have a small profile that closely imitates bait fish. These are the best spinners to use when fishing in shallow water because they get a lot of lift resulting in a high spin even with a low speed retrieve.
PowerBaits are a top choice by anglers for pond fishing because they naturally grab the attention of stocked fish. Trout raised in hatcheries are fed pellet food and PowerBait closely resembles this type of food source. Use a small treble hook and keep the amount of PowerBait to a minimum allowing for easy floating. Keep your PowerBait close to the size of a dime and use just enough to cover the hook. We recommend using a treble hook between the sizes of 14 – 16. Too large, trout will pass on the bite because they recognize it wont easily fit into their mouths. Too small, setting the hook becomes more difficult.
There is a huge variety of options of PowerBaits but our top choice is the Berkley Gulp Power Dough garlic scent. Because it stays on the hook while casting, does not quickly dry-out and is biodegradable. For more detailed information about PowerBait trout fishing, check out our article on How to Fish PowerBait for Trout: Fishing with PowerBait.
Trout in ponds have to heavily compete for their food. So, they rarely turn down an easy meal like a worm. For pond trout, stick with worms that are between 2 – 3 inches long. Using worms that are too large will discourage the bite because it is unable to fit it into their mouths. Today’s artificial worms have a realistic shape, texture, buoyancy and scent. They can be easily used with swivels and weights and adjusted based on the body of water. The Trout Magnet Kit is a great choice for most pond fishing conditions. The body falls horizontally in the water instead of head weight, like other jigs, providing a more realistic presentation.
If you find that your fishing hole is cloudy, murky or muddy then this would be the time to fish using live worms. In these conditions, artificial baits can be harder for trout to see but the smell of a live worm will lead them directly to your hook. Be sure to stick the hook through the worm at least twice. Bunching the worm to your hook helps secure your bait while avoiding an easy grab and go meal. Use a bobber and leave a small tail portion free to wiggle naturally. No need to do much else, just let the wiggle of the worm do the work. Set the hook when the bobber signals the bite.
Best Line For Fishing Pond Trout
Trout have excellent vision so if they detect your fishing line they will pass on the bite. We recommend using between a 2 – 6 pound test line to help keep the visibility low. Using a 4 pound test line will work for most trout fishing. Keep in mind, when fishing shallow water the rule of thumb is the lighter the line the better. Use a monofilament or fluorocarbon line when you need to hide the line’s visibility. We recommend the Stren MagnaThin Monofilament Fishing Line because it is low stretch, fast sinking and is a high strength line.
Top Techniques For Catching Pond Trout
When the trout are cruising the surface, suspend a worm or PowerBait under a bobber with a sinker. Place the sinker just above the hook (helps sink the bait) and the bobber 2 feet above the hook.
When trout are in deeper holes then fish your bait off the bottom. Do not use a bobber and place your sinker approximately 1 foot above the baited hook. The sinker will sink but the bait will float a foot above the pond bottom.
When using spinners, the retrieve technique works best. Spinners are designed to mimic minnows so keeping them in motion is essential. Cast out, let the spinner partially settle and then begin retrieving. Adjust the settling time and retrieve speed until you find the winning combination.
If you can see your shadow cast on the water then the trout see it also. So, avoid casting a shadow by moving to a different location on the pond. Face into the direction of the sun to avoid spooking the fish.
Trout will go deeper when the sun warms the water. So, fish in deeper sections of the pond during the afternoon hours. Early morning and late afternoons are trout fishing prime times. Fish the shallows during sunrise and sunset.
Trout in ponds are constantly on the move. They will cruise through the water in search of food. However, they usually will stay close to cover for protection from predators. Fish for trout near vegetation and areas of any inlet water flow.
Keep your gear simple. A lightweight rod, spinning reel and a simple bait set-up will work in just about any pond that holds trout. Spinners, PowerBaits and worms with a 4 pound monofilament line will effectively provide tight lines.
The best time of year to catch trout in ponds is during the spring & fall. The waters are cooler and the trout more active.