Hatchery-raised rainbows may not be as wary as wild trout, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re easy to catch all the time, either. Sure, there are days when you’ll fill your stringer in minutes. But other times the put-and-take fish play hard to get. In any case, the most effective method of catching these fish is often the simplest. So here’s a quick run-down on two KISS hatchery trout tactics.

Hatchery Trout Fishing Method Number One

  • Rig up with a small hook (number-six is about right) on a pre-tied foot-long leader of six- or eight-pound test.
  • Place a split-shot just above the line-to leader connection. Use the smallest that will keep the bait down but remember that if there’s wind blowing the line or you’re fishing in a current, you need enough weight to hold in place. In a calm pond a number-five split-shot is plenty, but in moving water or a breeze you may need to go to a number-three or a number-two.
  • Slide a few Powerbait Trout Nuggets (which are formulated to more or less match the pellets hatchery fish are raised on) onto the hook.
  • Cast out, let the bait rest on bottom, and leave the bail on your rod open. When line starts flying out, close the bail and set the hook.
hatchery raised rainbow trout
This chunky hatchery raised rainbow trout will make a great meal.

Hatchery Trout Fishing Method Number Two

  • Rig and bait as described above, but also put a bobber two to four feet above the split shot.
  • Cast out, and when the bobber goes down set the hook.

Check out state agency stocking schedules for where you live, to see when and where hatchery raised fish will be released. Here are some links for those in our Mid-Atlantic region: