How to Find a Good Trout Fishing Spot

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

how to find a good trout fishing sport

There are hundreds of different kinds of trout. They range from small brook trout to large salmonids like cutthroat trout and steelhead. We will take a look at how to find a good trout fishing spot, so you can catch some of these awesome game fish.

Where to Fish for Trout

Because they’re so adaptable, fish can often be seen in almost any body of water, from small ponds to large rivers and even oceans. They can be wild or stocked, but they’re usually plentiful enough to catch.

Check out local resources first if you’re looking for a good spot to catch some rainbow or brown trout. You might be able to get useful information from state fisheries departments, local tackle shops, or online forums that discuss fishing spots near you.

Whether you’re looking for a specific type of trout to catch or just want to try something new, finding a good place to fish can be easier than you might think.

Locating Trout in Streams

Trout are coldwater fish that spend most of their lives in rivers and streams. They like clear, cool waters with lots of vegetation, such as cattails, bulrushes, and lily pads. These plants provide shade and help keep the water clean. When choosing a place to cast, look for places with some cover along the banks. If you see small rocks sticking out of the riverbed, there is likely a good trout holding area nearby.

To determine whether a stretch of water is suitable for fishing, check the depth of the water. Trout don’t usually go very deep into the water column; they typically stay just above the bottom. You’ll want to avoid shallow pools and riffles because they tend to dry out quickly. Try to catch trout in deeper river sections where the water stays cooler longer.

In addition to looking for cover near the shoreline, try casting upstream to find trout that hang out in eddies and undercut banks. Edges of boulders, fallen logs, and grassy areas are great spots for trout to hide. As long as you’re careful about getting too close to the edge of the bank, you should be able to hook a nice fish without disturbing the habitat.

trout swimming above rocks in river or stream

Sections of The River


A riffled stream has a choppy water flow over rocks. Look for whitewater flowing from shallow pools into deeper water. A good riffled stream satisfies all of the basic requirements for a fish. The shallow, highly oxygenated waters are an ideal habitat for the aquatic insects that fish feed on. Boulders and stones provide plenty of places to hide and rest. Deeper waters downstream give fish safety and security. All of those factors make a riffle a great spot to start fishing.


A run is a place between two riffles where the depth of the river increases and the flow is more even. It’s a good place to fish for rainbow and brown trout. They like the shelter offered by deeper waters and the proximity to an easier meal. Often they hang just above the surface or lie along the bottom near the bottom, feeding insects swept downriver out of a riffled section.


A pool is the deep part of any stream where the water is slower than elsewhere. Fish tend to stay there during times of low activity. A pool could be the only place where fish live in smaller bodies of water. However, in large bodies of water, a single pool may not contain enough fish to sustain them.


Eddies are areas of the river where structures such as logs, boulders, or banks block the river’s main stream and influence its course. Downstream from these obstructions, a pocket of swirls forms opposite the main stream. Trout love eddie pockets because they funnel and trap prey floating by in the currents. Look for foam or bubbly spots on the surface where the river stream meets up with the swirls and cast.


A tailout is an area where the river’s flow slows down and forms a shallow, flat section just before the current flows out into another riffled area. Trout will often sit in these areas waiting for homing hatchlings to drift past them.

Examine the Structure of the Water

The final stage in learning how to read water is understanding what makes up the structure within a particular section of the river. This includes rocks, trees, bushes, and other obstacles that impede water flow.

There are many ways to identify the type of structure present in a given location, including looking at the shape of the riverbed and the way the water flows around the obstacle.

For instance, a boulder could narrow the river bed and constrict the flow, creating a large hole in the middle of the river. In contrast, a log may provide a wide open channel along one side of the river, allowing the water to move freely.

If you’re fishing a specific spot, try casting upstream, downstream, left, and right of the obstruction. You’ll likely find some fish waiting for food to pass by.


A seam is any place where two currents meet. Trout like seams because the converging currents create feeding lanes that attract drifting foods. It’s important to notice any structures in a river because they may indicate a seam. You might notice small bubbles following the flow of water down a riverbed.

Watching the current closely as it flows over and under structure becomes second nature. Look for areas where there is a noticeable change in current speed. This could indicate a seam. You might find one while casting or even while wading. If you see something unusual, stop and check it out.

Next time you go fishing, pick a stretch of river and spend some time studying the water. Make a note of any features that stand out. Once familiar with the area, it will start feeling like a natural extension of your senses. As you learn to read the water, you’ll be able to predict what’s coming next. Eventually, you’ll feel like you know every inch of the river. And that will make catching fish easier.

Once you’ve landed a fish, spend some time studying the area where you caught it. You should remember the key characteristics of the place where you’re fishing. Eventually, it’ll feel like less work, and looking at the water becomes an instinctual skill that helps you catch more trout.

How to Find Trout

One of the most important aspects of any type of angling is being able to tell what the current is doing. This is especially true when trying to catch fish in a fast-moving river. Knowing what the current is doing allows you to predict where the fish will be and also gives you an idea of what they’ll do once you get to them.

For example, if you know that the current is running down the bank, you can expect to see fish feeding along the shoreline. On the flip side, if you know that a pool is holding back the current, you should be able to find fish hiding in those pockets of calm.

Of course, knowing what the current is doing doesn’t mean you won’t encounter obstacles. Logs, boulders, and other obstructions will often prevent the current from flowing freely through the area. But knowing what the current does will help you avoid these problems.

To catch a fish, one must understand the behavior of the fish. To do this, one must observe the environment around the fish. For example, if the fish is sitting on the bottom of the stream, then the current will carry the insect towards the fish. Therefore, if the fisherman casts his/her bait into the current, the insect will drift down to the fish. However, if the fisherman casts the bait into an area without any current, then the insect will not drift down to the fish; thus, the fisherman will miss the opportunity to catch a fish. Thus, the presentation of the bait is very important.

angler fly fishing from bank of stream in tall reeds and grass
Closeup of fisherman fly fishing

Where Trout Are

The art of finding fishable water is often overlooked. Many anglers spend hours searching for elusive fish without ever realizing that many opportunities are just waiting to be discovered. Some of the most productive fishing spots are located near shorelines, in shallow areas of the stream, or even in small pools that are difficult to access.

We’ll start by looking at the general characteristics of trout habitat, including the types of habitats they prefer and the conditions they require. Then we’ll examine the specific characteristics of each type of habitats, such as depth, flow velocity, and temperature. Finally, we’ll discuss how to identify these different habitats while you’re out on the river.

Trout are coldwater fish and thrive in cool waters. They like water temperatures ranging from 50°F to 70°F, although they can tolerate slightly warmer water. As long as the water isn’t too warm, trout won’t mind being exposed to sunlight.

Because trout feed primarily during daylight hours, they typically avoid murky water. However, they do sometimes feed under overhanging banks or in deeper holes. Seeing lots of vegetation growing around a hole could indicate that it contains a lot of food.

Fish will also seek shelter from predators. For instance, trout tend to hide in deep holes or crevices in rocks. Trout also use caves, logs, and fallen trees as cover.

Broken Water

Often, people think of fishing behind rocks but forget about the front of them. Look at the current around the rock you are targeting. If there is no current try another one. You want to find a place where the current is flowing into the hole. This is called broken water.

Undercut Banks

Spring creek and meadow streams often feature undercut banks. These undercut banks are typically located near high water flows and deep pools. They are great places to find largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, sunfish, and even rainbow trout. However, it takes skill to locate these undercut banks.

Most undercuts are shallow, although there are many deeper ones too. You cannot walk directly next to the bank because this will spook fish and scare away others nearby. If you do happen upon an undercut bank, make sure you know how to cast upstream and downstream, as well as upstream and downstream of the undercut.

Converging Currents

Nymphs come into being in the springtime and live in shallow water. They mature quickly and often reproduce while still small. Nymphs are typically found in areas with fast current speeds, such as rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes, reservoirs, and slow-moving streams.

These places tend to have a lot of vegetation and cover that allows sunlight to penetrate deep enough to reach the bottom. This makes it easy for nymphs to hide out during the day.

In addition to providing shelter, aquatic plants provide food and habitat for many species of animals. Some of the best fishing opportunities occur in areas with dense plant growth because the plants attract insects and other invertebrates that serve as prey for larger fish.

The easiest way to find nymphs is to cast upstream and let the current carry you. You might see signs of movement on the water’s surface or hear splashing sounds. If you catch one, don’t worry about how big it is. Most nymphs aren’t very large. Some of the largest trout caught in North America was caught on tiny nymphs.

Overhead Cover & Log Jams

The term overhead cover refers to any type of vegetation that grows above the surface of a body of water. This includes aquatic plants such as bulrushes, cattails, reeds, and rushes; submerged aquatic vegetation such as duckweed, hyacinth, pondweeds, and water lettuce; floating plants such as water lilies and lotus; and emergent plants such as willows, alders, and cottonwoods.

Log jams are underwater obstructions that form where logs become stuck together due to debris or algae buildup. They can range in size from small clumps of woody material to large piles of debris. Some fish and invertebrates live in and feed on the decaying matter found within log jams.

Stoneflies are insect larvae that spend most of their lives underwater, feeding on detritus. When they emerge from the water, they seek out overhanging vegetation to rest and dry off.

A dry fly is a streamer used primarily for trout fishing. The name derives from the fact that it is designed to float on the surface of the water and thus “dry” rather than sink into the depths. A dry fly is usually constructed from silk, hair, feathers, or synthetic materials.

Which Type of Rod Should You Use for Trout Fishing

Trout is one of North America’s most popular game fish, and there are many ways to catch them. Most people use fly rods and flies to do it, but some prefer spinning gear. Here’s what you need to know if you’re looking for the best fly rod for trout fishing.

Fly Rods

A fly rod is used to cast lures into the water. A fly rod usually consists of the handle, the reel seat, and the rod tip. There are several types of fly rods that are species and presentation specific. The rods come in many different sizes and rod materials.  Sizes are similar to spinning rods, with rods ranging in size from 6 feet to 14 feet long. Rods are categorized by the type of fly line weight they can handle based on the reel’s guide size.

Spinning Rods

Spinning rods are very similar to fly rods in their design, with the rod eyes on the underside.  The spinning rod is often associated with fishing for smaller fish species, but they are strong enough to use in the ocean’s blue waters.  You’ll find spinning rods ranging from 5 feet long to14  feet long.

They come in various materials, such as graphite, bamboo, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Spinning rods, like fly rods, are categorized by line weight size the rod will support.

Casting Rods

A casting rod is similar to a spinning rod except.  Casting rods range from 3 feet to 11 feet long. They are generally heavier duty than spinning rods because they must support a larger amount of weight. Like spinning rods, casting rods come in a variety of material options.  Casting rods are also categorized by the line size the rod can handle. These weight limits are heavier than spinning and fly rods.

Storing Trout While Fishing

If you are planning to keep a trout caught while fishing, there are several things you must do to ensure that the fish stays fresh. First, make sure that you clean the fish as soon as possible. This includes rinsing it off and wiping it down with paper towels.

You can use a brush to help loosen dirt and debris from the scales. Once you’ve cleaned the fish, store it in a container with some ice packs. Ensure that the container is airtight and that you put the lid on tightly. Keep the fish in the refrigerator if you plan on cooking it soon.

Otherwise, freeze the fish so you can cook them later.  Make sure you put a date on the fish because the freezer can damage the delicate flesh of trout.


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