Time to catch the rainbow trout!
Rainbow Trout Habitat
Rainbow trout is one of my favorite fish to eat! These beauties get their name from the stunning rainbow colors on their skin. Due to popularity as a game fish, they have been introduced into streams and lakes all over North America.
I live in Louisiana, and rainbow trout cannot survive the warm water temperatures in the spring and summer. Rainbow trout prefer water temperatures of 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but can tolerate temperatures that vary from 32 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Thankfully, our parks departments and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries stock ponds across the state in the winter with rainbow trout for everyone to fish!
What Bait Should I Use?
Rainbow trout raised in hatcheries are fed pelleted diets for all life stages, unlike rainbow trout found in the wild that feed on insects, fish eggs, small minnows, crustaceans and worms. Think about that when choosing bait.
Stocked ponds are stocked with rainbow trout raised in a hatchery! They are accustomed to a diet of pelleted food. Of course, the longer they are in the ponds, the more they will have to adapt to the food available to them. There are many baits you can try depending on whether you fish top or bottom water. I've seen people fish stock ponds with spinners, corn kernels, PowerBait, etc.
My success fishing stocked ponds has come from PowerBait Trout Bait. I used the paste while my friend used the Trout Nibbles. If one bait doesn't work, don't get discouraged. Try another. Sometimes color does make a difference, and it's all about the trout's preference that day.
So it took us a minute to figure out the right setup, but we figured it out after a trip to the Bass Pro where we talked with a talented fisherman who gave us the advice to use a Carolina rig.
So here is our setup. We used 3/8 ounce steel egg sinker with a 33 inch lead line. We used the Tru Turn Baitholder hooks, size 8 and baited it with PowerBait. This helped our line sink to the bottom and properly entice the rainbow trout to the bait.
Catching Rainbow Trout
The park system where I live stocked ponds with rainbow trout in December! Rainbow trout is one of my favorite fish to eat and dang it I was going to learn how to catch those suckers. I called up my friend, DJ, and he was down for the adventure.
We setup some basic lines with a small hook, and some PowerBait and worms, and took to the pond on Christmas Eve. Let me tell you, it was the coldest and windiest day of the year in Louisiana, and our lines were flying all over the place. We spent 6-7 hours fishing and caught one bream on a worm...........ARGH......
We didn't know quite what to do, but we thought that we needed to get larger weights and fish the bottom of the pond. So, we made a trip to the Bass Pro where we talked to a fantastic man named Tom. He suggested using a Carolina rig setup.
So, we set that sucker up on both of our rods and Christmas Day we were back at it. We are no expert fishermen, definitely beginners, but we were not giving up. This time when we cast our lines out, those lines sat where we wanted them to.
Well, I felt something bumping my line. I wasn't quite sure if that was what I was looking for, but I figured it was a good sign. It took 10 minutes of waiting with the line in the water, but I knew I felt a bite this time and I started reeling frantically. I lost him. I had reeled too early. Frustrating.......but I knew we were onto something great.
I cast it again and about 5 minutes later, the bumps were back and I felt a good bite. I started reeling and I felt that trout on my line!!! It was mine! I reeled it in. Our first trout of the day. It was beautiful! The rainbow colors were shining. What a Christmas gift. We placed the fish in the cooler and we got back to it.
Five hours later, I had caught my limit of four fish and DJ had caught three! We took home seven fish that night. Let me tell you how successful we felt. After much trial and error, we had figured it out! Now it was time to filet and cook those beauties.
Cooking Rainbow Trout
We placed aluminum foil on a baking sheet and spread olive oil on the aluminum foil. We then placed the filets with the half skins on, on the foil and seasoned with pepper, salt, melted butter and Cajun seasoning! We placed the oven on broil and baked for 6 minutes.
6 minutes was all it took for a beautiful, flaky fish coming right off the skin. IT WAS SOOOO GOOD. I can't wait to get back out there and catch some more trout. Get out there and go fishing!