Spin Fishing for Sea Run Brown Trout

Hungry Sea run brown trout

As the sun sinks behind the horizon, the only ripple on the vast river flat was some distant fish raising. I stalked my way upriver, forced to walk on the narrowest margins between tall river reeds and the deeply shelving river, which quickly drops away to more than waist deep.

I cast my Rapala out towards and over a submerged log. I could mark its location because the slight current splits and flows around it. The lure hits the water with a slight plod, and I start my retrieve. The Rapala slowly darts and wobbles as it approaches the log. A sudden surge of water and moments later my line tightens and my rod tip bends over. The fight begins.

Sea Run brown trout offers some of the most exciting trout fishing for the spin angler. Sea runs are often found in large and slow flowing lower portion of rivers. There is a lot of water to cover, and the speed and casting distance of spinning allows a lot of water to be covered in a short amount of time.

Spin fishing river mouths for sea trout.

Sea run trout can be caught at the river mouth before they enter the sea proper. I have always struggled to get consistent catches when casting out to sea.

While salmon fishers cast heavy metal lures far and let the lure sink to near the bottom before retrieving. To target trout, it is important to cover more of the water column. I make sure to cover the bottom, middle and even surface.

River Mouths are a complex web of currents, bars, and holes. Trout are lazy fish, they dislike to waste energy. So the trout are most likely to position themselves where they can lay and grab food as it moves past. Try to identify deeper holes, they are normally a calmer spot at the mouth. These are prime spots to find trout, I like to run my lure so it passes just on the edge of the current and still water.

If fishing a floating lure, it is at times possible to let the current carry it far out to sea. Then you can wind it back in. That can allow for much longer casts.

Mostly, I do not fish coastal river mouths for trout; I target other species like Salmon and the trout are more a distraction which I cast for occasionally. Trout, including sea runs are much easier to catch further upstream.

Sea run brown trout often hold at the first riffle.

Sea run trout often concentrate around the first riffle or rapid in a river. In some slow rivers that could be many miles inland. In steeper rivers, it might only be a worth hundred yards from the mouth. At times, the riffle can only be identified at low tide. The high tide raising water levels enough to completely submerged it.

The pool

I like to break the riffle into several sections. At the bottom of the riffle there is normally a deeper pool. Trout and salmon often concentrate there, the salmon are resting, while the trout are feeding. These pools can be deep, so I suggest fishing a deep diving or heavy lure and fishing near the bottom. This is also a prime spot for night fishing.

The edges

Trout often feed along the shallows either side of a riffle. In the tidal sections of rivers, riffles are often overlooked. Trout feed there because the water current is normally slowest towards the shore. Smaller baitfish often swim there when they are trying to push upstream. The trout know that, so they lay in wait to ambush any shoals moving through. These trout are in a feeding mood, so can be quite easy to catch.

Behind structure

Submerged branches and logs are ideal spots to look for holding sea run trout. They position themselves there keeping out of the flow of the current.


When fishing further upriver out of the tidal influence I do not specifically target sea run. In my experience the spinning methods which work well on the resident fish, can also catch any sea run which have migrated further up the river.

The further up the river the sea run trout travels the more their diet changes to the food available in the river.

Best lures and spinners for Sea Run trout.

My preference for spinning lures depends more where in the river I am fishing. In the lower tidal sections of the river. I favor minnow imitation lures such as jerkbaits. Lifelike patterned lures with realistic action work well in still water. Trout have time to inspect the prey before striking. My favorite colors include natural patterns such as the Rapala Brown Trout. In sunny clear conditions, I like to use a herring pattern, with blue back and silver body. In cloudy or discolored water, I have had good luck on very bright obnoxious lures.

Up river, in the rapids and riffles I change to an in-line spinner. I like the traditional colors, mostly been silver, gold, black and Red, and black and blue. The combination of flash and the vibration works well when fishing through moving water.

Best Spinning Reel for sea run brown trout

I use a slightly larger spinning reel when targeting sea run compared with river and stream trout. Searun trout are often larger and more powerful. While 4-5lb line might be fine for catching pannies, a 12lb monster can really pressure such a system. My go to reel for chasing sea run trout is the Shimano Stradic FL 4000. The combination of refined toughness and excellent corrosion resistant makes it a perfect reel for fishing in brackish water. If on a budget, the Penn Battle III offers excellent value for under $100. We have reviewed both reels in our Spinning reel buyers guide.

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