The two best ways to catch trout on a worm is to drift the worm beneath a float, or bounce them along the bottom weighed down with a few pieces of split shot. Float fishing allows trout to be targeted which are feeding within the water column, while bottom bouncing works well on trout which are holding deep.
No matter what trout bait, you decide to fish with. Presentation is always more important than the bait itself. Presenting the bait, in such a way that it looks natural, but also within the trouts feeding arc would bring many more fish to the net than just random casting. Good presentation is crucial when targeting wild or holdover trout, stock trout are somewhat more forgiving.
In still water some anglers will use a ledger rig, with a large sinker. They just let the worm rest stationary just of the bottom and wait. This is a very relaxing style of fishing and can be effective if deployed in areas where trout are likely to concentrate. I will never use this method of fishing in a small stream or river simply because the trout are not mobile enough.
How to rig a live worm
- – Always keep your live worms cool. Store them in the shade, or better still in a cooler. A live wiggly worm is more enticing to trout than a dead one.
- – Before picking up a worm, rub a little dirt on your fingers. This not only hides any scents of insect or sunscreen but also makes holding onto a wiggly worm much easier.
- – If the worm is too large, consider cutting it. Although, a whole worm will survive for longer than half. So only cut them if you are certain they are too large for the trout you are targeting.
- – Thread the hook point through the worm. There are several ways this can be done. The most popular is going right through the head end and out again. For even more movement considering rigging it whacky rig style with the hook through the middle of the worm.
- No matter how you decide to hook the worm, you want it to be long and wiggly. Some fishermen bunch the worms up into a little ball, while it stays on the hook better, due to the lack of movement that presentation is less effective at catching trout.
What is the best type of worm for trout fishing?
There are thousands of species of worms, but as anglers typically generalize them into two categories, Dew Worms, which are long, fat and typically sold at bait stores, and the smaller, common garden worms.
When selecting a worm, it is best to first consider the size of the trout you are planning on targeting, and the clarity of the water. A fat 10inch dew worm, is likely too much for a small stock trout to handle. So for general trout fishing, I prefer to use common garden worms such as a red worm.
There are exceptions, if the water is dirty, the larger dew worms can be easier to see. Also, if the average size of the trout is big, then a dew worm might just be a perfect size snack. When night fishing for trophy size brown trout the bigger the worm the better. They can handle it.
Does adding a worm to a lure catch more fish?
Some anglers, think the secret to catching more trout is to add a little piece of worm to the rear hooks of a lure. This does not really help, because the trout are attracted to the vibrations and appearance of the lure rather than the scent, and a little piece of tangling worm is not enough to get them to strike. Adding a piece of worm, might encourage some other species of fish to strike. This can be seen as either desirable or not depending on the species.
What can be effective, is to trail a small plastic worm a foot or so behind a lure. Trout are often attracted to the flashy lure, decide not to strike, but rather than wasting energy they opportunistic grab the small worm trailing behind.
Best time and when to fish a worm bait?
Trout can, and do eat worms almost any time of the year, and in any type of water. It does not matter if it is day or night, deep shallow, swift or still, dirty or clear. Trout love eating worms.
While trout are not fussy, there are some times worms work even better. These are what I consider to be the best times to fish worms.
1) Just after rain is a great time to fish worms. After a rain event, many worms leave their barrows and end up in the rivers and streams. The trout know that and are likely to be searching them. Fishing a worm bait just after a fresh, when the water levels are still high can be very productive.
If the river is in a dirty flood, I advise against fishing worms. At least natural worms. In such conditions, trout have difficulty seeing, so for any chance of success a bait must be big, bright, contrasting and loud. Trout hunt by vision, and by sensing vibrations. When the water is dirty, they can not see well. So they depend more on their other senses, so a bait which vibrates more works better. This is not a drifting worm.
In a dirty lake or Stillwater, the wiggles of a live worm can be enough to grab the attention of nearby fish.
2)In warm water trout still eat worms. It is no secret that trout are difficult to catch when water temperatures start to raise. During the hot summer months, many catch and release trout anglers target other species. Any trout hooked, has a much lower chance of survival. So unless you are fishing for the table, trout fishing in warm water conditions should be avoided.
But, if you want to catch a few stock trout for a meal fishing a natural worm bait might just be the best way to catch a trout which is reluctant to feed.
3) In very cold water. When water gets too cold, close to freezing. Trout can be very hard to catch. They do not have the energy to chase after lures, and nymphs and other small aquatic insect life do not provide enough calories to be worth eating. But a fat, juicy worm is both energy dense and easy to eat.
Where are the best locations to catch trout on worms?
This might come across at quite obvious, but you have to fish the worm near where trout are likely to be feeding. This can change based on time of year, but also time of day. In this section, I will share three of the best locations for worm fishing.
1) At the head of a pool. When fishing in a small stream or river, it is a good idea to cast the worm slightly upstream and allow it to float down with the current. Trout often wait to pounce on any food floating past.
2) At river mouths, If you are fishing a lake or even a large river. One of the best places to fish worms is where another river or stream enters. I will go as far to say, that stream mouths are the best place to fish worms on a lake. Simply stand on the edge of the stream, and cast out gently. Then drift the worm slowly out into the lake. I prefer to fish my worms beneath a float when targeting stream mouths.
3) Muddy Creeks and streams. Streams and creeks which have grassy earth banks are present the best worm fishing. That is because, a large number of worms fall into the creek at night or whenever it rains. Steams with stony, gravel or sandy banks do not get as many worms washed into them so the trout are often less interested in them.
Plastic or artificial worms should not be seen as a less effective alternative to real worms. They are also highly effective at catching trout. They are also much less messy to use and stay on the hook much better. Because plastic worms stay on the hooks much better, they can be actively fished to give of even more trout attracting vibrations.
Plastic worms can usually be fished in lure only water, while natural worms can only be used in bait fishing waters. So having a few packages of artificial worms is a good idea.
I find, plastic worms work better in moving water than in lakes. That is because the trout have less time to inspect the worm, before it gets washed downstream. They have to react fast.
Another advantage of plastic worms is that they come in a wide selection of colors. This can make them even more effective especially if the water is a little dirty. A bright pink or orange worm is easier for the trout to see.
If you only occasionally plan to fish worms, plastic worms can be more economical. A single packet can last several seasons, while the life expectancy of worms in a small pootle is a couple of weeks at most.
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