How to Gear Up for Trout Fishing
[MUSIC] We’re here today at James Gap state park we’ve got the beautiful middle Saluda river flowing behind us that’s full of trout. But today we’re going to talk all about what you would need to go out and trout fish. I’m joined by Kevin Kubek who’s one of our freshwater fisheries biologist out of the clemson office. So Kevin if we’re going to go out and we don’t know anything about trout fishing how would we need to dress to get into one of these streams? Well trout are naturally Coldwater fish so it’s a good idea to wear waders especially during the cooler months. You have a couple options you can either wear chest waders and especially if you’re wearing chest waders are going to want to make sure you have on a waiting belt. A really key safety piece of equipment here for deeper water in case you were to fall in. This prevents water from filling up your waders. In shallow streams you can get away with hip waders. And during the summer months and really in South Carolina probably four or five months of the year you can wet wade which is a very nice thing to do. Just put on an old pair of wading boots or old boots in general maybe a pair of wading pants and you can just hike through the stream and have a good time out there. Excellent so we’ve got the clothing down, now what other things would we need to have on us? We can’t have a tackle box like other anglers would on their boat or on the bank because we’re actually in the stream. So how do we get our gear out there? Exactly as you can see trout fishing entails a lot of gear and a vest is a handy way to store all of it. You can see lots of pockets here place to hold a pair of hemostats to remove hooks, Line clippers and all your flies, rooster tails, any small pieces of gear that you might need while trout fishing, You can store them in a vest or alternately a chest pack. These are great if you’re doing like a day hike you just need to keep a few things in there. Real convenient as a place to put all your flies and maybe a snack or two. It’s pretty neat so you don’t necessarily have to carry it all on your back or on your vest if you don’t want to. There are other means and ways to do that. It’s a great option for just a light you know, small stream head water hike or something like that. Now what about this handy net over here? We definitely don’t want to lose the things that we catch. You do not want to lose trout they’re too pretty to lose at the end and not get a picture of So these fine mesh soft nets are great. Trout don’t have spiny fins so you don’t really have to worry about that the sharp spines tearing up the net or anything like that. And this is pretty good on their scales not too rough and where would an angler to carry something like this if he’s toting in a rod and You can hook it right onto your vest or your pack or even some people just tuck it right into their wading belt Or if you’re wet wading just stick it right in your belt it works out pretty well they’re nice and light. So very easily accessible so we don’t lose that fish exactly, when we land them, exactly. So a couple other things that I think are important in any fishing are these things right here. Absolutely polarized sunglasses are a key piece of equipment for any angler. I think most people realize the benefit of being able to see your lure, see where you’re casting, cut that glare off of the water. And especially in trout fishing if you’re fly-fishing or spin fishing just being able to see exactly where your lure is in a complex flowing stream really helps. So those glasses do a great job of cutting the glare. So they kind of give us a heads up to where those trout might be hiding out in the pool. Exactly exactly and where exactly we need to place that lure. Right. Another handy thing is that you have on. It is in conjunction with the fishing, glasses is a great way to keep the sun right out of your face And let you kind of see that action out in front of you a lot better. Not to mention if you were on the trout stream with a rookie like me that you’d want to wear that hat and those sunglasses to protect those eyes. That’s true stray flies, or a stray hook. So we’ve talked about what we should wear. Now we’ve got several different types of rods and reels on the table. You know when people think about trout fishing they strictly think about these things right here, these fly rods, right. It’s that image of trout fishing is often associated with fly-fishing and it’s just one of many ways you can fish for trout in South Carolina. Fly rods are typically longer than spinning rods. This is a 8.5 foot rod here. And the difference, the main difference is that you’re casting something that’s almost weightless most of the time. So rather than the line, rather than the lure carrying the line out, you’re actually casting the fly line. Fly line is thick and buoyant and you’re actually throwing the line which just then carries the fly. In South Carolina you can get away with a 5 weight rod in most situations, that’s a good middle of the line fly rod weight. They’re rated from 0 to 10, 11, 12 even for big saltwater applications But for most freshwater trout a 5 weight rod or 4 weight rod is perfect. You can go a little bit smaller too, this is a 2 weight rod here it’s great for small wild trout in settings like the one we’re in now. You know makes a nice 9 inch rainbow feel like something special when you hook it. So again 2 weight, 3 weight rods are also fun to fish with in South Carolina, excellent. There’s a big difference with going to a
trout shop to pick out some line verses going picking out line for bass or brim because you’ve gotten several different types of line on one reel. Right. I know you can see right here we’ve got the bright yellow is the backing. That’s correct. And the backing purpose is to make sure that when we catch that fly we’ve still got something left. Catch that trout we still got something left on the reel right? Right. Really backing is if you hook into a big fish and you’re in big water and it decides to run on you fly line typically is only about 80 to 90 feet long So if a fish makes a run longer than that you need something else on there to help you, you know fight that fish and that’s what the backing is for Typically you have 100 yards of backing on your reel too so if you get into a big fish and it really takes off you’ve got something to try to slow it down with And then I see we’ve got two different colors here as far as the line We’ve got the actual fly line and then we’ve got something that looks like monofilament that’s right This is that the fly line is the olive color here and then it transitions into a leader and the leader is a long tapered piece of monofilament Typically from 7 to 13 feet long depending on the conditions that you’re fishing And it tapers down to a wide range of tippet sizes they’re called And depending on whether the fish are real spooky or if you can get away with a thicker line you know you can adjust it accordingly And that’s what you actually tie your fly on to is the end of the tip it. Okay very neat. So the fly line just carries the fly out there and that tip it is is the clear parts of the fish don’t see the line obviously. So that seems a little intimidating. So if I were starting out and I didn’t necessarily want to use a fly rod reel I could then turn to something that I’m more familiar with. Exactly spin fishing is a great way to fish for trout ultralight spinning rods like these are perfect. You can tie on a 1/8 ounce or 1/16 ounce rooster tail that’s a great lure for most trout streams Shallow streams and rivers those are perfect you can kind of cast them across the current and reel them back. You know and trout are pretty aggressive with those usually they’ll come out and hit them much like a pan fish or a bass would. well that’s good to know so if I get really frustrated with the art of fly-fishing, I could turn to my handy dandy spinning rod that i’m more comfortable with, exactly. So when we’re out fishing we have a variety of things and situations we’ve got really small streams like the middle saluda behind us in South Carolina, right. We have the wide Chattooga yep and then we have places like Lake Jocassee where we’ve got a lake situation. So it’s pretty unique in South Carolina that we can fish for trout in a variety of ways, it is. Which means we need to have a variety of things in our tackle boxes depending on where we’re going to go, correct. So let’s start out on a stream like the middle Saluda, well. What would we use? This is primarily, you could spin fish here but fly-fishing works really well in these shallow streams with a lot of pocket water like you see behind us. Just these little small pockets most of which hold trout. You’ve got a lot of different flies to choose from as you can see here. Nymphs are a class of fly that are intended to be fished below the surface and you usually fish these with a little bit of weight. You can get split shot just like you would use with fishing with crickets you know for brim or something like that. Put a little piece of that on maybe eight inches above the fly and some of the flies already have beads on them as you can see here which helps get the fly down. You’re going to fish these below the surface they’re intended to imitate aquatic insects, That are drifting under the water or crawling along the bottom or have emerged and are on their way to the surface. Trout sit in these lanes and feed on these things all day long and so you’re just going to want to cast that up into the prime run and let it drift back along. You can use the fly-fishing equivalent of a bobber which is called a strike indicator you see a couple varieties of those here. You just keep your eye on that when you see it twitch or stop or change direction much like fishing for brim just set the hook, exactly. So that’s primarily the way you fish with nymphs. Okay so those would be subsurfaced? Subsurfaced, exactly. Okay. Then a lot of the year as well aquatic insects are hatching out flying off to mate and coming back to the water to lay their eggs. In order to imitate adult insects at those various life stages you use dry flies. And I have a couple boxes of dry flies here, pass one over. These are intended to float so you can put
floatin on these and cast them out and hopefully they’ll stay on the surface. You just watch them drift through try to keep the water from pulling unnaturally on the fly you want to make it as natural a drift as possible. And you just keep your eye on that dry fly. In the southeast trout are not too picky it’s more about presentation rather than pattern. So the key things are just having a fly that you can see, that the angler can see when it’s on the water and one that floats well. Because you’re dealing with a lot of intricate currents and they’re going to push that fly around. You want something that’s going to stay out on the top of the water and allow the angler to see it for most of its drift So you can just watch the trout come up
and take it that’s a lot of fun. So if you’re using a dry fly like this who’s pretty fluffy you have to put the float floatation stuff on it to keep it going, right. And you have to reapply that when you’re using these lures? You do occasionally it’s one of those things you kind of do it as needed. If your fly, if you’re casting a lot that’ll help dry the fly out. If you’re in a close-quarters situation you’re just doing a little dead drift you know. You’re watching your fly. You might not really sink the fly a whole lot so if a lot of fish are biting and pulling it under which is a good thing then you probably have to reapply floatin periodically. And then I just go a little blow on it to fluff them back up. Exactly you just rub it on there and dry the fly off a little bit and you’re good to go. Very neat. A third class of fly and as you can see these are a lot larger than most of the other types we have here, these are called streamers. And trout people think of trout as eating all these small aquatic insects which they do but they also like to eat fish and other larger critters that live in the stream like crayfish. That’s what these are intended to imitate and you usually cast these out they’re pretty well weighted. Already as you can see a lot of them have maybe eyes on them or a bead up front that helps get the fly down. You’re going to cast this out and just strip it back through make it look like a fish darting through the river, something like that. These are great to use on larger trout especially brown trout which really like to eat other fish. Okay. Can I can see one of those? Absolutely I would love to, it’s pretty neat. So do you make your own flies? I tie some mm-hm. It’s a very fun element of the sport. It’s really rewarding when you catch a fish on a fly that you tied. So you can change up eye color and? Eye color, the material a lot of these flies use material from turkeys, pheasants, a lot of game birds. So if you’re a hunter that’s another thing you can do is try to get yourself a turkey, tie flies with it and go catch a trout. I’m still trying to do that myself, I haven’t been successful on the turkey front but, very neat. So those are all the different types of flies that you would need in your arsenal to go out there and catch a good trout. So what do we have here in the middle? Oh this is a box of inline spinners, primarily rooster tails which we discussed earlier. These are great to use with ultralight spinning rods and again you can cast those out across the current bring them back and again they imitate fish, Primarily crayfish, things that are on the move in the stream, actively swimming. We also have some little jigs here. These are called trout magnets and it’s just a you know a little jig head that you put a grub tail on and they’re perfect as well. You can run these below an indicator or a bobber if you want to call it that, And put a little split shot on there and let that thing drift through the stream and they’re great flies where you know, And they come in a variety of colors also. Exactly. I really like some of these inline spinners over here. They actually imitate some of the flies that you mentioned. They do, they look like dry flies. They do, they look like dry flies but you can fish those you can kind of run them just under the surface or down below the
surface. And get that blade turning, the flash draws the fish over and then they see the actual you know lure there and they’re very effective as well. Some of these imitate, like this one looks kind of like a like a grasshopper something of that nature. That’s another key thing with trout fishing is up in these small streams, fish eat a lot of things that fall out of the trees. It’s a very important source of food for them. Not all the critters that they eat come from within the stream. So grasshoppers, ants, we call these terrestrials are great flies to use a spring through fall when those things start to get active. Ants are falling in the stream all the time, grasshoppers, so it’s very useful pattern. You had to tie your own ant fly that would have to be really tiny. Some of them are pretty tiny and you know these tiny flies are hard to see when you’re using them, But one thing you can do in fly fishing is attach a small fly to another fly, So you’ll have your line going to a big bushy dry fly and then have that dropped off to an ant maybe ten inches below. And you can just keep your eye on the big fly. When you see it move you know something may have taken the smaller fly. That’s another technique. So the ant fly would be under the surface and your dry fly would be floating on top. Exactly. A dry dropper is what you call that. Would work as a strike indicator so to speak, Exactly. Gives you two options as well. You know two food types for the fish to choose from maybe increase your chances a little bit of hooking up with a trout. Very neat so we do have two other lures. You mentioned crayfish earlier. This is something that we could also use with a spinning rod? Exactly. I don’t know any game fish that doesn’t like to eat crayfish and trout are no exception so crayfish pattern is a great idea when trout fishing. You can cast that across and swim it right under the surface or down along the bottom like a crayfish that’s fleeing from danger. That always seems to get that aggressive instinct going in fish and they’ll use they eat those. So a very good key component in our aquatic ecosystems here in South Carolina. Absolutely. Good food source. And then we have this really pretty rainbow plug. Right diving plugs are also great to use in trout fishing. You know might be more challenging in a shallow stream but in deeper water those are perfect, Cast them across the current and bring them back just under the surface or right along the bottom and be likely to get some hookups with trout. Excellent. So let’s talk a little bit more about what that deeper water would entail. If we were on Lake Jocassee we wouldn’t necessarily use the fly rod and reel. You can fly fish in Lake settings. It’s a little bit more challenging but a place like Lake Jocassee where the trout during the warmer months are going to be pretty deep. You’re going to want to use some of these larger lures that you see over here. Some of these real deep diving plugs and spoons. I really like this one, this tiger stripe. A lot of the folks that fish on Lake Jocassee go out in a boat and they’ll use a downrigger to get that to swim at a certain depth, And they’ll troll around the lake until they get into the schools of trout And it’s a great type of lure you know it resembles the large fish in the lake that trout like to eat. Got a nice little flash with all the glitter and color and then also you’ve got the flash on the back side with that blade. Exactly. We’ve got two more plugs for lake water. Right. This one actually has a little, Got a little flash to it on the tail there just adds another dimension to the lure you know make it a little more appealing maybe than a plain one. And again you can cast that out and let that run really deep in a lake setting or in a deeper river and you’re likely to get some strikes that way. So that would be a diving plug also with that bill on the front. Right. And then we have this really nifty broken plug or a split plug, whatever you want to call it. Right, that jointed plug is another effective thing, And people think that adds a lot of action to the lure which it does. You know might give it that extra edge. Make it swim a little, right. Make it imitate a swimming fish. So we’ve covered a lot of different types of lures that you can use for trout fishing. Everything from what we would need on a small stream with the flies to the larger lures for deeper water like Lake Jocassee. Right. It can seem a little frustrating but if you guys want to get out there and try your hand at trout fishing please do so. We have some helpful aids on our website with all about trout fishing specifically in South Carolina. You can go to www.dnr.sc.gov to download one of these books. We hope that you enjoyed our trout fishing lure segment and we will catch you guys next time.