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Trout move deeper in the water column to seek out cool water as summer sets in and surface waters warm. Trout often inhabit depths around the thermocline, the transition between the warm, oxygenated surface layer and the cool, low-oxygen lower layer.
On larger lakes like the Great Lakes, trout move shallow where shorecasters can target them with spoons and swimbaits. Good areas to fish include mouths of tributary rivers, points, and other access areas like piers.
Stream trout feed more selectively than many gamefish. Whatever big trout are feeding on, whether it's insect larvae or minnows, it's important to use a presentation that looks and moves like the real thing.
During springtime, stocked trout in lakes and reservoirs can be found fairly shallow, feeding in the upper 10 to 15 feet of the water column. An effective technique to catch spring trout is to troll with crankbaits, either longlining directly behind the boat or with planer boards. Troll with 10 to 20 feet of line out at a speed around 2 mph.
Nighttime can be one of the best times to target big browns in tailrace fisheries of the South. Big browns are less spooky at night, moving out of heavy cover into areas easily approached and fished.
Tailraces below reservoirs can provide some of the best fishing for lots of big trout. Big browns migrate upstream and concentrate below dams during their annual spawning run.
Trout, browns, brookies, & rainbows are coldwater species, so they like cold water and remain active under ice cover. One key to trout location in reservoirs and lakes is finding shallow flats (4 to 8 feet deep) with soft bottoms.
Winter is a fantastic time to catch big lake trout through the ice. This type of fishing often requires mobility as it can take quite a bit of searching to find active lakers. They can roam main-lake basins where they suspend in the water column to feed on open-water baitfish.