Jigs Head

Will bass techniques work for rainbow trout?

Is there any possible way that I could use bass techniques and bass tackle for rainbow trout? Would a drop shot rig with a zoom magnum shakey head worm work for rainbow trout in shallow rivers? Or what about small jigs, texas rigged lizards, or shakey head worms with stand up jig heads?

Some bass techniques will work on trout, others won't. I think what you have to consider when using crossover techniques is the differences in behavior in the two fish.

Bass are warmwater fish. As such they are very aggressive attack hunters. They ambush prey from cover, but also run down prey over long distances. They're opportunistic -- if they spend half a day feeding on minnows, they can still be enticed with a crawdad. Best of all they are easily provoked with things like noise, motion, and color -- we all know bass will hit a lure that looks almost nothing like natural forage as long as the lure displays a certain color or motion. Bass go after large prey. My assumption is that bass and sunfish will go after prey up to one half of their own total length -- I'm sure you've hooked little 10- or 12-inch bass on a lure that 4 or 5 inches long.

Trout are coldwater fish. They are not as aggressive as bass, do not strike as hard, will not chase down prey over long distances, and are more selective. They are less likely to be induced into striking a certain color or motion -- they require accurate imitations of natural forage, including color, size, shape, etc. They are also inclined to feed single-mindedly, zeroing in on a single prey item to the exclusion of other forage. My rule with trout is that they will take prey up to one quarter of their total length and may even be spooked by large lures. Also trout (especially in rivers) often feed from "lies." A lie is an optimum position in a stream where the trout has cover, food, and refuge from the current. It's like a comfort zone. The trout takes up its lie and then moves very little, taking forage that washed down the current.

So, with that in mind, big, noisy rigs will not work well on smaller trout (less than about 18 inches). Most trout that size are eating aquatic insects and similar forage, so a big swimming lizard, or 4-inch worm will interest them less.

Because of a trout's preference to feed from a lie, they are less inclined to chase fast and far-running lures. A trout won't move too far from its lie. That's how coldwater fish are -- it's all about energy conservation. Smaller and slower running lures can be effective, especially if you can fish it so that the trout doesn't have to move much. There is a trout stream about an hour from where I live where smallmouth bass have been introduced, and at certain times of the year I can catch bass and trout in the same place with the same spinner. I like brass and red colored Mepps and Jake's spinners and have caught lots of trout with them.

I'm not sure about rubber worms. I haven't fished for trout much with large rubber worms, and my gut says it's not a great match. But trout love real worms, so a good worm imitation may catch you some trout. I think the difference will be presentation -- a smaller, more subtle presentation is required for trout.

I've had a lot of success taking trout on small jigs (1/32 oz. to 1/8 oz.) in rivers and streams. Brown trout will KILL minnow imitations at this time of year -- not only to feed but because of territorial impulses (they spawn in late fall). You can also catch trout with jigs by overhanging banks -- trout like to hide out under the overhangs and if you don't scare them off with your approach, you can find some big trout hiding in very shallow water waiting to ambush minnows and fallen insects, both of which you can imitate with jigs.

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