What you need to know about trout

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Trout fishing can be a simple, relaxing way to spend an afternoon or an intensive lifelong learning experience. Whether you’re turning over stones in search of red worms or brushing the hackle of a hand-tied Blue-Winged Olive, here are several things to remember about trout.

■ Location, location, location. Trout are the masters of energy conversion, always positioning themselves where they can exert the least energy to get the most nutritious foods. Always facing upstream, they often position themselves just outside the edge of a faster current, waiting for food to pass.

■ Temperature control. Brooks, browns and rainbows favor different temperatures, but in general look for trout in the coolest spot in the local ecosystem — in shade, near springs or in deep pools.

■ See here. Trout can see colors as well or better than humans. Remember that your bait, fly or spinner will appear darker in color as it sinks deeper, and the color will be impacted by water turbidity. Silver or gold sparkles attract attention. Trout see through the surface; approach quietly from downstream. Changes in light matter, such as the onset of dusk or dawn and shadows moving across the water.

■ Now hear this. Have you noticed when you’re swimming underwater the way sounds seem to resonate differently? That’s what trout hear. Every time you take a step in the water, kick a stone, make a splash or speak, the trout can hear you. Whether or not that disturbs them depends on how long it’s been since they left the hatchery pools and the amount of angling pressure they experience.

■ Weather and water. Alter the way you fish according to water conditions. When it’s low and clear, use smaller baits and lighter line. In high and cloudy water, go to larger lures fished near shore — whiter often works better. Trout often “turn on” when rain shakes the surface and they can’t see out of the water.

— John Hayes

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