Preparing for “Trout season”

Preparing for “Trout season”

It’s fall, temperatures are (finally) getting and staying cooler, and so is the average water temperature. I enjoy fishing for catfish, but they just don’t bite in water temperatures below 75° (they prefer water temps around 82°-84°). I believe I’ve caught one, maybe two in Octobers past in AZ. Rainbow trout, however, are cold water fish, preferring water temperatures between 61°-64°. In AZ the average temperature in wintertime is 70°-80° during the day, and as long as water temperatures stay within 15° of air temperature (best fishing conditions), this makes for an opportune time to try for trout.

The areas I typically fish the water is fairly dirty, and I personally wouldn’t recommend eating the fish. It doesn’t mean you can’t, I’m certainly not an expert on water quality, it’s just my preference. If I wanted to keep trout in AZ I would go to Oak Creek, Black River, Lee’s Ferry, etc. So since I’m not keeping and eating the fish, I plan to catch and release. Trout are very delicate fish, so it’s best to use barbless hooks. I looked around my area but at this time I’m unable to find my preferred trout spinning lures with barbless hooks. I happen to have a 6 pack of those favorite spinners, so I decided to grind off the barbs myself. Although it’s possible to just smash the barb down with a pair of pliers, I wanted to ensure the barb wouldn’t catch at all on the fish.

This is a Panther Martin Regular #15 Silver (1/2 oz) spinner, hook size is ~#4.

Panther Martin Regular #15 1/2 ounce spinner
Panther Martin Regular #15 1/2 ounce spinner

Of course my Dremel attachments didn’t fit all of a sudden, so I took the stone grinders and put them in my drill instead. I ground down the barbs until my fingers wouldn’t catch on them anymore, so I know the fish won’t be affected by them.

Barbs removed from spinner
Barbs removed from spinner

For bait fishing, I’ve prepared a set of #10 hooks the same way, removing the barbs, but these I smashed down with pliers. I’ll probably also get some #12 or even #14 hooks, since trout fishing doesn’t require large hooks. Lighter line is also recommended, however I’m going to try my existing 15lb SpiderWire braid and see what happens. The line is very lightweight and dark green, it disappears in the water. We’ll see if the fish think the same.

Hopefully the fish appreciate removing the barbs!

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