Feeding Temperatures

As you now know, identifying the area where trout are waiting in lie to feed is one ways in which you will catch them. Therefore, knowing the temperature that is optimum for feeding is to your advantage. The feeding range is very different from the survival range in that trout need the water temperature to be from 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. As you will see in the following table, these numbers do change from one species to another, adding water speed into the equation:

Species

Optimum Feeding Temperature

Water Speed

Brown Trout

55 to 68 Degrees F

Slow to Medium

Brook Trout

50 to 58 Degrees F

Medium

Cutthroat Trout

55 to 65 Degrees F

Medium

Rainbow Trout

52 to 60 Degrees F

Medium to Fast

Steelhead Trout

46 to 60 Degrees F

Medium to Fast

The temperature of the water has a definite impact on how the trout will behave in relation to level of activity. Since trout are cold-blooded, the oxygen in which they live must be oxygenated well in order for them to survive. The level of oxygen found in water is affected by the water temperature so when the temperatures fall outside the boundaries, the levels of oxygen become too less or too much, causing the fish to be miserable and not bite, or die.

  • When the feeding temperature is within the normal range, the trout's metabolism is perfect. This is the time when the trout feeds normally and are more apt to strike.
  • When the feeding temperatures are in the lower range, the trout need a larger, brighter spinner since it takes more to get them excited.
  • When the temperatures fall in the middle of the range, you will find that trout do become excited but they are a bit wary. Typically, you would feel many nudges before a strike. For this scenario, lower the size of the spinner and tone down the color or brightness.
  • Finally, when feeding temperatures are on the upper portion of the scale, trout will become easily excited so use a small, dull spinner for the best results.

Keep in mind that many things affect the water temperature such as the depth of the water, the outside temperature, whether the sun is, out in full or if there is cloud coverage, and even wind. For instance, if the water is low and the day is hot and sunny, obviously the water will heat up quicker than if the water levels were high and the day was cool and cloudy.

Both outside temperature and wind also come into play. Therefore, depending what part of the country or world you fish, you will see great differences in the temperature, thus the thermometer!

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