Outdoor Articles

Trout & Moving Water

by Pursue The Outdoors on November 30th, 1999 in Trout Fishing

To me trout and moving water seem to fit together like a hand and a glove. Although trout can obviously be found in lakes and ponds, for me there’s always been something highly spiritual and fulfilling about standing in the moving water of a river or stream and attempting to catch a trout. That trout can be a rainbow, cutthroat, brook, or brown trout, the point is that I love putting on my waders and fishing vest and fishing for them. Something about the gurgling of the moving water and the sight of a beautiful trout speaks to me.

The best technique I’ve ever come across for catching trout in moving water is very simple. Very simple, but extremely effective. The technique only involves 4 things. 4 fairly simple things that can be found at most any bait shop. When combined, these 4 items enable you to catch trout in moving water; it’s as simple as that. I’ll list the four things here, so that you can give the technique a shot and see how it works for you.

Barrel Swivels – Barrel swivels are the swivels that look like a “dumbbell”, with two places to tie a knot onto. As apposed to snap swivels that have a “snap” that can be unhooked. Small barrel swivels are needed for the technique. Size 14-16 should suffice. Nothing larger than size 10.

Split Shot Sinkers – We all know what these are and a couple of different sizes should be carried with you while fishing. The goal is to bounce your bait off of the bottom, so the heavier the current, the more weight that will be needed. Have some that are BB sized and some that are a bit smaller, then you can add and remove weight as needed.


Gang Hooks – Gang hooks are integral to this technique, because we want to present the bait as naturally as possible, and a set of gang hooks is the best way to accomplish this. Size 10 gang hooks are my favorite, but size 6 and 8 are fine as well. If you tie them yourself, then just have a variety.

Live Worms – Live worms are the perfect bait for this technique. The best way to carry live worms while fishing is a bait bag, but the point is that live worms are needed for the technique.

That’s all the equipment that you need to use this very effective technique. Simply tie a barrel swivel to the end of your line. Then attach a gang hook to the other end of the barrel swivel. Now attach a couple of split shot to your line above the barrel swivel. The goal is to have your bait bounce off the bottom as it flows through the current. This will depend on the strength of the current, so experimentation is the key. Now hook a live (outstretched) worm to the set of gang hooks and you’re good to go. Simply cast it parallel to where you’re standing and let your offering tumble downstream, keeping the line taught and feeling for bites. With a little practice, you can tell the difference between bottom and bites with no problem. Getting snagged is fairly common with this technique, so don’t let that discourage you. My mentor used to say, “If you’re not getting snagged, you’re not fishing in the right place.” Once you get the amount of split shot right, you hardly ever get snagged. The bottom line is that this is the most effective trout catching technique that I’ve ever seen. Some people like waving feathers back and forth, I like bouncing a worm off the bottom of a river or stream. Different strokes for different folks I suppose. Once you begin to use this technique and realize all of its nuances, you’ll realize that this type of fishing is every bit the art form that those feather wavers claim their techniques to be. Trout & moving water aren’t reserved for anglers with 10 foot rods and feathers, that’s for sure.

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