Trout is what I consider to be the most sought-after species of fish in Connecticut. Almost exclusive to the colder northern U.S. states, trout are sought after for their difficult yet rewarding catch, their crazy fight, and because they taste good when you cook them. Trout are also one of the hardest fish to fool. Especially as they get larger, trout are extremely smart and difficult to catch. It is not uncommon for an expert bass fisherman to struggle with catching a large trout. Although a large majority of trout are not native and repopulated in our waters by government-operated fisheries, they are still the most important species in Connecticut fishing culture. When discussing trout, there are four different types that come to mind.

2. Rainbow Trout - Native to the mountains of California and the west coast, rainbow trout are identifiable by their silver back, pink stripe on their side, and black spots. Like brown trout, rainbow trouts are also one of the most stocked trout in Connecticut.

3. Brook Trout - Unlike the rest of the trout on this list, brook trout are the only native species to the northeast. Brook trout are identifiable by their brown backs, orange stomachs, and red dots. Brook trout can be found in even the smallest of creeks since that is where they naturally reproduce. They are also heavily stocked in Connecticut.

4. Tiger Trout - A tiger trout is an exclusively stocked trout due to their inability to reproduce. A tiger trout is a hybrid between a brook trout and a brown trout. Because of this, they look similar to a brook trout but have a dotted and striped pattern on their sides that similarly resemble that of a tiger.

Because trout are the hardest fish to catch, it is important to know what lures you are using. Trout also prefer small baits because they aren't able to eat larger ones. My two favorite baits for trout are Berkley PowerBait worms and Mepps spinners. Both of these baits are shiny, imitating baitfish but also move well with the current, imitating a naturally moving bait. Fly fishing is also one of the best methods for trout fishing. When done right, fly fishing perfectly imitates a bug getting trapped in the river's current. Because of this, trout are fooled by this and quickly snap at the fake fly.

All-natural and wild trout are found in rivers and streams. This is because the colder, cleaner, and highly oxygenated water allows trout to easily thrive. However, the government will also stock trout in a select amount of ponds and lakes across Connecticut. A constantly updated list of all the places in Connecticut being stocked can be found here. This list will not only show you where the fish were stocked but also which species and when they were stocked. Stocking usually only occurs in the spring and fall months.

Unlike the other species, it is hard to locate spawning trout. Spawning trout live in fast-moving, oxygenated water with shallow rocky bottoms. Because this can apply to a large majority of rivers, it makes it hard to identify where the trout will be spawning. However, like the rest of the fish in Connecticut, a trout's aggressiveness will also increase pre and post-spawn.

WARNING!!! - One thing to note about trout before you go out and target them, however, is that they are very fragile and highly protected. There are certain ways to hold trout and release them if you plan on not eating them. First, trout have a very thin layer of protective slime on them that shields them from bacteria and other microorganisms. If you touch a trout with your bare, dry hands, the fish's slime will come off, and the trout will likely die soon due to its inability to produce new slime. If you plan on holding a trout, make sure your hands are wet and hold the fish with a loose grip. It is also important to hold the trout like this because you can't lip it like other fish species since its jaw would break if you hold it like that.

Header photo by Jack Murrey on Unsplash

Fly fishing photo by Greysen Johnson on Unsplash