Opening Morning Trout Fishing Tips

Opening day of trout season at Bennett Springs.
Opening day of trout season at Bennett Springs State Park.

For some, the annual trek to Missouri’s trout parks for the opening day of trout season signals a tradition passed down from generation to generation.

But what about those new to fishing or participating for the first time? What are some tips and techniques to help you catch more trout?

Read on; below are some recommendations that might help you have a successful opening day.

Start with an ultra-light spinning or spin-cast combination; they are much easier to make controlled casts in crowded conditions (on opening day, you might find yourself shoulder-to-shoulder with other anglers).

Spool the reel with four-pound test, clear monofilament line. I love fluorocarbon line, but it sometimes gets brittle in cold conditions. You will need the light line due to the clear water conditions and light-weight lures. Trust me, trying to get by with your six or eight-pound test crappie line will keep you from getting a bite.

The park store should have a good supply of olive green or brown wooley buggers; you might add a gold spinner to make them more attractive. If you need a little more weight to help you make longer casts, add a small split shot about six inches above the lure.

3382690296_2cbb90a739_bIf you are fishing a pool, cast straight ahead and reel the lure straight in, varying your retrieve, faster then slower to work the various depths of the water column.  Pay attention to your depth when you get a strike so you can understand the depth at which the fish are feeding. Then duplicate. As the morning light brightens, trout normally feed lower, down toward the bottom.

Another technique is fish a black-and-yellow marabou jig early in the morning and then switch to a white jig as the day gets brighter. Fish the jig on the bottom using quick short hops to give it an erratic action.

If you are fishing a spot with moving current, cast upstream at a 45-degree angle and work the lure back across the stream, keeping a tight line to stay in contact with the lure.

Gold or silver Little Cleo spoons and black, white, or olive Rooster Tail inline spinners are time proven winners and a staple in most trout fishermen’s tackle box.


Regardless of which trout park you fish on opening day, enjoy the experience and camaraderie of being out with fellow outdoors enthusiasts. We’ll see you when the whistle blows.

Written by Scott Pauley, professional fisherman and outdoors marketing specialist for the Missouri Division of Tourism. 

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