Why Do Trout Jump Out of the Water? And How to Catch Them?

As an angler, you will often see trout fish jumping out of the water and reaching amazing heights. It’s an exciting experience as it usually entails that the trout fish are active and ready to bite, however, you might be wondering why exactly does this happens.

So, why do trout jump out of the water? Trout jump out of the water for two main reasons which are to clean their bodies from parasites and to stabilize their swim bladders so that they can swim at different depths of water. Sometimes, trout might also jump to catch insects flying close to the water surface.

Keep reading to learn more about trout and whether jumping makes them hard to catch

What You Need to Know About Trout

Trout is one of the most targeted species in the United States as they’re known to be challenging and exciting to catch. I actually have a post on why are trout so hard to catch here.

There are various kinds of trout species such as steelhead trout, speckled trout, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, brook trout, and lake trout.

They can be found all across the states in streams, rivers, lakes, and even the ocean. They mostly prefer clean, cold water with high levels of oxygen.

Most kinds of trout species live in freshwater with the exception of steelhead trout and speckled trout which start out their lives in freshwater then migrate to saltwater.

They have a very diverse diet as they will feed on everything from insects to crustaceans to small baitfish. They usually have a preference for caddis fly nymphs, dragonfly nymphs, crawfish, shiners, and minnows.

What Makes Trout Jump Out of the Water?

brown trout jumping to answer why do trout jump out of the water

Scientists have been researching why some fish species like trout jump out of the water and they were able to reach various explanations.

The main reason is that they jump to clean their gills and bodies from debris or parasites.

When trout feed at the bottom of the water, they are likely to consume some harmful substances along with their food. These substances can get stuck on the trout’s body and inside their gills. So, jumping out of the water can help dislodge them.

Another reason trout jump is to stabilize their swim bladders so they can swim comfortably at different depths.

When trout move from deep water to shallow water or vice versa, their bladders will start to swell which can be very uncomfortable. So, jumping out of the water will help force the air out of their bladders through the esophagus and stabilize it.

Sometimes trout might jump out of the water to catch insects that are flying close to the surface of the water so they can feed on them.

How High Can Trout Jump?

Trout can reach amazing heights when they jump. Researchers found that a small trout that’s 10 to 15 cm in length has the ability to jump at least 63.5 cm high which is up to 4.7 times their body length.

The height trout can reach when jumping depends mostly on the depth of the plunge pool at the bottom. The larger the depth, the more height the trout can reach when jumping out of water.

Does Jumping Make Trout Harder to Catch?

Jumping does not necessarily make trout harder to catch. On the contrary, it’s often an indicator of the fish being active and ready to bite.

They might be somewhat cautious when feeding near the surface of the water. However, if you present you’re prepared with the right kind of gear and present them with the right kind of bait, you will have no trouble landing trout.

Keep in mind that trout will not bite on any kind of bait if you try to catch them during their spawning season.

How to Prepare for Trout Fishing?

The most important part of preparing for trout fishing is knowing where to target them and when to target them.

The best places to target trout are areas with heavy cover as this is where they typically hunt their prey. Meanwhile, the best time to target trout is during spring and fall, early in the morning. During these times, trout will be the most active as the water temperature will be cold and the oxygen levels in the water will be higher.

Another important part of preparing for trout fishing is selecting the right gear and baits. Let’s break down the essentials you will need:

  • Rod and Reel – It’s recommended to use a fishing rod that’s about 6 to 7 feet in length with fast action and medium power. You can pair the rod with a baitcasting reel to allow you to cast further with more accuracy. Find the best rods for trout here.
  • Mainline – It’s recommended to use a monofilament line with a 6 to 10-pound line test. You can also use a braided line with a 4 to 6-pound line test.
  • Leader – It’s recommended to attach a fluorocarbon leader to your mainline so that it can withstand any violent attacks from trout.
  • Bait ­– It’s recommended to use natural baits to catch trout such as minnows or shiners.  If you’re using artificial bait, it’s recommended to go with baits that can mimic the appearance and movement of live bait.

Related Questions

When Do Trout Spawn?

Most trout species spawn during springtime in March or April. During their spawning season, trout will move to shallow areas of the water. They will also stop feeding and biting until spawning is over. So, it’s highly not recommended to try fishing for trout during that time.

When Will Trout Feed Close to the Surface?

Trout will feed close to the surface if they’re in shallow waters such as streams or rivers. They will also feed close to the surface on rainy or windy days. That is because the temperature of the water will be colder at the surface and the levels of oxygen will be higher.

Is It Legal to Fish for Trout?

It is legal to fish for trout. But you need to have a trout fishing license in most American states. This fishing license can be purchased and it will be valid for a limited period of time. It’s recommended that all review the licensing requirements and regulations for trout fishing in their state before heading out on the water

Helpful Resources 

Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan (you can check the book on Amazon here)

Level Up your Trout Fishing

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