The Ultimate Guide to Catching Trout in Murky Waters

Trout fishing in California is one of the most celebrated activities that locals and fellow enthusiasts participate in. The thrill you get after waiting over calm waters is irreplaceable. Unfortunately, it’s not always rocket science, and various factors can come into play, one of which involves the water’s clarity. 

Differentiating between Stained vs. Murky California waters

You might get confused between stained water and murky water. What sets the two apart is the reason behind it. To start, murky water or muddy water has a chocolate brown color due to recent rainfall in your area. 

Some fishing experts consider it murky when the dark water disguises your lure after one to two inches from sinking. On the other hand, stained water is more visible from about four to six feet. It is not muddy, but the color may be off. It may come in red, orange, or chartreuse tones. 

The cause of this is a rise in the water that passed through peaty soil or decayed plants. The tannins found in these fermented materials naturally stain the water and give it its warm hue. Nevertheless, trout fishing is feasible just the same.

Is Stained & Murky Water Helpful for Trout Fishing in California?

Don’t put off your rainbow trout fishing for another day! Murky and stained waters can be to your advantage. Just like how the human body compensates for blindness by heightening our other senses, the same goes for trouts. 

The muddled state of the trout’s sense of sight causes them to behave differently. They might move slower and choose to lie and wait over coursing through the waters. The deposits from a recent rainstorm may even bring about an influx of food into their territory. Thus, they might become less wary of human lures. 

Before planning your trout fishing setup, take into account the factors that affect the fish’s behavior. This isn’t your regular fishing trip, but you might get the catch you’ve been aiming for with the right stuff and knowledge. To help you with that, you can check out some helpful trout fishing California tips you can try out.

7 Great Trout Fishing Tips to Try in Murky Water

FishHunt Shoot Productions and other sources recommend helpful tips to step up your game in the fishing arena. 

  • Appeal with the Color of Your Lures

You might be tempted to get the brightest lure out there, but some experts say otherwise. That is because little light penetrates the surface, dulling the colors of your lure. Instead, go for high contrast and choose dark lures to make it more visible to the fish.

Adding to that, selecting fluorescent UV and glowing colors brings you to a whole other level. Pick a brassy or copper shine since this beats silver and chrome when you consider the minimal light that it can reflect. You can browse a lot of these on amazon. 

One of which is the Wordens Roostertail spinner which comes with brass and copper blades in darker colors. A size 1/16 to ⅛ is best for trouts in small streams. Larger bodies of water may require larger sizes of lures. Previous users vouch for its flexibility in numerous situations.

With dark and prominent lures in low-visibility waters, you’ll be getting attention from rainbow trouts and neighboring fish in no time.

  • Maximize Sound & Vibration

Remember reading about heightened senses? Put to the test what you’ve learned about the fish’s lateral line. Otherwise known as the lateralis system, this is found in all types of fish species. This basically helps them to maneuver through their environment no matter how clear or murky it is. They pick up any aquatic vibration, movement, and pressure surrounding them.

Using vibrating, flashing, or twitching lures maximize this mechanism, and it further enriches your trout fishing setup. Get yourself some basic flies or plugs to troll around but remember to the lake’s deep end. Aim to stay in the proximity of the fish’s striking zone. You don’t want to sink it too deep or miss the trouts since they might just be staying still in one area.

A classic bait would be the vibrating Flatfish lure. It is available on Amazon and comes in different colors. Fishing enthusiasts use a technique of letting the plug back in the current and holding it in place as the bait vibrates. This causes vibration in the water that can attract rainbow trouts lying around. 

If you want to troll out a great catch, the Lurhr-Jensen Krocodile Spoon would be a great buy. It is best used in larger bodies of water like lakes and rivers. It also has a strong treble hook for heavy-duty use. It would be a great addition to your collection when trout fishing in California.

  • Consider Your Trout Trolling Speed

Another thing to consider in trolling along murky California waters is your speed. In his video “Trout Fishing: Stained Water, Friend Or Foe?” Cas talks about slowing down your speed to accommodate the fish. Do so continuously and slowly rake in the trouts that may be working hard to scavenge for food. 

Of course, there is no magic number as to how slow or how fast you should go. Try out what works best for you until you start to get strikes. Choose baits that drag slowly through the waters as well. Doing so will maximize the vibrations the lures are sending out in the water, signaling any trout present that it’s time to take a bite.

  • Adjust Your Lure Depth

A classic strategy is going for the lake’s deep end since trouts are aware of predators seeking to get a meal out of unsuspecting fish on the surface. In contrast, murky water gives them a cause to move closer to the surface, knowing that the cloudy water masks them well.

It will be helpful to adjust the downrigger to that of the fish’s striking zone. Estimate through the first few strikes how deep or shallow they are underneath. You may even find some staying in the shoals and ledges looking for baitfish. 

  • Spend on Good Pro-cure

A great day of fishing can be assured through a good dash of Pro-cure. In Cas’s video on “Trout: Lure Colors For Murky Water?” he adds another strategy on top of choosing lure colors. 

Whether it is in krill or tuna scent, using Procure can help close the deal. It increases your chances of bites since most fish are skeptical about nibbling on your lures. Adding a strong scent can convince them to take the chances and land you a great catch. 

Lots of great Pro-cure are also available on amazon. This Pro-cure shrimp super gel, for example, may smell funky but does wonder to your bait. Even better, it lasts for many casts.

  • Analyze Trout Behavior

It’s been mentioned throughout this blog, but the whole strategy itself is anchored on this. By considering their senses, environment, reactivity, and visibility, you can save yourself hours of casting and trolling without getting one bite. 

One hack you can try is to go fishing after a sudden shower or storm. The rising water attracts the big fish to come scavenging for baitfish that came from the streams uphill. Remember to maximize their weakened sense of sight by tickling their senses with scents, vibrations, and lure reflectivity.

Another thing to consider is the temperature of the waters. Use fish nymphs, smaller baits, or any natural bait for colder temperatures since trouts and fish, in general, won’t be as active in seizing their prey. 

In contrast, warm temperatures mean more activity for predators and prey. Since minnows and crayfish move around, trout have to move much faster to keep up. Be aware of the water temperature so you can plan how to go about luring them in.

  • Try Surface Trout Fishing

Last but not least on this list is to try out surface fishing. This means floating any bait along the waters to help cast a silhouette that will surely catch the eye of any trout lurking around. Since they use cloudy water for ambushing their prey, stay and wait or sift slowly through the water. 

You can try several attempts. It may work for some and not for others, but it is still a good idea to try. There are great top baits on the market, but if you’re not yet sold out, any floating lure will do. The goal is for the trout to break the surface in hopes of food since they are more likely to risk it in gray waters.

Final Takeaway 

Always take note that there is no perfect trout fishing setup. Whether you’re rainbow trout fishing in California or any area, lots of fish respond differently. It takes patience and confidence to get in the waters and try out the techniques separately or all at once.

If it doesn’t work out, don’t worry about coming back empty-handed. You never know if your journey back to shore trolls out a hungry trout along the shore