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Trout Rig And Line Setup: A Simple How-To-Guide

by Don | Last Updated: September 7, 2020
how to setup trout fishing rig

Trout Line Setup

I grew up trout fishing. I remember being taught how to tie up different kinds of rigs and setups depending on what kind of water we were fishing. Sometimes we were in lakes while other times we’d fish for trout in rivers.

And even when I wasn’t out on the water fishing, I would grab my tackle box and my trout rod and practice setting up all the different trout rigs.  The reason I’d do this is because I wanted to be quick at putting these rigs together. It can get cold, rainy and wet when trout fishing, and being able to tie these rigs with cold hands and fingers was a big deal.

Well, it may not be as cold where you are, but one of the other important reasons you want to become familiar with how to setup trout rigs proficiently is, when the fish are biting, you’d better have your line in the water…not spending time tying up rigs.

“When the fish are biting, you’d better have your line in the water…not spending time tying up rigs..”

trout rig

Trout Fishing Rigs and Trout Line Setup (How-To-Guide)

Trout fishing can be done quite simply and done in many different kinds of conditions by becoming familiar and knowing how to setup just a few trout rigs. I’ve used all of these trout rigs extensively and know that all of them are excellent at catching trout in lakes and in streams.

In my experience, these are the best trout fishing rigs you can get to know:

  1. Sinking Bait Trout Fishing rig
  2. Floating Bait Trout Fishing Rig
  3. Lure Rig For Trout Fishing

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these trout rigs.

1. Sinking Bait Trout Fishing Rig

During warm days when trout descend to the bottoms of the lake to seek the colder waters, a sinking bait rig is the ticket. All that you need for a sinking bait rig is a slip sinker, swivel, hook, and bait.

What You Need:

How To Setup A Sinking Bait Trout Rig

To rig a slip sinker, first slide the eye of a slip sinker on the end of your fishing line. Then tie a swivel to the end of the line to prevent losing the sinker. On the other end of the swivel, attach a 12-18” piece of fishing line and attach your hook. Ideally a fishing line that is a slightly lesser pound test than your main line, that way if your line breaks, it is only on the very end of your rig.

With this setup, a trout will be able to take the bait without feeling resistance of the sinker. With this setup, you also don’t have a visual indicator on the surface. Therefore, it is best to keep a finger on the line to feel for any bites. You can also closely watch the fishing line to detect any movement.

2. Float Fishing Rig For Trout (Bobber Fishing Rig)

If you haven’t tried it, or just would like a much more visual style of trout fishing, try the excitement of fishing for trout with a bobber. Nothing quite beats the exhilaration of watching your bobber begin to dance and move across the water, then quickly dive under the water’s surface by a trout.

While a slip bobber trout rig takes a bit more work than a simple clip on bobber, the slip bobber is a much more versatile and effective rig for trout fishing. This is especially true  in deeper lakes. However, in a shallow stream or river, a clip on bobber could be just as effective in catching trout.

What You Need:

How To Set Up A Bobber Rig For Trout

A slip-bobber rig works similar to the aforementioned slip-sinker rig. To begin, take a bobber stop that is included with most slip bobbers available and thread it onto the end of your fishing line. This will serve as an adjustable point to stop your bobber.

By sliding this up and down the line, you can fish your bait suspended in the water practically as deep as you want.

After the bobber stop, slide on your bobber and tie on a swivel to stop it from sliding off your line. Just like the sinker setup, tie on 12-18” section of fishing line and attach your hook.

When you cast, you’ll only be dealing with your bobber and this short section of line, despite actually fishing your bait much deeper to the point of your bobber stop.

3. Lure Rig For Trout Fishing

This may be the simplest, and at times, the most effective trout rig of all!  It’s simple to setup as there’re not nearly as many components to worry about compared to the bait fishing rig and bobber rig. 

When using a lure to fish for trout, you can keep it as simple as tying the lure directly onto the end of your line if that is all you have. However, due to the lures spinning action, this may put twists in your line that could potentially reduce the breaking strength of the line, or even cause a serious tangled mess.

What You Need:

How To Setup A Lure Fishing Trout Rig

The preferred method of attaching a trout fishing lure is to tie a clip swivel to the end of your line and attach your lure to that. Not only will this reduce line twists, it will also allow for a more realistic presentation and make it easier to switch out between lures. By quickly rotating through lures, you can quickly determine what the trout will prefer to eat at that given time.

To make the lure rig even more effective, you can tie a 18″ to 24″ leader to the lure and tie a loop at the end of the leader.  You can then simply attach the loop to the clip swivel.  This can help, especially with trout, because you can tie a much lighter leader compared to your main line.  This lighter line will be much less visible to trout, which can be very line weary, especially in very clear water.

For information on some of the best kind of lures to use for trout fishing, you can check out my article that is dedicated to just that…The Best Lures For Trout Fishing of All Time.

Finally, none of these trout rigs do you any good without a good rod and reel. If you don’t have a quality rod and reel, then that’s going to be your next step. I’ve put together a couple articles that I think you’ll find helpful in finding a rod and reel for trout fishing. 

The Best Trout Rod (With Reviews and Buyers Guide)

Reviews of The Best Spinning Reels For Trout Fishing

Must Have Fishing Tool
(NEW REVIEW!) Piscifun III Aluminum Fishing Pliers
21.99

Check out my newest hands-on review. I used and abused these Piscifun pliers. Read all about it here!