Night Fishing For Trout

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Night fishing for trout can be a real challenge, but it can also come with great rewards. Some of the biggest trout come out at night and can be caught close to shore. There are a lot of questions around trout fishing at night and I hope to answer them for you here.

Do Trout Come Out At Night?

As trout mature, they tend to do most of their hunting and feeding during the night. They come out at night to hunt for minnows, shiners, mice, and smaller fish.

This is why night is a great time if you want to target big fish. The majority of an average trout’s diet is made up of insects and worms. However, as they grow in size (typically over 20″), they will look for bigger meals such as minnows and smaller fish.

Of course, if the opportunity arises during daylight, they will attack a wounded or unsuspecting minnow. This is why lures work so well at catching trout. However, it is much easier for these big trout to sneak up on and ambush prey in the darkness of night.

Big trout come out at night not only because hunting is easier, but also because it is safer. A big trout’s only real predators are birds, humans, and sometimes bears. This makes it dangerous for them to move into the shallows during the day where they can be seen. But at night they can safely move into the shallows where their prey is plentiful.

Do Trout Sleep?

Trout sleep, but not in the same way that we humans do. Rather than shutting completely down, they will go into a sort of trance. They may even need to continue swimming if they are in a river.

Is Trout Fishing Good At Night?

Normally, trout fishing is not very good at night, however the exception is if you are targeting trout over 20 inches. Big trout feed on smaller fish, and they are most actively hunting at night.

What Time of Day is Best For Trout Fishing?

The best time to fish for trout is around sunrise and sunset. The reason is because this is when there is the most bug activity. Bugs are the main food source for 99% of trout. That being said, the best time to catch giant trout is after dark.

So all in all, If you are fishing an area with only smaller trout, you are probably better off fishing during the day light. But if you know there are some big trout over 20 inches, then it may be worth fishing after dark.

Do Trout See At Night?

Trout are a major predator within their ecosystem and rely heavily on eyesight. Although they don’t have night vision, they are good at detecting movement and seeing outlines.

When you are choosing the lure you’ll use to fish for trout at night, it’s important to use opaque, dark colors, as well as fish-like profiles.

Biologists have also been doing a lot of research on something called lateral lines. These are built in sensors that fish use to detect vibrations and other disturbances in the water. These lateral lines play a huge role in helping trout key in on their target. So even if a fish can’t see your lure, it will likely be able to detect the vibrations of it.

Can You Catch Trout at Night With PowerBait?

You can catch trout with PowerBait at night, but it not as effective as lures or even worms. Trout rely partially on vibrations to hunt prey at night, and since PowerBait doesn’t make any movement, it doesn’t put off any vibrations.

PowerBait is also designed to catch stocked trout rather than wild trout

Do Stocked Trout Bite at Night?

Stocked rainbow trout generally don’t bite at night. They have been raised in a controlled environment and fed fish pellets their whole life. Although they still have some natural instincts, they haven’t grown up with a need to hunt for food at night.

And as I mentioned earlier, the trout that feed at night are for the most part, big trout that rely heavily on eating smaller fish to maintain their size. Stocked trout are usually around 8 to 12 inches and after being stocked in the lake or river, will eat mainly insects and other small bugs.

If you want to fish for stocked trout, your best bet would be to use worms.

Trout Fishing at Night with Worms

worms are good for night fishing trout

Worms are a good bait for catching trout at night. They put off both smell and movement which can help trout to find them in the dark. Fish them under a bobber close to the shore. They work best during or after a rain.

Bait fishing for trout at night isn’t the most effective method. Most trout aren’t hunting for food at night, so it’s important to catch their attention and trigger their instinct with something like a spinner or Rapala. These will put off a strong vibration alerting trout near by.

Lure Colors For Trout Fishing at Night

Since it is more difficult for trout to see at night, it is important to use colors that will give clear profiles for trout to see. This is done best with colors like black, purple and dark blue. These will have a solid outline against a moonlit or starry sky.

You should avoid clear swimbaits that will be difficult for fish to see.

If you want to learn more check out my article on lure colors for night fishing.

Trout Fishing at Night with Lights

Some anglers use lights at night to fish for speckled sea trout. These lights can attract speckled trout and help to illuminate your baits and lures. However, lights do not work well for attracting freshwater trout when night fishing. In fact, lights are likely to scare fish away.

You should still bring a head lamp or a flashlight for your own use of getting around in the dark, but try not to shine the light into the area you are trying to fish.

Some night anglers prefer using red lights because they allow your eyes to stay dilated so you can see better in the dark.

Brown Trout at Night

Your best chances at having a good experience night fishing for trout is to go somewhere that is known for big brown trout. Brown trout are the most active at night and are extremely aggressive.

Use solid dark colored swimbaits, spinners, and even topwater lures. Most of the brown trout move into shallow water near the banks at night. They are hunting for minnows, frogs, and even mice.

Brown trout have some of the most sensitive lateral lines amongst trout. This is why it can be vary important to utilize lures that vibrate, rattle and splash.


If you want to try night fishing for trout, go somewhere that is known for having big trout over 20 inches, preferably big browns. Use lures that put off a lot of vibration and or splash near the surface. Focus mainly in shallow water near shore. And be careful not to shine lights into the spots you are fishing.

By John

Hi I'm John. I'm the author of I have been obsessed with fishing since my dad took me to catch bluegill in the creek as a little kid, over 20 years ago. I love learning and perfecting all kinds of fishing techniques. I have spent time living in different countries learning their unique traditional fishing methods, and then combining the best of all worlds to catch as many fish as possible. My hope is that this website can help you, or someone you are teaching, to have a better fishing experience early on so that you too can be hooked into this wonderful sport.

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