Hard baits, including minnow imitators and specialized crankbaits like Rebel Crawfish and Crickhoppers provide major advantages for stream trout and produce great results.
“This is all they’ve been hitting,” the guy behind the fly shop counter advised my son, Nathaniel, showing him a midge so tiny it was barely visible on the tip of his finger. “With it being all catch-and-release, those fish get very fussy.”
Nathaniel wasn’t planning to fly-fish, so the suggested pattern didn’t matter, but he listened politely and nodded, maybe wondering slightly if a small jig might work best when we got to the stream the next morning. Shortened version: The trout were highly aggressive, and Nathaniel caught most of his fish on Rebel Wee-Crawfish and his best fish on a 3 ½-inch jerkbait that he had equipped with a 1/O single hook. Other young anglers we saw that day were having minimal success.