Some will say you should fish trout whenever you have the free time to do it because trout fishing is an enjoyable activity even when you don't catch fish.

However, we all know it's more enjoyable when catching trout is added to the experience of being out in nature. Therefore, I like to fish trout when I know they are likely to be feeding.

We have 24 hours each day for a lifetime, which is for most of us at least 79 years.

Statistics tell us the average person is going to spend their years as follows: 20 years sleeping, 20 years working, seven years in the bathroom, seven years playing, six years eating, five years dressing, five years waiting in line, three years waiting for someone, three years in meetings, eight months opening junk mail and six months tying shoes.  When you look at the list I'm sure you can figure out ways to conserve time and have more of it to spend playing. And for me and a lot of my friends, playing is trout fishing. So we make adjustments in our activities to make time for trout fishing.  

Over the years, I have saved time by not taking reading material into the bathroom, and by making reservations at restaurants, so I don't have to wait in line. Also, I save a few hours each year by frequently wearing boots instead of shoes that must be tied.

When I was teaching school I could predict, with considerable accuracy, when my work day ended. However, as a school principal I didn't have as much control over when the day ended and often I had meetings scheduled late into the evening. However, that is the way it is, a job with more responsibility requires more of your time.

Now that I am retired, I have the luxury to schedule my trout fishing activity when trout are likely to actively feed. Regarding activity, the human being is entirely different from trout: our body tends to slow down in the afternoon. It has been found that we have a slight drop in body temperature from 1 to 2:30 p.m., which causes sleepiness. So, a short nap of 20 minutes is good for our body. With trout I believe their sleepiness period does not depend upon the time of day but upon the water temperature. If the water temperature is below 45 degrees or above 65 degrees, most trout will be sound asleep. And a siesta for trout can last for hours.

To help the trout angler with catching trout I have developed a trout timetable. The timetable gives you the best time to fish depending upon the air temperature. Remember air temperature affects water temperature, and the further you are fishing away from the spring water flowing into the stream, the greater impact air temperature will have on stream temperature and therefore on your fishing success.

The following fishing table does not take into consideration cloud cover. Add an overcast sky to the equation and you can extend the time to fish by three hours on the right side until it becomes dark or the cloud cover has gone. For example, if the air temperature high for the day is between 34 and 39 degrees and it’s overcast you could fish until its dark. And if the air temperature is going to be a high of 71 to 75 degrees and the sky is overcast, you could have good fishing from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cloud cover is just as important as water temperature, so it's important to follow the timetable and, if possible, fish under cloud cover, which will enable you to catch more trout and larger trout.

Trout will not feed during a thunderstorm.  So, if you hear thunder, immediately leave the stream and seek shelter in a vehicle or building.

Thurston's Trout Timetable

High air temperature; the best time to fish:

  • 34-49 degrees; 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
  • 50-55 degrees; noon-5 p.m.
  • 56-60 degrees; 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • 61-65 degrees; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • 66-70 degrees; 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • 71-75 degrees; 8 a.m.-noon
  • 76-80 degrees; 7-11 a.m.
  • 81-85 degrees; 7-10 a.m.
  • 86-89 degrees; 6-9 a.m.

Notice my timetable doesn't go below 34 degrees or above 89 degrees because when the air is uncomfortable for most anglers to fish, the water is uncomfortable for most trout to feed.

In addition to the above time table you can find good trout fishing in this region of high hills and deep valleys in the evening when the sun goes over the hills. I have a picture of a 26-inch and 28-inch brown trout that were caught a year ago in July when the sun disappeared in the evening. So if you know where a big brown trout has taken up residence a good time to catch that once-in-a-lifetime fish is in the low light of evening.

Trout fishing is not an exact science and many factors can change your fishing success.  However, my trout fishing timetable will give you a time to fish when the water temperature is likely to be favorable for trout to feed. Other factors come into play like the time of year you are fishing and where you are fishing the stream.

When you begin fishing in the morning, during the warm month of July take the water temperature, and if it’s 67 degrees or above most of the trout will have moved upstream to cooler water. For fishing success you need to move upstream, too.

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