Fishing for Trout at Night [All You Need to Know]

If you want to snag that trophy-sized trout, you might want to consider trout fishing at night. When the sun goes down, the larger trout come out to feed. Typically, larger trout will hide during the day and then come out at night to hunt. 


Avid fishermen will not be intimidated by the thought of trout fishing at night. By keeping some essential safety precautions in mind, you can experience some of the most successful fishing you have ever done.

Fishing for Trout in a Lake

Successful trout fishing at night depends on understanding the habits of trout. Smaller trout feed on worms and insects and tend to do so during the day. As trouts get bigger, they need bigger meals, so they often hunt smaller fish and minnows. They use the cover of darkness to feed on smaller prey.

It is also safer for larger trout to hunt at night and not get seen by predators. They can move around in the shallows without being seen by birds, humans, and even bears.

Trout do not have excellent night vision but can see outlines and detect movement. When choosing lures, use fish-like profiles that are opaque or dark in color. 

Doing some research before attempting a night fishing trip is an excellent idea. It would be best to scout the lake during daylight to identify good fishing spots

Trout hunt for food, often bringing them close to the shore. It is crucial to remember that trout are cold-water fish and water temperatures between 34 and 67 degrees are optimal for trout feeding.

You should examine the lake’s terrain and identify areas where there will be shallows. You will find that shallows are a great place to find plenty of trout.

When you get to the lake, take some time and look out over the water. Trouts will come to the surface to feed, and you will be able to see the ripples. Trout generally travel in schools, so if you some feeding, there are sure to be more underneath.

Search for areas with shade and shelter. Trout will congregate in shady areas. They want to stay hidden as much as possible. 

Find the lake’s deepest areas, and you will undoubtedly find trout. They will hide in these areas, and you can lure them out with a few tricks.

Fishing at Night for Trout 

Once you have identified your fishing spots, you will have to gather the supplies you need for a successful night of fishing. 


You should always bring bright lights in the event you run into an emergency. If you happen to get lost or if an emergency arises, you will want to be able to see your surroundings.

It would be best to avoid night fishing alone and always bring some method of communication. During your previous study of the lake, you should have determined if you have a cell phone signal or if you need a satellite phone or two-way radio.

Whether day or night, you should always wear a life jacket if you are in a boat. Remember that you will be fishing through the night and may need some extra coffee to remain awake and alert.


The best for nighttime fishing is topwater lures and spinners. Trout are susceptible to vibrations in the water, so you want to use bait that will get their attention. 

Trout often ignore topwater lures during the day, but they will go after them aggressively in the dark. You can use spooks to create a lot of movement on the top of the water. Poppers are another great choice because they also generate a lot of splashing. When using poppers, take frequent breaks when retrieving because this is typically when trout bite.

Mouse imitations are another great choice. Rodents are nocturnal and often fall into the water at night, and trout are always ready to make a meal out of these rodents.

You can choose light colors for these lures. It is essential to keep your pace very slow and calm. Take frequent breaks after each cast to give the trout time to strike.

Spinners will also attract trout, and their rotating blades cause a lot of vibrations in the water. Spinners are better for drawing trout that are hiding in deep water. It would be best if you used silver or white spinners because they will be most visible at night.


The best bait you can use is live bait, and you want one that is moving around and causing a disturbance in the water. 

Minnows are a great choice because they move around a lot. Attach your minnows about four feet under a fixed bobber, and you should catch some good-sized trout.

You can also use power bait, but choosing bright colors and adding scent to your power bait is essential. The best scents are garlic and shrimp, but there are many that you can choose from.

You can use worms at night but be sure to hook them at the end so they can move around. You can also add scent to your worms for an added incentive for the trout.

Brown Trout

Brown trout are known for their nighttime feeding. Brown trout are aggressive and are usually much more accessible at night than during the day. They will hunt in the shallows for smaller fish and insects.

They will move freely without worry of cover. The trout can be scared off by fishermen unaware of their habits.

Brown trout will be frightened away by any loud noises or bright colors.

It is best to fish for brown trout when the moon is bright. They are not sensitive to colors, so it doesn’t matter what colors of lures you use. Spoons and spinners are the best for catching their attention.

a brown trout fish swimming in stained water

Rainbow Trout

The best way to fish for rainbow trout is fly fishing. When fly fishing for trout, you can use dry flies and let them float, twitching the line every 10 seconds. You can also use live earthworms. 

When fishing for rainbow trout, it is best to use a fishing light. The best fishing lights can float and shine down where the bait is located, and it should be a soft light that shows the bait but is not bright enough to scare the trout away.

July and August are the best trout fishing months. It is warmer, so the trout go deeper in search of cooler water. You can start fishing around 10 pm as it starts to get dark.

Avid anglers will debate whether it is best to night fish when there is a full moon or no moonlight. Luck will determine your success rather than the presence or absence of moonlight. It will come down to your preference. Do you like fishing when it is dark or when there is a nice moon glow?

The best tip for fishing for rainbow trout at night is that you must remain very quiet and try to blend into your surroundings.

rainbow trout swimming in stained water

Fishing From a Boat

Fishing at night can be an exhilarating experience, but it can also be dangerous. It would be best to remember some safety precautions when fishing at night from a boat.

You will have almost no visibility in the dark, and it would be best if you always went slow. You will not see anything in the water until you are almost on top of the trout.

Never go out on the boat alone. Bring some friends and increase the number of eyes you have looking for possible dangers. It would be best if you took advantage of the dimmers on your boat’s lighting to help everyone’s eyes adjust to the darkness. 

Invest in night scopes so you can enhance your vision in the dark.

Best Time to Catch Trout

Planning the best time to fish for trout is a science, and you should consider several factors before planning your next fishing trip. You can trout fish all year long, but your success will depend on the time of year, the time of day, and the temperature.

Late spring seems to be the best time for catching trout. Temperatures are cool, and water levels are high. As temperatures rise, trout tend to go deeper.

Trout do not have eyelids, so they will always be seeking shade. The optimal conditions for trout fishing are when it is cloudy or dark with cooler temperatures. 

Plan a night fishing trip when there is a full moon to catch the biggest trout you have ever seen. The temperatures must be optimal for trout feeding, and the water should be between 34 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Final Thoughts

Night fishing for trout is an experience like no other. There is an added element of serenity that you don’t have during daylight. It is calm and peaceful until you hear that frantic splashing of your big catch. You might not see it, but you will hear it and feel it on your line. You may wind up with the biggest trout you have ever caught!

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Tommy Bull
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