How & Where To Catch Rainbow Trout – Stagecoach Reservoir

I have been elk hunting in Steamboat many times on Sleeping Giant and always wanted to try the Trout Fishing, So this year I took my wife, invited a couple of friends and off we went.

In preparation we needed to decide which type of trout we wanted to catch and which fishing technique to use. Since we wanted a larger trout and only one of our wives used a fly rod we decided to go after the Rainbow Trout using spin casting reels and rods. Next we had to prepare for different rigs and baits, so we took sinkers, slip sinkers, bobber, swivels, and #6, #8, #10 sizes hooks. The baits we choose to start with were; Berkley Trout Nuggets, Night-crawlers, spinners, and Gulp plastic minnows.

The Area we decided to focus (fish) was the Stagecoach Reservoir, just 15 minutes from Steamboat Co. The Reservoir is located in a State Park and offers camping if you want to rough it. My friends and I decided to rent a home in Steamboat that offered 3 bedrooms and full baths. Since we were splitting the cost 3 ways it was well worth it. You can also look into condos with multiple rooms, which is less than one of the multiple million dollar homes.

Best Bait For Catching Rainbow Trout

After trying different rigs and baits we found that the Berkley Trout Nugget with the rig shown below caught the most Rainbow Trout by far. For this rig we use the slip sinker with 2 feet of 8lb line tied to a swivel and then a size #8 Salmon Egg Hook. Put two Trout Nuggets on, this will be enough to float your hook ~ 12 inches off the bottom. When putting the Nuggets on, wet them and form a tear drop shape around your hook. Do not have any of your hook exposed.

Techniques We Used For Catching Trout

Here are the two rigs we used and stayed with. The first is explained above and was the best technique for quantity of trout. The second rig we used was a slip sinker with 2.5 feet of 8lb line behind a swivel, a small ice fishing bobber or fly fishing marker at ~10 inches from the hook, with one Trout Nugget followed by ½ of a Night-crawler. The bobber will (needs) keep your bait off the bottom ~8 inches. This was the best technique for quality of trout.

Salmon Gulp Nugget colors

We purchased different colors of the Berkley Trout Nuggets to try and the following colors work great, depending on the day and time; two Green with sparkles, one Orange and one Red combined, or two Yellow/Green/Orange mixed.

When Is Best time To Catch Rainbow Trout

The best time of year? Well we went the first week of August and did great catching between 40 – 50 Rainbows, averaging 17”, with the largest just over 21”. However, talking to other fishermen they say late May through July is better.

What time of day? We found the Trout feed and circled in intervals of 3 hours. So 5 AM & 8 Am in the morning, leaving by 9:30 AM. In the evening we fishing 6 Pm until 9 PM. You can also check the Stagecoach site and they will give you the best times of the day to fish.

Other Baits To Try For Catching Rainbows

You could try live minnows with a bobber since the Trout were on the surface as much as they were down deep. If looking for the larger Trout try fishing the Dam side, but you will need to keep your bait out of the rocks and its deep (100ft). So a bobber or constant retrieval with an artificial 3” minnow may work.

The Final Catch – Rainbow Trout

In just a couple of days the six of us caught between 40 and 50 Trout, ranging from 16 – 21 inches. The fastest action for my wife and I was catching five Rainbow Trout within 15 minutes. That includes removing the last fish, putting on new bait, and then casting out again.

Tips – Fishing Stagecoach Trout

1. Do not allow your bait to sit on the bottom as there are a lot of crabs and they will take your bait.
2. The Berkley Trout Nuggets (two) alone on the hook with no bobber prove to be the most active presentation for these very aggressive fish.

Our Action, Methods and Catch!

Other activities to do

The fishing was great and easy enough that small children could have fun catching trout. Other things to do; you can climb the mountain and take the chair lift down free, drive around at sun set or dawn and see Moose, Elk, and Mule deer, take a walk to the water falls, or even take in a rodeo.