Bobbers or Float Fishing on Lakes for Trout

Bobber or float fishing on lakes for trout works!

When we are out chasing Trout one of the techniques that Thomas gives me grief for is bobbers or float fishing on lakes.  Sometimes though, when we have been trolling around the lake I get the impression that we are always one step behind the fish and are just following them as they migrate around the shore in search of food.

So, instead of chasing the fish, sometimes it is better to wait for them to come to you.  Additionally float fishing works better for me when the bottom is excessively weedy and bottom rigging is just not working.

Why is float fishing on lakes for trout awesome?

  • Bobbers and floats are easy to rig
  • Float fishing means less chance of getting snagged on the bottom
  • You can see when the fish is nibbling on your bait
  • It is easier to adjust the depth you are fishing at
  • It is much easier to toss out a bobber and sit and relax than throwing spinners

Float fishing video

Here is a quick tutorial on float fishing on lakes!

Trout Look Up When They Are Feeding!

Trout have this funny trait that they don’t look down, at least that is what I have been told and experience shows me.  So when you are putting your bait in the water you want it right in front of them, or slightly above them.  That way as they cruise by, they will see it.

My general tactic is to start with my bait fairly shallow under my float or bobber and then adjust it down until I am getting bites and then leave it there. Keep in mind that planted trout are used to food falling from the sky and as such feed close to the surface until they learn about life in the wild.

You don’t have to float fishing on lakes two miles from shore!

One mistake that I see fishermen doing  a lot when fishing with floats is fishing too far from shore.  Trout will orient themselves on the food and in a small lake that will be the edges and submerged structure.

While you may find some Trout cruising the open surface of the lake looking for bugs, or a few lunkers down in the deep, you are most likely to find large Trout in the early morning and late afternoon hours scavenging the dropoffs and edges of weed beds looking for bugs to eat.

Where to cast your float

  • At the edge of weed beds
  • Where the water drops off
  • Near structure
  • In areas where you see active fish

What bait to use when float fishing on lakes

What bait to use when bobber or float fishing on lakes is up for a lot of debate.  Personally I think you can never go wrong with a piece of worm.  That being said, sometimes it is just a whole lot easier (and effective) to use a dough bait such as Power Bait

Garlic Power Bait for float fishing on lakesSalmon Eggs for FishingGULP trout bait for bobber fishing on lakes

You will need to do some testing to see what you like best, what works for you and is generally what you like to fish with.  I have seen trout caught on worms, maggots, salmon eggs, dough bait and more.  Sometimes they are picky, other times they are gluttons.

How to rig your float for fishing

Start off with a longer trout rod and some reasonable line, something in the 4-6 pound test range.  This will give you plenty of strength to pull in fish, but be light enough to case easily.

Choose a bobber that will get you to where you need to be, but isn’t too big.  If fish are holding in an area and you cast a big huge bobber on top of them, you may scare them off.  I always go for a bobber with just enough weigh to get me where I want to be in the lake and just enough floatation to keep my bait and weights from sinking.

Too much weight and your bobber will sink.  Too much float in your bobber and you may not see fishing biting!

Below you bobber you will want to have about 18″ to 24″ of line and of course your hook.  Always go with good quality, sharp hooks!  Part way in between the two, you need a couple of split shot weights.  These hold your bobber upright in the water, and get your bat down where the fish will be looking at it.  Weights are essential!

4 Float fishing on lakes tips

Tip #1 is keep trying different spots.  You may not have a lot of choices on where you have access to fish, but change up where you are casting.  Sometimes the difference between catching and fishing is 5′.

Tip #2 is if it is windy, cast up wind and let your bobber or float drift through productive areas.

Tip #3 don’t leave a bunch of slack line of the water.  While float fishing is easy, you do have to pay attention.  Too much slack line on the water means you won’t be able to set the hook if a fish bites.

Tip #4 is don’t keep pulling up your line.  Your hooks can’t catch fish if they aren’t in the water!

Get out there and go fishing!

One thing is for certain and that is that you will never catch fish if you don’t go fishing.  Get out there and even if you are forced to fish from the bank, get a bobber and some bait in the water and get fishing.

Use an indicator rod to help you catch more fish from shore!

I know that most guys that are fishing from shore, have very little clue as to what the bottom looks like thirty or forty feet out from shore where they are casting. It is very possible that they are reducing their chances of catching fish by not throwing into the best areas.

This video explains how to cheaply make a pretty accurate indicator rod to tell you where drop-offs are, and with a little practice, where the sandy and muddy bottoms are as well.

There you have it.  A cheap way to feel out the bottom of the lake you have been casting at.  Now you can target the areas available to you and put your lures and bait in the most productive spots!