Spring creeks and flatland trout streams with moderate flows develop aquatic grasses and broadleaf weeds that hold one of the trout’s favorite forage items—freshwater scuds. Scuds are crustaceans, related to crayfish and lobsters, but are only about about ¼ to ¾ inches in length.
In the daytime, they tend to hide in the vegetation, coming out to feed during low-light periods. That’s when anglers have the best chance to connect with trout that other fishermen often bypass.
Broadleaf weeds provide trout with multiple feeding lanes and holes, while grassy, filament-type plants force them to patrol the edges. Both types attract scuds, bugs and minnows, but the best places to find trout are weedbeds that offer something extra, such as sunken wood, deeper holes or current breaks that are in close proximity.
Vegetation presents an obvious problem for in-line spinners, minnowbaits and other standard trout lures. Instead, fish a weed-friendly soft plastic, such as PowerBait Twitchtail Minnow on a darter head jig or a Gulp! Crawler on a shaky head. Depending on the density of the weeds, rig the bait Texas-style, or with an exposed hook point.
A 7½-foot medium or medium-light spinning outfit, filled with 4- to 6-pound fluorocarbon line, is perfect where shoreline brush is scarce. In tight quarters, go with a shorter rod.
Start from a position on shore, or far downstream from the weedbed to avoid spooking fish, and cast to the last few feet of the outside edge. Allow the lure to sink and then gingerly walk it down to the lower edge of the weeds. Trout that sit in these areas use the weeds as a current break where they can ambush their prey as the flow forces it around the edge.
A secondary position closer to the weedbed allows a cast quartering upstream along the edge of the weeds. With the rodtip held high, drift the lure along the weed edge. In slower currents this presentation requires a slight jigging motion to keep the lure moving, and it works especially well if the main current seam stays a few feet away from the weed edge, allowing trout a lane of slack water to patrol.
Keep moving among two to four areas within a quarter-mile stretch of water. This will allow for any previously spooked fish ample time to recover. Avoid wading as much as possible and maintain a low profile in areas without shoreline trees or cover.
Most anglers focus on pools and riffles. By avoiding these traditional—and sometimes busy locations—savvy anglers can find a few extra spots to fish each day.
Stream trout tune into the scud pattern during low-light periods. Take advantage of it by focusing on weedbeds.