How to Catch Tiger Trout

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Tiger trout are one of the more colored or ornamental species of fish.

This trout, however, is quite different from the other varieties of trout.

Man holding a tiger trout
Tiger trout are a hybrid cross between the brook and brown trout. Crazy! 

The tiger trout is a sterile, intergeneric hybrid of brown and brook trout.

It is exceptionally uncommon for tiger trout to occur naturally in the wild. The cross is unusual because the parents are members of different genera.

Common NameTiger Trout
Scientific Name (Genus and Species)Salmo trutta × Salvelinus fontinalis
Identifying CharacteristicsThe top portion of the body and head is an unusual dark maze-like pattern over a brownish, gray body. The belly is yellowish orange.
HabitatCooler water, deeper or shallow depths
Depth RangeUp to 20 feet
Fishing InformationTiger trout feed primarily on smaller fish
SizeThe average size is 2 to 5 pounds

They are bred and raised on fish farms. They grow more rapidly than native fish. They are released in rivers and great lakes to control rough or invasive fish. This is because tiger trout are piscivorous, meaning their primary diet is other fish.

The tiger trout population itself is easy to control due to the fish being sterile. Fishing is another method that helps keep the tiger trout numbers constant.

In this fishing guide, I will cover basic information on tiger trout and how to catch, clean, and cook tiger trout.

Where To Find Tiger Trout

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Some are stocked intentionally as sport fish, while others occur “naturally.” This results from brown trout stockings in the native brook trout range.

Tiger trout thrive in cold water environments, especially lakes. Moving water is another place to find tiger trout. They can swim extremely fast. This allows them to swim against the current while staying in the oxygen-rich water.

Fly fishing for tiger trout
Fly fishing for tiger trout is amazing! Source

More often, you will find tiger trout in locations where there is a concentration of smaller fish. These smaller fish are at the top of the tiger trout’s diet.

Tiger Trout Fishing Gear Guide

Light to medium spinners works well for tiger trout. Ultra-light trout rods give more feel and sensitivity. A 4-6 pound test monofilament line is ideal.

The Berkley Lightning Reel and Rod Combo is an all-around great trout fishing gear combo.

A number 6 or 8 bait hook and one or two split shots fastened 10 or 12 inches above the hook are ideal for spring trout fishing. Adjust the weight to keep the bait moving in the current by adding or subtracting split shots as needed.

Tiger Trout Lures

Inline spinners are the best lure choice. A flashing spinner imitates a small minnow, which is the major forage of big spring trout.

Silver spinners match the silvery-hued minnows trout prey on. In discolored or turbulent water, gold and copper spinners are effective. Spinners with a hackle or hair trailer may produce more strikes than a bare hook spinner.

Spoons, which wobble and flutter, are another choice for early-season trout. They work better than spinners in swift water, where they can be worked faster and more erratically than spinners.

Tiger Trout Bait

Nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, or power bait can be used to lure unsuspecting trout into a strike.

Fly Fishing for Tiger Trout

Avid fly fishermen can also have excellent success fishing tiger trout with flies. A well-placed fly can produce a ferocious strike.

Sougayilang Fly Fishing Rod Reel Combos are a great choice for fly fishing tiger trout.

This combo is user-friendly. It is also perfect for a beginner. The combo includes everything that you will need to start fly fishing. A convenient zippered case helps you carry everything when you go fishing. A killer freshwater fly reel for multi-species fishing in rivers, lakes, streams, and creeks.

Fishing Techniques

Late in the evening is the best time to fish for tiger trout.

If you are fishing from land, the shallow water will be cooler, which tiger trout prefer.

Use large silver streamers or a lure that imitates a minnow to have success at catching the tiger trout close to shore.

Use a floating line and move the bait along the surface of the water to imitate an insect. This works better if you are fishing from a boat or wading.

The insects that tiger trout pursue most are damselflies, midges, mosquitoes, and flying ants. If a lot of live insects are in the area, your bait may not be as appealing to the trout.

Nightcrawlers and dead minnows work well if you cast them into deep water and slowly retract them. This imitates live prey that is in distress.

Small lures and bait that imitate small fish work very well for tiger trout. Some good examples are spinners, jigs, and crankbaits.

Under most circumstances, getting a strikeout of tiger trout is not difficult. They are very territorial and feed almost constantly.

How to Clean & Cook

Most trout are traditionally cooked and served with the skin on for added flavor.

YouTube video

I’ve had great success cooking trout by simply cleaning them and throwing them over the fire. Their skin isn’t full of large scales like saltwater fish, so descaling isn’t necessary.

At this point, you can remove the head. Turn the trout on its back. Using a sharp knife, start at the base of the tail working toward the head, and open the belly up. Remove the entrails and wash thoroughly inside and out.

Throw the tiger trout over the fire and let it cook all the way through.

After you cook the tiger trout thoroughly, put it on your plate. Use a fork or knife to pull off the skin away from the meat.

Now, you can fillet the tiger trout or cook a whole. When cooking whole, it is important to watch for small bones.

Pan-Fried Trout

This is a simple yet satisfying trout recipe. Anyone can prepare this recipe with very few ingredients.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings


  • 1 or 2 whole (1-pound) Trout, cleaned (head can be on or off), gills removed
  • 2 ounces butter
  • 1 plate of all-purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper to season the flour

Cooking Directions

Dredge the trout in the flour, salt, and pepper mixture.

Heat the butter in a frying pan until bubbling, and then fry the trout for about 5 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Man fly fishing for trout
Catch and cook tiger trout! Source

To test for doneness when cooking the trout, insert a fork at the thickest point of the fish. Perfectly cooked fish is nearly opaque, should be very moist, and will flake easily with a fork. Fish that looks slightly dry is overcooked.

Undercooked fish will look translucent and raw. If you have a digital meat thermometer, the internal temperature in the center of the fillet should reach 140 degrees F.

Insider Advice

Tiger trout are some of the more exciting fish to catch. They really put up a fight until the point you land them.

Easily caught on light to medium tackle, there is no need to carry heavy-duty gear to fish for tiger trout.

They are very territorial and will strike at just about anything, making the tiger trout a good choice for first-time anglers.

Suppose you are considering going tiger trout fishing, which we highly recommend. Just remember light to medium tackle, small lures and bait that imitate small fish, number 6 or 8 bait hook, and split shot lead.

These are some essential items that will help make your tiger trout adventure more successful.

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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