How To Bobber Fish For Trout? (Explained For Beginners)

Using a bobber and a hook to catch trout is not only one of the simplest but also one of the most enjoyable methods. You are making the rig correctly and understanding where and when to fish, where the skill comes into play when bobber fishing for trout. A decent bobber fishing setup can catch you fish without any technical skill, especially when targeting a hungry,bite-happy species like trout. So, how to bobber fish for trout?

It’s always thrilling to see your bobber drop as you raise your rod to set the hook and feel the resistance of a large trout at the end of your line. Even though bobber fishing is less complicated than many other trout fishing strategies, it is still vital to select the proper bobber fishing setup and fish it properly to catch trout.

This post will cover how to set up a beautiful bobber fishing rig and our best bobber fishing techniques for catching trout.

What Exactly Is A Bobber?

A bobber is a floating strike indicator that can be found in various colors and shapes. Balsa wood or plastic is frequently used. Some bobbers feature a cigar-shaped weighted side that allows them to stand upright in the water.

Bobbers can alert you to nibbles that are typically too sensitive to detect without them. Bobbers help hang your bait off the bottom and can be used for several things.

When fish are suspended in the top or middle region of the water column, this can be critical. Bobbers also keep your bait floating off the bottom, making it easier for fish to find. Not only do bobbers keep your bait off the bottom, but they can also safely float your bait over debris, timber, and plants that can snag your hook. In many circumstances, bobbers can also help you cast further.

Read more: 10 Best Spinning Rods for Trout – You Shouldn’t Miss

Pros & Cons Of Using A Bobber


Bobbers are excellent for detecting bites, particularly from delicate biters like trout, suckers, and bluegills. These fish will constantly nibble on your bait. Unless you have a float bobber as an indicator, the fish will strip your bait away from you while you are oblivious. This brings me to a more critical aspect of nibbles: bobbers alert you when fish have lost interest in your bait.

Bobbers also allow your baits to float over the bottom cover. This is ideal for fishing at the top or middle of the water column and keeping your bait suspended and away from weeds and debris that may catch your hook.


The disadvantage of using bobbers is that fishing your bait on the bottom becomes tough. You’d have to adjust the length of the line beneath the bobber to the exact depth of the water. Large living baits like bluegills, suckers, and shad are also difficult to catch on the bottom. The wind also affects Bobbers, which might cause your bait to drift in an unusual direction. In the appropriate breeze, bobbers can transform into miniature sailboats.

How To Bobber Fish For Trout?

The best way to bobber fish for trout is a slip bobber rig, the most versatile setup for bobber fishing. A slip bobber allows you to fish at various depths in virtually any fishery. Move the bobber stop on the line to a new location, and you’re fishing at a different depth. Because of its versatility, the slip bobber is the famous trout fishing rig setup. It may be used for all trout species. You need to use a different hook and line size depending on the size of the trout you want to catch.

Once you’ve mastered slip bobber fishing for trout, you’ll be able to apply it to various fishing situations, allowing you to catch many more trout. There are very few trout fishing scenarios where you cannot use a bobber, so knowing how to use one is well worth your time.

While this post focuses on slip bobber, we also want to take a quick look at another popular bobber for this style of fishing, the bubble float. Bubble floats are usually clear and have a length of surgical tubing attached to them. The tubing tightens around the line when you twist the bobber and hold it in place. The bubble float functions similarly to a slip bobber in that depth can be easily altered. 

Another intriguing feature of the bubble float is that it can be half-filled with water. Filling the float with water adds weight, allowing fishermen to cast light lures like flies long distances using standard spinning rods and reels.

Now, let’s get into the specifics and go over how to set up and use a bobber fishing setup for trout.

Setting Up A Bobber For Trout Fishing

Let’s go over making a slip bobber fishing setup for trout. The following trout fishing tackle components are required: 

  • Bait hook sizes 8 to 12
  • Sliding bobber of medium size
  • Monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line of 6 to 12-pound test
  • Fishing beads made of plastic
  • Weights for split shots
  • Stopper for bobbers

When you have all of the above-mentioned components, put them together according to the directions below:

  1. Begin by inserting your line through the hollow tube of the bobber stopper and moving it a few feet up the line. Then, remove the stopper knot from the tube and tighten the bobber stopper knot on your line with the tag ends. Disconnect the bobber stopper tube from your line after tightening it to keep it from sliding.
  2. Thread a plastic bead through the line and then down the hollow tube of the slip bobber. To keep the slip bobber from sliding off the line, add a split shot to the line below it.
  3. Tie the line to the hook. If you’re using an eyeless octopus hook, the easiest way is with a snell hook or a Palomar or fisherman’s knot; if you’re using a hook with an eye, you can thread your line through.
  4. Set your desired depth by sliding the bobber stopper up or down the line, and then approximately a foot away from your hook, add one or more split shot weights to assist it in sinking.
  5. You can now bait the hook and cast out to begin fishing. Depending on your float’s size and the bait you choose, you may need to change the number of split shot weights.

A significant part of bobber rig fishing is modifying your setup according to your conditions. For example, if the water is more profound or shallower than predicted, you may need to alter the depth setting. You should also place a barrel swivel between your hook and the bobber if you’re using live bait to keep your line from twisting.

How To Bobber Fish For Trout? (Explained For Beginners)

Powerbait, which simulates the meal they used to get in the trout hatchery, with a slip bobber setup, it’s one of the most excellent ways to catch trout. When fishing power bait for trout with a bobber rig, add extra split shot weights to help your baited hook sink down in the water. Power bait is usually buoyant and floats up in the water.

Also, because trout are often found within 1 to 3 feet of the bottom, you must modify the depth setting of your sliding bobber to ensure that your baited hook is delivered to the trout at the appropriate depth. You can gradually lower your bobber until it no longer stands upright in the water.

If your bobber is flat on the water’s surface, your split shot weights are on the bottom. Adjust your depth setting to 1 or 2 feet shallower so your baited hook is directly above the bottom when you reach this depth.

When using power bait as bait, you can use a single fishing hook size 8 to 12 or a treble hook size 10 to 14. A treble hook can keep the power bait on the hook for longer while increasing the hook-up percentage.

What Kinds Of Trout Can You Catch With Bobber Fishing?

With a bobber fishing rig, you can catch practically any type of trout, including deep-water species like lake trout, steelhead, and several salmon species. However, stocked rainbow trout are the most usually caught trout species while bobber fishing. They are also the easiest to catch.

Bobber Fishing For Lake Trout

Even though lake trout like to stay in water deeper than 60 feet in the summer, they can be caught with a slip bobber rigging adjusted to any depth. While most lake trout are caught using jigging and trolling lures that are easy to get into deep water, there are instances when using a slip bobber and live bait makes sense. You can undoubtedly catch lakers to bite on a live bait fished beneath a slip bobber, especially when they are being pressured and don’t respond to conventional techniques. 

It’s ideal to use large baitfish like suckers or chub as your live bait when bobber fishing for lake trout. Load them down with a hefty sliding sinker fished under a big walleye or pike bobber.

First, use a fish finder to determine the depth at which lake trout are holding, and then lower your baited hook until you reach the correct depth (by moving the bobber stop up the line).

Bobber Fishing For Brown Trout

Steelhead trout are migratory rainbow trout that spend many years in the ocean before returning to their birth river system. They not only have a salmon-like lifestyle but also grow to significantly larger sizes than conventional rainbow trout, making them highly exciting to catch. Steelheads are larger than rainbow trout and require a more extensive bobber setup since They spend a lot of time feeding smaller fish in the ocean. 

Use a medium-sized saltwater spinning reel for steelhead or a saltwater baitcasting reel. Steelhead can be caught with various baits such as plastic worms, beads, salmon roe sacs, and jigs drifting with the stream beneath a bobber.

Cast your rig upstream from the spot where you wish to capture steelhead and let the current take it to the fish. Because that’s where the primary steelhead strike zone is, you should try to get your bait presentation down near the bottom (and you may need to add extra weight).

Bobber Fishing For Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are the most prevalent trout species in North America (thanks to the fact that they are supplied in numerous lakes and rivers). However, they are also fantastic bobber fishing targets. To suspend your baited hook slightly off the bottom for hungry trout to swallow, use a slip bobber rig with power bait, nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, or maize.

If you’re fishing in a location where there are weeds on the bottom, adjust your bobber depth to keep your hook just above the weeds, as that’s where rainbow trout like to cruise for food. In situations like this, it’s critical to ensure that your hook does not sink into the weeds, as the trout will not see it there.

Keep an eye on your bobber while fishing for rainbow trout, and wait for it to sink before setting the hook. This will help you avoid short strikes when the fish are just nibbling at your bait. If you’re getting many nibbles but no authentic bites, try reducing the size of your bait or switching to a different bait presentation to see what the fish prefer. If nothing happens and your bobber remains still, check your bait every half hour to ensure your hook is still baited.

Finally, when it comes to rainbow trout, adding fragrances to your lure will aid in differentiating your bait presentation from everyone else’s. Garlic, tuna, and shrimp bait fragrances are among the greatest, but you can experiment with others to determine what works best for you.

Related post: Rainbow Trout Lures & Baits Every Angler Should Be Using

Salmon Bobber Fishing

Bobber fishing can be very effective for salmon, especially running upriver to spawn. Use a larger rig than you would for steelhead: 20 to 30 lb test monofilament or braided line with 1/0 or 2/0 hooks are ideal. It would help if you used a medium to big saltwater spinning reel or a bottom fishing reel for salmon. 


This finishes our discussion of bobber fishing for trout, one of the most accessible and reliable methods of catching them in various situations. However, it can be difficult to master if unfamiliar with the technique. We hope this article has provided insight into creating a slip bobber rig and what size hooks and lines to use for the trout you’re hunting.

Bobbers are an excellent piece of equipment for both new and seasoned fishermen. Bobbers can also be inconvenient, frighten fish, prevent bottom fishing, and make hook setting more difficult. That’s why bobber fishing is an excellent option for beginners to have their first trout fishing experience.