Award Winning Author Shares Trout Tips for This Week’s Opener

By: Terry J. Wiest

Who doesn’t remember growing up as a young kid getting all excited to go trout fishing? For those that missed this opportunity I feel bad. It should be the first experience most of us get at how wonderful fishing can be. Trout fishing created a tight bond between my dad and I. I’m glad I got to share it with him until he passed.

Alongside us on all those trout fishing trips was Pautzke. Balls O’ Fire was the only eggs that consistently produced and the one thing my dad said we always need to have in our tackle box. We always had tremendous success with Pautzke eggs, even while we watched other’s struggle. In fact, while catching limits of trout other anglers asked what our secret was. There was no secret. Success came simply by using Pautzke’s Balls O’ Fire.

However, as society has changed, trout fishing has, too. New products have been introduced since I was a kid more than four decades ago. I still use Balls O Fire salmon eggs and think about my dad every time I fish with them. Meanwhile, I carry new methods with me, and not so surprising those baits are also made by Pautzke. Coincidence? Nope. It’s called years of research, innovation and keeping on top of the game. This is something the Pautzke family has done since 1934.

Trout openers are firing off out West this weekend and I’ll have my Pautzke with me like hundreds of thousands of other anglers. Let’s talk about how easy it us to be successful with it. These techniques work anywhere trout are found.

Off the bottom:

Dad and I started a tradition catching trout together with Pautzke eggs more than 40 years ago. It still out-fishes most techniques today. The idea is to offer two presentations on the same line.

Here’s what to do:

  • Tie the main line to a three-way swivel.
  • On the end of an open eye of the swivel tie a 10-16 inch leader. Then tie on a hook of your choice.
  • On the end of the other open eye of the swivel tie a 20-24 inch leader. Then tie on a hook of your choice.
  • Pinch a split shot or two above the swivel. You’ll want a split shot with just enough weight to cast the bait out to where you want it.
  • On each hook put a different offering so the trout have a choice.
  • Now you’ll have presentations at two different heights off the bottom.

Many baits can be used on the above mentioned hooks. My favorite was a cheese marshmallow with Pautzke’s Balls O’ Fire egg on one and a garlic marshmallow and different Ball’s O’ Fire on the other. Deadly and simple! Meanwhile, in this new day and age I’ve jumped on board with the new products that I put on that hook. My favorite now is Feed Pellet Brown Fire Bait with a Red Fire Ball on the longer of the two leaders and Peach Garlic Fire Bait and a Red Fire Ball on the shorter. However, Garlic Wildfire Fire Bait with a Gold Garlic Fire Ball and Rainbow Fire Bait with about any Fire Ball work well, too.

If you don’t have Fire Bait, well shame on you, but regular mini marshmallows injected with Pautzke Nectar will also work. (Stay tuned for a blog on this soon). That’s a special Northwest secret of ours. Shhhh. The combination of Fire Bait and a Fire Ball is the new marshmallow and Balls O’ Fire of today.

Using a Bobber:

When milfoil or other aquatic plants start to grow the use of a bobber may be necessary to keep from getting hung up. In this case I’ll use the same technique as above except:

  • Add a simple red/white plastic bobber (or other) three-to-six feet above the swivel.
  • Don’t use the Fire Bait as it will float up towards the bobber instead of hang down below the split shots.

Simple. Good looking. Deadly.

Spinner Balls:

When trout seem lazy and aren’t interested in your bait then you probably aren’t using Pautzke’s now are you! Or, you want to mix things up, try tossing a spinner. Trout sometimes find spinners irresistible, especially when they smell Pautzke’s scent trailing from them.

When I first started tossing spinners I didn’t have much luck. Then I decided to add a Ball’s O’ Fire to one of the hooks. It sparked some interest instantly. Strikes were vicious. When I was a kid, my “go to” spinner was a chrome Bolo spinner with a Ball’s O’ Fire on at least one hook.

Many times I’d cast out and watch my eggs continue flying past where the spinner hit the surface. When they flew off the spinner didn’t seem to produce like it did with the egg attached. Now we don’t have to worry about eggs flying off. Pautzke has taken care of that with the new Fire Balls! These look and feel real and don’t fall off as easy as real eggs, especially with this technique.

I don’t think you need directions for this. But, for new trout anglers here you go:

  • Tie a spinner directly to your mainline. I feel using a swivel with the spinner throws off the action in these lightweight trout spinners.
  • Add a Pautzke Fire Ball to one of the hooks (if a treble).

I’m a sucker for the Red Fire Balls. They look so much like the Balls O’ Fire I used with my dad. My brain associates them with success and it has for more than 40 years. I have a hard time switching because of how effective they are. But, if you want to use other colors I’m certain they work.

That’s it. These techniques helped me catch trout for nearly a half-century. They’ll catch fish for you, too. The one staple has always been Pautzke. Go start your own tradition, have fun and catch some trout. Tis the season this Saturday.

Editor’s Note: Award winning author Terry Wiest is based in the Pacific Northwest. He’s the mastermind of Steelhead University. For more information please visit