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What Do Trout Eat in the Winter?

trout caught ice fishing

Trout are cold-blooded animals. When the weather turns from warm to freezing, their metabolism slows down, meaning they can eat less during the winter months. As water levels lower, the trout moves to find a deep pool where the current is slow and ice is less likely to form. 


Although they can go longer between meals, trout still need to feed during the cold weather. So, what do trout eat in the winter?


Trout Winter Diet

All year round, trout depend on a healthy serving of insects and crustaceans as an essential part of their diet. In the summer, they get a banquet of leeches, worms, caddisflies, grasshoppers, and crayfish.


During cold weather, most trout prey disappears. Midges, or mosquito-like creatures, continue hatching into late fall, and their long life cycle means they’ll fly through the air even in the wintertime. Trout continue to feed on midges until the spring when new prey will appear. 


Mayflies are one of the few other flying insects that stay active into the cold season. The nymphs live underwater for a year or more, then move into the air when they mature into duns, and finally reach the adult spinner stage. Trout will eat mayflies of each stage during all seasons.


When trout can’t find insects in the air, they may eat bloodworms from the banks of creeks and lakes. These tiny insects bury themselves in the sediment all year round, making them the perfect meal for hungry trout. 


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