Trout fishing is incredibly popular, whether anglers are fly fishing or using conventional tackle. Every year countless anglers head to rivers, streams, creeks, and lakes to fish for one of the many trout species found around the world. In this post, we will take a look at some of the best lures for trout.
Best trout lures: our top picks in each category
There are a mind-boggling amount of lures out there that are multi-species and can catch a wide variety of fish along with trout, as well as trout-specific lures as well. Fish are fish no matter where they are found and a spinner can catch panfish, bass, and other species as well as trout.
Best spinners for trout
Spinners can be deadly on trout when they are in an aggressive mood or in fast water where they don’t get too much time to inspect the offering.
The Wordens Rooster Tail is a staple spinner for trout fishing and has been one of the top picks of trout anglers since the 1950s.
The rooster tail is a little bucktail presentation with a single willow blade and a fine-haired buck-tailed skirt typically made from squirrel tails. A small high-quality hook will ensure you get a great hooking percentage when you hook into a trout.
The Wordens Original Rooster Tail comes in a huge range of color combinations, whether you fish dark stained rivers or crystal clear mountain streams, you will find a color pattern to suit your needs.
This lure is responsible for an untold amount of giant trout and other species caught and if you don’t have a variety of rooster tails you better get a few.
Mepps is the most famous and well-known company to produce spinners as well as other types of lures like spoons, and bucktails. they have been around for a very long time with the company being founded in 1938.
Throughout the company’s life, they have produced a huge variety of lures and have always kept their lure designs simple, changing little in terms of how they are made, and how they work for decades. After all, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.
The Aglia by Mepps is one of those designs, it is the first and original French spinner design, and Mepps offers the Aglia series in multiple sizes and varieties such as skirted or naked spinners, allowing to carry a variety of the same spinner for different situations.
The new models from Mepps even include double-bladed variants for extra vibration and flash, and the two blades can come in different colors as well.
The plain treble hook Aglia features extra sharp hooks with brightly colored strike-attractor sleeves, adding to the attractiveness produced by the blade by adding in some vibrant color.
The shaft of the Aglia is stainless steel to prevent corrosion and blades can come in multiple colors including, gold, brass, copper, or silver finishes for you to choose from, But metal finishes aren’t the only finishes available, Mepps also features a wide variety of colored blades as well, and they are great for stained water fishing.
Ah yes, another classic trout spinner that has been around for decades, the Panther Martin spinners.
Like the variety featured in other brands like Mepps, The Panther Martin spinner come in a variety of configurations, featuring both skirted and unskirted in a wide variety of sizes and colors, these things have some very gaudy and bright colors and there is an absolute ton to choose from.
One thing that you will notice about Panther Martin Spinners is the blade design. The blade design is a through blade design, with the shaft going straight through the blade with no clevis. These blades stay close to the shaft to allow for easy retrieves with very low drag, similar to a willow blade in function.
The bodies on the Panther Martin spinners are also bullet-shaped and heavy, allowing you to make long-distance casts for a small spinner, and the bodies are even painted.
Best hard baits for trout
Hard baits offer a more imitative presentation than a spinner giving you two shots at snaring a trout – either a reaction bite or a predatory bite.
Let’s be honest, if you were to get together a list of the best lures ever made regardless of species, the Rapala original floater is more than likely going to be on that list.
Made from balsa wood to give the lure its incredible buoyancy, the Rapala original floater has been a staple for freshwater anglers around the world including trout anglers. While modern crankbait and jerkbait designs may look cooler and are constructed of materials like high-impact plastic, it’s still hard to beat the old, simple, and traditional Rapala.
Its simple color patterns like the classic black and silver or black and gold patterns look realistic as can be in the water even after decades of no change, and the variety of sizes make it great for small trout rivers and procuring a fish fry, while the larger sizes might just get the largest brown trout in the run to come up and take a shot at it.
The action is still excellent even when compared to modern lures, and the hover, rise, and wobble of this will always get the job done. There is a reason these lures have been at the forefront of fishing for 50 years.
While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the time-tested Rebel un-jointed minnow for trout, there’s just something about the Rebel jointed minnow that can get the trout fired up.
It’s comparable in power to other hard body baits that have become famous trout lures for the trout fishing scene.
This trout lure really shines on a good old-fashioned straight retrieve, and it doesn’t take much to get that rear section kicking, allowing you to work it just under the surface at a slow crawl, an excellent presentation in clear water in particular.
The slight wobble on the pause makes one of those trout lures that can be in play on the pause, and the Rebel Jointed Minnow should be a go-to bait for any trout angler that needs to present a finesse presentation to get the fish to strike.
Best soft baits for trout
Often overlooked by the more traditionalist trout angler, soft baits really work well for trout, and why wouldn’t they? They have great fish triggering characteristics, the vibration and movement in the water feel much more natural than that of other lures like spinners, giving trout fishing enthusiasts a great finesse presentation.
The Keitech Fat Swim Impact is a great tool for catching trout. Being quite the popular lure in the bass fishing world, trout anglers are starting to catch on to the powers of the Keitech fat swing impact.
The ribbed body gives off a ton of natural vibrations in the water, and the boot-style tail gives an enticing kick at any speed, great for working fast current or slowly reeling just off of the bottom or surface, It will even ungulate on the fall, making it an incredibly versatile bait that will work in a wide variety of situations. It’s no surprise that this lure is becoming a selection in the trout anglers’ arsenal.
Sizes range from 2.8, 4.8, 5.8, and 6.8 inches so you have a variety of sizes to choose from depending on the conditions and how finicky or active the fish are on any given day.
Berkley Power Bait is a powerhouse when it comes to catching stocked trout. But the Floating Trout Worm isn’t bait, it’s a lure, and a powerful one at that I might add, and not just for stocked trout, but for biggest wild trout in the river.
Bass anglers know the power of soft plastic lures for bass, and the floating trout worm has the same power for trout, with one major advantage to tailor to getting trout to strike, it floats.
Due to its floating ability, it can be used in many ways. Trout anglers can rig it on a drop shot and fish the bottom of deeper holes, and due to its floating characteristics, it won’t simply lay on the bottom, but the work will present itself in a vertical orientation just begging to be eaten.
You can also take a page from the bass angling book and rig it wacky style, allowing both ends to flap around to produce powerful strikes.
Best jigs to catch trout
Jigs are a staple of the bass fishing world, but are less popular for chasing trout. However, in the right situation – when fishing in deep lakes – jigs are a very effective lure for chasing trout.
Northland tackle is known for producing excellent jigs, and while they may be tailored towards other species like walleye and perch, they are equally effective when trout are the target.
Throw on the soft plastic or even live bait of your choice and get to jigging! The Slurp Jigs work great with soft plastics like twister tail bodies along with shad and minnow shapes.
The Slurp Jigheads have barbed wire collars to keep the bait from sliding down the hook shaft, so you spend less time fixing your presentation, and it can be worked from fast retrieve to slow retrieve without spinning out when properly rigged. It’s also a dead jig presentation for open water fishing when targeting lake trout or trout in deep lakes.
The Slurp Jigs come in a variety of colors from bright fluorescent colors to natural colors.
The lifelike, pulsing appearance of marabou feathers under water and in river currents is simply unbeatable, with the closest contender being silicone skirts, but silicone skirts don’t work very well in small presentations like trout-sized jigs, so it’s pretty hard to beat a Kalin marabou jig for trout.
Featuring double-coated epoxy heads that resist chipping and feature a long life span, and hand-tied eagle claw hooks, the Kalins Jig is a perfect presentation for bottom-hugging trout when finesse is key, and in our opinion is a hard one to beat.
Best spoons for trout
Simple, easy to fish with and effective, spoons are a must-have for trout anglers.
Growing up trout fishing as a kid, my father showed me the power that a little Cleo can have on trout, and as a result, it’s also in my arsenal and has caught me more trout than I can count.
It provides a wild swinging action without line twisting, but in current we would still recommend using a barrel swivel. It also has a very aerodynamic design allowing you to cast things thing a country mile.
Each and every little Cleo is precision machined to ensure the best action and performance, and the two-color designs that incorporate both flash and color stand out in the water and bring in fish without fail.
The Mepps Aglia has earned its spot in our list as one of the best all-time spinners for trout fishing, and the Mepps little wolf earns our spot as one of the best spoons out there for trout fishing as well as other species.
The Little Wolf is made from solid brass, and comes in a wide selection of colors, from natural flash presentations to fire tiger, fluorescent colors, and even glow colors.
The reverse-curve design of the Little Wolf Spoon has ten different and highly reflective surfaces that deflect light and send the flash out in all directions in the water easily, allowing fish to see it from 360 degrees both vertically and horizontally.
The Little Wolf Spoon comes with an attractor sleeve on the high-quality and razor-sharp hook, characteristic of the Mepps brand, and all spoons are made with an acrylic/vinyl oven-baked finish that makes it very chip resistant.
Mepps has a winning trout lure on their hands with the little wolf, and it should be a part of any trout anglers fishing arsenal.
Types of trout to catch
There are many species of trout and they can be found around the globe, in most cases in the United States, many species of trout can be found in one body of water, especially in the Great Lakes region among many others, and are either naturally reproducing or bolstered by artificial stocking. We discussed key trout species below, but for check this article for a detailed looked at types of trout in the US and the rest of the world.
Brown trout can be found around the world thanks to being introduced to non-native waterways, and for the most part, they have not been detrimental after their introduction which is commonly the case with invasive species.
They are an incredibly popular sportfish in New Zealand where they are known to grow to trophy sizes and have high population densities, as well as being found throughout areas of the United States. Brown trout are also found throughout Europe being the area to which they are native.
Rainbow trout are native in ranges of the Pacific coast of the United States and Canada and stretch north to Alaska and across to the northeastern areas of Russia.
Through artificial stocking and raising in fish hatcheries in both the United States and Canada, they can be found in many rivers throughout both countries, in most cases stocking needs to be carried out on a regular basis, as most stocked populations do not naturally reproduce in the stocked environments.
Cutthroat trout are found in the Western United States and southwestern Canada, with prominent locations being in the Rocky Mountains ranging from southern Alberta all the way south to New Mexico.
There are many subspecies of the cutthroat trout, and subspecies like the Pyramid lake Lahontan subspecies found in Pyramid Lake, Nevada can grow to very large sizes, with Pyramid lake being a world-class trophy fishery.
Lake trout have a very narrow native range which consists of northern Canada, Alaska, The great lakes region, and the northeastern region of the United States. Lake trout have been transplanted to many other non-native areas throughout the United States, and around the world in certain parts of Asia, Europe, and even South America.
Lake Trout inhabit cold, highly oxygenated waters. These waters are typically very deep, clear lakes, where they can be found suspended at depths of 60 to nearly 200 feet in the summer months where the water is coldest and are not found in shallow streams and rivers.
Choosing the trout fishing lures
Choosing the right fishing lures for trout depends on the situation and body of water being fished. Lures for lake trout at very deep depths will require different lures to that of fishing for brook trout in small streams.
Lakes vs rivers vs streams
In many cases when trout fishing lakes, you might be fishing deep water for suspended trout, this is where jigging really shines, and spoons and jigs will be the prominent lure choice.
Rivers and streams will find anglers using lures that can be used in both, though some presentations like the Berkley floating worm might be particularly deadly in a small stream when pitched in heavy timber overfishing larger rivers.
Strength of Current
Current strength is something that needs to be taken into consideration with some lures. Light jigs and other lures might be swept with the current and not give a slow presentation while sitting on the bottom of the river or stream. If you want it to sit nearly idle it will be an issue in a strong current, but current also can be positive for these baits, as it carries the jigs downstream and bounces them off of rocks allowing fish to grab them.
other baits may not function properly in a strong current, and some crankbaits may roll or not have the desired presentation with a very fast current.
Depth of Water
Jigs, spinners, and spoons can work at any depth, making them great for many different situations. Crankbaits, on the other hand, have set depths that they will dive to. It’s important to consider the diving depth of the lures and pair that with the depth of the body of water or area you are fishing.
If you are in a situation where floating crankbaits are needed, depth is less of an issue, as you are only targeting the first few inches below the surface in most cases.
Best size and weight of the lure
The size and weight of a lure depend on the size of the fish you are targeting. Fishing for brook trout in a tiny stream in the woods will require a smaller presentation than when fishing for larger lake trout in deep water or larger trout like brown trout and rainbow trout in a river.
Length of cast required
This also depends on the size of the body of water you are fishing, and in many cases, long casts might not be needed even on large bodies of water.
Lighter lures won’t cast as far as larger and heavier lures.
Boat/kayak or land-based
You can use the same lures from a boat or kayak as you could from land, so just be sure you are using the correct lure for your desired tactic, as well as fish size.
Final thoughts on the best trout lure
There are many lures out there that will work for trout, and most of them have a time and place. The lures we feature on this list are not only some of the most popular lures used in trout fishing, they are also some of the most effective, a testament to their popularity.