Spin Fishing For Trout: A How-to Guide

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Spin fishing for trout is very popular. Compared to fly fishing, it is less intimidating and more manageable for a person to use a spinning rod in the pursuit of trout, and in many cases, more affordable.

Fishing with a spinning rod is straightforward and easy to learn, and it’s very effective in catching trout as well. In this post, we will take a deeper look at spin fishing for trout, as well as tactics you can employ to be successful on the water.

Spin Fishing for Trout – A Complete Guide

Spin Fishing Techniques

There are a few techniques that can make a difference in triggering virtually any trout species to strike. These techniques are very simple for the most part and can be learned quickly.

Varying the speed is one of the most effective ways to trigger fishing into biting, and this can vary from one day to the next or even at different times of the same day. Depending on the conditions, trout may be more active in their feeding for a period of time, not aggressive or neutral in their feeding mood at other times, and less likely to chase fast-moving prey.

Varying your lure’s speed and making it slower when fishing is tough can make a difference, as well as speeding up the lure when it is obvious that fish are aggressive.

Pausing lures for a very short period can also work with a straight retrieve. When fishing with spinners, you will want to keep the pause as quickly as possible (less than a second) and then proceed to crank again.

This short and abrupt stop can trigger any closely following trout, and the fish closes the distance to your spinner rapidly and causes a reaction strike.

Spin Fishing Gear for Trout

Choosing a rod depends on a specific angler’s needs and location.

An overall good rod length is around 7 feet, but if you are fishing in tight spaces such as small wooded streams and rivers, a shorter rod will probably serve you well and help to avoid tangling and snagging on branches and trees. If you are fishing in confined areas, a 6-foot rod will do the trick.

Spinning rods with fast action and light to medium-light power are also preferred for areas with populations of smaller trout species, while large rivers with larger trout like rainbows and large brown trout should opt for a medium power rod, and fast action is preferred for large trout as well.

The typical trout river or stream will typically be fish the best with a 4-6 pound line, but if you are jigging on lakes for large lake trout, you will want to use a stronger line.

G.Loomis Classic Trout Rod
G.Loomis Classic Trout Rod
G.Loomis Classic Trout Rod
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G Loomis is known for manufacturing some of the best rods on the market, and they have a loyal community of anglers to testify to their high-quality construction and performance on the water.

The G. Loomis classic trout rod comes in various forms, from ultra-light to medium power ratings and moderate to fast action.

The G Loomis trout fishing rods are also constructed with high-quality materials, and feature premium-grade cork handles, a great reel seat, and exceptional graphite. The line guides and rod are designed to protect and excel at fishing with the light lines typical with an ultra-light or light rod.

The classic trout fishing rod is available in several lengths from 5 to 7 feet, allowing you to get the rod that best suits your fishing situation.

  • Multiple length choices
  • Ultra-light to medium power
  • High-quality across the board

Spin Fishing for Trout in Lakes

Trout may be suspended throughout the water column in the middle of the lake or along shallow rocky areas or near-shore vegetation.

Fishing for trout in lakes is similar to in rivers or streams, but there are different considerations, such as fish location and depth.

Trout lakes are typically deep and clear lakes; these lakes can be either mesotrophic or oligotrophic with moderate to low nutrient levels.

The first thing to do when fishing these types of lakes is to find fish, and they can be in a variety of areas. The trout may be suspended throughout the water column in the middle of the lake or along shallow rocky areas and, in some cases, around near-shore vegetation.

Once active fish have been located, it’s as simple as casting lures to them and retrieving, but the most important part when fishing for them is to ensure that the lures are reaching the depths where the trout are present; this could mean letting your spinner sink as you count down to a depth, or reeling in very slowly to reach the fish.

Shimano Stradic Ci4+
Shimano Stradic Ci4+
Shimano Stradic Ci4+
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The price of the Shimano Stradic Ci4+ will likely turn away most beginner or novice anglers, but any seasoned trout fishing enthusiast who holds this reel in their hands will be able to immediately feel the outstanding quality it's made with.

It's one of the smoothest spinning reels available right now because the brand engineered this reel with Magnumlite Rotor, a Hagane gear system, and a 6+1 stainless steel ball bearings system. The Shimano Stradic Ci4+ is made with exceptionally high-quality materials and is built to last through many years of use in fishing for freshwater trout or a range of smaller saltwater fishing species as well.

  • Super light and strong Ci4+ carbon body
  • Cold-forged aluminum spool
  • Buttery-smooth casting and retrieval

Spin Fishing for Trout in Rivers

Unlike lakes, finding trout in a river is a bit easier, as trout rivers and small streams are typically narrow and relatively shallow; this means instead of having a large deep lake, you might be searching in water only a few feet deep with the width of a country road, and there are only so many places in that space where trout could be located.

With the swift current present in a river or stream, your retrieve speed is likely going to need to be fast, as the current will sweep the spinner downstream quickly, and you may need to avoid obstacles.

Search around pools, eddies, and rock piles, or simply cast across the rocky stretches of the river in search of trout. You may find that you catch brown trout in the rocky areas and brook trout around wood and timber shorelines or areas where one species is present more often than others if you fish bodies of water with multiple species.

Best Times to Spin Fish for Trout

Like with most fish species, your best time for trout fishing will be in the mornings or evenings, but they can also bite just fine during the day and even after dark.

During the day, weather conditions can dictate whether the trout will be actively feeding or not, and weather events such as warm fronts can be great if you are out just before or during the passing of it, and cold fronts might have fish feeding before, but stopping all feeding activity for up to several days afterward.

Moon phases may also play their part, so be sure to pay attention to the minors or majors happening throughout the course of the day.

Best Seasons to Spin Fish for Trout

The best season for trout fishing depends on where you live, and in mountainous areas, trout fishing might be great year-round.

If you live in areas where it gets hot in the summer, your best time to fish will likely be in the spring and fall months, but again, this all depends on where you live and the type of water you are fishing, as spring-fed streams can maintain cool temperatures year-round and host great fishing, and deep clear lakes also maintain the cooler water trout love in the deep areas of the lake.

Choosing the Best Spinners for Trout Fishing

Worden’s Original Rooster Tail Spinner
Worden’s Original Rooster Tail Spinner
Worden’s Original Rooster Tail Spinner
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The Worden's rooster tail has been a staple of trout fishing for over half a century, with the first lures being produced in the 1950s.

Roostertail lures have a single willow blade design that puts out a ton of flash along with some vibration. The small tail section is made from very fine and soft hair for increased flow and movement in the water, and the small razor-sharp treble hook allows for excellent hooking rates.

Due to decades on the market and becoming a smash hit, the rooster tail comes in pretty much any color you can imagine, allowing you to fish them effectively in any water clarity and conditions.

  • Fine and soft hair allows for high movement in the water
  • Time tested classic
  • Willow blade design
Mepps Aglia Spinner
Mepps Aglia Spinner
Mepps Aglia Spinner
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The Mepps Aglia is the original French-style spinner design that first came out in the late 1940s and has been a staple lure for trout anglers ever since. Mepps offers the aglia series in multiple sizes and design types, including both naked spinners (spinners without a skirt) and skirted rooster tails.

If you wish to try the non-skirted versions of the spinner, which are very popular among steelhead anglers, the Aglia lures feature a bright attractor sleeve on them which helps give off some color to accompany the excellent flash and vibration from the blade.

The shaft of the Aglia is stainless steel to protect against corrosion, and the blade comes in multiple finishes and colors including, gold, brass, copper, or silver finishes, and they even come with painted blades. 

  • Tons of metal finishes and colors
  • Naked or skirted designs
  • Stainless steel shaft
Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner
Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner
Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner
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The Vibrax lures by Blue Fox features a two-part design that was was specifically designed to emit a low-frequency vibration that fish key in on and strike and also helps to eliminate line twist.

The lures are either silver or copper plated and can feature both metallic and metal finishes along with painted bodies and blades.

The body of the vibrax is known as a bell and can move and hit the shaft as water moves past it, causing noise and vibration, and literally rings the dinner bell for hungry trout as you retrieve it.

Last but not least, the vibrax comes in both non-skirted and skirted versions, with the skirted version being known as the foxtail.

  • Skirted and non-skirted options
  • Bell body design
  • Metallic and colored versions
Panther Martin Spinner
Panther Martin Spinner
Panther Martin Spinner
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The classic Panther Martin spinner is another one of those lures that have been incredibly popular for 50 years, and the Panther Martin also has some interesting design choices when compared to a classic spinner.

The Panther Martin rooster tail features a shaft-through blade design. This blade design keeps the blade close to the shaft of the rooster tail and allows for increasingly less drag.

The interesting blade alternation between convex and concave features creates a unique vibration in the water that calls out to the fish in a way that sets it apart from standard willow blades.

  • Unique shaft-through design
  • Convex/Concave hybrid blade
  • Time-tested favorite
Truscend Rooster Tails
Truscend Rooster Tails
Truscend Rooster Tails
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Truscend rooster tails are the new kids on the block and have increasingly become one of the more popular trout lures available online. They have some versions that definitely pique the interest of many trout anglers.

These Rooster tails come in a great variety of styles, with the double french blade version giving massive amounts of flash and vibration compared to a standard single willow blade. This type of blade configuration is very popular within the musky fishing community, where it has had amazing fish-catching results.

If you want something really different to try, you can grab a few of the tiny buzzbait versions and try your hand at topwater trout fishing; while overlooked by many, trout are aggressive predators and will eat a small topwater bait in many conditions.

And finally, Truscend offers a line of metallic finishes in some very appealing colors alongside the brass and gold patterns that are typical of rooster tails, some of which are offered as naked spinners.

Final Thoughts

Spinner fishing for trout is incredibly effective and, as a result, an incredibly popular way for anglers to target trout.

The spinner is also a very easy lure to fish and learn with, is a great choice for kids and beginning anglers, and works so effectively that even avid and diehard anglers have tackle boxes full of them. If you are fishing for trout, be sure to stock up on a wide variety of spinners in various sizes, colors, and types.

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Shawn Chapin is an experienced fishing writer and guide based in Wisconsin, where he loves targeting muskie and a range of other species. Shawn's fished extensively for pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth and panfish species. He's developing a passion for chasing trout on the fly rod.
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