What are the best trout lures? While trout fishing is often associated with fly fishing or ice fishing, there are many lures that are just as effective at landing big browns or rainbows as feather light flies. So don’t pack up your spinning gear just yet, as we are going to take a look at several types of lures that are proven trout catchers. We will also list some of our favorite lures for each type and discuss when and how to use them.
What are the best trout lures?
Here is a quick preview of our top 11 best lures for trout fishing:
- Worden’s Original Rooster Tail Spinner
- Mepps Aglia Spinner
- Blue Fox Vibrax
- Rebel Wee-Crawfish
- Rebel Crickhopper
- PowerBait FW Power Floating Trout Worm
- PowerBait Power Nymph
- Acme Kastmaster Lure
- Bay De Noc Swedish Pimple
- Eagle Claw Marabou Jig
- Lindy Little Nipper
To learn more about why we consider these lures to be some of the best trout lures keep reading below.
While technically a type of spinnerbait, the rooster tail deserves its own section. This might be one of the most used and effective lures for trout and is responsible for millions of successful fishing trips.
The gold standard for rooster tails is the Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner. We have caught more trout on this simple lure than on just about any other two lures combined.
As you can see from the picture, a rooster tail is torpedo shaped body with a feathered skirt attached. On the front end is a small spinner. They are typically available in a number of different sizes from as small as 3/8 ounce to as large as 1 ounce depending on how you like to fish them.
How to fish a rooster tail for trout.
There are several ways to fish rooster tails, but one of the most effective ways to use them and one of the most effective ways to cover water completely is by throwing upstream of a fishing hole and letting the current swing the lure while you retrieve. We like to use this technique several times working outwards to cover the entire hole.
We have also had a lot of luck with rooster tails and other spinnerbaits casting downstream and slow retrieving/jerking back up current. It’s a slower process, but it seems to entice trout hits, particularly rainbows.
Color is a big factor in whether or not you trout will hit and so is retrieval speed. Speed your retrieval up when trout are being more aggressive and slow it down when they are more lethargic.
Without a doubt crankbaits are some of the best lures for trout fishing. However, when talking about crankbaits, we have some very specific models in mind for trout. We have never really had a lot of success with the larger baitfish imitating crankbaits you often think of when bass fishing.
We do think for crankbaits to be successful, you need to go with the smallest sizes you can find. It’s not that larger crankbaits don’t attract trout, but you are going to have an issue with hooking them.
The crawdad crankbait such as the Rebel Wee-Crawfish (pictured above) is brilliant when fishing gentler water or even dead drifting them through faster current. It looks like a crawfish, it swims like a crawfish and the trout will eat it like a crawfish.
We love to yank it near the bottom of the river from the bank and outwards. This is a big trout bait as larger trout key in on crawdads for a hefty source of protein.
Check out more about the Rebel Wee in the following video:
We also employ the Rebel Crickhopper during the late summer and fall months almost every time we are near the river. We think it is most effective when thrown up near banks and allow the current to drift it with erratic jerking motions scattered throughout the drift.
When fishing rivers, soft plastics can simply be drifted with a lot of success. From summer through winter, these are going to catch trout. Whether it is dead drifting them through the current or using a drop shot to bring lures down to the large lake trout of browns, it’s hard to go wrong with soft plastics for trout.
One of our favorite soft plastic lures for trout is worms and specifically the PowerBait FW Power Floating Trout Worm (pictured above). There are a number of different techniques that can be used with a plastic worm or any other plastic lure for that matter. You can simply rig it on a light jighead and drift it or even use a Carolina rig and work it similar to a rooster tail. You can even use a wacky worm rig, but be sure you are using a short worm or you are going to have a lot of misses when the trout do not take the lure fully.
Another soft plastic lure that is killer trout bait are insect imitations such as the PowerBait Power Nymph. Aquatic insects are a major portion of a trout’s diet and the legs and tails of these soft plastic imitations give them incredible movement even in the slightest of currents.
We like to experiment on the water with depth when drifting these baits. Sometimes trout feed heavily on the bottom or higher up in the water column. Getting the bait to the correct depth can be the difference in catching a couple of trout versus limiting out.
Spoons are great lures for trout fishing for a number of different reasons. For one, they cast a mile. The more water you cover, the better the chances of getting bit. So, if you are looking to cover a lot of water we would definitely recommend that you tie on a spoon.
Another reason they are so effective is because of the reflection and movement they make through the water. Spoons are designed to swim in a way that imitates a baitfish. To better your chances of getting a bite, you can also fish them erratically. Do this by retrieving the spoon with a pause and jerk retrieval. This retrieve can make the spoon look like a dying baitfish which will drive the fish wild.
Another effective way to fish a spoon is with a yo-yo retrieval. To do a yo-yo retrieval simply raise your fishing rod to bring the spoon higher up in the water column. Once it is closer to the surface of the water, lower your fishing rod to allow it to flutter back down to the bottom. This flutter motion will give the spoon a lot of action and draw attention to your lure. Remember, the fish will oftentimes take it on the fall. Always be prepared for a bite when fishing the yo-yo retrieval.
One of our favorite spoons for trout fishing is the Acme Kastmaster Lure(pictured above). What we like most about this particular lure is that is made out of one single piece of brass. This means it won’t bend, break, or corrode. You can even take it saltwater fishing without any problems.
Another great spoon for trout fishing is the Bay De Noc Swedish Pimple. The reason I like this lure is because of the many different colors. As we mentioned before, what makes the spoon effective is the reflection and movement. You will have no problems getting the fish’s attention with this lure. Best of all, it is a great ice fishing lure for trout as well. Catch trout all year-long with the Bay De Noc Swedish Pimple .
Jigs represent one of the best methods of reaching deep holding trout, including large lake trout and the use of smaller “micro jigs” can also be utilized in river systems. Jigs represent a great way for landing trophy trout and several of the largest trout ever recorded have been caught on jigs.
Like the soft plastics, jigs can be fished with a variety of techniques and cane be bought pre-dressed or dressed with some additional soft plastic that we touched on earlier in the article.
For pre-dressed jigs, the Eagle Claw Marabou Jig and Lindy Little Nipper are two of the more popular jigs for use in river systems. Both of them have fantastic movement in the water. Both can be drifted through a river current or bounced across the river bottom of slower and deeper portions of the river. Their material is very life-like under the water and imitates a wide selection of trout food.
The weight you should select or add to the jig depends on the water situation. For drifting, you obviously don’t want a 1/2oz or larger lure because it will sink too rapidly and snag along the bottom from the fast-moving current. If you’re trying to reach deep holding lake trout, you will want something that can get down to those depths quickly for the sake of your sanity.
Don’t forget to play around and experiment with these jig lures with soft plastics dressed on them as well. A marabou jig with a crayfish dressed on the hook is one of our all-time favorite lures for big trout.
Learn more about the marabou jig in the following video:
So, what are the best trout lures? Well, there are plenty of options when it comes to catching trout on more conventional spinning and casting tackle. There are plenty of lures not on this list that we are sure will bring in trout, but the lure styles we have discussed and the specific models of these lures are proven trout catchers.
Give them a try and you will quickly find a few new favorite lures in your trout fishing arsenal.
What do you think are the best lures for trout fishing? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.