Best Trout Lures: My Six Personal Favorites For River and Lake Trout

Last Updated on June 9, 2021 by Coty Perry

Best Overall

Panther Martin Holograph

4.8/5

Best Trout Spinnerbait

Blue Fox Classic Vibrax

4.7/5

Best Soft Plastic

Berkley Power Floating Trout Worm

4.4/5

Finding and presenting the best trout lures is all about understanding trout habits and behaviors. These fish are skittish and timid so you’ll want to play to that when choosing the right fishing lures for trout. Size them down, don’t go crazy with the colors, and present according to your surroundings. 

I’ve fished backyard creeks and I’ve fished some of the most popular trout rivers in the country. I can tell you with confidence that the six trout lures in this guide will help any angler catch more trout no matter where you’re fishing. If you’re struggling to hook some trout, stick around! 

Our Picks For The Best Trout Lures

Panther Martin Holograph

Best Overall

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Blue Fox Classic Vibrax

Best Trout Spinnerbait

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Berkley Power Floating Trout Worm

Best Soft Plastic

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Rapala X-Rap

Best Rapala For Trout

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Strike King Bitsy Minnow

Best Crankbait For Trout

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Yakima Rooster Tail Spinner

Editor’s Pick

SPECIFICATIONS
BENEFITS
DRAWBACKS

Best Lures For Trout

best trout lures variety

In this section I want to break down some of the finer details about the best types of lures for trout. There are many different types of lure that trout will strike but these four are some of the most popular ones included in this guide. 

Spinners 

Spinners are definitely the most popular hard body lure for catching all types of trout. They generally consist of a treble hook at the bottom, a weighted body in the middle, and a blade at the top. The blade creates a reflection in the water that bounces the sun rays off and shines light in the direction of the fish. 

The blade is the main piece of the presentation puzzle and it’s how you get the attention of nearby trout and other fish. Much of the time, the blades on these spinners also vibrate off the body which creates a noise as well. When you pair the noise with the blinding light, this is what leads the fish to strike the lure. 

Another advantage of using spinners for trout is that they’re small and light. These are in-line spinners which are different from the spinnerbaits you would use for bass fishing. They don’t have the extended wire and instead have a straight body appearance with a single blade. 

The best way to fish these is by casting into open water along rocky shorelines and beneath overhanging Earth and trees. You’ll get hung up a lot if you’re not familiar with these so you don’t want to test your luck by casting into places where there is heavy vegetation.  

Jigs

Using a trout jig is one of the most overlooked ways of catching this species. They’re not that popular and you don’t hear companies pushing their hair jigs and trout jigs like you do some of their others. They come in a variety of sizes ranging from 1/64 to 1/8 ounce so you can cater the size to the action of the water. 

Having many different sized lures is the way to go because you’ll always have an answer for how the trout are feeling that day based on where they’re located in the column and how fast they’re moving. 

Choosing a color is simple and I suggest going with something as natural as possible. You want to imitate bait fish so colors like silver, white, and tan are the best way to go. Sometimes I think it’s best to keep it simple and not overthink it so natural colors work best. 

As for techniques, if you’re jigging in rivers and streams you’ll watch to twitch to jig and reel upstream just fast enough to keep up with the current. 

Spoons

Spoons are a simple but effective trout lure. They mimic the appearance of the in-line spinners and are believed to be some of the oldest fishing lures around. They feature a concave “spoon” like spinner that wobbles and reflects light as it moves through the water. The goal is to create the appearance of an injured fish making the trout believe that they’ll have an easy meal if they chase it down. 

The best thing about spinners is that they work exceptionally well in stained water because of the bright reflection they create. The action it creates will depend on a variety of different factors but the depth of the spoon is the main deciding factor. If you’re using a deep spoon it will produce a more intense wobble than a shallow spoon. 

Thin spoons work best for creating an erratic presentation and I believe they do a better job of creating that “injured” appearance. 

Soft Plastics 

soft plastic trout lures

When it comes to the sport of fishing, I always end up reverting back to what I know and that’s fishing with soft plastics. I’ve fished so many worms for bass over the years and this is just right in my wheelhouse – I’m sure most anglers can make it work for trout as well!

These lures offer so much versatility and there are endless amounts of brands, products, and styles that you can fish. When it comes to fishing soft plastics for trout, you want to keep a few things in mind. 

First, trout aren’t big feeders so going with something overly large isn’t going to do you any good. You want to keep the worm small and light. 

I also recommend a shaky worm head rig because it will offer an erratic presentation and the weight will help you get a decent casting distance on a lure that is very small. 

When choosing a color you can play around with more vibrant options but keeping it simple is often the best policy. Go with a natural color that mimics your surroundings. If the sun is shining and the weather is warm, a pumpkinseed or chartreuse will work well. If there’s some snow on the ground still and the weather is cold, black and white are the best options. 

Powerbait 

Powerbait is another one of my favorites for most ultralight fishing. This bait comes in a wide variety of different applications from worms, to grubs, to eggs. You purchase the bait and it usually comes with a scent that attracts the trout or whatever species it is you’re targeting. In addition to the traditional powerbait you can purchase worms like the Berkley I recommended above and it’ll come with the attractant built into the bait. 

I find that this type of approach works best when paired with something else. A lot of anglers will dip their soft plastic worms in the Berkley powerbait to help the trout pick up on the scent. 

FAQs

I think in-line spinners are the best lures for trout because they’re lightweight, easy to use, and offer a variety of different presentations to attract trout. A close second behind that would be soft plastics and Berkley Powerbait. You just need to know which ones to use and how to use it properly.

I recommend natural colors whenever possible but if you’re feeling like the trout are really active you’ll want to go with something red or orange. These colors help imitate the injured fish presentation and if you create the right action on the lure it’ll be like a trout magnet. 

Yes, trout like spinnerbaits but it’s all about how you present them. I find that in-line spinners are better for trout especially when water levels rise in the rivers and you can cast in alcoves and other areas where the water is more stagnant. This will help prevent you from getting hung up while also giving you opportunities to fish places that once were inaccessible. 

 

I wouldn’t suggest anything larger than a ½ ounce for most trout fishing scenarios but lures even as small as a ⅛ ounce are popular. It all depends on the size of trout you’re chasing and where you’re fishing. If you’re in a small stream or creek then the ⅛ ounce would be the way to go. If you’re in larger rivers and ponds for big brown trout then you can size up the lures and hooks accordingly. It helps to have a wide variety of lure sizes in your tackle box. 

The best trout fishing happens when you let go of preconceived notions. I’ve talked to a lot of fly fishing enthusiasts who would never dream of using a jig head, rebel hard bodied lure, or a blue fox vibrax to catch a trout in clear water but there are people out there doing it. I consider myself a stubborn bass angler but I had to learn to adjust how I fish for freshwater trout otherwise I’d never catch anything. 

Trout bait is not hard to master but learning how to catch big trout is what separates the big cats from the amateurs. If you want to catch larger trout you need to purchase larger lures and dive deeper into the water column. The problem is, big stocked trout are hard to find because they don’t stick around very long before they get caught.  

 

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best trout lure is simple when you think about what you’re fishing for and how they behave. Trout are skittish and they don’t bite anything they don’t feel entirely confident about taking on. As a result, you want to size down your lures and try not to intimidate them too much otherwise they won’t bite. 

Any of the lures recommended above will work perfectly in rivers, streams, and ponds for trout fishing.  

Exclusive Insider Content!

Latest Fishing News, Gear Reviews, and Expert Advice to take your fishing to the next level.