There have been a number of studies by Field & Stream as well as other organizations over the years trying to identify the best lures to use for trout. We have listed what we consider to be the best or top 5 lures in the “Trout Fishing Top 5 Lists” on the home page. They are as follows: Rooster Tails, Panther Martin, Mepps Aglia, CountDown Rapala and Berkley Power Bait. Those 5 top lures can be found in the following detailed discussions of the primary basic types of lures. They are in-line spinners, plugs, plastic imitations, and spoons.
The in-line spinners
are Rooster Tail, Mepps Aglia, Panther Martin, Blue Fox and other variations as well. I will start with the Rooster Tail
as a representative sample of the in-line spinners. They come in a variety of sizes, however, the most common sizes for trout are 1/16, 1/8, 1/6 and ¼ ounces each. In the small streams, use the light weights and in the larger pools or streams, use the 1/6 or ¼ ounce lures. They are offered in silver, gold, black and yellow blades and the barrel colors are intended to match trout colors. They have many colors for the tails as well. The manufacturers have provided such a wide variety, I suspect, to attract the trout fisherman more than the trout. The most important thing to remember is the blade color. Silver blades are recommended for bright days, and on overcast days use the brass blades. As for the body or barrel colors, the yellow or black is recommended for the browns and the white or rainbow colors for the rainbow or brook trout. (To keep it simple, and because each store or outfitter has a limited selection, I generally keep only 3 or 4 different spinners in my tackle box.) Experiment with the retrieve each outing to see which one works best on that particular day. Start with a steady retrieve and then occasionally pause it or twitch it. If the trout are especially stubborn, try jigging it or crawling it along the bottom. Most of the spinners will come with a treble hook. If you practice catch and release
and do not want to injure the fish more than necessary, take the side cutter pliers and clip off two of the hooks leaving only one. Also, on some streams, the fishing regulations will allow only one hook.
1/8 oz. Rooster Tails
The next type to consider is what often is referred to as plugs. They are lures
made to resemble bait fish, and or terrestrials, and they are very effective, especially on the larger streams or pools. They come in a variety of forms, such as rainbow trout, brown trout, crawfish, crickets, etc. However, it is generally agreed that the count down Rapalas
in the rainbow or brown trout patterns are the best. They consistently reach suspended fish at any depth with the CountDown method. The controlled depth technique was introduced to the world with this lure, and to this day is the standard by which all others are measured. Whether the trout are suspended at certain depths near, rocks or ledges, the CountDown can get you to them over and over. The CDO5 or the CDO7 are the most popular sizes for trout. To modify these lures for catch and release trout fishing, remove both of the treble hooks and replace the tail hook with a single hook, a split ring may be required.
Rapala CDO5 in Brown Trout pattern, shown below.
The soft plastic imitations,
again, come in a variety of types and sizes such as curley tail grubs, white mini-jigs, plastic worms, and tube baits. Soft plastic imitations have not proven to be effective; however, many fishermen have had spectacular results using the tube baits to catch some of the larger brown trout especially on larger pools or lakes. The Berkley fluorescent nibbles or salmon eggs have been a favorite among trout fishermen for several years and they are effective in small streams as well. They are usually available in the pink or orange types, with the pink being a favorite color. Most of these imitations are used with a lead head jig hook so they can reach the bottom.
White Grub Typical Tube Bait Berkley Power Bait -Bitsey Trout Nibbles
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for rigging and fishing these particular baits.
have been a favorite among trout fishermen for over 50 years. In the field and Stream’s list of the top fifty lures, or any other list of top lures, Al’s Original in gold and Acme’s Little Cleo can be found there. They are produced in a variety of sizes and colors. For trout, the recommendation is to fish the 1/16 ounce for the smaller streams and move up to the 1/8 or ¼ ounce models for the larger streams or lakes. Again, for the catch and release of trout, it is suggested that the treble hooks be replaced by single hooks. When fishing, keep the movement realistic and remember to use a dark colored lure for overcast or low light conditions and to use the light colors or silver lures on bright days.