Some of my best memories of fishing are associated with trout fishing with my family in the mountains. Growing up, we used to go on camping trips in Wyoming and Montana during the summer for family reunions. I used these trips as opportunities to fish nearby streams and lakes for trout. I learned early on that casting the wrong lure or fly at hungry trout does nothing more than spook them away. Trout are picky eaters. They are very particular about what they eat, and this makes it challenging to land trout on a consistent basis without using the right lure. Matching the hatch doesn’t just apply to fly fishing. It also applies to using a spinner or jig that matches aquatic life that the trout are used to seeing in their natural habitat. Foreign appearing lures do nothing more than spook wary fish. Below, we will talk about the importance of choosing the right trout fishing lure.
Picking The Right Trout Fishing Lures
Choosing the right trout fishing lures comes down to a few things. Ask yourself a few questions about the lures you are using. Does it fit the environment? Will it do more to scare a fish away than incite a strike? Does it represent a significant meal?
- The first question is an easy one. If the lure looks like an alien life form and has no reason swimming in the waters you are fishing, it probably won’t be a successful pattern.
- Question number two is a little more difficult to answer, and mostly has to do with the size and shape. Think of it this way: is the lure you are casting almost as big as the fish that you are casting to? I have had some extraordinary success landing the biggest fish in certain holes by casting lures slightly smaller than the littler fish. This is a great tactic for specifically targeting the lunkers of the bunch. You just need to be sure there is a lunker in the hole that will hit that large lure, because most of the smaller fish will dart for cover.
- Question number three has to do with the ability of a trout to gain significant calories while exerting limited energy. This will also be determined by the way in which you retrieve your lure. If you cast it into a swift current and rip it back to you, the fish would have to exert a lot of energy to chase after it in the current, which it might not be willing to do. A jig bounced off the bottom very slowly allows the trout more time to consider its value as a relatively easy meal.
Trout fishing lures vary greatly in color, size, and function. Some work well in murky waters with low visibility, and other work well in crystal clear waters. Some work well in calm lakes and ponds, and others work in swift currents. Others are successful when fished on the surface, while some need to be fished off the bottom. Here are a few highlights of different types of trout lures and baits most commonly used to target them.
Fly fishing is a common way to land these beautiful fish. Fly fishing utilizes hand tied flies that mimic natural insects and other aquatic life. Flies can be fished on the surface as dry flies, or under the surface as nymphs, wet flies, and streamers. Drifting nymphs, dry flies and other wet flies in the current of streams is a very successful way to land trout. Stripping trout streamers on lakes and deep holes on rivers might possibly yield large trout.
Spinners are probably the most common trout lure for spin cast fishing. Spinners imitate a swimming baitfish, and come in a variety of sizes and color combinations. For lakes, try using gold and silver bladed spinners, especially when fishing deep or with trolling gear. Spoons are a good substitute for spinners in lakes. These types of spinners have a more deliberate motion that mimics a wounded fish. This is often irresistible to hungry trout. For streams and rivers, size your spinners based on the size of the water and fish present. Larger spinners work well on big rivers, and smaller spinners work well on smaller streams.
Utilizing jigs for trout fishing is a great way to bounce a bait off the bottom to bottom feeders. They also work great in lakes around cover. I had a good friend growing up that swore by tiny white jigs for trout fishing a spring fed river close to where I grew up in the Midwest. I also witnessed him land one of the biggest rainbow trout out of that river with his ultra light spinning combo and jig, a whopper that topped 7.5 pounds and had the girth of a football. They work, and are very easy to fish. For small streams, sneak up to the edge and dip them over the bank into deep holes for the best results.
Other Trout Fishing Lures
There are a variety of different plugs, crankbaits (pictured above), jerkbaits, and topwaters that are commonly used in bass fishing that work well for trout. These lures also imitate baitfish, and can produce large results.
The most successful trout fishing lures are lures that will produce in a variety of scenarios. I have yet to find a silver bullet trout lure, but Mepps lures come pretty close on small streams. My go to fly for most situations is a green wooly bugger, because most trout streams that I fish have a large leach population. This fly will usually land me a few decent sized fish each time I use it.
Practice Makes Perfect
You will need to develop a sense for what works in a given situation. It takes time to be able to ‘match the hatch’ as they say, but the knowledge and experience will allow you to enjoy more fishing success. This goes for trout fishing lures for streams and trout fishing lures for lakes. Every scenario will be different. Do your homework. Be sure to shop around for cheap trout fishing lures on the market. Usually, buying them in bulk will get you the best deals. And as always, happy fishing!
What is your favorite lure for trout fishing? Feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section below. Thanks!