There is a very large array of trout lures available on store shelves, not to mention the larger selection online. Consider all the differences in color, size, weight, and style, not to mention any differences in brand, and it becomes difficult to curate and find what works well. This article helps you sift through the wide selection of trout lures available and hone in on the best trout lures you can count on in most situations. To first-timers, we don’t want you to get lost in the bustle. Bear with us—we understand the “best trout lure” is fairly subjective and varies a bit from person to person. So we put this list together based on all of our years of experience here at Tailored Tackle from people on and off the Tailored Tackle team. It’s no coincidence that many of these lures are found in our proudly built Trout Fishing Kit.
The Single Best Trout Lure
This heading is pretty misleading. Unfortunately, nobody has found the single best trout lure to date. Point is don’t expect one lure to work everywhere and every time. One day (or one moment), you just might have “the one” lure that does amazing, only to find the same lure is completely ignored the next day. The single best trout lure changes daily based on trout behavior at the time your fishing. This is usually dictated by weather and water conditions. One more time because this is important: don’t expect one particular lure to be sufficient.
Be prepared with a general assortment of lures so you have “the one” lure with you when the time is right.
The Best Trout Lures
As stated above, there is no single best trout lure. But there will be on the day that you fish. This is why it’s best to have a general assortment of key trout lures that has been (and still are) everybody’s best trout lure at some time or another. We will focus on the most influential characteristics of lures: style, size, and color. We won’t discuss any differences in brands because the differences in brands of the same style, color, and size are usually not as significant as the other three factors. In some cases, a brand will dominate and patent a particular type of lure, and that’s great. But any difference found in the same lures of different brands is something you’re going to have to develop preferences for and try out for yourself.
#1. Inline Spinners
Color: Blue, brass, chartreuse, white, silver, gold, pink, orange, red, many combos.
Spinners are excellent lures for covering lots of water and searching for trout. They have been around a very long time and have proven themselves to be one of the best lures for trout many times over. To use them effectively, cast and reel them in quickly enough for the blades to spin. These are your go-to when you want to be mobile and cover large amounts of water. Spinners come in many colors, styles, and sizes. Stick with inline spinners between 1/32oz and 1/4oz. Select smaller sizes for small streams or for smaller trout such as brook trout. And select larger sizes for deeper water and long casting distances. Spinners plated in all silver or gold color are timeless, but a spinner with a mixture of bright colors such as blue, pink, orange, and red will be the best choice under certain conditions. Spinners don’t necessarily imitate any natural bait, so using bright colors with some flash can really enhance its attraction. And to add even more, select spinners with beads or vibration technology to give added attraction.
Size: 1.5” –4”.
Patterns: Crawdad, hopper, silver, rainbow trout, brook trout, brown trout, sculpin, chub, perch. Mimic your local forage.
A major food source for trout, especially larger trout like brown and rainbow trout, are small fish. Simply, use crankbaits to mimic these fish. These can be small native sculpin, fish fry, or even their very own species as fingerlings. In fact, large trout eat primarily fish because a whole fish is often the most substantial and worthwhile. To mimic these baitfish, select sizes anywhere from 1.5” –4”. In most cases, the best size lure will fit right in this slot. As for colors, you can never go wrong with natural colors and patterns. Rainbow, brook, and brown trout patterns work well, as do sculpin, chub, and perch patterns depending on where you’re fishing. Try to find out the local forage in your body of water and match accordingly. If the water conditions are dirty or it’s very cloudy, find colors in bright and dark colors that contrast each other. Solid gold is a classic color for these conditions. The right color will help make them stand out better in these conditions and attract more attention.
You might notice there other parts of a trout’s diet that crankbaits imitate, such as crustaceans and insects. Match your lure choice to the contents of stomach in the first trout you catch.
Style: Bare, Marabou.
Soft Plastic: 1” –2” curl tail grub, 3” –4” small trout worm.
Jigs are arguably the best fishing lure of all time because they can consistently catch any species of fish. This includes trout and trout fishing lures. Jigs are very versatile and effective any day on the water. But are they always the best choice? No, not always. But they excel at mimicking just about everything fish eat.
Add a curl tail grub and reel it in quickly to mimic a fish, or add on a plastic worm and slowly bounce it off the bottom to mimic insects. For weight and size, 1/32oz–1/16oz jig head will put you in the ballpark. To make this versatile, include some jigs with bare hooks and some tied with marabou feathers. The ones with marabou are great for stillwater, especially in lakes and ponds where the slightest movement makes marabou flutter and come alive. Meanwhile bare jigs allow you put on your choice of soft plastics or live bait. For your choice of soft plastics, 1” –2” curl tail grubs and 3” –4” small trout worms will no doubt be the best trout lure on some days.
Color: Silver, gold, combo with bright color.
Spoons are great at mimicking baitfish. The big advantage spoons offer is their erratic action combined with superior casting ability. Spoons are a favorite for trolling in lakes and reservoirs, but they’re also a go-to lure if you need to cast far and get your lure down deep. A silver casting spoon around 3/16oz is a classic size and color. Keep it simple and stick with either silver or gold as the primary color. Adding a bright color to contrast works great at deeper depths and under cloudy conditions. Use thin spoons around 1/16oz for small streams and rivers, but transition to thicker casting spoons for larger and deeper bodies of water. If the fish are down deep or seem to be a cast-and-a-half from shore, your spoon might become your best trout lure of the day.
Plan on going after rainbows, brooks, or browns? Check out our trout fishing blog to show you when, where, and how to target these fish. Going ice fishing? We have you covered there too. Check it out.