Best Trout Lures and Soft Baits Reviewed: Spinning Tackle Trout Lures 101
Fly fishing is perhaps the most popular area of angling. It’s not surprising that trout are finicky feeders. The more realistic your presentation is, the better your chances to attract a strike.
Expertly tied flies can be so effective. They not only look like insects but also act as flying bugs in the water.
If you are a serious spinner tackle angler, don’t let this discourage you. You can get the same great performance from conventional fishing gear if you know what to look out for in a lure and soft bait.
Understanding trout’s feeding habits and senses are key to luring them to your farm. These are just a few of the reasons we love our favorite choices.
Here are some of the most effective trout lures on the market today.
- Yakima Bait Worden’s Original Rooster Tail
- Berkley PowerBait Trout Noodle
- Mepp’s Dressed again Spinner
- Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Spinner
- Eppinger Original Dardevle
- Rapala Original Floating Minnow
- Rebel Lures Bumble Bug
- Berkley Gulp! Minnow
- Gamakatsu #4 Circle Hook
- Berkley Gulp! Fat Floating Trout Worm
- Zoom Salty Super Tube
- umbrella Money Head Jig
Best Trout Lures Reviewed
Yakima may now own Worden’s rights, but I can assure you that this in-line spinner is still highly effective.
These are great for trout fishing. They combine almost everything you need in a trout lure and are a staple in my tackle bag.
Worden’s roostertails come in an amazing array of colors. But for trout, I prefer black, glitter black, and grasshopper. The lure’s spinning blade generates vibration and flash and, when combined with its attractive skirt, provides the vibration, flash, and action that drive trout wild.
My good friend and I caught trout almost every cast with these in a small, clear lake. I prefer 1/8 and 1/16 ounce Rooster Tails, but I am open to trying other sizes. These guys can also be sweetened with Berkley PowerBait Trout Nips.
A Mepps Aglia spinner dressed in trout clothing can be a sign that you have found the right trout medicine. These lures are similar to Worden’s rooster tail but have a polished metal body and red highlights. They also feature a shiny spinning blade with a natural-colored skirt.
It’s a good idea to sprinkle some Trout Nibble on top to give the rooster tails a little scent.
Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Spinner
It’s not surprising that you are beginning to notice a pattern in our lure recommendations. If I had to choose one lure for trout fishing, it would be the inline spinner. This is true regardless of whether I’m fishing to catch rainbow trout or brookies, and it’s supported by both research and my personal experience.
In-line spinners are a great choice for color, vibration, and action. Blue Fox’s spinner, which is among the most effective of its type, is an excellent choice for trout of all kinds. It combines the Mepps spinning blade and metallic flash with extra vibration from an internal cam that beats against the bell-shaped bodies. It may sound like a trick, but anglers all over the globe can confirm that it is not.
Available at Bass Pro
The color choices should be based on what has been discussed, with metallic and black being my top choices. These are the best for all conditions, although others may disagree. In terms of weight, 3/16 ounces works well in streams. I would throw 1/4 ounce spinners into lakes, but I would use 1/8 ounce in streams.
I suggest sweetening them with Berkley Trout Nibble, as you would expect.
Eppinger Original Dardevle
The Dardevle spoon, a lure that most anglers are familiar with, is an effective lure. These flashing lures, which come in small sizes, such as 1/16 of an ounce are great additions to your trout fishing arsenal, especially the polished metal options.
They flash and vibrate like a trout’s scales, making them attractive to predators. These lures are similar to the in-line spinners and can be cast easily, giving you both distance and accuracy.
Magic is possible with a little Trout Nibble or live worm to sweeten the hook!
Rapala’s floating minnows are legendary for their performance in shallow waters. The sleek Balsa body mimics a small minnow or small fish and can be run shallow or popped from the surface to simulate prey. These lures are so unique that trout will eat them both ways.
When jerked or cranked, they wriggle like a wounded fish and quickly float to the surface until they stop. They may imitate a fish with burst swim bladders, but I have found that this leads to huge strikes when I use the lure. Just wait. Pop-pop-rest is a method I use to pop-pop until I find the right cadence.
While gold is the most common color, silver can be a good alternative. The size 3 is a great all-arounder for trout.
It is crucial to match the hatch with trout. The success of flies depends on their close resemblance. The Rebel Bumble Bug is a great alternative to spinning tackle.
You can call trout with a delicate popping action.
As the Rapala, I prefer a pop-pop rest cadence as a starting point, but I’ll experiment to find what works for me at that moment.
Soft baits are a great choice, especially in lakes. Whether you use them with a jighead or a properly-sized hook, the right amount split shot and the right size hook, it can work wonders for trout.
Berkley Gulp! Minnow
The Berkley Gulp! Minnow is a soft bait I love. Minnow is scented with a sweet aroma that lures trout. Its realistic appearance and flukes make it the perfect bait for trout. Gulps can be sent with a gentle twitch. Minnows’ tail is wriggling and, especially, when it is rigged on a hook suspended from the bottom, this bait works well.
I recommend trout in realistic colors such as smelt. I also like the Berkley 2 1/2- and 4-inch offerings.
These little devils can be fished in many different ways. These soft baits can be rigged on a jighead of the appropriate size. Once your terminal tackle is at its bottom, raise your rod quickly and reel in the slack. This will bring your jig closer to you and get those flukes moving.
Drop shot rigging these minnows is another option, although it’s a bit unconventional. This technique is super realistic and allows you to control your depth with precision.
This technique is quickly becoming the go-to in bass fishing, and I would recommend it for lake trout fishing.
The video below shows John Murray giving a masterful demonstration of this technique for bass.
Berkley Gulp! Fat Floating Trout Worm
Bass anglers have been using worms to catch trout for quite some time now. The only difference is that trout worms tend to be smaller.
A super-sharp Gamakatsu #4 circular hook is recommended and I would nose hook this worm. Drop shot rigging is the key to unlocking the magic. This simple technique allows the worm to shine and really lets it do its thing. Gulp! You have everything you need for trout, with products that are both fragrant and tasty.
Drop-shotting can be done by using the lightest weight possible and gently twitching the soft bait. The idea is not to bounce the weight but to give the worm a gentle undulation. This can be done by allowing a little slack in the line and using your wrist to gently twitch the rod.
The Zoom tube is our final choice. It is available in real colors and features a trout-attracting smell and smell. The skirt dances alluringly with even the slightest movement.
These soft baits are great for vertical jigging. I like to rig them on a dark-colored jig head such as the YUMbrella Money Head Jig.
To get the jig in a horizontal position, make sure you tie it properly. This will give your jig a more natural appearance and presentation. You’ll also get more bites if you follow this tip. To add flavor and scent, I like to put a few Trout Nibbles inside the tube. It never hurts to try it!
This is the wrong way to go if you don’t know how to tie jigs. Pay attention to the position of your knot in the eye.
Instead, shift the knot towards the top of your eye as shown in the image below.
How to Choose a Bait or Lure for Trout
Trout Feeding Behavior
Immature trout will eat a wide variety of prey items regardless of whether they live in quiet lakes or mountains streams. They don’t care about what kind of prey they eat, from flying insects to shrimp and zooplankton.
As they grow older, however, they will eat a lot more fish and eat prey that is 1/3 their size. This is true for brookies just as much as it is for monster rainbows.
Although this doesn’t necessarily mean that mature trout won’t eat a fly, it does indicate that flies are not the only way to catch them. They will never lose their love for the food they ate as young. All they need is to be able to recognize and use lures and baits to mimic those foods.
Understanding what makes a trout tick is key.
All species of trout have sharp vision. However, conditions can affect it greatly. Although conditions such as chop, wind, shadows, clouds, and riffles can affect how they see color, it is generally accepted that trout can see color well, even when the light is in the ultraviolet spectrum. Keep in mind, however, that trout’s vision can be greatly affected by conditions such as cloudy water or low light levels.
Clearwater is where trout fishing is most common. Their vision is sharp, which is why realistic flies are such a reliable method of eliciting strikes. Their eyes can focus on objects above their heads, which is partly why this happens. It’s also due to their keen vision. Realistic is almost always more realistic than garish colors used for other species.
Mike Depew, a Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission fisheries biologist, says that trout can be attracted to fluorescent Day-Glo colors. Although they don’t mimic natural colors, small amounts of fluorescent color can make a hot spot. A little bit of fluorescent yellow, pink, or orange absorbs ultraviolet rays and projects them back into the visible spectrum. Although it is not visible from the surface, or underwater, it becomes more apparent the deeper you go.”
Bright colors and metallic flashes can be helpful for trout to spot lures in low light or cloudy waters.
Vision is not all. Trout also have tiny smell organs called “nares”, which provide them with a keen sense of smell. This is used to locate spawning areas and prey items. Together with their sensitive lateral lines, trout can be well-armed predators.
Fishing for trout in lakes may make it difficult to choose the right color. This is because trout see less light when they are deep into the water.
Color choice is a major issue for anglers. You’ve probably seen a friend using a different lure to pull fish out of the water at the same spot as you are casting. If you talk with fishermen for longer than 30 seconds, the conversation will quickly turn to favorite lures or colors.
The basic principle of physics states that color fades the further you go. Even the clearest water absorbs light quickly, changing how color perception is affected when a lure drops deeper. The first to go is red, followed by yellow, green, and orange.
The chart below shows that color is very important when fishing in shallow water. Red and orange might not be visible if you are jigging for crappie at the bottom. This depends on how deep you fish. The color of your quarry is more important the deeper it is.
Hook and lure size
Trout are aggressive feeders. Small hooks can get swallowed by trout, resulting in deep hooks and dead or injured fish.
We recommend sizes 8, 10, and 12, for streams. However, you can use larger hooks in lakes. Great choices are size 14 and 16 treble hooks.
For catch and release, however, you will need to use larger hooks to avoid swallowing.
Large lures are possible. Trout are predators that will eat large prey items. Pro trout anglers often use soft baits of 5″.
What does this all mean for you?
These facts are important for anglers when choosing lures.
- Realistic colors, including metallics, are a good choice for fishing clearer waters on brighter days. Whites, blacks, and grays are best. Match the hatch is the best way to fish. Use lures and baits that match the prey item’s colors. You will need to rely more on metallic flash and glitter the deeper you fish.
- Flash and popDepew point out that bright fluorescent additions can be a great idea. To attract trout’s attention, we like to see some bright colors, sparkly glitter, and a few strands or brighter skirts. This is equally important for fishing streams as it does when working in a drop-off lake.
- Vibration is important –Vibration is important whether you are throwing lures or soft baits. Look for lures with bladed models such as in-line spinners and small, realistic crankbaits. These will mimic the behavior of wounded prey. Soft baits such as worms, fluked minnows, and tube jigs are also popular. All of them wiggle when they are being worked, which sends vital information to the trout’s line.
- The smell attracts bitesDo not be afraid to add attractants to your lures, and don’t forget the soft baits!
- Do not be afraid to dream big! –Trout are ambush predators that are naturally aggressive and will attack any bait or lure you throw. If the conditions call for it, don’t be afraid of going big with soft baits.
Trout are finicky about the lures they choose and can be difficult to fool with their keen senses. However, knowing more about the biology and behavior of trout will help you make better choices when choosing a lure or bait.
You can increase your chances of catching a good trout by choosing lures that look like prey items. You can also borrow some techniques from bass fishing to tilt the odds in your favor.