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Best trout lures for rivers, lakes, and Streams

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To target a smart fish like trout you should also be smart in your gear collection. Widely varied species and their different home locations and more dominantly each trout type behavior no doubt make it trickier to find the best trout lures.

Doing brief research on each type of trout and their food preferences might help but mostly in the case of live baits to make this all easier in the case of artificial lures. We have listed some of our own tested best trout lures for hunting these restive fish species. 

Top 3 picks for the best trout lures

Berkley Gulp Alive Minnow
  • Soaked in a strong liquid attractant
  • Available in 6 different colors
  • Available in 7 different sizes
  • Reuse baits by placing them back in the jar
Panther Martin Holograph Trout Lure
  • Tear Drop Shape main body
  • Convex-concave blades
  • Treble Hook
  • Available in 18-20 different colors
Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner Lure
  • The in-line weighted Body design
  • Skirted Treble Hook
  • Blades available in different materials
  • Available in 10 sizes

List of Best Fishing lures for Trout

1- Berkley Gulp Alive Minnow

best soft plastic bait for trout

Berkley Gulp Alive Minnow Fishing lure
  • Soaked in a strong liquid attractant
  • Available in 6 different colors
  • Available in 7 different sizes
  • Reuse baits by placing them back in the jar
  • 400 times more scent than plastic baits

Although we all know how effective artificial lures are but still live bait marks its place. Prominently their scent attracts the larger fish toward them. Burkley Gulp Alive minnows are the best alternative to live minnows.

This gulp alive is more durable and perfect for amateur anglers who want to bat live minnows but don’t know how to rig live bait.

The best thing about these lures is their strong scent; they are soaked in a liquid attractant before being used, then placed back in the jar and charged again.

Anglers who don’t use Trout magnets as they are odorless can just jump to these artificial minnows. Set up a drop shot rig with Berkley Gulp Alive minnows and be ready to catch plenty of different fish.

These artificial minnows are durable and do not get ripped or torn off on fish bites like other plastic baits. You don’t have to carry many different lure types if you have a jar of Berkley Gulp alive minnows.

You can land walleye, crappie, large and smallmouth bass, and more importantly Trout fish. Make sure to seal the jar properly, to store scent.

This liquid attractant smells so strong that if any chance it spills on you, will smell all day like a live minnow or baitfish. These improved action baits can also be rigged with a jig head for almost all water columns.

  • The best alternative to live baits
  • Strongly scented lures
  • They are greater in number and last longer. After use, soak them again and use them next time with some fresh odor.
  • Expensive Lures

2- Panther Martin Holograph Trout

best lures for rainbow trout

Panther Martin Holograph Trout Fishing lure
  • Tear Drop Shape main body
  • Convex-concave blades
  • Treble Hook
  • Available in 18-20 different colors
  • Available in 6 different sizes

You may have seen Panther Martin Holograph spinner bait many times as a recommended trout lure this is due to many reasons first of all its blade spins quickly and allows fast spinning movement to reach the water depths.

The blade also shines and vibrates to create a noticeable disturbance underwater. The healthier disturbance is, the more your fish will be attracted to it.

Talking about its body structure it has a heavyweight teardrop-shaped main body with a fast-spinning blade that also resists line twisting and tangles. Both the heavy body and blade are colored with vibrant colors according to different trout species’ nature.

The variations in colors allow you to pick colors according to the water situation. If you are fishing in murky water, pick longer wavelength colors like blue, purple, or black. However, for clear-water fishing, pick a chartreuse, green or yellow body with a silver blade.

What is better than a trout fishing lure which is designed to achieve an increased casting distance and more control of your lure with the Panther Martin Holograph’s heavyweight body?

It is a recommended lure for rainbow trout, its rainbow colors excite the target and the fish can’t resist biting it. 

  • Budget-friendly trout lure
  • Perfect for brook and brown trout
  • Designed for longer casts
  • Perfect for both day and night fishing
  • Not recommended for heavy cover

3- Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner Lure

best lures for brown trout

Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner Lure
  • The in-line weighted Body design
  • Skirted Treble Hook
  • Blades available in different materials
  • Available in 10 sizes
  • Available in many different color patterns

That one lure that must be present in your tackle box is the Yakima Bait Rooster Tail spinner lure. It imitates bait fish and best lure for bass, crappie, northern pike, and almost all trout species but from my side, it is the best fishing lure for brown trout.

Its slim cylinder shape body, with a skirted treble hook and shiny spinner, flashes and vibrates to trap a skittish trout fish. It is almost 2-3 inches long and a wide range of color variations is available in this which also raises its vote to be the best trout lure.

Due to its availability in more than 50 colors, many professional anglers suggest having multiple of these lures.

Its strong swimming action excites trout and is perfect for lakes, rivers, and murky water conditions.  It is good with slow retrievals and its natural looks just made it irresistible for almost any fish species not to bite.

This lure can be utilized in multiple conditions for multiple species. It is a solid choice for almost every skill-level angler.These in-line spinners are also the Best brook trout lures.

  • Pulsating tail excites trout fish
  • Longer in size
  • Good pitching on slow retrievals
  • It might be difficult to select one lure pattern from different color variations
  • Not recommended for catch-and-release fishing

4- Mepp’s Mepps Bf Black Fury Plain

best lure for cutthroat trout

Mepp's Mepps Bf Black Fury Plain Fishing lure
  • Gold-plated Hooks
  • Mepp Comet blades
  • Available in six different sizes
  • Available in 4 different colors

With a unique appearance and sound, MEP’s Mepps BF black is a classic fishing lure I have been using since my childhood. If all your other lures fail them must give a try to this traditional fishing lure. With its louder vibration, it entices trout to bite.

After many successful trout catches used it to catch northern pike and this lure is no doubt bang for the buck. Its big treble hook gives you a chance for a stronger fight with a hooked fish.

Rather than having a plain main body, the free-turning brass gear is connected to the stainless steel shaft, it has a spiral design on it with a black painted spinner with vibrant colored dots.

These black spinners are recommended for murky and especially windy conditions as it is more visible to fish while hunting.

These 3 ounces lure is perfect for heavy covers and deep water fishing as heavier lures sink faster and more effectively.

  • Attracts trout with its loud sound and vibrations
  • Affordable price range
  • Line tangles

5- Rapala Original Floater

best lure for trolling cut-throat Trout

Rapala Original Floater Fishing lure
  • Balsa Wood constructed Lure
  • Two Treble Hooks
  • Also Available in bleeding patterns to mimic wounded baitfish
  • Available in 6 different color Pattrens

If naming one of the reliable fishing lures, Rapala Lures will always be on that list. It’s a perfect combination of suspending and jerking action to catch even a larger trout with this smaller-sized lure.

Because it swims so shallow, this is an excellent beginner fishing lure. This lure can be twitched or retrieved in shallow water by diving less than 2 feet deep.

Being a balsa wood lure it allows improved cast ability with longer distances. These hard-body topwater lures are popular in catching bass but never underestimate their abilities in trout fishing.

Go for trout streams and shallow-water fishing with any of your spinning or baitcasting rod. This small wooden minnow mimics both minnow and baitfish and its long body sparkles with its shiny pattern and entices their main target fish. How can the large fish like trout that prey on these smaller fish resist biting?

The body has two treble hooks that vary in number with changing color or form. Highly affordable Rapala lures are available in 6 different colors for different water patterns.

Besides shallow water fishing, use these Rapala floaters when trolling drag them behind your boat and after the successful trout, catch save your thanks to me.

  • Smaller floating-style lure
  • Perfect for shallow-water fishing
  • An increased number of treble hooks might not be ideal for all anglers

6- Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait

best trout lures for river

Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait Fishing lure
  • Two treble hooks  
  • 3D eyes and Holographic coloring
  • Integrated Long casting system
  • .44 Ounces Weight  
  • Available in eight different colors

For larger streams and rivers I often prefer Rapala X-rap hard body lure due to its fast sinking action and effective trigger strikes for both brown and lake trout.

It’s a slender minnow-shaped lure with 3d eyes that creates a very genuine swimming action and its life-like tail swims so realistically and internal rattles create sounds that any aggressive fish doesn’t shy away from striking.

It’s a well-balanced Jerkbait and works on either stop-and-go or fast twitching retrieves so that you can easily vary your retrieving speeds. It is a performing fishing lure with neon flashy colors to which trout are mostly attracted.

Having these lures in multiple colors can be helpful to target multiple species. It is one of my go-to fishing lures that is always present in my tackle box. Its gold color is my favorite one.

  • Long-distance casts can be achieved with these hard body lures
  • Imitates the erratic motion of a minnow
  • Difficult for amateurs if they aren’t right with the technique

7- YUM Grub Curly-Tail Swim-Bait

best soft plastic lures for trout

Curly-Tail swim-bait , the best soft plastics for trout
  • Soft plastic Body
  • ribbed grub-like body
  • Exceptionally performs in both clear and dirty water
  • Available in eight colors
  • Available in 3 different sizes

Trout fishing with soft plastic lures is one of the smartest techniques adopted when it’s a fishing season’s peak and fish are more alert about the lures. Here at this point, working with a silent lure is a wise choice.

Its wobbling rapid tail movement attracts not only trout but is also effective for largemouth bass and other fresh and saltwater species. Beginners who don’t know where to start, are recommended to pick YUM-Grub Curly tail to get bites from the target fish.

These curly tails can act like different baits depending on the action and speed you apply. You can make it mimic a baitfish with a fast retrieve or it can imitate a worm if you rig it with a jig.

It is available in eight different colors, both dark and light colors. YUM Grub curly-tail is a versatile fishing lure that performs in every water situation from clear to the dirty dark water.

Sharing a secret for winter clear water fishing when fish are lethargic, use its lemon color. These are also the best lure for ice fishing the big Lake Trout when picked in white color.

  • Versatile soft plastic lure
  • Easy for beginners to start with
  • The mentioned sizes are smaller in actual

8- Leland’s Lures Trout Magnet

best lures for stocked trout

82-Piece Neon Fishing Kit
  • A total of 70 grubs included
  • 12 jig heads included  
  • Seven different colors are available
  • Simple rigging setup

Are you searching for good bait to catch stocked trout in ponds, lakes, or rivers? Try trout magnets for sure. Leland’s Trout magnets are versatile to fish on all kinds of bodies of water, any time throughout the year.

These trout magnets are grub-like or meal worm-shaped soft plastic baits fixed on a shart-dart jig. These tiny lures imitate live worms and attract almost all fish species that prey on small insects.

Make sure to thread the grub properly up the jig head with the tail out to flow freely.

The best thing about these trout magnets is to let effort by the anglers, just cast it a long distance and let it sink in case of fast-running water of rivers and streams, the current will give it a natural swimming action to excite fish.

Another famous fishing method with trout magnets is to cast and twitch, again a little action from the angler’s side first makes a longer cast, let the lure sink then twitch your rod and repeat all this.

They come as an 82 pieces pack including 70 different colors of grub bodies and 12 hooks. You can easily carry this on any fishing trip. Just pair it with one of the best trout spinning rods.

Talking about my favorite colors among these plastic meal worms are white and black/green. Both colors work in clear water conditions, following the natural habitat of trout.

  • Budget-friendly 82 pieces pack
  • Versatile fishing lures suitable for almost all fish species
  • These neon fishing lures entice trout fish with their vibrant colors
  • Leland’s trout magnets lack any odor or scent

9- Yo-Zuri Pins Minnow Floating Diver Lure

best trout lure for trolling

Yo-Zuri Pins Minnow
  • Slender profile  
  • 3D eyes
  • Two treble hooks
  • Perfect lure for the spring and fall
  • Available in 3 different sizes

One of the recommended lures for trolling shallow water either from the boat or the kayak, Yo-Zuri pins Minnows is an ideal pick. Its tight wiggling action attracts a wide variety of fish to strike.

They have 3D eyes and shiny bodies that a trout can’t resist. The two treble hooks stick fish effectively and offer an aggressive fight with a big one.

These hard-body lightweight lures are good with casting distances. This floater is perfect to use in winter and early spring as it dives down about 1 foot.

Due to the cool water temperature, fish species may be found near water surfaces for their food, especially brown and rainbow trout.

You can also go with the sinking version of this lure to target trout at bottom levels. It is available in three different sizes. With a realistic mimic of baitfish and with flashy bodies, these artificial lures become successful in attracting fish toward them and generate a louder noise with internal rattles.

  • Its different color patterns are suitable for both saltwater and freshwater species
  • Long distance casts
  • Hooks can be improved

How to choose the best lures for trout Fishing

Among the most popular fish catch, trout fishing is an exciting game and a victory when you end with a nice catch. To target rainbow trout, lake trout, and all other trout species you must be specific about some of the lure or bait factors.

First of all, the very first question that pops into my mind when I started fishing is why not go with bait fishing over lure fishing for trout as live baits are more effective.

I was given the following reasons for the disadvantages of live baits

  1. Fishing with live baits take longer time, it’s a slow fishing process.
  2. Live baits are not recommended for catch-and-release, the fish might swallow it, and its survival rate decreases.
  3. For long casting distances, live baits aren’t the choice as they can’t cover much water
  4. Top of all that, live baits are expensive to use and you have to maintain the water balance to keep them alive.
  5. Bait fishing is often prohibited in some areas, especially where only catch and release are allowed.

Summing up, lure fishing is affordable and effective as they imitate the natural small baitfish, minnows, and worms, and are molded in many other different shapes that larger trout prey on.

So let’s explain briefly how I select the best fishing lures for trout,  before diving into details three factors are considered first

  1. What your target trout eat
  2. The water condition( its clarity factor)
  3. The amount of light ( either you are fishing on a bright sunny day or a dark cloudy day)

Types of lures for Trout Fishing

The lure market is overloaded with both hard body and soft plastic lures for trout, so selecting one can be trickier.

Best Hard body lures for Trout

  • Spinner
  • Crankbaits
  • Spoons
  • Jigs

These lures are used in still lakes, ponds, and also in fast-moving rivers, if you want to cover a large water area, these lures are the best choice as they produce sound and vibrations to create disturbance to tempt fish to bite. They are also good as trolling lures for trout.

Best soft-body plastic lures for Trout

Soft plastics act like a fishing machine, trout excites by soft plastics and can’t resist biting. You can adopt different patterns, and different rigging styles, according to the environment and fish habitat.

  • Soft minnows (its tail wobbles as it passes through the water)
  • Worms
  • Curly Tail GrubsTail Grubs

Trout fishing with soft plastic lures is all about how you rig them. There are many different ways to rig plastic baits, and rigging them properly is important, once you are trained, soft plastics will be your all-time favorite fishing lure.

Rigging soft plastics for trout fishing

1- Ball head Jig head

The easiest style you can adopt is rigging a soft plastic onto a jig head. It keeps your bait swimming straight and acts more naturally, imitating live bait.

Learn how to rig a soft plastic onto a jig head in the easiest way

2- Hidden Weight Jig heads

Soft plastic lures can perform in every situation from still to fast-moving water. The hidden weight rigging technique is used when you are fishing in fast-flowing streams or rivers. 

In this technique, the ball is hidden inside the lure body. These hooks are picked by tournament anglers as they produce natural swimming actions and sink slowly and horizontally.

3- Weedless Jig heads

When you are pier fishing or fishing in heavy water structures having plenty of plants or trees, then Weedless jig heads came into action and help you catch plenty of larger-sized trout.

Best Lure Color for Trout

When you are selecting the lure color focus mainly on two things

  1. The depth of the water you are fishing
  2. Water Clarity

As some colors suit different water conditions while others totally fail if picked wrong.

When you are fishing in stained, dirty water or when fishing in dark, white, golden, or copper-colored lures are perfect. When you are fishing in clear water on a bright flashy day then silver or yellow color is best, for fishing in steer clear water you can pick the red one.

Now, at last, going with the all-rounder option, if you want some basic colors that you can adopt for almost all water conditions for every trout species is black i.e. darker colors either olive green or blue. Silver and Black both are must-have lure colors in your tackle box. Both are the best trout lure colors.

Going with natural colors is also a safe option. When fishing at deep water columns where trout fish actively rushes towards the bait, using red-colored bait to mimic wounded bait fish is a smart technique.

Water depths

Trout is a well-known specie of cool water they prefer to live in clean, clear, and cooler water conditions. In extreme cold trout is lethargic while in summer they are more active. In hot water conditions, trout prefer to live on the deep bottom water levels.

Here going with heavy lures, following the drop and twitching method i.e. first let the lure sink to the bottom then twitch it with the rod tip is perfect.

However, following its sluggish nature in winter pick soft plastics minnows, nymphs, or swimbaits for dead sticking bait presentation as trout wouldn’t be eager and like to have food with minimal effort.

Trout Food Preferences

Trout mainly prey on aquatic insects, worms, and small-sized fish like minnows or bait fish. It is important to search for the food preferences of the target trout type. For example, a younger brook trout eats small insects while the adult prefers worms and other small fishes.

Lure Size

Solving a big confusion of “What size lures for trout?” As living organisms grow, their appetite also increases. Following this general rule of thumb, when fishing in lakes, ponds, or small trout streams targeting medium-sized fish, 1/8 ounce is the optimal size. However, covering big water and deep water columns to target big trout fish ½ ounce is recommended.

Frequently Asked Questions

The scoop on the best trout lures

Whether its trout fishing or any other species, trying out new things, using different types of lures, bring multiple lures on your fishing trip, and don’t feel shy in trying them until you find what works or what you will never recommend to others for sure.

Knowing trout nature, its food preferences, and the color of the water make the best trout lure selection easier. Read the buying guide and I hope these few lines will help you catch more trout.