Best Cutthroat Trout Lures: The Ultimate Guide

December 22, 2020

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While many fishermen are busy chasing bass or king salmon, there is another species that fights just as hard: Cutthroat trout. Cutthroat trout are very common in the rivers and estuaries on the west coast and put up a huge fight for their size. So what are the best cutthroat trout lures?

Glad you asked! In this article, we’ll cover our top 7 best cutthroat trout lures that have caught us countless cutthroat trout over the years. If you use the proper trout rod and an ultra-light spinning reel, you’ll have a blast catching cutthroat trout.

We’ll also go over our top tips and tricks for catching cutthroat trout, from the proper action to add to your lures to where they can be found.

Let’s get started!


The Top 8 Best Cutthroat Trout Lures


1. Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Lure


The Blue Fox Vibrax spinner is our best lure for cutthroat, no competition. We’ve caught more cutthroat trout spin casting with this lure than any other cutthroat trout lure. The spinning action combined with the vibrations the lure makes while swimming through the water proves irresistible to any cutthroat that encounters it. 

It’s also a great lure to have in your tackle box for many species of fish. Pick the silver, light blue, or green colored lures for cutthroat. You really can’t go wrong with the Blue Fox Vibrax spinner!


2. Acme Kastmaster Fishing Lure


Coming in a close second is the Acme Kastmaster Fishing Lure. We’ve featured the Acme Kastmaster Fishing Lure in many of our lists because it is so darn good. It’s trademarked design allows you to cast it farther than almost any other lure, which is great when fishing a large river for cutthroat. It’s great for a wide number of species, including exotics like Barramundi.

We recommend getting small to medium-sized Acme Kastmaster Fishing Lures in the silver and green colors for cutthroat trout. We’ve also had luck with the rainbow trout colorway as well.


3. Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Lure


The Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Lure is another timeless classic for cutthroat trout lures. Its sleek design allows you to cast it far even in the smaller young cutthroat.

If your Blue Fox or Panther Martin lures aren’t getting any bites, we often switch to a Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Lure. Our favorite colors are light green and blue as well as silver for cutthroat trout.


4. Panther Martin Classic Cutthroat Trout Lure


If the other types of lures don’t do it for you, you can always go with a Panther Martin Classic Cutthroat Trout Lure. The Panther Martin Classic Cutthroat Trout Lure is slightly stockier than the other lures on our list, which makes it a great option when fishing for smaller cutthroat trout.

For summertime cutthroat fishing, get it in silver or gold. For any other time of the year, we like going with the bright colored options. Since the Panther Martin Classic Cutthroat Trout Lure is smaller than other lures, the trout are more comfortable with brightly colored lures.


5. Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait 


We would be remiss if we didn’t include a lure from the fame Rapala trout fishing line. The Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait is a great choice for all sized cutthroat trout, with an added roostertail to help hide the treble hook.

We like using the Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait colored in rainbow trout imitation colors or in green. As you have probably noticed, we really like using green lures for cutthroat trout. For some reason, they like striking green lures more than other colors.


6. Acme Little Cleo Spoon Fishing Lure


Another classic from Acme is the Acme Little Cleo Spoon Fishing Lure. The Acme Little Cleo Spoon Fishing Lure works wonders on small cutthroat trout and large cutthroat trout. It’s a time tested classic that works! As they say, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it.

We recommend going with the standard blue stripe version of the Acme Little Cleo Spoon Fishing Lure as well as the green and gold-colored lures. Pick out the size of lure depending on the size of fish you’re fishing for. We like ¼ oz for small cutthroat and ¾ oz for large cutthroat.


7. Blue Fox Flash Spinner Kit


Another great option if you’re looking to buy several lures at once, the Blue Fox Flash Spinner Kit in the one-fourth ounce size is perfect for all sized cutthroat trout. We love fishing these lures close to the ocean for cutthroat that hang out in the estuaries of rivers.

The extra flash of these lures works particularly well with coastal cutthroat trout that spend some of their time in the ocean. The Blue Fox Flash Spinner Kit simulates a flashing baitfish in the water which cutthroat trout can’t resist.


8. Trout Magnet Crank Fishing Lure


Last on our list is the Trout Magnet Crank Fishing Lure. The Trout Magnet Crank Fishing Lure made our list because it is the best bargain crankbait we have ever fished for cutthroat. Most crankbaits cost over $10, but the Trout Magnet Crank Fishing Lure is a steal at single digits.

We like fishing all colorways of the Trout Magnet Crank Fishing Lure. We haven’t seen any color work better than the others for cutthroat trout. Grab a couple in your personal favorite colors for cutthroat and give it a shot!


What is the Best Bait for Cutthroat Trout?

If you would rather use a trout line of fish with a bobber, there are several great bait options for cutthroat trout. We think that the best bait for cutthroat trout is either a single cured salmon egg or the trout flavored PowerBait.

Try and cover the sharp part of your hook with the Powerbait to ensure the fish can’t see the hook. Then fish the bait as you would normally fish a bobber rig or weighted rig.

How Do You Catch Cutthroat Trout?

Now that you know what the best cutthroat trout lures are, let’s go over how to catch cutthroat trout. Fishing for cutthroat trout is quite similar to fishing for other species of trout and salmon. Follow these stips and you’ll see cutthroat success!

How to Catch Cutthroat Trout

  • Look for shaded areas and deep water near cover. This is where cutthroat trout tend to hang out. Underwater cover provides them with slower-moving water to be comfortable in and shaded areas are where their prey tend to hang out. 
  • Cast your lure close to where you think they are hanging out. If you can cast it past them, try and do that. You don’t want your lure landing right on top of the cutthroat trout as it will disturb them.
  • Begin reeling your lure in slowly. Start by reeling your lure in slower than you usually would. Reeling their lures in too fast is the most common mistake novice fishermen make. If a fish is curious about a lure making it move too fast will seem unnatural and the fish will lose interest.
  • Pay attention to bites or disturbances on the line. If you feel a bite keep reeling your lure in. Do not jerk the line and try and set the hook! This is probably the second most common mistake novice fishermen make. Simply reeling the lure in firmly will set the hook on a cutthroat trout.
  • Land your cutthroat safely and humanely. If you can, try to not remove the cutthroat trout from the water. Get a good pair of fishing pliers to grab and remove the hook out of the fish’s mouth. If you need to use a net, get a rubberized one that doesn’t hurt the fish.
  • If you aren’t catching anything, switch it up. If you don’t get any bites in one location, try moving slightly up or down the river you are fishing. You should also try out different colors of lures to see what the fish like.

How Can You Tell a Cutthroat Trout?

It’s actually rather easy to identify a cutthroat trout from other species of trout. Here are the obvious characteristics that will help you identify a cutthroat trout.

  1. Red and yellow streaks on the underside of the trout’s jaw. This is why they are called cutthroat trout!
  2. Small black spots throughout their bodies without any spots on their fins.
  3. Blunt head compared to salmon. Their jaws are long relative to the rest of their heads.
  4. They don’t grow longer than 30 inches.
  5. They often live and are caught in rivers that combine with saltwater. This is a cutthroat trout’s ideal living location as larger cutthroat trout go out to sea to feed baitfish, then swim upstream to eventually spawn.

Parting Thoughts

Cutthroat trout are some of the most fun small fish you can catch on the West Coast. The best part is that they are relatively easy to catch! Especially now that you know what the best cutthroat lures are. 

As with all fish, please consider releasing them after you catch them. The more fish that are kept the less our children and their children will have to catch. Fishing truly is a dying sport, and we will all need to work to keep it alive.

We hope you found this article on the best cutthroat trout lures useful! If you have your own cutthroat trout lure that catches tons of fish, let us know about it in the comments below.

Happy Hunting!

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