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Fishing for trout in streams is often one of the easiest ways to start trout fishing. Almost everyone has a stream close to where they live, and if you’re ok with catching small fish it can be a blast. Especially if you use an ultralight spinning fishing setup! So what are the best trout lures for streams? Don’t worry, we’ve got you.
Finn spent many years of his childhood fishing for trout in streams. From rainbow trout to brook trout, he’s caught them all. Using his experience combined with our community of avid trout fishermen, we’ve come up with the top 7 trout lures for streams that are guaranteed to up your fishing game. Each one of these lures has caught countless trout, and work great in all types of stream situations. Let’s start with our favorite spinning trout lures for streams!
Best Trout Spinning Lures for Streams
When we think of fishing for trout in streams, we think of casting spinning lures. Spinning lures have been the gold standard in trout fishing since they were invented. Here are the best types of trout spinning lures for streams. These lure work great in both the summer and during the winter.
The Blue Fox Vibrax spinner is our top trout lure for streams, hands down. We’ve caught more trout from streams with this lure than any other lures. The spinning action combined with the vibrations the lure makes while swimming through the water proves irresistible to all kinds of trout. Pick the chartreuse, blue, or green colored lures. You can’t go wrong with the Blue Fox Vibrax spinner!
The Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Lure is another timeless classic for trout stream lures. Its sleek design allows you to cast it far even in the smallest trout-friendly sizes. If our Blue Fox spinners aren’t getting any bites, we often switch to a Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Lure. Our favorite colors are green and chartreuse as well as silver.
If the other two types of spinners don’t do it for you, there’s yet another time-tested brand you can choose: the Panther Martin Classic Spinning Lure. The Panther Martin Classic Spinning Lure is slightly stockier than the Yakima Rooster Tail spinners, which makes it a great option when fishing for smaller trout like brook trout or stocked trout. Get it in the chartreuse with orange dots or the white with green dots.
If you’re looking to start your trout stream lure collection off with a bang, we recommend getting the Panther Martin Trout Anhililator Kit. It comes with 36 spinning lures in a wide variety of colors and sizes. You’ll be ready for any type of trout that comes your way!
Best Trout Spoon Lures
While trout spinning lures are a great place to start when fishing for trout in streams, no tackle box would be complete without some trout fishing spoons. The below spoons are perfect for fishing for trout in streams, and an excellent addition to any tackle box.
The old school ACME Kastmaser Spoon works for many different types of fish, and trout in streams are no exception. As its name suggests, you’ll be able to cast even the smallest sizes of ACME Kastmaser Spoons far into the stream. We recommend getting the green and silver colorway or the gold ACME Kastmaser Spoon.
Our other favorite trout lure for streams that’s a spoon is the ACME Phoebe. The ACME Pheobe Spoon is designed specifically for small trout – its action imitates a minnow or small baitfish trying to escape a hungry trout. We like the silver, rainbow, and chartreuse colors for trout.
Best Trout Plug Lures
If spinners and spoons aren’t working in the stream you’re fishing, another great option to try is a plug style lure. These lures either swim across the surface or below it to imitate a scared baitfish or dive several feet below the surface when retrieved. Check out our favorites for trout below.
The Rapala Original Floater Trout Fishing Lure is another time-tested classic that deserves a spot in every trout fishermen’s tackle box. Its swimming action is unique and can entice tentative trout that might not go after the other types of lures. We recommend getting the rainbow trout or blue-colored plugs.
If you’re looking for a trout plug (you can also check out our guide for jerkbaits) that isn’t a topwater lure, we recommend getting the Rebel Diving Minnow Lure. It’s perfect for streams that have a bit of depth and for getting your lure in front of trout that might be slightly deeper underwater. We like the green spotted colorway as well as the silver minnow.
How to Pick a Trout Lure for Streams
Now that we’ve gone over the best trout lures for streams, we thought it made sense to quickly discuss how to pick out the best ones depending on the style of fishing you want to do. If you want to be able to cast your lure the furthest, we recommend using either spoons or spinners. The plug lures don’t weigh as much and will be harder to cast long distances.
Author Note: If you’re trying to get your lure in front of trout that are swimming deeper in the stream, go with either a spoon or the diving trout plug. Spinners and topwater plugs will stay in the top foot of the water column and not get close enough to deeper trout.
On darker or overcast days, we recommend using lures that have bright colors or are shiny. This will help trout see them from further underwater and work better in the low light. For clear days, you should use the more muted colors in your tackle box like green and brown.
Many trout streams are very narrow and shallow, and for these types of streams, spinners and floating crankbaits like the Rapala original floater are going to be the best lure options.
These lures can be worked high in the water column and above snags like logs and branches, floating crankbaits can also be worked slowly to coax out trout from thick cover when using a twitch and pause presentation.
Spinners allow you to move and probe areas quickly and are great at catching actively feeding and aggressive trout. A good 1-2 punch tactic is to use spinners in an area, and then fish small specific spots where you think trout are hiding with a crankbait to coax any potential fish out of their hiding spots.
Types of Trout You Can Catch in Streams
There are many different types of trout you can catch in streams. We’ll quickly go over the most common types you’ll encounter.
- Rainbow Trout are the most common freshwater trout in North America, and often the most common type of trout you’ll find when stream fishing. They can be identified by looking for a pink stripe on their sides, accompanied by brown and black dots that run to their belly. Rainbow trout often grow to 2 or 4 lbs in ponds but can grow larger if they’re fed well. They prefer clear, cold water and enjoy eating various insects and small aquatic life.
- Brook trout are another common species you can find while fishing for trout in streams. While technically not a trout (they’re a type of char), their size is very similar to trout are identified as trout. Brook trout eat all they same insects, nymphs, and critters rainbow trout enjoy eating.
- Brown trout are another species of trout you’ll encounter in streams. They often grow to be larger than rainbow and brook trout, sometimes up to 15 lbs in rivers. Brown trout have a varied diet but often eat the same prey as brook and rainbow trout in streams.
- Cutthroat trout are like any of the other common trout, and predominantly live in the western U.S. and rocky mountains. They feed on the same prey as the other trout species.
Trout Stream Fishing Tips
Lastly, we wanted to go over some general trout stream fishing tips. Keep these in mind next time you go fishing in a stream.
- Trout love to hang out in the shade under overhanging trees and logs. Cast your trout stream lures close to these areas to see if you can entice them to come out.
- As you approach an area you plan on fishing for trout, stay low, and be quiet. If you can, don’t wear bright colors the day you go fishing. Trout have very good eyesight and will be spooked if you make a lot of noise and wear flashy colors. Walk with care, and don’t stomp your feet while approaching areas you want to cast.
- Look for trout in areas of the stream where the current is slower, or where it goes from shallow to deep. Trout like hanging out in the deeper parts as well as where the stream is flowing slower. It’s easier for them to swim and hold their position.
- If you are wading, try to walk and fish upstream, as the silt you stir up will travel downstream, and walking in the same direction, thus stirring up more silt, will likely scare away any trout within casting distance, and this will occur as you walk further and further.
Fishing for trout in streams is a ton of fun if you’re using the right kind of lure. We’ve had days where we catch 10 or 15 fish from the same stretch of a stream as a previous day when we caught nothing. Now that you know what the best trout lures for streams are, you’ll be prepared for a day of double-digit trout.
Trout are also a great option to fish for if you are camping and looking to catch dinner. Just make sure you cook the fish you catch – raw trout can have dangerous parasites that you should not ingest.
Got a trout stream fishing story you’d like to share with us? Let us know about it in the comments below.