Trout Fishing with Jerkbaits: The Ultimate Guide

December 16, 2020

Trout Fishing with Jerkbaits: The Ultimate Guide

Trout are some of the most common species of fish around the world, and there many different ways you can fish for them. Probably the most common is to fish for trout with spinners, but you’ve probably also heard of people trolling for lake trout or even jigging for kokanee. But did you know you can go trout fishing with jerkbaits?

That’s right! Trout fishing with jerkbaits is becoming quite popular as an alternative to jigging and spinning. Jerkbaits have been a top lure for bass fishermen for years, but they are starting to gain popularity among trout fishermen as well.

In this article, we’ll go over our top five jerkbaits for trout fishing as well as how to properly fish jerkbaits for trout. We’ll explain how you should change your fishing techniques depending on what time of year it is as well as go over some of our top trout fishing with jerkbaits tips.

Let’s get started!

In a Hurry? Here’s Our Favorites

What is a Jerkbait?

A jerkbait is a fish-shaped lure that floats when still in the water but dives to varying degrees when retrieved. Many jerkbaits also have a jerking motion that makes them appear to be swimming through the water. Some fishermen describe their action as shimmying or dancing through the water. 

Jerkbaits get their name, however, from a technique that is popular with bass fishermen. If you jerk a jerk bait through the water then let it sit still and float to the surface, they imitate a wounded baitfish. This technique works great for bass and trout!

Top 5 Best Jerkbaits for Trout

Before we get into how to properly fish for trout with jerkbaits, we first wanted to share our top five best jerkbaits for trout fishing. These jerk baits are designed with trout in mind and have worked wonders for us when other lure types just aren’t getting any bites. These jerkbaits work great for all types of trout, from cutthroat trout to lake trout. Check them out!

1. Trout Magnet Jerkbait


Coming in at number one on our list is the Trout Magnet Jerkbait. And it doesn’t get the name trout magnet for no reason! This jerkbait has the ideal action and colorways for trout fishing in almost all seasons. The Trout Magnet Jerkbait is also the perfect size for many different species of trout.

We recommend getting the white or brown colorways. The great thing about the Trout Magnet Jerkbait is that it dives several feet under the surface to attract larger trout that might be in deeper waters. We like to fish the Trout Magnet Jerkbait first whenever we head out.


2. Rapala Ultra Light Minnow


The second jerkbait on our list is the Rapala Ultra Light Minnow. Rapala is one of the oldest lure makers in the business for good reason. Their jerkbaits are of extremely high quality and will last many years of heavy fishing.

We recommend getting the one and a half-inch Rapala Ultra Light Minnow to start in either the spotted pattern or rainbow trout pattern. Both imitate the coloring of actual baitfish and are especially effective with every species of trout we have encountered. We even like to fish larger versions of the Rapala Ultra Light Minnow when fishing for steelhead!


3. Yo-Zuri 3DR Minnow Suspending Medium Diving Jerkbait


Third on our list for the best jerkbaits for trout fishing is the Yo-Zuri 3DR Minnow Suspending Medium Diving Jerkbait. We’ve featured Yo-Zuri lures in many of our other best lures lists, and this is because they produce really effective fishing lures!

The Yo-Zuri 3DR Minnow Suspending Medium Diving Jerkbait is no exception. It’s lifelike eyes and color variations do wonders when stalking shy trout. We recommend getting the striped colorways for summer fishing and lighter colorways for fall and spring fishing.


4. Bomber Lures Long A Slender Minnow Jerkbait


Next up we wanted to include and up and coming brand: the Bomber Lures Long A Slender Minnow Jerkbait. This jerkbait is a bit larger than the others on our list of best jerkbaits for trout fishing, so we recommend using it when fishing for larger trout!

The Bomber Lures Long A Slender Minnow Jerkbait has both floating and sinking options. We recommend using the floating options for summer fishing when trout are more active, as well as when fishing for smaller fish that are near the surface.

For winter trout fishing or when fishing bigger species, get the larger sinking versions of the Bomber Lures Long A Slender Minnow Jerkbait.


5. Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait


Last but not least we included another Rapala lure on our list. What can we say? They make really could jerkbaits for trout! The Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait is another prime example. It comes with a rooster tail to help cover up the hook which makes it great for tentative trout.

We recommend getting the rainbow trout colorway as well as the light pink version for off-season trout fishing. But you can’t really go wrong with the Rapala X-Rap Jerkbait!


How to Fish for Trout with Jerkbaits

Trout fishing with jerkbaits requires a slightly different technique than trout fishing with spinners. If you know how to spin cast, you’re halfway there! Let’s go over how to fish for trout with jerkbaits.

Cast Your Jerkbait Past the Trout

Aim to get your jerkbait to land behind where the trout are hiding. Why? Because you don’t want to scare them off! This technique should also be followed when you’re fishing with spinners too. Once you’ve cast your jerkbait past the trout, let it sit for a few seconds before beginning to reel.

Use Proper Jerkbait Action

Here’s how to add the proper action to your jerkbait when fishing for trout. If you have fished jerkbaits for bass, it is very similar. You just need to be a little less aggressive.

  1. Pull your rod forward a few feet to make the jerkbait wriggle and dive several feet.
  2. Let the line go almost slack and the lure stop moving. 
  3. Wait a second then reel in the slack line.
  4. Repeat!

This type of motion makes your jerkbait look like it is a wounded fish. Hungry trout will find this irresistible. 

Start with Small Jerkbaits

Start with your smaller jerkbaits first, even if you are going for larger fish like lake trout. Trout tend to be more cautious than other species such as bass. You can easily scare them away by flashing a large lure past them.

Instead, start with one of your smaller jerkbaits first. Use the small jerkbaits to entice the fish to bite and get them curious. You can always size up to a larger jerkbait if the smaller jerkbaits aren’t working. But if you scare the fish away on your first cast, it’s game over.

We recommend using a light to medium trout fishing rod. This way you’ll still have fun even if you catch a small fish! If you don’t have a trout rod, you can also use a crankbait rod. You’ll just have to pay more attention to smaller bites.

Along with that strategy, we recommend using a four to six-pound test monofilament fishing line for trout fishing with jerkbaits. You want to keep your line small so tentative trout don’t see it. But the jerking technique does require a tight line to be effective.

Try Different Colors

Another tip when trout fishing with jerkbaits is to try out different colors of lure until something bites. Trout can be very picky eaters and sometimes a certain color just won’t be doing it for them. We recommend bringing all sizes and colors of jerkbaits with you in case you need to switch it up.

General rules of thumb for lure colors depending on what season it is: In the summer go ahead and try bright colored jerkbaits. Fish are most active in the summer and will strike at brightly colored lures that annoy and excite them.

In the fall and spring focus on darker colored lures that resemble the colors of the surroundings or trout’s natural prey. This time of year trout are hungry and will be looking for something to eat.

In the winter we recommend sticking to light-colored lures. These won’t scare away shy trout and will also help with low visibility due to clouds or rain.

Don’t Be Afraid to Move!

A common mistake many trout fishermen make is sticking to their favorite spot even if they aren’t getting any bites. Jerkbaits are great at enticing trout to bite, but there has to be trout nearby for them to work! If there aren’t any, you’re not going to catch any trout.

It’s as simple as that! So we recommend moving if you have been fishing in the same area for more than 30 minutes to an hour without any bites. Chances are there aren’t any trout nearby and you should go find them somewhere else.

Parting Thoughts

Trout fish with jerkbaits is a relatively new technique that many fishermen have never tried. But it is not going to stay that way. If you use the right types of jerkbaits you’ll see great success in trout fishing. We would argue in certain situations, they are the best kind of lure you can fish!

Be sure to practice the proper jerk technique if you have never tried it before. It may take you a few tries to get it down, but once you do you’ll be rewarded with plenty of bites.

We hope you found this article on trout fishing with jerkbaits useful and informative. If you have been fishing for trout with jerkbaits for a long time, let us know what your favorite lures are in the comments below! You can also tell us ‘I told you so’.

Happy Hunting!

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