Trout strike because they are hungry, to defend their territory, or because something startled them. Using live bait makes sense when the trout are feeding but a minnow or grub will not evoke a reaction strike to a threat or a territorial strike to keep competitors out of the trout’s territory. This brings us the first reasons to seek out the best trout lures for better fishing. Fishing lures are designed to evoke both territorial responses and defensive responses from trout. And, the right lure can do a better job evoking a hunger-driven strike than live bait. This is because lures are designed to go right to the most basic responses in the fish, the exact aspects that drive all strikes by trout.
Trout Lures Are an Efficient Way to Fish for Trout
Just how much live bait do you want to lug up and down a stream on a hot day while you are fishing for trout? How about the extra ice to keep the bait from spoiling? And, how many kinds of bait can you bring with you? You can easily carry dozens of fishing lures in place of live bait and hot have to worry about your fishing lures spoiling in the midday sun. The best trout lures offer a wider range of strike options and efficiency.
Our List of the Best Trout Lures for Your Tackle Box
There are lots of lures for fishing trout. The ones you choose will generally be those that have done the job for you on previous fishing trips. But, it never hurts to try out something new from time to time. Our list comes from years of experience and is not presented in any particular order. So the first one listed is not so much our favorite as the first one that comes to mind. The first ones listed are primarily designed to elicit feeding strikes.
This reliable lure acts like a crawfish that scoots along the bottom down to five to seven feet. This is a two-inch-long crankbait that looks like it has bulging claws that face the aft treble and a tucked-under tail. It comes as the Wee Craw and the even-smaller Tiny Craw and looks like a crustacean that is running away from the trout and presenting an easy snack.
Berkley Gulp Trout Worm
This buoyant worm comes with a natural scent that helps attract the trout. It floats suspended from the bottom and has a light wire hook. It works for three-way rigs, float rigs, and drop shots that are scaled down. Adding the natural scent adds greatly to the effectiveness of this live bait look-alike.
Lindy Fuzz-E Grub
This lure is a very realistic presentation of a grub with a like-like slick appearance including a marabou tail. Its “eyes” are painted in two colors and is likely a big factor in the aggressive head strikes that this lure gets. Because it is so realistic this lure is usually taken whole and held in the mouth so that it is easier to set the hook.
Rebel Tracdown Minnow
This minnow “lookalike” is great for fishing trout deeper in the water. It works well in running water. Because this is a straight-tracking lure it is easier to present just where you want it for an elusive fishing hiding deep to the side of a stream.
Strike King Bitsy Minnow
This lure is excellent for seasoned pros and for beginners. It is a crankbait which at 1/8 ounce and 1 ¾ inches is bit-size bait ideal for when trout are feeding. With a reflective eye and engaging action it stands out even when other feeding opportunities are present. In other words, trout will pass up a real minnow and strike this lure!
Luhr-Jensen Hus Lure
This minnow lookalike lure is great for swift-flowing streams where the flowing water works the lure. In still water you can get the same action by periodically twitching your rod to jerk the lure forward before it settles. It produces an erratic action which can get the attention of your trout even with live minnows are present.
Mister Twister Micro Crawfish
This lure is another crawfish lookalike, juvenile variety. Use this lure with a 1/62 ounce jig head for slow scooting over the bottom. We find this lure to be very successful in attracting strikes from trout cruising over rock beds on stream bottoms. Both its appearance and its action in the water are responsible for this lure’s success.
Mr. Twister Mite
This unique lure is made to look like a hellgrammite. Use the bait ball with a jig head, a Carolina ring, or a drop shot. It is great for enticing trout away from their hiding places under structure to come out for a quick bite to eat.
BioBait Go Tube
This tube bait mimics the action of both baitfish and crawfish as they flee a trout along the bottom. Depending on the size of the trout you are fishing for, anywhere from 1.5 inches to 3.5 inches will work for you. This lure comes in a range of colors and finishes.
PowerBait Trout/Steelhead Egg Clusters
This hungry-fish bait gets its success by resembling an easy snack rather than by attracting a strike due to its action in the water. You can get this lure in shrimp colors or even fluorescent orange and it comes with a natural scent and flavor.
Smithwick Rattlin’ Rogue
If you are looking to evoke a strike from a larger trout defending its territory or simply because it is startled, this is a great lure. It can hang motionless in position and then dart away with erratic action and a flash mimicking the actions of a real fish. It has internal noise makers that help attract attention and works well in clear and cold water when trout are not feeding but still alert to defend their territory or likely to strike when startled.
Rapala Count Down
Use this excellent lure for casting or trolling. It sinks at about a foot per second and attracts the trout with a Rappala, slow moving action. It works best for trout in streams as you troll across the weed tops or past structures where trout hide on the bottom. It comes with a number 12 treble and runs one to three feet. It can evoke feeding, startle, and defensive strikes.
Blue Fox Vibrax
This lure is designed to get a trout’s attention and evoke a strike. Its body is chrome plated with a laser holographic painted finish. The lure gives out a sonic vibration whenever the inner section hits the outer bell. Its treble hook has a calf tail dressing which enhances its profile. Use this lure when fishing in shallow water as it runs from the surface down to two feet depth.
Z-Man Chatterbait Flashback Mini
This is another attention-getting lure. It uses vibration and flash to evoke strikes and works for fish other than trout. Use this as a search bait. Its minnow body is soft, plastic, and holographic so that when the flash and vibration attract the trout they will be likely to strike what they think is a fish!
Strike King Rocket Shad
When you are fishing for trout in dark or turbid water you can still evoke startle and defensive strikes with this lure. It has a heavier profile and increased thump that works well in low-visibility scenarios. It is a spinnerbait with a narrow head for helping it slide through fast currents and keeping its tracking true. It has a Colorado blade for free spinning with a ball bearing swivel which gives it excellent display where you need it.
Mepps Comet Mino
Using both vibration and flash to get the trout’s attention and lure with a hand painted finish and random motion of swimming this lure does a nice job of mimicking an injured minnow and therefore an easy snack for a trout. Its Mepps spinner calls attention to this lure even in dark, murky water.
Mepps Little Wolf
If you want a lure that is guaranteed to catch the trout’s attention and deliver a reaction strike, you can rely on the silver plating and reversed curve design’s bright flashing. This spoon is nicely balanced to give very consistent wobbling side to side at all speeds of retrieval. It even maintains action of a brief time when you pause it while reeling in. This lure is light and easy to cash using light line so we also suggest using this lure when teaching the fundamentals of trout fishing to youngsters.
Rapala Jointed Minnow
For a lure that mimics an injured bait fish, this broken back, articulated artificial lure is good for fishing both near the surface and deeper in the water. It has excellent buoyancy with its construction of balsa wood. This dual-action lure works well when you troll or reel in fast when fish are biting and attracts the ones who are hiding when you go slowly.
Panther-Martin Teardrop Spinner
The last lure on our list but not the last in our hearts is an old favorite. It works well for trolling or casting. Coming in sizes from 1/32 to ½ ounce the dual concave/convex blade vibrates and sends out signals that attract trout. It spins smoothly and can be found with a red hook. And also it is available with a single hook if you are doing catch and release.