Best Trout Bait & Lures – What To Use To Catch Trout Fish

Trout fishing can be a relaxing and enjoyable way to spend a day. Choosing the best trout lure for the right situation can seem daunting, though. But, in reality, there are several ways to catch trout and many of them will work on the same body of water on the same day.

Experimentation is key, as most anglers know. Many anglers try a variety of lures every time they are out. When they finish their fishing day, they then take notes about what worked and what didn’t. They include things such as water temperature and clarity as well as the weather that day.

In fact, we have a list of trout fishing tips for pros and beginners that is sure to help you catch more trout on your next fishing trip.

By doing this, they have great notes that they can look back on next time they go out fishing. The angler can find a day and situation in his notes that is similar to what he is facing that day, and that will give him a good place to start with lure choice on this trip.

There are several types of lures that are popular for trout fishing. They are known to catch fish in a variety of situations and can help anglers bring in more fish. Whether an angler is fishing just for the sport of it or looking to put dinner on the table, catching more fish is always the goal, and these lures can help any angler do just that.

Live Bait

By far, the best trout bait to attract this fish is live bait. Night crawlers and minnows are very popular and so are leeches for lake fishing. It makes sense that trout would be attracted to live bait more so than artificial lures. The bait will smell and act more like what a trout is used to seeing. Worms are a natural food for trout, as are small bait fish such as the minnows an angler can buy at the local tackle store.

Many anglers who are just out for an afternoon of fun or looking to pick up some dinner choose live bait as a good option for catching fish. Live bait, though, does take some care. Anglers need to ensure the health and vitality of the live bait in order to keep them fresh and to attract fish. This can be a concern for some.

Also, fish who eat a live bait may also swallow the bait deeper than they would a traditional artificial lure. This can lead to deep-hooking a fish. A hook swallowed too deeply can injure or even kill a fish. For this reason, anglers who practice catch and release only may shy away from live bait. Others simply think it is more sporting to try to trick a trout with an artificial lure.

Anglers must check the regulations where they plan to fish to ensure that live bait is allowed. In some areas, only artificial lures may be used. When using live bait, anglers should also make sure to dispose of it properly. It should never be dumped into or near the water. In some places, this is considered illegal and can result in serious fines. Live bait should be disposed of properly in the trash.

Match the Hatch

When fishing for any species with artificial lures, it is important to “match the hatch”, as they say. Anglers need to know on what the fish are feeding. Fish will prefer different prey at different times. For instance, during and directly after a hard rain, Earthworms may be washed into streams and other small waterways where trout are present.

This is a good time, then, to use a worm-like soft plastic. During times of heavy winds, bugs can get blown into the water, unable to escape. A small top water bait that mimics a grasshopper or cicada may be a good option here.

When approaching a stream or river for the first time, an angler would do well to take a look around the shoreline and the water near where they would like to fish. Anglers should look for any evidence of what the fish may be eating.

There may be bug carcasses near the shore, or anglers may see small crustaceans present such as crayfish. These are all things that a hungry trout will eat. Anglers can then tailor their offering to mimic these the natural forage on which the tout are eating.


Many companies make great spinners that anglers have been using to catch trout for many years. The Blue Fox Vibrax, the Panther-Martin, and the Mepps spinner are household names for trout anglers. Almost every trout angler has at least heard of, if not used, these lures at one time or another.

Many believe that a Mepps spinner or two should be in every trout angler’s tackle box. They are known to catch fish on most occasions, even where other lures fail. They are perfect for casting and the blades will turn evenly, even on a slow retrieve. They come in a wide variety of sizes and colors. This allows the angler to choose just the right lure for the stream or lake they are heading out to fish.

The flash of the blades of a spinner get the trout’s attention and the movement of the bait itself through the water entice the fish to strike. The Mepps spinner has a blade that rotates around a shaft when pulled through the water.

This is followed by a treble hook. Some of these spinners come with colored feathers covering the hook. This helps to conceal the hook, but also give a bigger profile to the bait. When fish are feeding on bigger forage, a bigger profile may help the lure look more like what the trout is eating.

Crank Baits

Crank baits for trout fishing tend to be smaller than those for bass fishing, for example. Crank baits are great choices for all depths of water. They come in various sizes and depths. Anglers should look closely at the packaging to see at what depth a crank bait runs.

Some run shallow, others are meant to run 10 feet down. Having a large selection of depths will allow the angler to target fish at different depths in the water column. Fish will hold at different depths at different times, and crank baits are a great way to fish for trout all year long.

The Rebel Wee-Craw is a popular crankbait. They come in different colors and are meant to be slow-rolled along the bottom. They imitate a crustacean such as a crayfish scooting away. They mimic a frightened or startled crayfish, and a trout will key in on that, knowing that a startled crayfish may be an easy meal.

These baits come in different colors because crayfish change colors as they year goes by. They can be a mix of greens, blues, yellows, and oranges. The angler can choose the color that is closest to the crayfish in that body of water at that time of year and greatly increase their chances of catching fish.

Strike King makes a Bitsy Minnow that is favored by many trout anglers. These little crank baits are just over an inch long. They mimic small bait fish and their darting action makes them seem like an easy meal. Game fish tend to look for the easiest meal possible.

A crank bait imitates a bait fish that may be injured or dying. A trout’s instincts will tell it that an injured bait fish will be the easiest meal. This is why they hit crank baits, making them a favorite lure for many anglers. Again, anglers will find these lures come in a varied color selection. There is no need to purchase every color of a crankbait, however. Keeping “match the hatch” in mind, this should simplify color selection for the angler.

Soft Plastics

There are many soft plastics on the market today that are good choices for trout anglers. Mr. Twister™ makes several types of soft plastics for trout fishing, as do many other companies. They range from finesse worms to mini crayfish and hellgrammite imitations.

Soft plastics can be rigged on a jig head to help them sink, or a split shot weight can be added to the fishing line above the hook. The split shot will allow the bait to float up a bit when moved. Conversely, the jig head will keep the soft plastic bait on the bottom and will slow the rate that it will float in current.

Because soft plastics are compact in size and can be found in many colors and sizes, they are a favorite of many trout anglers. They allow the angler to completely customize their offering, often bringing more strikes.

These plastic lures can also be found in many different shapes that will resemble many different types of forage on which trout are feeding. An angler can start with a simple mix of lures such as these and then expand their arsenal as they become more familiar with how to fish them.

Hair jigs

Hair jigs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Lures like the Lindy Fiuzz-E Grub are a good choice for many anglers as they have a long history of quality and innovation. The lure consists of a small colored jig head, a soft plastic body, and a marabou tail. These jigs, and others like them, come in a wide variety of colors. Anglers should keep one thing in mind when choosing colors: Keep it simple.

Many of the lures out there are meant to catch the fisherman rather than the fish. As with any other baits, matching the hatch is important. Trout will aggressively strike these lures, though, and the soft plastic body will ensure the fish holds on longer, allowing the angler a better hook-up percentage.

Hair jigs also come as just the jig and marabou hair. Anglers can then customize the jig with a soft plastic grub of their choice. This grub is known as a trailer because it trails behind the jig. This set up can have a bigger profile simply by using a bigger grub. When an angler notices fish are following the jig on the retrieve but they just won’t commit to it fully and take the bait, there are two things an angler can do. The first thing is to vary the retrieve speed.

The lure should look like natural prey, but that can mean different things at different times. One day the fish may want a lure with a steady retrieve where the next day they prefer a lure that is popped through the water slightly using twitches of the rod tip.

The second thing an angler can do when noticing that fish are following the jig but not committing is to change the trailer color. An angler may think the grub she chose is a perfect match for the local forage. However, colors look different in the water, and they may appear somewhat different to the fish, who is looking up, than to the angler, who is looking down. Changing up the trailer color may be just enough to get a fish to strike.


When many people think of trout fishing, they think of fly fishing. While not all trout anglers are fly fisherman, this can be a great way to enjoy time on the water for those who have the patience and skill to learn the technique.

The number and types of flies available are beyond the scope of this article, but anglers should be aware that fly fishing is a great option for those looking to put forth the effort and the money to learn this awesome and peaceful way of fishing.

The flies, as the name implies, are meant to look like bugs or small insects that have fallen into the water. Because trout tend to feed up, they will come up and take bugs off the surface of the water quite regularly. Fly fishing can be an extremely effective way to catch trout in many streams and rivers across the world.

Practice Constantly

The question what to use to catch trout can get as complicated or as easy as you make it to be. There are many different baits on the market today that will catch trout. Live bait can even be a solid option for those looking to catch some dinner and who are not concerned about keeping the bait alive. With the enormous selection of artificial lures on the market today, many anglers have decided to forgo the hassles of live bait altogether.

Artificial lures are reusable and they can stay in great condition for a long time. This makes trout fishing even more affordable for many anglers. Starting with just a few lures such as spinners and crank baits, trout anglers can start catching fish on their very first trip.

As they become more familiar with the habits of the trout and for forage of the trout in different areas, they can expand their lure selections and gain even more success in their fishing endeavors. Overall, trout fishing is a fun and relaxing pastime that can be enjoyed by anglers of all ages, off a fishing kayak or a boat.