11 Best Hooks For Trout That Trout Guides Use

The best hooks for trout

Trout fishing guides like me are very picky when it comes to the hooks we use because I need to be sure I provide my clients with every advantage I can so they have the best chance of catching the most fish possible. Using the wrong hooks for trout can make catching trout very tough, even if you have plenty of biters.

The best trout hooks are wide-gape hooks with chemically sharpened hook points and are hooks that are proven to have a high hooking and high holding percentage.

To be honest with you, many hooks that are being recommended online or recommended by average anglers are not good hooks, and they are not the hooks you will find in the vests of top guides. I guarantee this!

If you use the wrong hook, you are missing fish!

The honest truth is that all I need is two or three different hooks in a variety of sizes.

These are my three best hooks for trout :

  1. Raven Sedge hook: My best trout hook when a stealthy presentation is required.
  2. Raven Specimen hook: My favorite and best all-purpose trout hook for all baits.
  3. Daiichi egg hook: A good trout hook for spawn bags and other baits.

Before You Buy A Trout Hook

Before you buy any trout hook, consider these important factors that will help you catch more trout. I will expand on each of these below my list of the best hooks.

  • Hook Shape: The shape of the hook makes a big difference in hooking and holding percentage.
  • Hook Color: I have found that specific colored hooks, such as bronze and black are the most effective. Colors like red, gold, silver, which seem to attract new anglers, really do not work as well.
  • Hook Gape: The distance between the hook point and the shank of the hook matters a lot when considering hooking and holding percentages.
  • Hook Thickness: A thick hook will be seen by the fish, which could also weigh your bait down, affecting the bait’s natural presentation. Thin hooks could bend or break.
  • Hook Size: Your hook size should be proportionate to the bait. If you are not sure about this see below.
  • Hook Point Type: Some hook points do not penetrate well.
  • How To Put Bait On A Hook Properly: If you close the gap or bury the hook point with your bait, you risk lowering your hooking percentage and holding percentage and, therefore, losing more trout.
  • Bad Hooks: Some of the most highly recommended hooks, like baitholder hooks and circle hooks, are not good for trout and are not used by most good guides.

Pro Tip: When I discuss hooks with some top guides, I have heard them say that certain hooks enable the trout to pry the hooks loose more often, and I agree with them. They also claim, some hooks allow trout to grab a bait and spit it out completely without getting hooked. I prove this below, so be sure you use the right hook.

Quick Pick Best Hooks For Trout?

A large stocked brown trout, which shows fishing for stocked trout can be pretty awesome.
This is one of my clients big brown trout that was caught on a small but strong hook. A trout like this can bend or break cheap hooks.

The best hooks for trout need to be strong, and have the right shape and a gap that both hooks and holds fish well.

A trout hook also needs to be the right size for the bait and the fish.

I sometimes guide 200 to 300 anglers a year, and I’ve had the opportunity to test out a lot of different hooks over the last 20 years. I also fish with other guides and we share information about the best hooks and other gear so my recommendations are based on usage and expereince.

1. Raven Wide Gape Specimen Hooks

The Raven Specimen hook is one of the best trout hooks

The Raven Specimen hook is a hook that is growing in popularity and it’s a trout hook that many guides are now using, including myself.

The Raven Specimen Hook is strong, it penetrates well, and it holds well.

The slight in-ward point holds fish better that straight points, but it is still straight enough to get he hook set well.

I have landed thousands of trout and steelhead on this hook, and therefore, I would consider this to be the best trout hook if you want a strong and medium-thickness hook, or a good all-purpose hook.

The straight hook eye on this tends to help it stay in place on spawn bags and allows the hook to sit more straight up and down in the water.

It’s a great hook for trout, steelhead, and salmon and can be used with any bait. I use sizes 10 and 12 the most when trout fishing.

If you are not sure about which trout bait is best, check out my page Best Trout Bait – The Only 5 Baits You Will Ever Need

2. Daiichi 1150 Heavy Wide-Gape Hook

The Daiichi 1150 is one of the best trout hooks

The Daiichi 1150 hook is a very popular hook, and when I owned my tackle store this was the best-selling hook for the hardcore trout and steelhead guys. It’s a lighter hook but it hooks the fish well and holds the fish well.

This is one of my favorite hooks when I need a lighter-weight low profile hook, so I highly recommend it.

I like this hook for most baits, but if I’m using a large bait that requires a larger gap, I will switch to the Raven Specimen or the Gamakatsu Octopus hook.

3. Raven Sedge Hook

Float Fishing Hook Color
The bronze Raven Sedge hook on the left and the black Raven Specialist hook on the right.

The Raven Sedge hook is very similar to the Daiichi 1150 hook. This is a hook that I use a lot simply because it works well when I need a very low-profile hook, but it is slightly cheaper than the Daiichi 1150 hook.

If you are looking for a lightweight hook for small baits, this is a good option.

I have probably landed a couple thousand Great Lake’s steelhead on this hook over the last ten years so although it is thin, it’s still very strong.

4. Raven Specialist Hooks

If you want to see one of the most popular hooks with steelhead anglers around the great lake and a hook that is one of the best hooks for trout, check out the Raven Specialist hook.

I have caught lots of steelhead and trout on this hook and will continue to use it.

The Raven Specialist hook only comes in black nickel, but it’s sharp and holds well. Its wide gap is good for bigger baits and bigger fish.

5. Gamakatsu Octopus Hooks

The Gamakatsu Octopus hook is one of the best trout hooks

The Gamakatsu Octopus hook is one of the best trout hooks, and I would bet it is the most used hook by experienced anglers.

It is very similar to the Raven Specimen so you can’t go wrong with either hook.

The Gamakatsu Octopus hook is another sharp wide-gap hook that would be great for trout.

One of the benefits of this hook is that it’s the best hook for guys who like to use a snell knot or a loop snell for using yarn.

I have even used this hook to tie Glo bug flies, also known as egg flies and I highly recommend this hook.

6. Daiichi D19Z Wide Gap Octopus Hooks

The Daiichi D19Z Octopus hook is similar to the Gamakatsu Octopus hooks and a great choice for a trout hook. I know guides that use this hook for trout and steelhead because it works well.

7. Redwing Tackle Blackbird Sabretooth Premium Hook

The Blackbird Sabertooth Premium Hook is a popular hook around the great lakes region with steelhead anglers but it’s also a good hook for trout fishing.

It’s strong and holds well and is a good all-around type of hook.

You can not go wrong with this hook in sizes 10 to 12.

8. Daiichi X510 XPoint: Strongest Trout Hook

The Daiichi X510 hook is a great hook if you want a super-strong hook for very big trout, steelhead, or salmon on fast flowing rivers. This is as good as strong as it gets.

I only use this hook when I need an extra-strong hook which is rare.

I have also used this on great lakes salmon with good success.

9. Owner SSW Cutting Point Hooks

A few of my guide buddies and friends like this hook so I added it to the list. I have seen this hook in action as I stood beside those guys and saw how well this hook held up and kept the fish on.

This would be a good hook for trout and steelhead anglers.

10. Daiichi Egg Hook

The Daiichi Egg Hook is a great all-around hook, and it would be a great hook for guys that just want one hook to do everything. and for guys that like to use the snell knot.

Although it says it’s an egg hook this hook is great for all other trout baits and it can be used with any bait.

11. Gamakatsu Single Egg Hooks

Gamakatsu has always been known as a super sharp quality hook and the Gamakatsu Single Egg hook is another good hook for any bait.

I like and only use the bronze color and don`t use the red or gold colors at all.

An added benefit to this hook is the barb on the outside of the hook shank which is good for holding onto single eggs and spawn bags as well as other baits.

The downside to this hook is that it only comes in red or gold which are two colors I Prefer not to use.

This article is part of a series starting with our very popular article Trout Fishing: A Complete Guide.

Hook Size Is Important

I use different-sized hooks for different sizes of bait and for different sizes of fish. I will also choose my hook size based on the water clarity and the water velocity. You hook should be proportionate to the bait.

I find that all my guide friends use the same size hooks that I do, and most of the time it’s a size 10 or 12 hooks when trout fishing.

Are Larger Trout Hooks Better?

Bait and hook size
This bait is way too small for this hook which could result in the fish seeing the hook and refusing to eat the bait. Match the hook to the size of the bait.

Larger hooks tend to hold fish better, so in dirtier water or in faster water, I will usually upsize my hook by one or two sizes.

The downside to using a larger hook is that if you use a large hook on a small bait in gin-clear water, the trout will see the hook and they will be less likely to eat your bait.

Your hook could be one of the best hooks for trout, but if the trout see it, then it’s useless.

Are Smaller Trout Hooks Better?

I will often downsize my hook in gin-clear water, and in slower water when the trout have plenty of time to inspect the bait. I also go with a smaller hook when I’m using a very small bait.

Trout Hook Size
Having the right hook size for your bait is important. The hook on the left is too big for the bait, and the hook on the right is two small for the bait.

However, if you use a hook that is too small for the bait, the hook point might be obstructed by the bait or the gap of the hook might be filled with the bait and you won’t get a good hook penetration.

When picking the best hook for trout and the best hook size for trout, just use common sense.

If I had to choose between a hook too big or a hook too small I’d go with a hook too small.

A tiny little hook on a giant bait might not be the best option since the small hook will get lots of bites, you will just lose more trout. However, a giant hook on a tiny bait will mean few if any trout will even bite your bait, and you won’t have the problem of losing them anyways.

Good Hook Size For this bait
This bait is a good size for this hook and the hook gap is wide enough to hook a fish.

Matching your trout hook shape and size to your bait is critical if you want to catch more trout.

If you want more details on hook size, check out my page, Best Hook Size For Trout: A Guides Advice On Trout Hook Size

Hook Gap Matters

Float Hook Shape
The right shape can help you hook land more trout and steelhead. The top hook is a Specimen hook, then a Sedge hook, and then the Specialist hook. These are my three go-to hooks.

The gap between the hook point and the hook shank is important because a gap that is too small or too big won’t hook the fish as well.

Most good anglers and river guides that I know use similar hooks simply because these are the hooks that will hook and hold more fish for them and their clients.

I have experimented with dozens of hooks over the last 30 years and have received feedback and advice from other river guides on which hooks tend to hold the best.

I have determined that shorter shank hooks like the Raven Specimen hook or the Gamakatsu Octopus hook with a semi-wide gap work the best.

Hook Thickness

Some hooks are thicker than others and this means they are better for bigger fish but I will use both thin and thick hooks for different reasons.

Thin hooks like the Raven Sedge hook or the Daiichi 1150 hook have the benefit of weighing less and they are less likely to be seen by the fish. A hook that weighs less will allow the bait to flow through the current more naturally, which is a good thing.

The downside to thin hooks when using heavy leaders on big fish is that the hook can bend before the line breaks. However, my clients and I have landed plenty of 10-pound steelhead on thin hooks like the Raven Sedge hook and the Daiichi 1150 hook.

Thicker hooks like the Gamakatsu Octopus hook or the Raven Specimen hook are better hooks when fishing for bigger fish in faster water with heavy leaders. These hooks are less likely to bend and lose a fish.

The downside to thicker hooks is that they weigh your bait down which could drag it across the bottom too much and a bait that is dragging on the bottom is less likely to be seen by the fish and are more likely to snag up.

The other downside is that thicker hooks are more likely to be seen by the fish.

Not sure what leader to use, check out my page What Pound Test Leader For Trout

Hook Shape

Hook shape does matter and there are all kinds of hook shapes available.

The best-shaped hooks that tend to get a better hook set and that tend to hold onto the fish better are the short shank wide gap hooks like the Gamakatsu Octopus hook, Raven Specimen hook, or the Raven Specialist hook.

Bait Hooks

These bait holder hooks are not the best hooks for trout
Bait hooks like these are not the best hooks for trout and I do not recommend them for trout, steelhead, or salmon fishing.

I do not recommend bait holder hooks like the Gamakatsu hook in the picture for trout. In fact, I don’t know any guides that use these and there is a reason for this.

They might hold the bait well, but the reason good trout guides DO NOT use these hooks is that they simply do not hook and hold trout as well as other hooks.

Hook Points

Do not use hooks like this one with a heavy curl on the point, also known as a circle hook
Do not use hooks like this one with a heavy inward curl on the point. This curl limits penetration on hook-sets.

There are different hook points and sharpness and this is something you should consider.

Some of the cheaper hook brands won’t be as sharp or as strong as the more reputable brands. A weak hook point can bend or break off easier if it hits rocks, but I find high-quality hooks won’t bend or break as easily.

The hook point curve is something else to consider. A slight curve at the point has the potential to hold onto fish a little bit better than a perfectly straight point.

A hook point with too much of a in-ward bend could affect your hook set and may not penetrate as well, and therefore a hook point bend like those found on circle hooks are not good for trout hooks unless you are using a still fishing method and you want the hook to set itself.

I do NOT recommend circle hooks.

Hook Color

I believe in letting the bait attract the fish and not the hook, so I don’t like red hooks, or gold hooks, or silver hooks for trout. The best trout hooks are either bronze or black.

Bronze or black hooks look more like debris that might be found drifting in the river, and they are less likely to be seen as a threat to wary trout.

Most expert anglers and guides that I know use bronze or black hooks.

What Happens If You Use The Wrong Hooks?

The simple answer is that if you use the wrong hook for trout, you may get bites, but you will either not hook them after they bite, or they will come off the hook much easier. The wrong hook can even prevent the trout from biting.

If you want proof, watch this 6-minute video from an average angler showing underwater footage of him trying multiple baits in a well-stocked trout waters.

You can hear him even say, “I don’t know how this fish didn’t get hooked” when you can see the trout take the entire bait in their mouths.

As a guide, I know exactly how those fish didn’t get hooked, the primary reason is simply a bad hook.

Tight Lines,


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  1. i wonder why some hooks have upturned eye with 45degree(gamakatsu octopus) and why the ravens have a 20 degree upturned eye, i feel like the 20 degree hooks eye get in the way of the snelled line, where as the 45 degree on the octopus hooks allow the snelled line to flow straight from the shank up through the eye. why do hook companies make 20 degree hooks? is it so its a half way measure so guys can snell it or tie direct to eye? i cant think of any other reason and this is why i prefer the 45 degree hooks over the 20 degree, since i like tying an egg loop knot for yarn and what not

    1. Good observation Dean and I appreciate the input, the 45-degree hook eye is definitely better for a snell knot. The hook that most guys choose is often just personal preference and some anglers will swear one works better than others, sometimes they are right, and sometimes they are wrong. Some anglers even prefer a straight eye. I had a discussion in the store one day with a guy that swore up and down that one hook was better than another hook from another brand that was slightly cheaper but the same shape. He was so convinced that even when I told him that both hooks were identical and made in the same factory by the same company he still thought the one hook was better. Again, some guys simply prefer one hook over another with no actual hooking or holding difference and if that is the case I say fish the one you have the most confidence in. Good luck,

    1. Hi Greg,

      Many anglers and guides that I have talked to feel the extra length is an issue.

      The fish can see it easier if the bait slides down.

      Also, some guides and anglers I know, myself included, feel that the shape of the hook is not great for hooking the fish, and it might also cause a leverage effect when the fish twist that helps the trout pry the hook out.

      In my opinion, generally, a short shank wide gape hook will hook and hold fish better.

      I don’t know any guides and top anglers that use baitholder hooks, so that says something about that hook!

      Good Luck,