11 Best Trout Lures For Spring – What The River Guides Use

Best trout lures for spring

There are a lot of options for the best trout lures for spring trout fishing but did you know that some trout lures will work better under different conditions? If you use the same effective and proven lures that I and other river guides use your chances of catching trout are higher.

I will also giver you some tips and methods to increase the lures effectiveness as well as when and where you should use lures for success.

The best trout lures for spring trout fishing are the spinner, the spoon, the Kwikfish, or Flatfish. I would also use hardbaits like deep and shallow diving crankbaits. There are some jigs and soft plastic lures that can also be some of the best lures for spring trout fishing.

This page contains affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links we may make a small commission which is at no cost to you. Commissions allow us to continue to bring you great content. Thank you for your support. Affiliate Policy

Best Trout Lures, Not Trout Baits

Some websites will recommend flies, worms, eggs, and plastic grubs in their articles about the best trout lures for spring but they obviously don’t know what a lure is because they are baits, not lures.

This article is about lures, you know, those things you cast and then impart some action to them while you retrieve them. To me, that’s a real lure.

What Color Lure Is Best For Trout?

My best lure color for trout will change depending on the conditions and the mood of the fish. I have done very well on chartreuse colored lures on active trout and in dirty water. But in clear water, darker lures, or lures in more natural colors are often best.

If I had to choose one color lure that is best for trout I would say silver. However, Gold, black, white, yellow, and orange can also be great colors.

Spinners For Spring Trout

Spinners are one of the best trout lures for spring

Spinners are likely the most popular lure for spring trout fishing and for very good reason. I think I would choose a spinner over any other lure if I was only allowed to fish with one lure.

Spinners attract trout with the vibration, the flash, and the movement in a way that drives trout crazy and makes them want to eat it. Spinners can be fished deep, or shallow and they can be fished fast or slow which makes them one of the best trout lures for spring fishing.

In very cold water, I will use a french blade spinner since it will move slower for those sluggish trout. The french blade spinners like the Mepps Aglia Spinner, Panther Martin, and the Vibrax Classic Spinner are also the best choice when you want to fish shallower water. You can get them deep simply by allowing them to sink at the beginning of each cast.

Spinner Fishing For Trout Tips

To make spinner fishing for trout more effective, I cast 45 degrees downriver and use a very slow and straight retrieve.

If that doesn’t work I will cast in the exact same spot and retrieve with a stop and go type retrieve. I will even lift and drop my rod tip almost like jigging to make it more erratic. The first cast is to attract the most aggressive trout but this stop-and-go erratic retrieve will sometimes entice less aggressive fish to bite.

Should You Tip Your Spinner With A Worm?

The simple and honest answer is no. I have experimented many times with 1 spinner with a worm or a grub on the hook and 1 without and it’s equal. I have even had clients request it despite my hesitance because, in my opinion, it’s a useless tactic that doesn’t work.

It’s useless because the fish really don’t give a crap about the worm, they won’t smell it, and often the worm can negatively affect the action of the spinner by making it run poorly. The fish only cares about the flash and action of the spinner and will hit it without a worm chunk on the end. However, if tipping the end of the hook gives you more confidence, go for it.

If for some reason, I was going to tip my spinner it would be with a mini twister tail jig which might provide a little more action to the bare hook.

Should You Weight Your Spinner?

I never add weight to my spinners or add any weights to the line above the spinner. If I need more depth I will use a spinner that goes deeper like the Blue Fox Flash Spinner or the Pather Martin Spinner or I will just cast further upriver and allow the spinner to sink to the level that I want.

Adding weight to the line or the spinner could affect the action of the spinner or spook the trout. Stocked trout are dumber than dumb so weighting the lure might work for some anglers but for wild trout, don’t weight it, just let the lure do its thing or use a lure type that naturally dives deeper.

Best Size Spinner For Spring Trout

spinners for trout

When the water is really cold I will go to a size 2 or smaller and when the water is starting to warm up a bit and the trout start to become more active in later spring I will upsize to a size 3 or even a size 4.

Any size spinner can work at any time so it makes sense to experiment to see what the trout want the day you are on the water.

Best Spinners For Trout

Trout Spinners

These are good options for anglers looking to purchase spinners for trout.

Spoons For Spring Trout

Spoons are one of the best trout lures for spring

Spoons are great in clear water and in slower rivers. Spoons are also one of the best trout lures for spring fishing because they can be fished fast or slow and in shallow or deeper water. Faster water is not usually good for spoons.

Spoon Fishing For Trout Tips

One of my best methods is to cast straight across the river and allow the spoon to sink to the bottom and then use a slow retrieve with a lifting of the rod tip and then I stop reeling for a second. I lower the rod and left and retrieve again until I think the spoon is 1 to 2 feet off the bottom and then repeat.

This causes a jigging type effect and keeps the spoon in the strike zone which can really get the trout’s attention.

Using this method produces ten times more trout than just a straight retrieve for me and my clients.

Best Spoons for Spring Trout Fishing

The best spoons for spring trout fishing are the Little Cleo spoon, The Krocodile spoon, and the Eppinger Original Dardevle spoon.

Eppinger Dardevle Spoon
Eppinger Dardevle Spoon

The Darevle is a great spoon for trout fishing in rivers and comes in many good colors

Best Colors:

Scale Chartreuse/Black Stripe
Hammered Nickel-Green
Hammered Nickel-Blue
Shad (Alewife)

Krocodile Spoon
Krocodile Spoon

The Krocodile spoon is a great trout spoon for the flutter retrieve or straight retrieve.

Best Colors:

  • Chrome-Silver Prism
  • Rainbow
  • Chrome / Silver
  • Hammer Red
  • Green Prism
  • Chrome Green
  • Mackeral

The Little Cleo Spoon
The Little Cleo Spoon

The Little Cleo is a very popular trout spoon that casts far if you need it to.

There are many colors that are great for trout.

Best Colors:

  • Green Anchovy
  • Blue Anchovy
  • Green Splatter
  • Blue Digger
  • Hammered Nickle
  • Hammered Nickle Green
  • Hammered Nickle Blue

Should You Tip Your Spoon With A Worm?

Some anglers will add a worm or a grub or even a twister tail jig to the hook of the spoon but I haven’t noticed that this improves hookups. I always leave my hooks bare and don’t tip them with anything to make sure that I get the right action from the spoon.

Should You Weight Your Spoon?

The quick answer is no, do not add weight to the spoon or on the line. This may cause the spoon to not run properly and it may spook some trout. To get more depth I use a heavier spoon or just let the spoon sink for a longer time before I start my retrieve.

Best Color Spoons For Trout

The best color spoons for trout are silver, gold, and copper but I have done well with bright-colored spoons too. Silver-green and silver-blue have been great color combos for me as well.

HardBaits For Spring Trout

Crank baits are one of the best trout lures for spring

Hard Baits are good baits and can be one of the best trout lures for spring fishing. Hardbaits can also be known as stickbaits, crankbaits, minnow baits, or swimbaits. I tend to call them crankbaits. Crankbaits are one of the best trout lures for spring fishing.

Tips For Fishing Hardbaits For Trout

Most anglers use a straight retrieve but I have found that with most species including trout that a stop-and-go or twitch type retrieve will catch a lot more trout. I simply cast across and start a slow retrieve and every 3 to 6 feet I will rip the lure with a swipe of my tip and then pause it for a second.

Deep Diving Crank Baits Vs. Shallow Crankbaits

I tend to use more medium to deep diving crankbaits in faster rivers because I have found that many of the shallow running crankbaits will pop up and out of the water due to the speed of the reel and the speed of the current.

I change from deep to shallow running Crankbaits based on what is happening when I retrieve them. If I’m constantly hitting the bottom I will just use a shallower running crankbait.

I like to use a lot of silver, gold, and black or minnow type colors but at times orange and chartreuse can be excellent colors.

Best Size Crankbaits For Trout

The best size Crankbait for most trout between 8 to 20 inches is 2 inches. I will drop down to Crankbaits of 1″ to 1.5 inches for smaller trout and I have done well with 4 to 5-inch Crankbaits for much bigger trout.

If I’m only trying to catch bigger trout of 16 inches and up, my go-to size is 3 to 4 inches long but I have taken some big trout over 25 inches on 6-inch lures.

Trusted and proven crankbaits like the Rapala Original and the Rapala Original floating are good options.

Strike King KVD 200 Jerkbait

A good crankbait that runs 4 to 7 feet and is in that perfect 4-inch length.

My Best Colors:

  • Carolina Chrome
  • Clown
  • Chartreuse Sexy Shad
  • Blue Digger
  • Sugar Daddy
  • Sexy Blue Back Herring
  • Pro Gold

Check Prices

Rapala Tail Dancer is a good lure for steelhead
Rapala Tail Dancer

Rapala Tail Dancer

Get deeper with this Rapala that runs 9 to 15 feet. I like the 2 3/4 and the 3.5-inch sizes.

My Best Colors

  • Silver
  • Shad
  • Perch
  • Hot Chub
  • Blue

Check Prices

 YoZuri 3DB Crankbait For Trout and Steelhead

Yo-Zuri 3DB Deep Crank Floating Diver Lure

A short fat model crankbait from Yo-Zuri that runs 4 to 8 feet.

My Best Colors

  • Natural Blue Gill
  • Gizzard Shad
  • Green Shad
  • Prism Chartreuse Perch
  • Sexy Shad
  • Blue Back Chartreuse

Check Prices

Kwikfish And Flatfish

Mini Kwikfish are one of the best trout lures for spring

The Kwikfish lure is one of my all-time favorite lures when the water is cold and the fish are reluctant to hit other baits. This lure has a slow enticing wobble that will get the trout’s attention. For trout, I like to use sizes from 2 inches to 4 inches.

In early spring when the water is still very cold the Kwikfish is often one of the best trout lures for spring fishing.

I have done well with so many colors but my go-to colors for trout are silvers, whites, blacks, and dark green. You can check this lure and its many colors out at FishUSA.com.

The Flatfish is an almost identical lure that you can see at FishUSA.

With the Flatfish and the Kwikfish, I prefer a very slow straight retrieve and I let the current work the bait.

This lure can be used for more aggressive trout in warmer conditions but it’s not designed to work at fast retrieve speeds so using it to cover water searching for active fish is not great.

This is a Kwikfish lure for trout, steelhead, and salmon


My favorite plug for river fishing in slow to medium speed currents.

This plug is best casted across and allowed to swing across the pool with an extremely slow retrieve or no reeling at all.

The current will give this plenty of action.

Best Colors:

  • Black-Holo Glitter
  • Blazing Green UV
  • Bubba
  • Blazing Red UV
  • Fickle Pickle
  • Gold
  • Silver
Flatfish lure for trout, steelhead, and salmon


The Flatfish is almost identical to the Kwikfish and works fished the same way and in all the same colors.

Yakima Maglip plus for trout, steelhead, and salmon

Yakima Bait Mag Lip

The Mag Lip is known as a trolling lure but this lure works well in slower current rivers with a very slow retrieve.

Often, just casting it across and letting it just swing across the river is the best way to use it.

Best Colors:

  • Balck Silver Flake
  • Keeper
  • Bleeding Fire Tiger
  • Canada Craw
  • Metallic Siver Orange Pirate

There are many more great colors to choose from

Jigs For Spring Trout

Jigs are one of the best trout lures
Jigs like this creature type jig can be an excellent trout bait.

Jigs can be an amazingly effective lure for trout and are one of the best trout lures for spring fishing.

I have done well with 1/4oz jigs that are 2 to 4 inches long. I drag them slowly across the bottom for a foot or two then hop it off the bottom about a foot or 2.

A 1 to 2-foot lift of the rod tip and then let it sink with a tight line is a great way to catch spring trout.

White and black marabou jigs are my go-to colors and I have done well with the 1/4 oz Hawken Marabou Series AeroJig.

Creature-type jigs are also a great option and I have done well with the Dirty Jigs Finesse Football Jig.

Got A Question About The Best Trout Lures For Spring Fishing

If you have a question, comment or a tip about the best trout lures for spring fishing let me know in the comments section below.

Tight Lines


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *