7 Best Trout Lures Used By Top Trout Guides In 2024

Lures for trout fishing after rain
This is an assortment of the author’s favorite lures he uses to catch trout.

As a trout guide with a team of guides, we have over 20 years of experience putting some of the best trout lures to the test in real trout fishing situations and under almost every condition and type of water imaginable.

Let me be brutally honest about lures. Based on 37 years of fishing for trout, I am confident that just about any lure in the right size and color could catch trout if you use it long enough and you get lucky.

However, some lures are better at triggering a strike response in the trout because of things like movement, vibrations, and flashes.

Some lures may attract the attention of 10% of the trout, while other lures will attract the attention of 80% of the trout. I have tested this many times by casting various lures to trout that I can see and watching how they react to each lure.

This is why I only use select lures and ignore most other lures.

The best lures for trout include:

  • Spinners – Provide flash and vibration, which trigger a strike response. I have ways to make this lure even more effective.
  • Spoons – These have a great action and flash that resembles a swimming baitfish.
  • Crankbaits – They look like baitfish, they move like baitfish, and some have a good vibration or rattle that attracts more fish.
  • Plugs – A good lure when a slow moving lure with lots of action is required.
  • Jigs – A versatile lure that works very well and can be fished slow or fast.
  • Plastics – There is a lot of variety in plastic lures, so these can be very effective.

These lure types can cover all the different water types and conditions. Sizing and colors are also important factors when choosing the right lure for trout fishing.

I will tell you my most effective colors and sizes and even give you some guide tips on how and when to use these lures so they are even more effective for you.

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Table Of Contents hide

Our Best Trout Lure Quick Picks

  • Best Lure For Wild Trout: Rapala X-Rap
  • Best Lure For Stocked Trout: Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Spinner
  • Best Lure For Winter: Kwikfish X-Treme
  • Best Lure For Trolling: Dreamweaver DW Spoon
  • Best Lure For Deep Fish: Hawken Marabou AeroJig
  • Best Lure For Brook Trout: Thomas Colorado Spoon
  • Best Lure For Big Trout In Rivers: VMC Twitchin’ Jig

To maximize the amount of trout I catch with lures, I choose my lure type, the size, , and the color, based on the conditions. This increases my chance of catching trout by ten times. I discuss how I chose my lures below.

The Best Trout Lures That Are Used By Guides

Best lures for trout catch big trout like this brown trout
The author used the right lure to catch this big trout from a local stream.

Jigs and Tube Jigs

Jigs are a type of lure that is very effective for trout when you want a slower presentation and when trout are deep. They are also very good as a subtle presentation to attract trout.

Quick Pick Jig List

  1. Hawken Marabou Series AeroJigs
  2. VMC Twitchin’ Jig
  3. Berkley PowerBait The Champ Swimmer Soft Bait
  4. Storm 360GT Searchbait Jig Heads
  5. Leland’s Lures Trout Magnet
  6. Tube and Tube Jigs

My favorite Jigs are:

1. Hawken Marabou Series AeroJigs

Hawken Marabou Series AeroJigs are good jigs for salmon

The Hawkens Aerojig is a jig that top trout and steelhead guides use. It is known for its trout and steelhead jig pattern called the “Nightmare Jig.”

The reason this is my top trout jig is that the smaller versions can be fished under a float, while the larger versions are great for casting and twitching.

Best Colors: Black and black and red combos, White, Yellow/Chartreuse. Size: 1/4 oz

2. VMC Twitchin’ Jig

VMC Twitching Jig for steelhead, salmon, and trout

When it comes to a jig for the biggest trout in the river, this is my go-to jig. It’s meant to be cast, twitched, ripped, and jigged. I’ll even crawl it along the bottom with very good results.

The big eye is a trigger for big predatory trout to hit it! The longer rabbit hair fur and long tail combined with the tinsel fibers, flashabou, and silicone strands give this jig a ton of movement that will catch trout.

For big trout, this is my go-to jig. Best Colors: Black, Black/Purple, Black/Blue, White, Yellow, Chartreuse, and Orange. Size: 3/8oz and 1/2oz

3. Twister Tails and Paddle Tails

A big trout caught on a jig.
A large brown trout caught on a paddle tail jig by our contributing photographers Matt and Ryan from ne_ohio_anglers.

The twister tail is one of those soft plastics that has been around forever, and it catches just about every freshwater fish species, including trout.

The paddle tail grub is another great tail to add to any jig head and is effective at catching trout.

Try these paddle tail grubs Keitech Fat Swing Impact Shad and add these tails to a good jig head like the Z-Man Finesse EyeZ Jig Heads or a plain head like the Northland Gum-Ball Jig Head

For my best trout combo paddle tail rig, try the Berkley PowerBait The Champ Swimmer Soft Bait and combine it with the Storm 360GT Searchbait Jig Heads.

4. Leland’s Lures Trout Magnet

This is Leland's Lures Trout Magnet, showing two versions of the tail and the gold jig head.
This is Leland’s Lures Trout Magnet, showing two versions of the tail and the gold jig head.

Trout Magnet jig and hook combo that can be used under a small float or cast out and twitched or jigged along the bottom. It gets good ratings as a jig for brook trout, rainbow trout, and stocked trout.

However, I think this is an overrated lure, and I don’t use it for wild, larger trout simply because there are more effective lures.

5. Tube and Tube Jigs

These are the Berkley PowerBait Pre-Rigged Atomic Teasers, which are my favorite small tube jigs for trout.
These are the Berkley PowerBait Pre-Rigged Atomic Teasers, which are my favorite small tube jigs for trout.

Not often thought about for trout, but soft plastics like tubes or tube jigs in natural colors, combined with a light fluorocarbon leader, are very effective for big fish.

GUIDE TIP: I use a very light line, or I will use a fluorocarbon leader to prevent line-shy trout from seeing the line when using slow-moving jigs or lures. I will also add scent to slower lures like jigs and tube jigs. Try a scent like Pro-Cure Super Gel or Pro-Cure Bait Oil.

In-Line Spinners For Trout

When it comes to favorite lures of trout anglers, in-line spinners are likely the most popular lure for trout. The spinning blade creates a flash and vibration that attracts all trout, and it is very easy to use.

My List Of The Best Spinners For Trout


  1. Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Spinner
  2. Blue Fox Vibrax Bullet Fly Spinner
  3. Blue Fox Flash Spinners
  4. Panther Martin Classic Regular Series Spinners
  5. Panther Martin Hammered Spinners
  6. Blue Fox Vibrax Bullet Fly Spinner
  7. Mepp’s Aglia Spinner
  8. Joe’s Flies Short Striker Classic Spinner

1. Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner

Classic Vibrax Spinner
Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Spinner

There are two blue fox spinners every trout angler should have. The Blue Fox Classic Vibrax Spinner is my go-to spinner for trout.

It has a wider blade with a unique bell-shaped body that creates a lot more vibration than other spinners.

Best Spinner Sizes: A number 1 and 2 blade is good for small trout and sizes 3 to 5 are best for big trout.

Best Spinner Colors: Silver, Gold, Copper, Black, Chartreuse, and Orange.

Shallow and/or Slower: I use the Classic Spinner with the wider blade for a slower presentation or when I want the spinner to ride higher in the water column.

Deeper and Faster: The thinner blade and extra weight of the Blue Fox Flash Spinners are great for faster retrieves and for getting more depth.

2. Panther Martin

Panther Martin Spinner
Panther Martin Spinner

The Panther Martin Spinner has a very different blade and looks compared to other spinners, but Panther Martin spinners are one of the most effective spinners for trout. I recommend the Panther Martin Classic Regular Series Spinners and the Panther Martin Hammered Spinners.

A similar blade to the Panther Martin but with more vibration is the Blue Fox Vibrax Bullet Fly Spinner.

3. Mepps Aglia

Mepps Aglia Spinner
Mepps Aglia Spinner

Mepps is a classic and they have a few great versions that are effective for trout. Try the traditional Mepps Plain Aglia Spinners or the Mepps Black Fury Spinners for slower and shallower presentations. For a faster and deeper presentation, try the Mepps Aglia Long Spinners.

4. Joe’s Flies Short Striker Classic Spinner and Joe’s Flies Super Striker Spinner

This is Joe's Flies Short Striker Classic Spinner.

Joe’s Flies Spinners are unique inline spinners with a single hook, and a treble hook, and a trailing fly. This is an in-line spinner that many anglers swear by.

Check out my in-depth tactics and tips for Spinner fishing for trout.

Spoons For Trout

A book trout with a spinner in its mouth

Spoons are great for big and small trout, but be careful which ones you buy because some are better for casting, while others are only good for trolling.

My list is not in order of best to least. Each spoon serves a different purpose and should be used for those purposes.

Best Spoon Sizes: 1″ and 2″ spoons are great for smaller trout, and sizes 3″ to 5″ are what I use for big trout.

Best Spoon Colors: Silver, Gold, Copper, Black, Chartreuse, and Orange are my go-to colors.

Best Spoons For Trout List

  1. Luhr Jensen Krocodile Spoons
  2. ACME Tackle Little Cleo
  3. Thomas Colorado Spoon
  4. Thomas Buoyant Spoons
  5. Dreamweaver DW Spoon
  6. Michigan Stinger Stingray Spoon
  7. Mepps Little Wolf Spoon

1. Luhr Jensen Krocodile Spoons

Krocodile Spoon
Krocodile Spoon

Best Slender Long-Body Spoon: The Krocodile spoon is my favorite long-body spoon for casting rivers and lakes, and it works for trolling.

There are times when a slender-bodied spoon will outperform other spoons.

A similar and close second is the Mepps Syclops Spoons.

2. Acme Tackle Little Cleo Spoon

The Little Cleo Spoon
The Little Cleo Spoon

Best Casting Spoon: The Little Cleo has been my favorite casting spoon for twenty years, and judging by the positive reviews, it’s a favorite of many anglers. It is a heavier spoon, so it casts far and it will get deep so it’s not great on smaller rivers, however, it works great in lakes and for larger streams.

3. Thomas Colorado Spoon

Thomas Colorado Spoon
Thomas Colorado Spoon

Best Small Streams Spoon and Slow Presentation Spoon: This is my go-to spoon for small streams, shallower water, and when I need a slower presentation to get the trout to bite. It has a great side-to-side wobble even when slowly retrieved.

A very popular and highly rated close second is the Thomas Buoyant Spoons, which I suggest you have a few in your box.

4. Dreamweaver DW Spoon and Moonshine Spoons

This is the Moonshine Lures glow frog color which is one of the best trolling spoons for salmon fishing.
This is the Moonshine Lures glow frog color which is one of the best trolling spoons for salmon fishing.

Best Trolling Spoons: The Dreamweaver spoon and the Moonshine spoons are proven trolling spoons around the Great Lakes and are used by many guides for trout, salmon, and steelhead. It is a flutter spoon and has great action when trolled, but it does not cast well and doesn’t work well in strong currents because it is too light.

Similar spoons are the Michigan Stinger Stingray Spoon. Bright colors with metallic flash are my most effective colors.

5. Mepps Little Wolf Spoon

Mepps Little Wolf Spoon
Mepps Little Wolf Spoon

Tiny Spoon: The Little Wolf Spoon is a small spoon that gets good reviews and is recommended by others, and although it does work for trout fishing, I believe the Thomas Colorado Spoon is a more productive spoon for me and my clients.

For details on how to fish spoons effectively. See my article Spoon Fishing For Trout.

Crankbaits, Jerk Baits, Stickbaits

Crank baits are great summer trout lures
A few of the lures I pulled out of my tackle box for this article. They all work!!

Crankbaits are my favorite type of lure when I want to catch big trout in a river or lake. To take advantage of trout feeding behavior, I will use my crankbait with a jerking twitching motion most of the time. However, a straight retrieve can get you some strikes.

With two or three treble hooks, the hooking percentage is high.

A crankbait imitates natural bait like a small minnow, sculpin, and other baitfish very well, which is why large trout prefer crankbaits over other lures.

A brown trout with a crankbait lures in its mouth.
Although spinners are the preferred lure for most anglers, when it comes to big trout, I prefer a crankbait.

Some crankbaits with shallow lips do not work well in faster currents and will wobble up-and-out of the water or skim across the surface.

For faster currents, medium-lip and deep-lip crankbaits will stay down and wobble more at slower speeds, and they are the best lures for trout in faster currents.

An effective method with the crawfish-colored deep lip crankbaits is to purposely bump the deep lip crankbaits off the rocks and then let them rise a foot or two and then repeat. This is an easy meal and works great for big browns, especially on larger rivers.

A big brown trout caught on a crankbait lure.
Eli from SBS Outdoor Action with a nice brown trout caught on a big crankbait. Watch the video by clicking the link.

Action and Retrieve: The jerk-twitch-pause repeat mimics an injured or struggling baitfish, which in my opinion and proven in the bass world, this type of retrieve catches more fish.

Best Sizes: For smaller brookies or trout, 1 to 2-inch lures will work, but for the big trout, 3 to 5-inch ones work best.

Best Colors: Color patterns will vary depending on light conditions and water clarity.

Crankbaits/Stickbaits/Jerkbaits List

  1. Rapala Original Floating Minnow
  2. Rapala Shad Rap
  3. Rapala Husky Jerk
  4. Rapala X-Rap
  5. Rebel Minnow
  6. Smithwick Suspending Rattling Rogue
  7. Rebel Wee Crawfish
  8. Brads Wiggler
  9. Luhr Jensen Kwikfish X-Treme
  10. Strike King KVD – Bonus Lure

1. Rapala Original Floater

It’s without question that Rapala’s original floater has caught a ton of trout over the years, and this classic lure still works well today for trolling, casting, and river fishing streams.

The Original Rapala is good for shallow water or fishing higher in the water column and in slower currents.

2. Rapala Shad Rap: Best Deep Water and Fast Current

When I need to get my crankbait down deeper or when I’m fishing faster currents, I prefer to use the Rapala Shad Rap, which wobbles and stays down with just the use of the current. You can cast this across current, and let it swing or twitch and rip it. The big lip keeps the lure down.

3. Rapala Husky Jerk

Don’t tell anyone, but I catch tens-times more trout if I twitch and jerk my lures versus using a straight retrieve, and so do pro tournament anglers and other guides.

Therefore a lure I use a lot is the Rapala Husky Jerk which is one of my most effective twitch style jerk baits.

The Tennessee shad color is my favorite for trout in clear water. Silver, Olive Ghost, Juicy Lucy, Glass Minnow, Clown, and Helsinki Shad are good colors for me.

4. Rebel Minnow: Best Small Crankbait

Lures in small sizes are ideal for most trout. Since this lure ranges from about 1.5″ to 3.5 inches, it’s a good small lure for shallow streams, lakes, and ponds. It’s a floating crankbait that can be retrieved steadily or twitched and paused. There are limited color choices, but the colors it comes in are all good.

5. Smithwick Suspending Rattlin Rogue: Suspending Lures

I’ve mentioned I like the twitch-and-jerk type lures, but this one suspends, which means you can twitch and then pause it right in the trout’s face, which will often drive them crazy.

I prefer this on larger water and especially lakes.

6. Rapala X-Rap

Rapala X-Rap crankbait
Rapala X-Rap crankbait

A suspending lure that I prefer more than the Smithwick is the Rapala X-Rap. The Xrap has a nicer finish and works well in rivers when you want a slash-and-twitch action that will entice more bites. For me, this is a more effective suspending crankbait.

7. Rebel Teeny Wee-Crawfish Vs. Brads Wiggler

the Rebel Teeny Wee-Crawfish

A popular mini-crank bait that imitates a crawfish and is good for trout of all sizes is the Rebel Teeny Wee-Crawfish and the Rebel Wee Crawfish.

Although it works, I’m not a super big fan of it.

I’ve done better with lures like 2 1/4″ Brad’s Wiggler in the Natural Crawfish color.

8. Luhr Jensen Kwikfish X-Treme and FlatFish

Flatfish lure for trout, steelhead, and salmon

Considered by many as a plug, the Kwikfish and Flatfish lures are almost identical in shape and how they work. This is my go-to swim lure when the trout are inactive or when fishing trout in the winter because it has a very enticing wobble at a very slow speed.

It does not dive deep, so a low rod tip and the addition of a split shot a foot or two up the line might be required. The 2 to 4-inch range is best.

Check out my Crankbait Fishing For Trout page for in-depth information on how to effectively cover the water, get the right depth, and my most effective presentation methods for crankbaits.

How To Choose The Right Lure

Choosing the best lures for trout based on the conditions will improve your results.

Lure selection doesn’t need to be confusing, but in my experience, putting on any old lure without thinking about the conditions can be a big mistake, resulting in fewer or no trout.

I decide on what lure I put on my client’s line based on:

  • Water Type – Lake or river, current speed or no current.
  • Water Conditions – Water clarity and depth can determine which lure will work best.
  • Water Temps – I will use different lues in cold water versus perfect water temps.
  • Fish Activity Levels – When the fish are active, I use lures that cover more water faster. When they are less active, slower lures are better.
  • Fishing methods (trolling or casting): The fishing method you choose to use can also dictate the best lures to use. Trolling and casting are good options, but not all lures troll well or troll the deeper water column well.

Improve Lure Effectiveness

There are I do with my lures to make them more effective. I discuss all of this in my article Lure Fishing For Trout: A Complete Guide.

Common Questions About Lure Uses For Trout

What colors are best for trout?

brightly colored spoons like these 4 spoons are some of the best lures for trout

Natural colors are great for fooling trout, but at times, bright-shiny flashy colors will work equally well or even better. My go-to colors are black, silver, white, yellow, olive, and minnow or shad patterns.

What Are The Best Lures For Rivers?

The best lures for rivers are lightweight spinners, spoons, deep-diving crankbaits, or plugs like the Kwickfish. Jigs can also be a very effective lure for river trout. My most effective lure for rivers is the 3 to 4-inch Rapala X-Rap.

What Are The Best Lures For Trout Ponds?

The best lures for ponds are heavy spoons designed for casting far, but spinners and crankbaits are great for fishing high in the water column, and jigs are good for fishing deep and on the bottom.

What Are The BestLures For Lakes

The best lures for lakes are heavy-casting spoons like the Luhr Jensen Krocodile Spoons, as well as larger spinners, and 3 to 5-inch deep-lip crankbaits are also very productive for getting deeper trout.

What Are The Best Lures For Trolling Trout

The best lures for trolling are flutter spoons and crankbaits with shallow or deep diving lips to get to different depths where the trout are feeding.

What Are The Best Lures For Stocked Trout

The best lures for stocked trout are slower-moving lures like jigs, wide-blade spinners that are retrieved in a straight line, spoons, and crankbaits.

What Is The Best Lure Sizes For Trout

The lure size you use will depend on the size of the fish. For small trout a 1 to 2.5-inch lure is good but for big trout a 3 to 5-inch lure is best.

What Is The Best Replacement Hook For Lures?

Most lures come with a hook that is balanced and is the right size for the lure. If you need to replace your hook, be sure to use the same size treble hooks that the lure came with. Use a high-quality hook brand.

Can I use the lures in this article anywhere?

Yes, the lures in this article will work anywhere around the world and anywhere that the law permits. In some areas, single hooks are required, so some of these lures are not legal, or you need to remove the appropriate amount of hooks.

Final Thoughts

Head Guide Graham From Trout and Steelhead .net
The author and head guide Graham with huge brown trout caught on a small lure.

The key is being able to change and adapt, which means changing lure size, color, and even type of lure to determine when the trout actually wants.

If you have any questions or comments or have a great lure you would like to recommend, let us know in the comments section below.

Tight Lines,




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