Best Trout Lures For Lakes And Rivers

catch trout with lures

Is there anything better than watching a big trout take a bite out of a well positioned lure?

 I was always a traditional trout fisherman, catching trout with worms on a float for deeper waters and lakes or a wet or dry fly for fishing rivers and streams.

That was until I discovered lure fishing. I had always though of this method of trout fishing as cheating because I wanted to present a natural looking bait to catch the fish.

best trout lures

I fished a river many years ago in Ireland where live trout bait was banned - I had always considered maggots the best bait for trout - so in this instance only Fly or Lures were available to me. Weather was off so fly wasn't going to cut it. Out came a brand new lure straight out of the packet.

Had a few casts to figure out how to fish the trout lure and about 6 casts in this monster hit the lure and nearly ripped the rod out of my hands. The next 20 mins or so were spent coaxing the monster Rainbow Trout onto the river bank.

That was it - I was hooked. Literally...

When you start looking for lures for trout you will notice there are far too many options. As a novice you want to know a few go to lures the experts use. This gives you the best chance to hook up first time out and fill your bag.

What we wanted to do today was point out our top trout lures that we use and give you some info on how to fish them. 

Best Lures for Spinning | Our Top 3.

Here are out top three all round trout lures we use catch some monsters

Mepps Aglia Plain Trout Fishing Lure Pocket Pack
South Bend Sporting Goods - Sports
Panther Martin Best of the Best Kit.
Panther Martin - Sports
$23.13 - $3.14 $19.99

Fishing For Trout With Spinners

Using spinners for trout is in our opinion the most effective way to fill your fishing bag with fish. Fished upstream these small trout lures are great for coaxing trout out of their hiding places. 

Fish them anywhere

Trout spinning lures can be fished in small shallow streams, river of any size and even lakes. The Panther Martin is one of the best lures for streams and can be fished in shallow fast moving water.

When fishing rivers we fish them upstream and diagonally from the bank and draw the lure in at a steady pace. It will take a bit of getting used to but once you get it right that's it. Not sure what it is about these lures but the trout cannot resist them.

Drop one in front of a large rock or clump of weed in a river, start reeling and watch the trout come out from their hiding place and literally launch at the spinner. Once you hook up it's game on.

The key with spinning for trout is to keep moving. Don't fish the same spot for too long and as always the first cast is the most important one - especially if you are fishing a remote river where the fish may not have seen spinner baits before.​

Fished on fairly light tackle this is trout fishing at it's very best.

Here is a great video on spinning for trout with lures. 

A great take-away from this video is the point about barbed hooks and what you should do to the hook before you start fishing - especially if you are practicing catch and release.

In case you missed it you should flatten the barbs on your hooks with a pliers so they can be removed more easily from the fish. Remember though to keep plenty of tension on the line when you reel in the fish or it may slip off.

If you are fishing deeper water then one of the best lures for lakes has to be the Panther Martin Spinner. You can troll with this lure or fish from the shore if suitable.

For trolling this trout lure you may want to use a three way swivel ​setup with a weighted bottom line to get the lure down quick enough or maybe use a down rigger if they are in really deep water. 

If you are new to trout fishing and are looking for tips for river fishing and where to locate trout in a river you should check out this very handy infographic showing you when the fish hide.


Panther Martin | Best Of The Best

Great all round lure set for trout in rivers lakes and streams. 

Fish them in shallow waters or in deeper sections and watch the trout snap them up.

best trout lures

Trout Lures For Small Streams

Fishing small streams for trout is great sport and can be one of the most enjoyable fishing experiences out there. The thrill of the hunt in very shallow water and overgrown banks make this tough but very rewarding when you get a fish on.

Trout that live in these small waterways are very shy, usually hide under or around fallen logs or weed beds and are tough to catch.

If you have enough room to fire a spinner or lure into the stream then something like the Mepps Aglia or a brown or gold Panther Martin will serve you well.​ In our opinion the Panther Martin is by far the best spinner for trout by a country mile. 

The trick to fishing streams with lures is to control the depth of the lure with the rod tip. Some of the best trout baits tend to run deep in the water but by lifting the rod tip you​ can adjust the height of the lure track in the water. This is ideal if you are fishing shallow streams.

When it comes to rod selection for small streams you won't want anything bigger than a 5 ft rod because you may have to trek through heavy undergrowth to get to your fishing spot. Ideally if you get yourself a decent telescopic rod you can store it in your pack and away you go.

Line selection is pretty straight forward. Keep it around 4 - 6lb mono as these fish will be very line shy especially if the water is clear - which is the norm in faster running streams unless they are in flood.​

Best Times To Fish For Trout

Early morning and the hours before dark are the most productive for trout fishing but you can catch trout throughout the day - depending on conditions. Color size and pattern all come into play as well so make sure you have a few options available on the day. You might have a great day's fishing on one particular lure and trhe next time you go out might not even get a bite. Change lures often if this happens and keep moving up and down the river.

A hungry trout will take a well placed lure at any time of the day.

Fly fishing for trout in the evening during a good hatch on the river is great sport too and if you are fishing a dry fly it can be one of the most visual and rewarding ways to catch trout.​

lure fishing in the morning for trout

Best Color Lure To Use For Trout In Muddy Water

There are many options when it comes to the color of your lures and a lot will depend on fishing conditions. Bright lures from the Mepps range are great for fishing muddy waters after a flood. 

If the current is really strong you might have to fish a larger spoon to keep the lure in the flow.

Fish will tend to move out from their normal hiding place when the water is high. This actually makes it easier to catch them sometimes because you can tell where they are hiding out by reading the river.

Let you lure drift across and around obstacles in the water like rocks etc because that's where the fish are going to be hiding. The water flow is a lot less work for the fish and your lure will sail past and present itself the same way as natural bait does in high water.

HD Trout by Dynamic Lures

If you are looking for something a bit different than your standard spinning type lure then you should definitely check out the HD Trout by Dynamic Lures. This lure is an awesome addition to any tackle bag - regardless of your target fish.

You can target  Trout, Large and Small Mouth Bass, Pike, Walleye, Perch, Crappie, Steelhead, and any fish that feeds on smaller baitfish in their natural habitat. 

hd trout lure by dynamic lures

These crankbaits can be fished in any water conditions as well which is what makes them so versatile. Fast running water or a calm lake - doesn't matter if you fish this high action lure.

Fishing these lures without a snap swivel gives the best action. Just tie it to the end of your line for maximum response time and greater control.

Fish with  medium/light gear and a slow retrieve rate to allow the lures to swim through the water.

Aim for cover if possible when you cast this fish magnet into the water and wait for your personal best fish to strike.

Rapala Original Floating Minnow

The Rapala Floating Minnow has been found in tackle bags the world over for quite some time now, and for a very good reason. This lure can be fished in any number of ways and conditions.

rapala original floating minnow

The Rapala original floating minnow

Twitch it across the surface to temp fish from the depths leading to some great high action fishing.

Fish it as a shallow running lure with a slow retrieve to nab fish high in the water column.

Weight it down a bit with a split shot or hang it off a three way swivel and fish it off the bottom.

Th unique 'injured fish' action of this lure is what catches so many fish. Why not pick one up here and give it a go the next time you are out fishing for trout or Rainbow trout.

Acme Kastmaster

The silver Acme Kastmaster lure is another mush have for your tackle bag. These lures fly off the reel and you will be amazed at how far you can cast one of mediocre gear.

You will also be amazed at how many fish you catch with one on the end of your line. Great for brown and rainbow trout, smallmouth bass and a variety of other fish will take this lure.​

acme kastmaster trout lure

Silver / blue acme kastmaster

There are many different types of lures available for trout. From spinning lures to realistic shallow and deep diving  lures. For me the best lures in my tackle bag are the traditional mepps style lures and when fishing is off these are my go to lures.

As a beginner you might want to practice casting and retrieving a bit in a weedless lake or pond.

One thing that hampered me at the start was I was reeling in the lure too slowly and because of this the lure was not spinning in the water. Once I copped on to this things got much better very quickly.

Tying a lure to fishing line

Anther thing you need to consider is the knot you use to attach the lure to you line.

A normal 'granny' knot is not appropriate here because you will end up twisting your line. You wont notice this straight away but after a days fishing your line will start to tangle and unravel straight off the spool as you cast.

Our favorite knot is the Rapala knot. This knot gives your lure plenty of freedom to move about on the line and mimic more of a natural swimming action in the water.

If you are using a mepps lure then I suggest you attach a small lightweight swivel to the line first. This removes the line twisting action and lets the lure run true in the water.

tying lure onto line

So thats our review of the Best Trout Lures available today. Easy to fish with and you can travel very light so ideal if you are hiking into a secluded river system.

Have you a favourite Lure you can't leave home without and works for you every time? Lets us know below in the comments.​

8 replies
    • Rod Reel
      Rod Reel says:

      Hi Terese,

      Lure selection depends on where on a lake you are fishing. If you are fishing from the bank and need to cast out a fair distance you are ging to need something with a bit of weight behind it. For this I would use something like the Kastmaster. It will give you great casting distance so you can reach the trout sitting out in deeper water, plus with the added weight it will sink fast to get down to the fish.

      I have also had great success with anything from the mepps trout lure family. These are a great all rounder for catching trout – in both rivers and lakes.

      Best of luck.


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  1. […] pretty much the standard now. I have trays loaded up with tackle and a selection of bass lures or trout lures that I switch around, depending on the fish I am […]

  2. […] There is variety of types, sizes, and colors to choose from often leaving the average angler digging deeper into their wallets to find the perfect combination. If you prefer normal lure fishing check out our page on the best trout lures […]

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