15 Best Trout Lures: The Ultimate List (2019)

Chasing trout never gets old, but your tackle box does. We’ve come up with a list of the best trout lures so you can ensure your tackle arsenal is up to speed and fully stocked this season.

Catching trout is often all about having a variety of tackle. All species of salmonids are known to be picky and oftentimes hyper-specific eaters. Sometimes the fish simply want one thing, and one thing only and if you don’t have it on hand, see ya next time! No matter how dialed in you think you might be, experimenting with different trout lures is one of the best ways to hone in on the best bite!

Our top list combines some age-old classic trout slayers with some newer tackle options you may or may not be familiar with. There are brilliant options here for both still water and streams as well as for every species of trout – think hard about where you fish and how the trout there typically feed, and stock up!

Tight lines from all of us here at Heavy!

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    • Great castability
    • Very inexpensive
    • Single treble is easy to unhook
    • Wide array of color patterns and sizes

    Sometimes nothing beats a classic Mepp’s spinner. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and for good reason – trout have been smashing these simple, single treble-hooked lures for as long as they’ve been around. They take up very little space in a tackle box, cast well, only involve one treble hook and best of all, they’re dirt cheap!

    I love tossing a Mepp’s for almost any trout fishing context. You can really control how you fish this lure allowing you to target fish in both deep and shallow still water. A faster, jerky retrieve keeps the spinner on top and can excite more aggressive fish to strike. A long pause after casting allows the spinner to get down in the water column to then be retrieved fast, or slowly. 

    This lure is furthermore quite dense and therefore casts well. A larger sized Mepp’s can be absolutely heaved into the hot-zone if you’re a wade or shore fisherman trying to reach the fish.

    I’ve had great success swinging spinners in moving water as well. The same rules apply more or less – faster retrieves to skirt across the stream surface and tease fish out of hiding, or a pause after casting and slower retrieve in order to ‘tumble’ the spinner along the stream bed and potentially bring it right past a big trout snout.

    This is a great go-to lure to defer to when the fishing is slow, as with many things in the angling world, simple is often better.

    There’s a wide array of color options and sizes available – try fishing with a variety of spinners and see what patterns yield the most bites in your home water. Sometimes when the trout are picky as all hell, it’s worth tossing the smallest, least intimidating item in your tackle box. A 1/8 ounce or 1/12 ounce Mepp’s is a deadly tool in this context. 

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    • Casts well
    • Irresistible ‘twitch and slash’ action is great for exciting actively feeding fish
    • Targets a wide variety of species – not just trout
    • Can be fished in a variety of styles/depths 
    • Great array of color patterns available

    Here’s my go-to trout slammer. The erratic and aggressive swim pattern of the X-Rap always seems to yield a lot of bites across the species board. This lure is fishy, and I mean FISHY. 

    This is a 2 1/2 inch long jerkbait that runs from three to eight feet deep. You can keep it on the surface with a slow retrieve, or dig a bit deeper into the water column with a medium to fast retrieve. However deep I fish an X-Rap, I always like to really give it some action with tight, fast jerks. This lure has a very darty, slashy action when twitched that’s irresistible to actively feeding fish.

    One thing I love about the X-Rap is that I catch everything with it – not just trout. It’s perhaps the most versatile lure in my arsenal and sees action almost every time I fish.

    I’ve had the most success fishing my local lakes and ponds with the rainbow trout pattern pictured, but make sure to carefully consider the bait and potential prey items in the water bodies you’ll be fishing. It’s all about the action with this bad boy, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find differences in trout appetite between a perch and a shiner pattern depending on where you’re fishing!  

    The variety of color patterns and the ability to fish this lure slow, fast, twitchy or slashy makes the X-Rap one of the best ‘experimental lures’ you can toss in order to dial in on the trout bite! 

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    • Excellent casting range
    • Single treble is easy to unhook
    • Can be fished effectively at a variety of speeds/depths
    • Wide variety of sizes and color patterns available

    You gotta love the trusty Kastmaster by Acme. This is another age-old classic that absolutely smashes trout. If you’re a shore or wade fishermen who struggles to reach the fish, you’ll LOVE the casting range of this lure. Even the smaller sized Kastmasters are built thick and dense so they really fly! It’s an excellent way to fish smaller sized, less intimidating tackle when the trout are shy without having to sacrifice casting distance. 

    The Kastmaster is a super simple lure design, and almost surprisingly effective at getting fish to bite – but we won’t ask why! The heavier weight and the inherent shape of this lure sinks like a stone, so it can be fished in a variety of styles. I’ve found success by letting the Kastmaster drop and almost jigging it back in with an emphasis on making the lure rise and fall dramatically in the water column.  A regular, medium-fast retrieve with some tight twitches also consistently gets the trout going.

    This lure is all about finding the right retrieve. I’ve witnessed groups of anglers on many occasions all fishing spoons and Kastmasters from shore, with only one guy catching fish. The key to that one angler’s success – finding what I like to call the “retrieve of the day”. Switch up the way you bring this lure back in until you get some action, and then stick to that! 

    There’s a wide array of sizes and color patterns available, but I always seem to do the best with a straightforward silver or gold, mid-sized Kastmaster. Good news is this is a cheap piece of tackle so you can grab a few different sizes and see what works best on your home water.   

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    • Good casting range
    • Fishes well in both moving water and still water
    • Targets an enormous spectrum of fish species (both fresh and saltwater)
    • Available in a wide variety of sizes and color patterns

    Does it get any more raw than an Al’s Goldfish? This has been a trusted piece of tackle for over 60 years that always seems to generate some action while trout fishing. Simple, effective and highly affordable, ya gotta love it!

    An Al’s Goldfish casts well due to its weight and shape, so this is another good shore fishing option for those trying to reach the hot zone. It’s a simple spoon with a unique, wobbly action that all species of trout seem to be intrigued by. Fish it fast, fish it slow, fish it high or fish it low – this is a great go-to lure when the action is hot or cold. 

    I’ve crushed native brook trout on many occasions with a smaller sized Al’s Goldfish by swinging it slowly downstream in moving water and then twitching it back upriver to me. I’ve also had great success fishing for both stocked and native trout in still water by implementing a medium-slow, steady retrieve. 

    I’ve only ever fished this lure in its classic gold color, but this ‘Living Lure’ series has introduced some attractive bait patterns that I’d expect to do well with. Personally, I love fishing the tiniest Al’s Goldfish available, trout seem really willing to take a smack at it when nothing else seems to interest them. Try using the smallest size you can cast effectively with and see if you have the same results!

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    • Suspending action is great for ‘stop and go’ retrieves
    • Great Casting range
    • Rattle chamber 
    • Excellent trolling option
    • Great option for targeting larger trout
    • Wide variety of color patterns available 

    Here’s a killer option for both casting and trolling. The Husky Jerk is a on the larger end of what you want to target trout with. This is a 2 1/2 inch long lure that will likely rule out trout in the smaller size classes (of course this is contextual to the trout behavior/tendencies where you fish) and provoke bites from the big boys. 

    What I love most about the Husky Jerk is that it’s a suspending, neutrally buoyant lure. This means when you stop your retrieve, it doesn’t float back to the surface or sink to the bottom – it stays right where it is. I’ve found major success trout fishing by stopping, and starting my retrieve with suspending lures. Oftentimes picky trout will follow your tackle all the way back to you without striking, even when you give your lure some sexy, twitching action. An abrupt stop, closely followed by an abrupt kick-start back into a medium or fast retrieve is oftentimes irresistible to even the most selective trout.

    As silly as this sounds, I like to imagine I’m playing with a house cat when I retrieve lures like this. How do you get a playful cat to pounce on a toy? You give it life by moving it, and then stop it – the cat then seizes the opportunity to strike. I know I know, fish are not house cats, but this principle has caught me a ton of fish!

    The Husky Jerk runs four to six feet deep, so keep in mind you’re not targeting fish on the bottom with this unit. There is a deep running version of this lure available also included in this list. 

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    • Hyper-realistic detail and great selection of color patterns
    • Laser sharp hooks
    • Good casting range
    • Rattle ball sound system

    Here’s a seriously sexy floating lure from top fishing outfitter, Yo-Zuri. The Crystal 3D Minnow is a big time trout slayer in the right context, don’t sleep on this one. This model is a larger (3 1/2 inch) floating minnow with a tight wiggling action and a shallow diving depth of two to three feet.

    This is definitely on the larger end of trout tackle, it will take either a larger sized or an inherently aggressive trout to smack this snack. I love fishing my Crystal 3D Minnow right as dusk turns to night. In my native Massachusetts, big brown trout consistently ERUPT on this lure when I fish it slowly in still water. Perhaps the lower visibility intices the fish to take a chance at the bigger sized bait – all I know is that this is an after dark slammer!

    There are smaller floating lure options within this list also for targeting trout higher up in the water column that you might have better luck with consistently. That being said, if you can get a trout to commit to this larger bait during any time of day or night, it’s bound to be a fun fight!

    One thing I love about Yo-Zuri is the hyper-realistic detail and color schemes of their lures. Maybe it’s overkill and meant to catch the eye of fishermen more so than fish, but the attention to details like fin rays, gill plates, eyes and scales certainly looks dam good. This brand also uses top-notch hooks for all their lures – be careful rigging up, these trebles are laser sharp!

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    • Excellent casting range for its size
    • Tight wobbling action is a great trolling and casting option
    • Dives just one to two feet 
    • Hyper-realistic detail and great long term durability
    • Top quality hooks 

    Ya gotta love the Pins Minnow by Yo-Zuri. This is a nasty little floating lure is offered in a wide array of sizing and color patterns. It only dives one to two feet, so this model is designed for targetting trout feeding on the surface. There is also a sinking version of the Pins Minnow if you like the aesthetic and action but want to reach the deep-dwellers.

    The tight wobbling action of this lure trolls well, so this is a solid option for laps around the lake. It’s also balanced for exceptional casting distance for its size – this lure flies! 

    As with almost all of Yo-Zuri’s tackle, the Pins Minnow has some hyper-realistic detail. This lure is seriously sexy. The ABS resin material and holographic foil finish furthermore hold up great in the long run against wear and tear. This lure is built to last.

    If you purchase any of the larger sized Pins Minnows, expect to catch a variety of freshwater species. All sizes also fish wonderfully in both moving and still water. This is another highly versatile lure option that excels in all sorts of angling contexts!

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    • Jointed body has an exaggerated “kick-tail” action
    • Deep Diver for targeting trout lower in the water column
    • Excellent trolling option
    • Rattle Chamber
    • Good option for targeting BIG trout

    Here’s a secret weapon for targetting the deep water trophies. This jointed, deep-running, suspending lure is one of my favorite models in Rapala’s lineup. I don’t break this one out all too often (for trout), but it’s a must-have for certain days on the water that yields BIG rewards.

    This Husky Jerk dives up to 8 feet, so this lure is best fished from a watercraft unless you’re shore casting out over a steep drop off. Like all other Husky Jerks, this is a great trolling lure that swims straight and steady at any speed. It’s also a suspending lure so it’s excellent for ‘stop and go’ style retrieves.

    The most deadly aspect to this particular model of Husky Jerk is the exaggerated “kick-tail” action. You can really swing the head of this lure left to right without much forward motion and even turn it around to face backward with a sharp snap. This action paired with the jointed body design really gives this lure the look of an injured baitfish.

    Superb quality hooks, a well designed rattle chamber and tough exterior built to last for many seasons, this is killer deep-trout option well worth the cost. A big sloppy meal for a big sloppy trout – don’t leave your rod unattended with this one!  

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    • Simple, classic, effective
    • Versatile lure that provokes strikes from all sorts of fish species
    • Great trolling option
    • Can be fished slowly on the surface, or rigged to reach deeper water

    This is perhaps the most typical trout lure out there, and for good reason. The Original Floating Lure from Rapala is the common denominator between just about every trout angler’s tackle box no matter what region of the world or target species. This lure produces.

    I personally love the 05 size for its snackability, it provokes strikes from big trout but also doesn’t intimidate the littler, feisty guys. This is a great go-to if you’re looking for action that is both easy and fun to fish with. The 05 size is 2 inches long, consider picking up a few size 07s as well ( 2.75 inches) for an option that will cast a bit further and call attention from the real big boys.

    Try fishing this lure at different retrieval speeds with and without twitching the minnow. I have a tendency to quickly retrieve surface lures like this and add in a bunch of pauses and snaps, but I often start getting smacked by trout when I force myself to slow my retrieve waaay down and minimize twitching. Remember, it’s all about experimenting with different retrieves (and lures) when trying to get dialed in.

    Although this is a floating lure, it dives up to five feet deep so make sure to fish it slowly when sneaking over shallow structure. It’s a great trolling option as well as casting option – try switching between this and deep running lures like the Rapala Husky Jerk to find where the fish are holding. 

    The balsa wood construction of this lure makes it quite lightweight so the smaller sizes don’t cast very far compared to a lot of other options – something to consider if you’re a shore fisherman. Look towards the Rapala X-Rap previously listed or some of Yo-Zuri’s floating lures for some options with a better casting range. 

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    • Tiny size is great for smaller streams and smaller trout
    • Great for targeting fish on the surface and at shallow depths 
    • Trolls well despite its size

    Here’s something tiny for the smaller streams and size class trout in your area. This is the same Rapala Original Floater previously mentioned, but just 1 1/2 inches long. If you like to chase smaller fish or the big boys in your local water refuse to feed on larger sized bait, this is a reliable and wise tool to have in your tackle box.

    Oftentimes tiny is best. Even enormous trout sometimes won’t commit to bait over two inches. You need some smaller sized options on hand to try using when your larger minnows get refused. This little guy also looks great darting through smaller creeks and streams and can pull hidden fish from cover.

    This model won’t cast very far at all due to it’s balsa wood construction and smaller size, so its best fished in narrow streams or from a watercraft. 

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    • Exciting and productive lure option when the trout are feeding topwater
    • Beautiful color patterns with superb attention to detail
    • Good casting range
    • Can be effectively fished in two different styles
    • Great bass lure making this a highly versatile lure

    So fishing a popper is not really a traditional trout tactic, but sometimes it’s brutally effective. When the fish are feeding topwater, there’s nothing more fun and exciting than getting a popper eat. Seeing a trout explode on your bait with your own eyes is exhilarating and one of the most rewarding feats in fishing (at least for myself).

    Yo-Zuri builds my favorite poppers. The attention to detail, durability of the hard body and quality of the hooks make this brand in my opinion the industry leader in freshwater poppers. The 3DB model is designed for maximum water displacement by combining the wide mouth with a ridged underbelly, this unit really moves water.

    A neat quality of this popper is that it can be effectively fished in two different styles. The standard ‘pop and stop’ method of using the mouth of the lure to slosh water, stop and repeat or the ‘walk the dog’ tactic in which you utilize a slow retrieve to wobble the head back and forth. 

    Keep in mind this is a large lure at three inches long, consider the 3DS Popper also by Yo-Zuri for a slightly smaller option at about 2 1/2 inches. Try fishing topwater to trout in lower visibility scenarios like at dusk, dawn and through the night. I’ve seen big brown trout inhale mice off the surface with my own two eyes, don’t underestimate the appetite of a hungry, mature salmonid. 

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    • Jigging style approach to targeting trout is different and therefore worth investigating
    • Great for provoking strikes from fish that are schooled up, or holding on the bottom
    • Awesome variety of tube designs and colors/patterns
    • Some teeny-tiny options available

    This is a deadly secret weapon, particularly when you locate a group of trout. Sometimes when fish are schooled up, they’re not as inclined to break from the group to strike a spoon or minnow. Bouncing a tube off the bottom presents a tasty little morsel that can be more passively eaten.

    It’s fished like a jig and not to be underestimated. This is a very different approach to tantalizing trout to eat than all the other options listed, and as we discussed, cycling through your tackle box and trying various lures and fishing styles is the best way to get dialed in.

    There is a huge variety of different tubes through this link, but I particularly love the one pictured. It’s very small (1/32 ounce) and has both a tentacled skirt and a tiny trout worm for some seriously wiggly, pulsating action. Try tumbling and bouncing this tiny treat in and around structure and hang on tight.

    Experimenting with some of the larger tubes in Berkley’s lineup through the same link is well worth it. There’s a nice variety of colors, skirts and weights/sizes, all of which are quite affordable. Don’t forget these same tubes absolutely slay bass, panfish and all sorts of other species. They also fish great when jigged through the ice if you’re an ice fisherman! All in all a highly versatile lure for all sorts of angling applications! 

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    • Exceptionally cheap
    • Similar to, but different than a traditional spinner and therefore less “known” by wise trout
    • Good casting range for its size
    • Awesome package deals available
    • Can be effectively fished at virtually any depth/speed
    • Extra stinger hook increases successful hookups

    I love these unique little spinner-bait type lures from Joe’s Flies. I’ve had a lot of successful days fishing this brand for native brookies in the Appalations to cutthroats in the Yellowstone backcountry. I have a theory that trout don’t yet recognize this lure as well as they do a traditional spoon or Mepp’s due to its somewhat recent arrival to the fishing scene. Like I’ve mentioned throughout this list, variation in your tackle box is key to success – don’t sleep on this familiar, yet different lure option.

    Fish this bad boy like you would a spoon, Kastmaster or Mepp’s. Try different speed retrievals, allow it to sink to the bottom before retrieving and don’t forget the ol’ stop and go technique. This lure is flashy and not very intimidating to even tiny trout, it’s often the only thing in my tackle box that sees any action – even over some of the trusted classics. 

    One thing worth noting is the extra stinger hook just above the treble. I’ve hooked a lot of fish on that single hook, it’s an effective design that minimizes those frustrating strikes that don’t find the fish’s mouth! It’s a brilliant medium between a one and two treble hooked lure that nicely balances hook-up ratio and ease of fish release.

    These lures are silly inexpensive, and there are also some great package deals available. Check out this six-pack of Striker Flies in various color schemes for a seriously killer deal! 

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    • Wide tail swimming action is quite unique
    • Good casting range
    • Fast and deep diver great for fishing abrupt drop-offs
    • Great for all sorts of species
    • Internal rattler

    The Rapala Tail Dancer is perhaps my all time favorite freshwater lure. I have maybe caught more fish with the Tail Dancer than all other lure models combined, this one is an absolute machine! Its unique wide tail action has an outstanding look to it and it dives deep FAST. I’ve had days fishing with the Tail Dancer smashing trout, bass, perch and pickerel in the same body of water. This is one fishy tool to have in your tackle box.

    The extended lip of the Tail Dancer makes it dive aggressively as soon as you begin your retrieve, quickly reaching six to nine feet. Be careful shore fishing with this lure, I’ve lost a ton of these to shallow water structure. If you’re shore casting out over a drop-off, however, this is the perfect tool for getting down to the fish right away and getting the most out of each cast. The Tail Dancer furthermore casts quite well.

    The action of this lure is very effective when trolled, but not so much at faster speeds. This is a slow and steady kind of lure. The Tail Dancer will actually back up a bit if you stop your retrieve, it’s meant to simulate bait riding the water current. Play around with the lure where you can see it in the shallows or from your boat so you can really learn how to fish it when it’s out of sight. 

    This 05 size is two inches long, perfect for teasing a trout to strike. There are a ton of color patterns and a few different sizes available, so shop around a bit if you’re not certain what you want. I recommend the perch pattern, and the shad pattern pictured – they are good natural colors that I’ve had great success with. 

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      • Can count the seconds to sink the lure to the exact desired depth
      • Erratic/evasive swim action ‘scatters’ to simulate bait in distress
      • Great for targeting a variety of species
      • Good casting range and also trolls nicely
      • Nice array of available color patterns

      Having a Countdown in your tackle box is crucial if you fish dynamic waterbodies with variation in depth. This lure sinks at a steady rate (about 1 foot per 2 seconds) so you can literally “count down” until you reach the desired depth, and then start your retrieve. Its normal running depth is four to six feet, and the Scatter Rap CountDown is also a great trolling lure. 

      The beauty of the CountDown series from Rapala is the ability it gives you to target precise sections of the water column. If you’re marking fish on a fish finder at 33 feet, count it down! If you’re fishing a steep drop off, try lowing the lure an additional four or five feet on each cast until you find the fish and get smacked!

      The erratic swim pattern of the Scatter Rap CountDown is the other component of this lure that makes it deadly effective. It simulates a baitfish in distress trying to evade predation and therefore triggers the natural instinct of a predatory fish to strike! A fleeing, flustered fish is a meal, and that’s just how this lure swims!

      The 05 size is a great trout sized lure at two inches long, and it casts dam well too! This lure is weighted quite nicely allowing for impressive casting distances. The range of the Scatter Rap CountDown makes it a great wading or shore fishing option as well. Another super versatile freshwater lure option from Rapala that will no doubt tease up some trout! 

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    Mar 15, 2019 at 6:52pm


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