For open water trout anglers, spring is a favorite time of year. The anticipation of warm weather, flowing water and hungry trout keep many awake at night.
Despite the numerous positives, spring fishing can be the most tricky time of year to fish. A variety of factors from weather to water level impacts the quality of fishing. Anglers must learn to be patient and understand that spring fishing can be hit-or-miss.
There are several aspects of spring fishing, however, that anglers can trust will stay consistent. The most important of these is bait. Fish are always going to need to feed and this list of 10 trout lures will give you the best shot of catching big trout this spring.
1. Panther Martin
The first lure on this list is no surprise. The Panther Martin Spinner is a tried and true trout bait that works great during the spring. This bait is wonderful due to its success when used as a search bait.
With spring comes a large fluctuation in water levels, water clarity and water temperature. The fish can be temperamental and you’ll need a bait that can adapt to the conditions. The Panther Martin Spinner will cut through the water and is versatile enough that you can cover all different types of water.
These Panther Martin Spinners are fairly inexpensive and come in a wide variety of different colors. Don’t hesitate to purchase 5 or 6 of these lures in a variety of different colors. Trout are picky enough that they make like the style of your bait, but are unwilling to strike because the color doesn’t match the food that they’re hunting.
2. Yakima Rooster Tail
The second lure on this list is the Yakima Rooster Tail. This lure also ranks high in the versatility category due to its design. The traditional spinner is going to provide the flash that the trout wants, but the back half gives you a similar look to a fly.
The hook is dressed with quite a bit of material and looks like a baitfish struggling to fight the current. Also, these lures are extremely easy to find. Any store that sells fishing supplies is going to have a selection of Rooster Tails.
When fishing this lure, you’ll want to use its design to your advantage. In order to do so, be sure to cast it up and cross-stream and start reeling it back towards you. It’ll give off the impression that it’s fighting the current and fish won’t be able to resist.
Remember that the darker the water, the darker the lure and vice versa. It’s important to match the water with your bait otherwise trout won’t be as tempted to eat.
3. Mepps Trouter
The third lure that should be found in every trout angler’s spring tackle box is the Mepps Trouter Kit. This is also known as a Mepps Spinner or even just a Mepps. These are some of the most classic trout lures on the market.
Again, their versatility is wonderful. It has the classic spinner blade with a trailing treble hook. Trout are attracted to flashy lures. These provide all the flash you need and ditches some of the pomp and circumstance you may find with other lures.
Some trout waters you fish will have special requirements for your bait like no treble hooks or no barbs. It’s not too difficult to modify this bait to meet the regulation. A pair of pliers will easily snip the treble hook and crush the barbs.
4. Wooly Bugger
The fourth springtime lure that will catch trout is the Wooly Bugger. Yes, this is primarily used by fly anglers, but it’s possible to be used on a spin setup. All you’ll need is a bit of extra weight.
These flies perform best when they can sit close to the bottom, but not dragged along it. They are wonderful imitators of baitfish and you’ll want it to appear plenty active. You can find these in every color imaginable for an extremely inexpensive price.
Also, be sure to fish the Wooly Buggers with quite a bit of action. A straight reel across the water isn’t going to catch the attention of the trout. While you’re reeling, pause for a bit numerous times during your retrieve. Trout will be willing to hit the Bugger as it falls in the water column. Also, be sure to keep your rod tip moving a bit to help imitate a baitfish.
5. Rapala Original Floater
The Rapala Original Floater is another versatile lure that can be used for a variety of different fish. It’s a perfect weight for your trout setup. Some anglers believe it’s too light, but throw it on an ultralight rod and it’ll be exactly what you need.
These lures are a bit bigger than those previously listed, but that is never a bad thing. Bigger lures can often mean bigger fish. An angry trout sitting under a river bank won’t hesitate to strike this.
Similar to the Wooly Bugger, don’t only fish this one way. As you’re reeling, give it a chance to fall and let the river take control for a bit. Trout want natural presentations. You’ll sometimes be able to get away with flash, but the bigger fish desire a natural look. Pick out the pockets and seams in a river to let this lure sit and you’ll be pleased with the results.
6. Mepps Comet Mino
The Mepps Comet Mino is one of those sneaky lures that you’ll find in an experienced angler’s tackle box. It’s a wonderful combination of the traditional Mepps spinner and a small baitfish.
The soft plastic minnow trails behind the spinner and uses the action of the spinner to its advantage. It has quite a bit of movement in the water and is going to attract quite a few fish. They’ll be intrigued by the flash and even more tempted by the realistic-looking minnow.
Fish this along the banks and the slower moving water. The Mino looks more like an injured baitfish than a healthy one. It’s a wonderful bait to lure a large trout that is hiding deep in a pool. It’ll be too tempting for the fish to sit and watch.
Plus, it also has a decent amount of weight to it, so it will be able to handle some of the faster-moving water that you’ll find in the spring. The darker-looking Mino also helps in the darker water. The spinner and soft plastic combination are a can’t-miss for springtime trout fishing.
7. Soft Plastics (Crawfish, Worms, etc.)
Let’s not leave soft plastics off of this list. While these are some of the more difficult baits to fish, they will be successful in spring. These are great to use in clear water so you can get a solid perspective on their movement.
For example, if you’re using a crawfish, go ahead and tie it on a 1/64 ounce jighead. Bounce the crawfish along a rocky bottom and watch a trout come and scoop it. Again, you need to fish these low and slow. Trout would be skeptical of a fast-moving crawfish. They’re awesome to watch being eaten, so it’s a great bait to use if you’d like to know more about the feeding habits of trout.
*Reminder: Use these soft plastics later in the spring!
8. Rapala Jointed Minnow
Jointed minnows are another great option due to their versatility. These lures can be fished in a wide variety of water for all different size trout. If you’d like, throw it in a fast-moving stream and fish back across towards you. It’ll receive a ton of help from the moving water and perfectly imitate a baitfish.
You can even fish these in deep lakes for some large trout. Let them float as far down as you’d like and use a slow retrieve. You want the trout to see these as a wounded baitfish, but a quick retrieve will take away from some of the necessary action.
9. Marabou Jigs
Marabou Jigs are another necessary bait to have in the tacklebox for spring trout fishing. These jigs almost look like Wooly Buggers, but they perform differently. They’re a bit heavier and don’t require as much finesse as a Bugger.
Tie on one, toss it into a pool and do a slow retrieve from the bottom. Also, you can fish these through the current, but be sure that you have the proper size jighead. They’ll suck themselves down deeper towards the bottom and can be fairly prone to getting snagged.
The slower you can fish these jigs, the better. Again, presentation is key for trout. Since they aren’t as flashy as some of the other lures on this list, the trout won’t be as tempted to hit them based on aggression. They’ll be seen as food and analyzed carefully.
10. Blue Fox Vibrax
The Vibrax is a great option for both trout and some salmon. While they’re common on the west coast, the Vibrax will catch trout anywhere. This is the heaviest and least finesse bait you’ll find on this list, but they find their element in big rivers, making them worth your while.
Those large, fast-flowing rivers are tough to fish. You need a lure that is going to stay at a consistent depth and not get pushed around by all of the different currents.
The Vibrax will stay its course and find you fish. There’s no mistaking when a fish hits this lure. If they want it, it’s a heavy strike. So, if you have heard of some of the larger rivers producing fish, try a Vibrax. It’ll take some getting used to, but it’s one of those baits that you’ll love having in your tackle box.
Spring trout fishing is not for the faint of heart. It requires quite a bit of trial and error. The changes in weather always change the moods of the fish. Try any of these lures listed on a given day and you’ll find luck. Get ready, spring is right around the corner and great trout fishing isn’t far behind!
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