Top 5 Best Trout Lures

Updated on July 26, 2018
huntnfish profile image

HuntnFish has spent many years on the water fishing and has caught nearly every species of fish in Washington State.

An adult Rainbow Trout.
An adult Rainbow Trout. | Source

I remember when I got my first fishing pole. I remember my first tackle box, landing net, and of course my first fish. From there it only grew. Eventually I filled that first tackle box, and then another, and another. Then I started carrying tackle trays in a backpack but even that ran out of space. Even I'll admit I rarely use half that stuff in any of my backpacks, but I like feeling prepared.

The more I thought about it though, I realized that there was only a small handful of trout lures I ever used. So here they are, my 5 best trout catching lures. Also be sure to check out my Top 5 Best Trout Baits.

Best Five Trout Lures

1. Panther Martin
2. Rapala Original Floater
3. Wooly Bugger
4. Mepps Aglia
5. Worden's Flatfish

5. Worden's Flatfish

Worden's Flatfish: Frog Pattern
Worden's Flatfish: Frog Pattern

This is one of the first lures I ever fished with. It was always a favorite of my dad and way back when, when he was rigging the line, this was what he usually choose. They have caught me numerous trout as well as bass and other fish. The reason I have this last is that they are tricky to fish with. They are often too light-weight to cast without extra weight, and have a tendency to "roll" rather than wobble when weighted. It can be done, just use snapshot strung much above the lure. When these lures really excel is when trolling. They can be rigged deep with weights, but often my best luck has been slow trolling them along the surface, just fast enough to get them "kicking" on the surface. You can't beat top-water strikes.

As for my favorite colors and sizes, I'd have to go with Frog pattern in the 1 1/2 inch size. Option two would be the same size in solid Gold.

4. Mepps Aglia

Mepps Aglia Spinner
Mepps Aglia Spinner

Repp's B1S Aglia lures may be the top producing trout spinners in the world. The blades rotate even at very slow retrieval rates, and their compact design allow for far-reaching casts for the shore-bound angler. When trolling, I find that they tend to ride up in the water column and need to be weighted to be fished effectively (contrary to the flatfish, spinners are very ineffective surface lures- the blade just wont spin). Check out these spinner fishing tricks to fish them even more effectively.

Alright, colors and sizes. My favorite color is the original model with the bare gold spoon. Option two would be the same with a bare silver spoon. As for size, i would first reach for the 1/8 oz. Under most circumstances this is the best size and weight. In bigger or faster water, 1/4 might be a better bet. In gin clear water, I might size down to a 1/16.

3. Wooly Bugger

The Wooly Bugger here is a "Bead Head" version. The gold bead adds weight and some extra flash.
The Wooly Bugger here is a "Bead Head" version. The gold bead adds weight and some extra flash.

So I agree that this is kind of the odd man (or bug) out in this list, but it's a gotta have. Fishing one on spinning gear takes a little more rigging than with a fly rod, but it can be done, and if done correctly will prove very effective. The most common way is to attach a clear casting bobber above the fly. This serves a dual purpose, it is your weight and strike indicator. In most cases, I will attach the bobber about 3 feet from the fly. The further the bobber is from the fly the more natural the presentation will appear. This set up can either be still fished or casted and retrieved. Keep in mind that a fly has no inherit action of its own, so it will help to vary your retrieve speed and give the fly an occasional twitch to make it come alive. When the bobber takes a dip, well you know that drill.

As for color I would say olive is my favorite followed closely by black and brown. If these colors seen too bland for your taste, chances are you can find a Wooly Bugger in everything from chartreuse to puce (Although I can't say much for how well these colors catch fish). And size, I'd say #6 and #8 mostly.

2. Rapala Original Floater

Rapala Original Floater: Rainbow Trout Pattern
Rapala Original Floater: Rainbow Trout Pattern

It almost pains me to give Rapala Original Floaters second place. If this list took all fish species into account, it might very well take the number 1 slot, but for trout, he'll take second. These lures can be fished in more ways than I can count. They are rather light, but cast easily enough on a light trout set-up. When retrieving this lure, I reel at a constant speed, and occasionally twitch the rod tip towards the lure, creating slack in the line. This will cause the Rapala to pause and hang momentarily in the water. Often, this pause is exactly what a trailing predator trout is looking for to trigger a bite. Additionally, these lures prove very effective on the end of any trolling setup.

Favorite model: F7. (The F stands for "Floating", the 7 is the size)

Favorite color: Rainbow trout. Option two would be the gold, (black back, gold belly)

1. Panther Martin

Panter Martin Spinner: this is the yellow spotted model. It seems to be taking the green spots place in production. It has proved equally effective though. I guess I could always paint my own green spots on.
Panter Martin Spinner: this is the yellow spotted model. It seems to be taking the green spots place in production. It has proved equally effective though. I guess I could always paint my own green spots on.

To be more precise, the Panther Martin spinner (they are known for they're spinner but make a variety of other lures now). I love this lure! In fact, I have a pretty spendy spinning setup that I have devoted just to this lure; it never comes off (except to change it to another size maybe). I would say 80% of the time when targeting trout somewhere new, I will try this lure first. In my book, this is the best all around trout lure ever made.

What I like about it:

  • The "through the blade" spinner design is by far the most reliable in my experience.
  • The large blades move a lot of water, you can feel the "thump, thump, thump" of the rotating blade right up though your rod. This way, you know that the lure is really working.
  • The compact design allows for tremendous casting radius and allows the lure to work deep in streams.
  • Can be trolled without any additional weight.
  • They catch all kinds of fish
  • They have worked practically everywhere I have fished them.
  • They are pretty cheap.

Favorite color: Black body with green spots (yellow spots work alright too) with a gold blade. Option two would be yellow body with red dots with a silver blade.
Favorite size: Again 1/8 oz is my favorite.

Panther Martin Best of the Best Kit

Panther Martin Best of the Best Kit.
Panther Martin Best of the Best Kit.

If I had to bet a single day's trout fishing anywhere in the country on one lure, it would be a Panther Martin spinner. The Panther Martin Best of the Best Kit provides lure color combinations to effectively fish any light and water condition.


I Want to Hear from You!

I would love to hear your feedback. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below, I'd be glad to help! If you found this article helpful, do me a huge favor and Share using the Facebook or Pinterest links at the top of the page. Best yet, if this helped you catch some fish recently, send me a picture using the 'Contact the Author' link at the top of the page and I'll feature you and your catch on an upcoming post! Thank you!

Justin, a reader I've stayed in contact with over the years, had an enormously successful day trout fishing up on the Manistee river. Just look at  that piggy brown and rainbow trout!
Justin, a reader I've stayed in contact with over the years, had an enormously successful day trout fishing up on the Manistee river. Just look at that piggy brown and rainbow trout! | Source

What Do You Think?

Which of these five lures is your favorite?

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    • profile image


      2 weeks ago

      The list is solid. You prob have 3 of my top 5 favorites as well. Panther Martins are very hard to compete with form shore.

    • profile image

      Momma Nonna 

      5 weeks ago

      OK. I'm a brand new fisherwoman - finally retired so I have time to fish. My question is: Do you put bait on the hook parts of these lures, spinners, etc.?

    • huntnfish profile imageAUTHOR


      3 months ago from Washington

      Hey William,

      I completely agree, the Kastmaster is a great lure! Probably one of my favorite spoon styles, and definitely a lure worth having in the tacklebox. I've also used them very successfully vertical jigging with bait while ice fishing.

    • profile image

      William McCabe 

      3 months ago

      A great spoon style lure is the kastmaster, in Chrome (generic three pack possibly made by southbend )low cost, effective, easy to fish,no line twist and good cast distance.

    • huntnfish profile imageAUTHOR


      3 months ago from Washington


      Glad you've had luck with it! It really is a great lure, almost always my first cast at a new lake or stream.

    • profile image


      3 months ago

      The Panther Martin, specifically the one you’ve shown is hard to take off the line. I have had great success catching brookies with this spoon!!

    • profile image

      Claude lawson 

      8 months ago

      I have never used any of your top five lures here in Pennsylvania all I have used is live minnows trout magnets and half of a night crawler. But I will get those lures this week you can bet and give them a good try in the next 2 months thanks liked your article alot

    • profile image

      Bob Chapman 

      9 months ago

      Best trout lure out there is a fishgrub spinner in candy Raspberry or black and gold

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      Spoons are not on this list. Little Cleo's are my go-to lure and I recommend using it in either silver and blue or gold and something else.

    • profile image

      Travis Tarr 

      19 months ago

      Number 1. Acme Phoebe

    • profile image

      cake my 

      23 months ago

      you should add the fly to this list

    • profile image

      Eric Larson 

      2 years ago

      In the last four weeks Panther Martins (Mostly Gold body and blade) have worked on Saugey, Largemouth Bass, Crappie, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and the occasional Brook Trout. Best spinner ever except for the line twisting part.

      CastMasters for a few minutes at the end of the day to straighten out the line, never seem to actually catch fish on them.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Very helpful post. Thanks!

    • profile image

      2 years ago

      A good selection of lures you have here.

      I like a rapala fo5 in gold for deeper pools, a vibric rooster tail for most other applications, black being the top color.

      Some small spoons are also good to have, a small pheobe being my favorite.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I've never actually used the Flatfish lures before- I'll have to pick some up and give them a try. Great point on trolling with Mepps. I love using Aglia's when trout fishing but admittedly only use them when shore fishing, not trolling. Here are some other lures that you haven't listed but I think is worth giving a try when fishing for trout. Great article! A lot of swim and crank baits here. I personally love Mepps Aglia.

    • shawn002 profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      Well nice post.. Well done. I think the best trout fishing need really good tackle and trout lures.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 

      6 years ago from Missouri

      Roostertails are a favorite, as are a fly I tie that I call "Big Ugly". Looks like nothing in the stream, but for whatever reason, makes the big trout really mad, and they strike repeatedly. The only other "lure" you left off was the Garden Hackle. You know, worms! But, I only use them if my son and I are after dinner. Otherwise, it's for fun, and fly fishing. Check out my hub review of "A River Runs Through It" if you want. Great movie, better book, tremendous author.

    • huntnfish profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Washington

      @Martin, I generally wouldn't, for the spinner to fish effectively you need constant tension at the right angle to keep the blade moving. If snagging bottom is the main concern here, I would switch to a lighter weight, which should ride higher in the water column.

      @Trout Slayer, I couldn't agree more, that "Bee" Panther Martin kills. You can never have enough, always a great go to choice in unfamiliar water!

    • profile image

      Trout Slayer 

      6 years ago

      The Panther Martin (blk/ylw 'Bee' pattern) should be number one on your list...if, you are fishing streams, creeks, or rivers. Many lures go in and out of fashion over the years, the PM has consistently landed me more fish than any other lure during my 20+ years of fishing trout!

      It does work in lakes, but not as number one lake lure would be the 1/8oz Thomas Bouyant (silver or gold). This lure has consistently produced the largest number of trout for me while fishing trout in lakes and ponds.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Do you use Bobbers/floaters with the rooster tail in low water rivers?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes you are right, one thing i want to add, for a slow moving or still water Mepps agila is the Best but for fast current i feel the wordens rooster tail spinner(willow blade) is the best.

    • profile image

      Chris Cliff 

      8 years ago

      Definitely agree on a couple of your choices there. The Panther Martin is one of my absolute favorites for fishing for trout in rivers, and when I am trolling, floating Rapalas are my first choice of the day.


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