Looking for Recommendations for the Best Trout Lures for Streams and Rivers

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Written By Russ Egan

Russ is a professional fisherman with over 20 years of experience. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ comprehensively tests and reviews all his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. There is nothing he prefers than heading down to his local tackle store, buying the latest fishing reel, and taking it to the water to test.

REVIEWED BY FINN MATTHEWS

The best trout lures for streams and rivers include Mepps Aglia Spinner, Panther Martin Classic Spinner, Rapala Original Floating Minnow, Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner, and Rooster Tail Spinner. These lures excel in attracting trout with their lifelike appearance, enticing action, and versatility in various water conditions.

This article highlights the best trout lures available and why I like them.

Best Overall
Rapala Original Floating Lure

Rapala Original Floating Lure

  • Crankbait 
  • 2 to 5" Length Range
  • 8 Color Variations
Best for Rainbow Trout
Dynamic Lures Trout Fishing Lure

Dynamic Lures Trout Fishing Lure

  • Crankbait
  • 2.25" to 3" Length Range
  • 17 Color Options
Best for Brown Trout
Mepps Spinners

Mepps Spinners

  • Spinnerbait Lure
  • 4" Length
  • 6 Color Variations

We have broken down each of the lures by species of trout and their ability to work in streams and rivers so that you can pick the exact model that suits your fishing requirements.

1. Dynamic Lure

Dynamic Lures Trout Fishing Lure
9.5/10Our Score
  • Slender, Low Profile Crankbait Design, Small Lipped
  • Slow Sinking Top Water Lure, Optimal Depth 0-2 feet, and real-life like profile
  • Multiple BB Inner Chamber design maintains balance through the water, prevents rolling and mimics real life baitfish
  • Ultra-sharp Durable Size #10 Hooks

The dynamic lure is one of the most popular crankbaits on the market. Its slender design has a small front lip and multiple rattling ball bearings inside to attract the trout’s attention. Depending on the model, these shallow lures target 0-4 feet deep, which is ideal for clear water in rivers and lakes. It is made from sturdy ABS plastic so that larger trout won’t damage it.

It is hard to beat at this price and has 17 different color variations. Make sure you put a few of these in your tackle box to change them depending on what the fish are biting. They are also available in two sizes – 2.25″ and 3″.

Split rings attach two size #10 treble hooks, giving you two chances to hook a hungry trout.

It is always a good idea to carry multiple lures with different attracting methods – for example, this lure with a rattling BB inside and a sparkling spinnerbait to use sunlight.

I strongly recommend adding a few different colors of Dynamic Lures to your tackle box. They are proven to catch trout in rivers and will last for multiple seasons.

dynamic lures in a trouts mouth

Pros

  • Huge range of options – 17 color variations and 2 sizes
  • Two treble hooks lead to a higher strike rate
  • Attention-grabbing internal rattling ball bearings

Cons

2. Leland Lures Trout Magnet

Leland Lures Trout Magnet
9.2/10Our Score
  • Unique shad dart head and split tail allows the lure to fall horizontally
  • Flows naturally with the stream
  • Use a constant 1-inch to 3-inch twitches of the rod tip
  • Lure looks life-like as it flows downstream

Another trendy trout lure is the trout magnet. The shad dart head design and split tail mean the lure falls horizontally, so it is still effective even when not retrieved. It will flow naturally downstream, giving you more options about putting the bait in front of the fish when trout fishing in rivers and lakes.

They are incredibly light at 1/64 ounces and can be jigged with tiny 1-3 inch rod tip twitches. You have ultimate control over the movement and behavior of this fishing lure. So it will become more effective as you learn how to use it to catch trout.

This lure is best used by experienced trout anglers who have the ability to manipulate the lure’s movement and gain an extra edge.

Leland Lures Trout Magnet

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight with plenty of angler control
  • Affordable with 4 per packet
  • Falls horizontally to give strike potential when stationary

Cons

  • Difficult to cast long distances due to its lightweight

3. Mepps Spinners

Mepps Classic Aglia Kit
9/10Our Score
  • Classic Aglia Kit
  • Solid brass body
  • Hand assembled in USA

Mepps are another popular fishing lure for trout, and the Aglia is one of their best – we will go into more detail about the spinners in the Dolly Varden section. This recommendation is a kit of 6 different Mepps spinners. This combination gives you different spinner and skirt colors to adjust your lure depending on what the fish are looking for.

They have solid brass bodies, and the blades are either copper, brass, or silver/gold plated.

These fishing lures are hand-assembled in the USA and are high quality.

Mepps are famous for catching trout for decades. They are extremely effective and have earned a place in your lure collection.

Mepps Spinners

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • Extremely durable materials of construction

Cons

  • It can be more expensive to purchase a kit
  • Skirt conditions can degrade over time

4. Rapala Countdown

Rapala Countdown Trout Lure
8.8/10Our Score
  • Balsa Construction
  • Custom Swimming Action
  • Controlled Depth Technique
  • Large Size Range
  • VMC Black Nickel Hooks

The Rapala countdown is the standard for controlled depth lures. If you want to get to a certain depth in clear water without getting stuck in weeds or structures, this is the fish lure for you. It is designed to run 7-10 feet deep and is suitable for larger trout.

It is made from balsa wood and sturdy, lasting for years.

One of the features of the Rapala Countdown design is its consistent sinking rate of 1 foot per second. This allows you to predict and control the depth of your lure at any time. If there is a particular underwater log or hollow in your target lake or stream that you want to target, then this lure is ideal.

Every single lure is hand-tuned and tank-tested so that it will swim with its unique action straight out of the packet every time.

Plenty of colors are available, so you can adjust to put the perfect color in front of the hungry brook trout.

I am a big fan of Rapala’s lure range. The advantage of the Countdown is the predictable sinking rate so you can control the lure’s position in the most likely holes where trout are resting.

 Rapala Countdown

Pros

  • Consistent sinking rate to target particular depths
  • Hand-tuned and tank-tested

Cons

  • Fish strikes can damage the balsa wood

Specs

  • Weight – 7/16 oz
  • Length – 3 1/2 inch
  • Running Depth – 7-10 feet

5. Rebel Lures Teeny Wee Frog

Rebel Lures Wee Frog Crankbait
8.7/10Our Score
  • The Rebel Teeny Wee Frog looks just like a real frog and fish love to eat frogs
  • Work the Teeny Wee Frog slowly on top to mimic a frog that’s dazed and confused
  • Tremendously effective in clear-water streams
  • Super-realistic ultralight crankbait that bass, panfish, and trout can’t resis

Rebel Lures make a few different designs of lures, from the teeny crawfish to this teeny wee frog. Three different models are available with different sizes and retrieve depths. The colors are very close to realistic frog colors.

I recommend finding out what your local frogs look like and trying to pick a color as close to them as possible.

Cast and retrieve with an erratic action to try and mimic the behavior of a real frog trying to escape a hungry bull trout.

If you like this, look at their similar Rebel Jointed Minnow.

Rebel Lures Teeny Wee Frog

Pros

  • Mimics local food sources for improved strike rates
  • Erratic action that imitates a real-life frog swimming

Cons

  • You need to have the right colors to match your local frog species

6. Mepps Aglia Spinner

Mepp's B4 HC Aglia
8.5/10Our Score
  • Give off an attractive flash
  • Good casting distance and durable design
  • World's most popular trout lure
  • Affordable price tag

The Mepps Aglia Spinner is claimed to be the world’s number 1 fishing lure. I do not know if that is true, but it is undoubtedly one of my favorites. They are cheap and available in various colors, both in the blade and the beads.

At only 1/6 ounce in weight, these are a good combination of reasonable casting distance and robust design that won’t get bent when a big Dolly Varden takes a bite of one.

There are also different sizes to get the exact sized lure for your target fish. Mepps has an excellent reputation for quality, so you don’t need to worry about this lure breaking or not performing.

The Mepps Aglia Spinner gives off an attractive flash and vibration that will make aggressive trout strike.

Mepps Aglia Spinner

Pros

  • Lots of visual flashes and movement that attract territorial trout
  • Good casting distances
  • Durable material of construction that won’t get damaged or degrade

Cons

  • Difficult to control the depth

7. Rapala Original Floater

Rapala Original Floater Lure
8.5/10Our Score
  • Balsa Wood Construction
  • Natural Minnow Profile
  • VMC Black Nickel Hooks
  • Available In Classic & Bleeding Patterns
  • Hand Tuned & Tank Tested

It does not matter what fish you are targeting; you should always have a Rapala Original in your tackle box, especially for lake trout. This classic bait has proven itself under a variety of conditions for years.

Like the countdown above, the original is made from balsa wood and is available in different sizes and colors.

You really can’t go past a Rapala classic lure like this one. Ideal for beginners and experienced anglers.

For different options by Rapala, another design is the Blue Fox Vibrax.

Rapala Original Floater

Pros

  • Tried and proven over decades by thousands of successful trout anglers

Cons

  • A bit more expensive than some of the alternate options
  • A fish strike can damage balsa wood

8. Trout Magnet Ultimate Kit

Trout Magnet Ultimate Bundle
8.4/10Our Score
  • Will not work without the right line and floats
  • Hook and body fall horizontally in the water
  • Very smooth copolymer line is made for light line fishing
  • Ideal size to drift small lures or bait

If you want everything you need in one place, look for a trout lure kit. This trout magnet contains 85 pieces, including floats, fluoro leader, fishing line, hooks, and split tail bodies. This gives you a wide variety of colors to play around with until you find something the trout are looking for.

As described above, the trout magnet body falls horizontally, allowing you to catch fish even when the lure is floating in a fast-flowing river or sinking through the water column directly next to the structure.

This comes in a good-sized box that fits your tackle box or a fishing vest. Made in the USA from high-quality plastic that won’t tear when a fish strikes.

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • Trout Magnet falls horizontally, so it gives strike opportunities when stationary
  • Variety of colors and styles to find what the fish are hungry for

Cons

  • Nil – this is an affordable option

9. Berkley Trout Powerbait

Berkley PowerBait Floating Mice Tails
8.43/10Our Score
  • Combines Salmon Egg and Trout worm into one incredible bait
  • Different head and tail colors for maximum contrast in the water column
  • Made from quality materials
  • Extremely durable and long lasting

Powerbait is a scientifically proven bait that is becoming increasingly popular among trout anglers. They have a lifelike movement and are extremely versatile. Unlike hard-bodied fishing lures, they also have a strong scent that attracts fish. It is claimed that fish will hold on for 18 times longer on a powerbait than a lure, so you have a lot more time to strike and land that big trout.

Berkley manufacturers have been developing powerbait varieties for 25 years, and are available in hundreds of colors, sizes, and designs. I would encourage everyone to look at these to understand how many different powerbaits there are! I’m sure you can find one you want to try out.

Berkley Powerbait is very different from the hard body crankbaits and spinners mentioned above but is just as enticing. Rather than using flash and vibration, they use scent and flavor.

Pros

  • Extremely affordable
  • Scientifically proven scent and flavor

Cons

  • Consumables that will need to be disposed of and replaced

10. Copper John Trout Fly

Copper John Trout Fishing Flies
8.2/10Our Score
  • Hand-tied by professionals who take great pride in their craftsmanship
  • Flies are tied using high quality Mustard hooks
  • Pack of 1 dozen flies

If you want high-quality, professionally made, hand-tied trout flies, check out the Copper John. Copper John is a famous fly designer and is incredibly lifelike in their appearance. Even if you are a beginner at fly fishing, you will have success with a fly like this.

This product comes with 12 flies – 3 of 4 different hook sizes. And they use Mustard hooks, the premier hook manufacturer, so you don’t need to worry about low-quality hooks that will bend and lose that big fish.

Pros

  • Hand-tied by a craftsman
  • Variation in style and color
  • Very affordable at less than $1 each

Cons

  • Fly fishing only

11. Panther Martin Trout Lure

Panther Martin Regulars Gold
8.1/10Our Score
  • Unique shaft through blade design creates easiest and fastest spinning action in the world
  • Convex/concave blades send out Sonic vibrations that are irresistable to fish
  • Heavy weighted bodies cast like bullets and go down deeper
  • Super sharp premium quality hooks keep fish caught

The Panther Martin is a famous, bestselling blade spinnerbait renowned amongst trout anglers. It has a convex/concave blade that sends out sonic vibrations. These vibrations are designed to attract inquisitive trout. The weighted body allows for long casting distances and deeper in clear lakes and rivers. The heavy sinker allows this lure to get deeper toward the fish, even in fast-flowing streams.

It also has sharp treble hooks to keep that trophy trout on the line.

The unique holographic colors reflect sunlight which attracts trout from further away. They are especially effective when sparkling light stands out in low light conditions.

It is available in 17 colors and 6 sizes from 1/16 oz to 3/8 oz. Beware, the smaller sizes can have trouble casting in windy conditions.

Plenty of packs are available to get multiple sizes and colors, so you can change up to find what the trout are interested in.

Pros

  • Plenty of variations – 17 colors and 6 sizes
  • Heavy sinker allows use in fast-flowing rivers and steams

Cons

  • Smaller sizes don’t have the casting distance, especially when windy conditions

12. Luhr Jensen Krocodile Lure

Crocodile Spoons Silver Color with Treble Hook
8/10Our Score
  • Versatile, multi-species Narrow minnow shape
  • Heavy-duty construction
  • Great for Trout Tuna Bass Fishing
  • 3X strong treble hook
  • Chrome Plated with Silver Prism

The Luhr Jensen is another popular brand with an excellent reputation, and the Krocodile design is a great option for trout anglers. It is simple in its design, with a spinning blade made from polished, corrosion-resistant metal. It has a treble hook attached. There are 11 different colors and sizes available.

The polished blade gives maximum flashing of sunlight to attract hungry trout. Some colors include silver reflex, blue mackerel, fire tiger, and rainbow trout.

This is a versatile lure, and I recommend that all trout anglers keep a few in their tackle box. It is also effective against other popular species like largemouth bass.

Pros

  • 11 different sizes and colors are available
  • Polished spoon to attract territorial trout and bass

Cons

  • Most expensive than the other options

Specs

  • Length – 3/16 – 5/16 inch
  • Weight – 1 oz

13. Yakima Rooster Tail Lure

Yakima Bait Rooster Tail Spinner
7.9/10Our Score
  • Hand tied hackle tail
  • Stainless steel wire
  • 18 different colors available
  • Make sure to match the hatch

The Rooster Tail lure combines the spinnerbait blade to through off sunlight and a pulsating hackle tail to attract the strike. The lure is weighted for additional casting distance. There are 18 different colors available, so make sure you learn what your local trout are feeding on so that you can match the hatch as closely as possible.

The wire is stainless steel, and the hackle tail is hand-tied for higher-quality construction and is painted with durable paint for a quality finish. You don’t want to lose color after a few bites from a hungry trout.

We recommend getting a few different sizes and colors in your tackle bag to try out different baits until you find one that works.

While this article is focused on trout fishing, the rooster tail is also suitable for bass and panfish, like crappie and bluegill.

Pros

  • Affordable when purchased in a pack
  • 18 different colors
  • Weighted body for long casting distance

Cons

  • Make sure you have enough colors so that you can pick the right one for your local fish

Specs

  • Weight – 1/16 to 1/4 oz

Buying Guide for Trout Lures

But just buying the right lure is not enough – you also need to be able to use it. That is an entirely new topic in itself.

I have compiled this brief overview of what to look for when purchasing trout lures.

Trout Lure Color

The best trout lure color matches the local trout’s food source, so select a lure of a similar size, shape, and color to mimic their primary food source.

The color of your lure significantly impacts whether the trout view it as a food source worth biting, another trout worth fighting, or a stick worth ignoring.

The classic advice is to ‘match the hatch’ – to find out what the trout are naturally feeding on and to select a lure of a similar size, shape, and color. This will give you a greater chance of mimicking their primary food source.

If you are fishing at depth, consider a blue color, as this is one of the last colors to disappear due to the low light.

Metallic colors are also helpful as they are similar to the flashes of fish scales as the light hits them.

Looking for Recommendations for the Best Trout Lures for Streams and Rivers 24
Trout Lure Color Guide (Source)

Trout Lure Size

The best size for trout lures is to match the size of the primary food source for local trout, which is generally between 1.5 and 3.5 inches. Make sure also to match the color to mimic the local bait source.

The lure size you pick is an important factor, particularly if you are chasing trophy-sized trout. Picking a large lure might increase your likelihood of catching a large fish but also reduce your likelihood of catching small fish.

You can take a few types of strategies with trout – give them a small enough lure to swallow the entire thing whole or a large enough lure that they want to bite it out of a territorial need.

This also depends on the time of year – are they feeding vigorously to build up enough size for winter, or are they in protection mode around the spawning season.

My general rule is to give yourself enough options to switch to a different one if one lure isn’t working.

Conclusion

Plenty of other articles on the internet also have some great lures that are available and work well with trout that might be worth reading.

We have focused on some of the most popular trout lure manufacturers and the ones we have succeeded with. Hundreds of thousands of other lures available on the market could work as well. Although we can’t test every lure, we love going out and finding new lures. Please let us know if you have any new lures that work well for you.

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