Trout fishing is enjoyed by Pacific Northwesterners in every corner of our region, and I have put together a list of my personal favorite best trout fishing lures for you. Some of these are available everywhere, some of these are up and comers, but all of them are effective trout lures. Although I live and fish mainly in Washington State, I have travelled to Oregon, Idaho, Northern California and Montana in search of great trout fishing, and it’s helped me put together this Greatest Hits of Trout Fishing.
Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and California Trout Fishing
The lakes and rivers of the Pacific Northwest provide us with great trout fishing options. You may be headed to a suburban lake in Washington State that has been recently stocked with Rainbow Trout. Maybe you want to head to Central Oregon’s Lakes and fish for a trophy Brown Trout. Idaho and Montana have some of the most beautiful lakes with world-class trout fishing. And don’t forget about California’s epic river and lake trout fishing. While each region has it’s own unique lures and favorite riggings, there are a number of lures that you can’t go wrong with, regardless of where in our beautiful region you plan on trout fishing.
Casting Lures for Trout Fishing
I have spent many hours casting from shore for trout, and have a few favorite trout fishing lures to recommend. Being able to cast a distance is an important factor in shore fishing success. You can accomplish a longer distance cast by using lighter and thinner line, a heavier lure, or both. I prefer 4 pound to 6 pound line for most scenarios where I am trout fishing from shore.
The challenge is finding that perfect lure for the spot you are fishing. You can go with the heaviest lure in your tackle box, but then again it may be too large for the trout in the lake, or it may snag bottom once you are reeling it in, near the shore. The struggle is real! But have no fear, start out with any of these trout lures in the recommended sizes and you will be well on your way!
Also, keep in mind that any of these would make a fine lure to fish from a boat, whether trolling or casting.
The Acme Kastmaster Spoon is one of my go-to trout lures for rivers and lakes. Ever since that childhood trip to my Uncle’s Montana ranch, where we fished Kastmaster’s (among others) on the ranch’s lake, I have always had a good time fishing these. There is just something about the action and finish that is a major trout attractor. My favorite sizes are 1/8 and 1/4 ounce. However, they offer some smaller sizes that are more appropriate for alpine lake fishing where the forage is usually smaller.
The Roostertail Spinner is one of the most universal trout lures in my tackle box. I have caught some really nice trout out of my local streams, lowland lakes as well as up in the high-country. Stick with the 1/16th to 1/8th ounce sizes. I really like a black with silver blade, the rainbow trout, or the frog patterns, but these come in too many fishy colors to mention!
While the Vibrax Spinner is best known for catching larger fish, it also works really well for trout, in it’s smallest sizes. I really do prefer the Size 0, 1 and 2 Vibrax Spinners for trout fishing, but a Size 3 might just catch you your personal best!
Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner – View on Amazon
Mepps Aglia Spinners have been available for a long time, and generations of anglers have caught trout on them across the West. In my home state of Washington, I always carry a few Size 1 or 2 Aglias when I’m backpacking to an alpine lake in the Cascades or Olympics.
Panther Martin Spinner
The Panther Martin Spinner very well may be the most recognizable trout lure ever made! Their simple inline spinner design is a very effective trout catcher. I love fishing Panther Martin Spinners for trout!
Panther Martin Spinners – View on Amazon
Trolling Lures for Trout Fishing
The Pacific Northwest has such a wide range of fishable bodies of water where you can catch trout, often times a boat can help you be more effective. If you are fishing from a boat, all these lures are on the top of my list. Most of them have a great action because they are made of lightweight materials, and although they are not designed to be the best casting lures, if you troll them they can give you a rewarding day of trout fishing.
Wedding Ring Lure
When I was a kid, I went to Oregon with a friend’s family and we ended up at their cabin on the local lake’s trout opener. This was the first time I saw the awesome fish catching ability of the Wedding Ring. We couldn’t keep the Rainbow Trout off the standard red-bodied and silver-blade Wedding Ring. Over the years I have collected dozens of Wedding Ring colors and think it makes it to the top of my trout fishing lures if you are trolling. They work great bare, but if you can tip the hook with a kernel of corn you have a Kokanee/Trout killer, tip it with a worm and the Rainbows and Cutthroat won’t be able to resist! You can cut the hook off and replace it with a small fly if you want to change it up.
Mack’s Wedding Ring – View on Amazon
Luhr Jensen’s Needlefish is a great trolling lure for trout. This thin metal spoon fishes well if you troll it behind a dodger or bare. I usually use these in larger lakes off a downrigger, but there is no reason they wouldn’t be effective on a small lake stocked recently with Rainbow Trout.
God’s Tooth Spoon
The God’s Tooth Spoon is the newest addition to my trout fishing tackle box. They have gained recent fame on the lakes surrounding my home near Seattle, and sure are effective! I troll these for Cutthroat Trout in Lake Washington, and Kokanee in other Seattle area lakes with pretty good results. As you can see, I prefer the 50/50 Silver/Gold and the Orange, but there are a number of other good looking colors I am eager to try out.
Elgin God’s Tooth Spoon – View on Amazon
Dick Nite Spoon
This small lure has gained fame in Washington and Oregon as a great lure for Trout, Kokanee and even Salmon! The Dick Nite Spoon in Size 1 or 2 will work great in any trout boat fishing situation.
Dick Nite Spoon – View on Bass Pro
I discovered Berkley’s Flicker Shad trout lures when I was looking for advice on fishing some of Washington’s larger lake systems. A friend suggested this one, because it does a great job of imitating salmon smolt and other forage fish, which Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout will gobble up. It immediately became one of my regular deployments whenever I was fishing on a lake with any salmon returns. Lots of great colors, but my favorite is the Silver/Black Back.
Berkley Flicker Shad – View on Amazon
Luhr Jensen Hot Shot’s are one of the original trout fishing plugs. Some of my very earliest fishing memories were of trolling around on the lake for trout with these. To this day, I always keep a few Hot Shot in Size 50, 60, 70 ready to go! They are best trolled slowly, and they have a very effective wiggle and dive that triggers an aggressive bite.
Luhr Jensen Hot Shot – View on Amazon
Mag Lip 2.0 and 2.5
Yakima Bait Company’s newest trout fishing product is the Mag Lip Plug in the 2.0 and 2.5 sizes. This local Washington State company offers a really good assortment of color patterns for trout fishing. I prefer the Metallic Perch, Orange, Craw, Black Glitter and the Frog as my best colors. Make sure you have a few of these if you plan on fishing for trout out of a boat.
Yakima Baits Mag Lip – View on Bass Pro
The Rapala Original floaters are a great trout trolling lure. Attach a small plug snap to the end of your leader to give it a little more action. I prefer to flat-line troll these in smaller lakes. If I am fishing a larger body of water I may troll these off my downrigger as well. My preferred sizes are Size 3, 5 and 7 for starters.
Rapala Original Floating – View on Amazon
While the Original Rapala is one of the most widely recognized fishing lures in the entire world, the Jointed Rapala also gains a spot of my best trout fishing lures list. I think I might even prefer it to the Original. The joint gives this lure a unique action unmatched by any other lure on the list. For lakes from Idaho to Oregon and everywhere else in the Pacific Northwest, I’d recommend you start with a Size J-05 or J-07 and go larger if you are hunting for trophy trout.
Rapala Jointed – View on Amazon
Trout Fishing Success!
Wherever you go trout fishing, there are bound to be locals. And some of these locals happed to be phenomenal anglers. Those proud few are usually most successful due to the time and effort they put in. If you go to a lake for the first time, it may seem a little challenging to find that perfect technique, lure set-up, troll speed, or location. But just remember that each day is a success, regardless of how many trout you have on the scoreboard. Every day on the water is a blessing, and also provides us with the benefit of another day of experience. If you aren’t already, you will be a great fisher with a little time invested. Good luck out there!
Related Post – Hiking for Mountain Trout in the Pacific Northwest