Top 10 trout lures for Colorado

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Video best bait for colorado river fishing

Welcome to our guide for the top 10 trout lures for fishing in Colorado. This ranking is based on surveying anglers who fish predominantly in Colorado.

If you are into fly fishing, check my article on the 10 best streamers for trout fishing in Colorado.

1) Panther Martin

The Panther Martin inline spinner is by far the most popular trout lure in our recent survey. It was very popular for catching both wild and stock trout.

The most important feature which sets the Panther Martin apart from most other inline spinners is the larger than average blade.

That large blade gives the Panther Martin spinner several important characteristics.

  • The large blade generates a lot of vibrations, including a distinctive thump as it swims through the water. This action can attract trout under certain conditions.
  • The large blade results in a tantalizing fluttery drop. It can generate strikes even on the drop.
  • The blade rapidly accelerates even on a slow retrieve. No need to retrieve fast to generate the ever so important flash.

There is no one best color, and the best on the day varies based on many external factors such as water clarity, weather, trout feed preferences, and how wary the trout are.

One of the most popular color combinations for lake fishing is the Salamander. That is gold with red dots. Black with gold is also popular.

For rivers and streams the color red gets mentioned more than any other. Whether it is blade, body, or simply dots, red was a top choice when fishing in Colorado. The second most popular color was yellow. Some anglers even combine the two.

The traditional favorite, pure silver or gold blades is also extremely popular and works well in clear conditions. Some anglers prefer gold when it is cloudy.

There is much debate between a dress or naked hook. To be honest, both works and it might depend on the day. Some people believe, that due to the larger profile dressed hooks catch fewer but larger fish.

If you want the blade to catch even more light, then consider a holographic pattern, but I my experience it does not result in any more trout caught.

For more information on how best to fish Panther Martins and other inline spinners check my comprehensive guide here.

2) ACME Kastmaster

I knew the Kastmaster was a popular lure, but I was a bit surprised to see it take second place in our survey. The reason why is its versatility, it is a good lure in almost any fishing situation.

I reach for a kastmaster when I need to to cast long distances. It is excellent at punching into a headwind.

Several respondents rate the kastmaster highly as a trolling lure, “it darts around like a little bait fish”. A great option for larger lakes, both trolling and casting.

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When targeting distance the 1/4oz version is a popular choice. It is heavy enough for very long casts but not so heavy that it will overload a lightweight rod. With that said, the smaller size casts masters often catch more trout.

I like waiting between 5-10 seconds after casting, that allows the Kastmaster to sink towards the bottom, and hopefully catch the attention of any nearby trout.

The kastmaster can be fished at nearly any retrieve rate. But, I find a slow retrieve to be best on trout. It can also be fished with a jig action through the water.

Like with any trout lure, there is no one best color. But the two most popular color combinations for river fishing is gold, brown and rainbow.

While blue/chrome is a great choice for trolling in larger lakes.

3) Rooster Tail

The rooster tail was the second most popular inline spinner for Colorado trout fishing. Its claim to frame is the pulsating rooster hackle tied to every hook.

The rooster tail has a long cylinder shape body, and the blade resembles a willow leaf. This gives the spinner a long slender profile, more representative of an escaping minnow.

Many anglers choose to fish 1/4 – 1/8oz lures throughout the rivers and streams in Colorado. Do not be afraid to go large, trout still happily strike them.

Popular colors are red, orange gold and black. Do not be afraid to experiment.

If I have to be completely honest, I am not the biggest fan of the rooster tail spinners because I find the blades are reluctant to spin at slower retrieves which are usually the most effective for trout fishing. They probably will not make my personal top 10 but I must admit they are a very popular choice.

4) Rapala

The first and only Jerkbait on this list is Rapala. Both the original floating and the countdown versions were equally popular. Some anglers, favor the ‘broken back’ jointed Rapalas.

Rapalas are excellent lures for shallow to medium depth fishing making them well suited for rivers and streams and lake margins.

I could never pinpoint the reasons, but larger wild brown trout seem to have a clear preference for this style of lure. They are my personal top choice for this exact reason.

The most popular sizes are 5 and 7. Although, trout can be caught on both smaller and larger versions. My advice is to try and match the size of the bait fish.

Popular colors in Colorado include Gold, Rainbow, Perch, and fire tiger when visibility is limited.

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For more information on how best to fish Rapalass and other Jerkbaits check my comprehensive guide here.

5) Eppinger Original Dardevle

The Dardevle has been catching fish for over a century and has a reputation as a proven trout catcher. The Dardevle is one versatile lure, it can be cast, trolled, jigged fast, or slow. It is equally effective in lakes, and rivers and its solid metal construction makes it an excellent caster.

Most Colorado fishermen prefer to use the Dardeleve when lake fishing for trout, but it is equally at home in bigger rivers and deeper pools. Simply cast out, and across and little flutter down to the bottom. When the trout are holding deep, the Dardevle is a great option.

1/4 oz is a popular weight for both river and lake fishing, although trout still willingly take much larger sizes.

While most colors catch trout, the most popular by a good margin is the classic red and white stripes. The Rainbow and yellow with orange diamonds are also popular variations.

6) Mepps Aglia

The Mepps Agila is another classic inline spinner, and in my opinion cannot be beat for durability. They are an excellent option for fishing in shallow streams and smaller lakes. The spinner’s design features a sturdy wire shaft and a solid brass blade, which are both resistant to bending or warping under stress.

The Mepps Aglia’s effectiveness in shallow water is also worth highlighting. Its light construction and finesse make it an excellent choice when fishing shallow streams and smaller lakes, where a delicate presentation is often necessary.

To get the most out of the Mepps Aglia, it is recommended to use lighter line and a slower retrieval rate. This allows the spinner to maintain its natural swimming motion, which can be very enticing to trout in shallower water. The most popular weights for targeting trout with the Mepps Aglia range between 1/4 and 1/8 oz, with heavier lures being more effective in larger bodies of water.

The most popular color combinations for the Mepps Aglia when targeting trout include gold, silver, and red/white. The black fury pattern is also a favorite among some anglers. Overall, while the Mepps Aglia may not be as popular for big water fishing in Colorado, it is still a versatile and effective inline spinner for finesse fishing in smaller bodies of water.

7) Thomas Buoyant

Thomas Buoyant spoons are not only effective in deep river pools but also in other fishing situations. Due to their buoyancy, they can stay in the strike zone for a longer time, increasing the chances of a strike. In addition, their design imparts a side-to-side wobble that is rather effective at getting strikes.

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These spoons are versatile and can be fished in a variety of ways, including casting, jigging, and trolling.

When it comes to size, popular weights for Thomas Buoyant spoons range from 1/4oz to 1/16oz. This makes them a great option for both larger and smaller bodies of water.

In terms of color, copper, silver, and gold are the most popular choices among anglers. These classic colors can imitate a range of baitfish and work well in a variety of water conditions. It’s always a good idea to have a few different colors on hand to experiment with and find what works best on any given day.

8) Luhr-Jensen Krocodile

The Krocodile is a highly versatile spoon lure that can be cast, jigged, or trolled. Its long, slim profile is ideal for imitating small baitfish. It is an excellent option for deep river pools and can be used in lakes as well.

I personally rate it highly as a trolling lures, and is one of my first choices to use in the spring when the trout are still holding deep.

The most popular colors for the Krocodile are brown trout, hammered chrome, and fire tiger. The recommended weights range from 1/4 oz to 3/4 oz, making it a suitable choice for both shallow and deep water fishing.

9) Blue Fox Classic Vibrax

The Blue Fox Vibrax is another excellent inline spinner. Its dense construction means it sinks quicker than most and it gives off a lot of vibration. The Vibrax is a great choice for fast moving water with a lot of turbulence.

Popular weights are 1/4-1/8 oz

Popular colors: Gold, Silver, and bleeding gold (Red gold)

10) Super Duper

The Super Duper is a unique lure with an unorthodox U-shape design that effectively traps water and gives it a darting wobble, while not a popular lure it certainly worth a mention. I find it can be effective in heavily pressured waters where trout have learned to avoid more popular lure designs.

One of the advantages of the Super Duper is its ability to effectively fish deep. Its weight and design allow it to sink quickly, making it an excellent option for targeting fish hiding in deep pocket water.

When it comes to colors, gold, red, and gold are among the most popular options. These colors are known to be effective at attracting trout in a variety of water conditions and can be used in a range of fishing situations.

Honorable mentions

These lures were well represented, but just missed out on a spot in the top 10.

Tube Jig in natural colors

Little Cleo in yellow red or gold red

Tasmanian Devil in black orange or gold black.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>