The 3 Best Trout Lures for Streams


Jason holds a small German Brown Trout with one of the best trout lures for streams in its mouth.

Trout fishing in streams can produce a ton of bites. Whether you’re fishing on mountain streams or giant river tailouts, these areas can hold a lot of fish. From ultralight fishing techniques to heavy spoons, rivers are the place to fish. The flow produces easy food sources like insects, worms, fish eggs, and other nutrients traveling downstream. It’s also a perfect place to get your lure in front of them without the fish becoming aware of your terminal tackle, unlike in still, clear water.

Minnow Lures

Two minnow lures laying on a wooden dock
Yo-Zuri Pins Minnow and Rapala Original Floating

Minnow lures are some of the best presentations on the market. When fishing streams, it’s wise to go with a larger profile lure or a count-down style lure that sinks. A larger profile bait will get your lure down to the right depth. Cast upstream at retrieve quickly with the current to give your lure a natural presentation. I like to go with a Rapala Countdown brown trout or rainbow trout and throw it on a 6-10 lb line. In moving water, I tend to go with a slightly larger line and a medium power rod. In the event that fish takes off downstream, I’d then be fighting the fish and the current, so having a little backbone tends to help. Other notable minnow lures to consider for streams:

  • Yo-Zuri Pins Minnows
  • Rapala Ultra Light Minnow
  • Rebel Tracdown Minnow Jerkbait

Best Trout Lures For Streams: Kast Masters

Best trout lures for streams laying on a wooden dock side by side.

The Kast Master is a great stream lure because of its cast ability and weight. A good 1/8 oz last master is perfect for getting out into small streams and medium size river systems. The weight allows it to sink to the desired depth. Another advantage is the flutter action in turbulent water. Try casting your lure directly into the white turbulent water and let travel downstream as you let out the line. As the lure flutters and flashes through the water and leaves the main current, it imitates a small, disoriented bait fish.

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Best Trout Lures For Streams: Mepps Spinners

The 3 Best Trout Lures for Streams

Spinners are a great way to imitate fleeing baitfish in moving water. I’ve always been a fan of Mepps because they’re built well and tend to mimic the smallest bait fish out there. Try locating slow-moving water that forms eddies. Water that moves along fallen trees, rocks, or brush piles is also the perfect area that holds trout. Cast upstream with either a gold, silver, or black spinner at 45 degrees and retrieve your lure quickly. Be aware of your reel speed. If you have a slow reel, you’ll need to read faster to keep up the action and also to keep your lure off the bottom. Retrieving downstream presents your bait naturally to larger fish and also brings the lure right past their faces. These spinners are good when thrown on an ultralight rod like the Okuma SST.

Vibrax Bullet Spinner

The 3 Best Trout Lures for Streams

For larger profile lures, the Blue Fox Vibrax is a go-to for anglers looking to put steelhead-size trout in the boat. These spinners are effective in situations when larger trout are nearby and actively feeding. On calm water, I’ve noticed these spinners tend to put fish off due to the action. It puts out sound, flash, and a large profile. Like the Mepps spinner, cast upstream and retrieve down and try maintaining the action throughout. My go-to color for trout fishing is silver with a rainbow pattern. Gold and green are effective with steelhead and salmon.

Special Considerations

Single hook lures for trout are required on many bodies of water. So, be sure to check with your local regulations. Many regions prohibit the use of organic bait like nightcrawlers and crickets. Others might prohibit the use of barbed hooks.

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