The Best River Trout Fishing Lure

The Best River Trout Fishing Lure

This article will discuss the best river trout fishing lure. There are many artificial lures that can be used to catch trout in rivers and streams. However, there is one lure that have been proven to be the best over the course of time.

best river trout fishing lure

The best river trout fishing lure is the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail. It is an inline spinner. This simple, yet extremely effective lure has been around for decades. It comes in many sizes as well as a myriad of color patterns and is extremely effective for all trout species. Rooster tail spinners come with a natural built in action and flash, making them easy for anglers to use.

spinner fishing for trout

For the most part, Rooster Tails mimic bait fish. They put out both flash and vibration, which mimics a wounded bait fish. While light, these lures cast quite well on ultralight spinning tackle. They are available in many different color patterns and sizes. The size and color of the bait used will be determined by the prevailing conditions.

The Rooster Tail is also manufactured with a single hook. This is another aspect of the bait that makes it the best river trout fishing lure. Many anglers prefer to release their trout unharmed. The single hook certainly makes this easier. Also, many local fishing regulations require the use of a single hook, even on artificial lures. This makes the Rooster Tail with the single hook an excellent choice for anglers fishing for trout in rivers.

best 13 brown trout fishing lures

Rooster Tail options

Anglers should should let current conditions determine which Rooster Tail is used. Experienced anglers understand that river fishing conditions change constantly. Rains that occur up river will quickly stain and rise the water level. Conversely, periods of no rain will result in the water being low and clear. Each of these conditions will need a different river trout fishing lure.

Generally speaking, when the water is clear and the sun is out bright, light colored lures with silver blades work best. This color pattern takes the best advantage of the bright sun in clear water. The flash can be seen from quite a distance and will draw trout to the bait.

rainbow trout fishing lures

Conversely, in low light conditions and when the water is stained, gold is a much more effective blade finish. When matched with a brightly colored body and tail dressing, this combination is extremely effective when visibility is reduced. Gold has always been an excellent finish in off colored water. These rules are an not hard and fast, but are just a guide. Anglers should always experiment with color and size until a productive pattern emerges.

rooster tail

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brown trout fishing

Most anglers choose their Rooster Tail by the size of the fish they are pursuing in the waters that they are fishing. This is pretty basic and quite logical. Smaller streams and rivers will generally have smaller fish that can be a bit spooky. Therefore, smaller lures that make a more subtle presentation are often the best choice. Larger baits are usually a better choice in larger, more open rivers where the chance for a better fish is present.

Best rod and reel for river trout fishing

brook trout fishing lures

The best rod and reel combination for trout fishing in rivers and streams in an ultralight spinning outfit. Trout streams are often very clear, requiring the use of light lines. Also, the best trout fishing lures, Rooster Tails included, are fairly light. A 6′ to 6 1/2′ untra light spinning rod with a matching 1000 series reel and spooled with 4 lb monofilament or flourocarbon line works well in most situations, other than large rivers with big fish and heavy current.

Click to shop Amazon for an ultra light spinning combo

River trout fishing lure techniques

One attribute that makes the rooster tail the best river trout fishing lure is the ease with which it is used. The lure is simply cast out and brought back in using a slow, steady retrieve. It really is that simple! However, as in all fishing, there are nuances which will increase success.

fishing for brown trout

The best approach is to cast directly across the stream. Then, the angler uses a twitch of the rod tip to get the spinner blade spinning. The angler uses a combination of the current and the retrieve speed to retrieve the bait. Often times, the strike occurs as the line straightens out and the spinner swings in the current. This is not unlike fly anglers who do the same thing when swinging a nymph.

Rooster tails will produce both in the swift portions of rivers such as riffles as well as the holes and pools. This versatility is another thing that makes the rooster tail the best river trout fishing lure. In the riffles, anglers will usually need to keep their rod tip high and just keep a tight line and the current will do the rest. In the slower pools, the bait should be allowed to sink and then retrieved in steadily.

trout fishing with streamers

Here is a comprehensive post on fishing with spinners in rivers and streams.

Best waters for using a Rooster Tail

The best waters to use the Rooster tail for trout fishing are generally streams and smaller rivers. These baits are quite light and do not make much commotion when entering the water. In the smaller streams, a subtle presentation can often make the difference between catching fish and going home empty-handed.

top trout fishing lures

Rooster Tails are also fairly light. This means that anglers will be limited in their casting range. Also, the lighter weight results in them sinking quite slowly. For these reasons, deep, large, fast-moving rivers are often better fished with larger, heavier lures.

More river trout fishing lures

While the Wardens rooster tail is the best river trout fishing lure, there are certainly other lures that will catch fish. These include other spinner manufacturers, spoons, plugs, and soft plastic baits.


blue fox spinner

There are several other spinners that have good reputations for catching trout and other species. These include the Panther Martin, Mepps Aglia, and Blue Fox. The Panther Martin and Blue Fox in particular are much heavier spinners and are better choices for anglers fishing larger, deeper rivers. The Mepps Aglia can be fished much like the rooster tail.


venom spoon

Spoons come in a wide variety of sizes and finishes. The Acme Kastmaster is a very popular river trout fishing lure. The small size with a gold finish is particularly effective. Larger spoons are excellent choices when fishing big rivers with a lot of current. They also work very well when trolled.


Rapala Ultralight floating minnow

Anglers seeking a trophy trout will often choose to use a plug. The rapid a is one of the more popular river trout fishing lures. This bait will not draw as many strikes. However, they will almost always be larger fish. This bait works well, however it does come with multiple treble hooks.


A lead head jig with a soft plastic grub body is most often thought to be a bass or walleye fishing lure. However, it can be very effective on trout as well. Depending on the color in grub combination, they can be used to mimic both crustaceans and bait fish. There are very effective when both bounced on the bottom or went swimming naturally in the current.

In conclusion, this article on the best river trout fishing lure will help anglers catch more fish!

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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