Spoons are one of the best types of lure for catching trout of all sizes. A 1/12 or 1/8oz Phoebe will get all the little brookies biting, while many a Michigander will swear by a 1oz Dardevle for monster lakers.
The key is the unique motion of the spoon in the water. Most spoons are designed to mimic in some way the small fish that trout prey on. They also have an irresistible flash that trout can spot from a distance. Instincts kick in, and before you know, you’ve got a bite.
Here’s a guide to the best spoons for trout, and how to choose and use ’em!
How To Fish For Trout With Spoons
Spoons are excellent for casting from shore in a lake or pond, and generally cast farther than other types of lures. But the key to getting the most out of a spoon is in the retrieve. Test out different speeds, making sure that you’re reeling in fast enough for the spoon to flutter and dance. Another great trick is to stop and start, letting the spoon fall a bit each time. Or, give the line a twitch every so often as you’re bringing it in. Most of these spoons don’t need to be retrieved quickly. In fact, keeping it slow entices the trout to think they can easily catch this “fish” swimming by them.
If you’re on a boat, trolling is a great way to cover a lot of water with the spoons. Make sure that you’re going just fast enough to keep the spoons at the depth the trout are holding in. It’s best to use a fish finder and some good ol’ fashioned trial and error to perfect your speed.
This video gives a great quick overview of how to use the Acme Kastmaster, one of the most popular spoons for trout. It also shows the unique underwater motion of the spoon:
Choosing The Best Spoons For You
When you’re casting from shore on a lake or pond, thicker spoons like the Kastmaster or Pixee help you cast as far as possible. They’ll also get down deep to where the trout are holding. For faster, shallower water, a thinner spoon like the Phoebe or Hus is best. You won’t need the long casting distance, and the current will make these little spoons flutter in a way that drives trout wild.
Color selection is more an art than a science, but there are some general guidelines. Keep colors bright in darker or muddier water so they stand out. This is also true for dull, cloudy weather. Gold is great for sunnier days and browner water, while the classic silver works best when there are a few clouds and in clear water. Otherwise, take a look at the small fish around you. Many spoons like the Krocodile have patterns that match perch, rainbows trout fry, and other prey fish.
If you’re headed to a lake and take one lure, take a Kastmaster. And if you take two lures, take two Kastmasters. They’re one of the go-to spoons for a lot of fish, but trout can’t seem to get enough. As the name suggests, these are great spoons if you need to cast a long distance. They cast like a dream and have an irresistible movement that always seems to get a bite. Be careful, though, because they’re almost as good at catching weeds as they are at catching trout. Get a 3-pack and you’ll be all set.
South Bend Kast-A-Way
Yeah, these are more or less a cheaper copy of the Kastmaster. But hey, trout don’t read the brand names on the spoons that catch their eye. The lower price of the South Bend spoons is great for those of us who fish in weedy trout ponds. They cast, move, and catch just about the same as the Kastmasters. You just won’t feel as bad when the weed monsters get ’em.
Johnson Silver Minnow
Speaking of weeds, the Johnson Silver Minnow is one of the best-known and best-loved weedless spoons out there. The design places a single hook (rather than the usual treble) on the concave side of the spoon. That plus a pin-like protector means that you won’t have to worry about snags. Keep this one around for when you’ve lost too many spoons in your favorite trout pond.
Acme Little Cleo
The Little Cleo is one of the great all-around lures. It’s a great spoon for trout and salmon, but it’ll catch bass, pike, crappie, and just about anything else. The “hammered” version with its dimpled look has a great flash that really attracts bites. And while they’re not quite the distance monsters Kastmasters are, they can cast pretty far.
The Krocodile is one of the best spoons to use when you’re trolling for trout. It’s very effectively designed to mimic the little fish your big trophy fish likes to eat. Jigging also works well with the Krocodile, especially around any kind of underwater structure. But be warned, you may end up catching more than just trout!
Blue Fox Pixee
Like the Kastmaster, the Blue Fox Pixee is great for casting long distances. It’s one of the most popular spoons in the Northwest and Alaska for steelhead trout and salmon. With a bunch of color options and a dimpled look much like the hammered Little Cleos, the Pixee has a unique look in the water. It’s a great change-of-pace spoon to use when anglers around you are fishing the old standards.
Another great spoon for moving water, the Hus will easily drop through the surface currents down to where the trout are holding. A swift stream or river will really work this spoon, or you can give your wrist a light twitch every so often as you retrieve it for maximum effect. Like its cousin the Krocodile, the Hus also works well in a trolling rig.
Lighter than its cousins the Kastmaster and Little Cleo, the Phoebe excels in shallow water. It’s perfect for trout streams and smaller rivers where you don’t need the casting distance of heavier spoons. Cast it around the rocks and you’ll be amazed how quickly the trout start hitting.
Eppinger Original Dardevle
While it’s a classic spoon for a lot of fish, the Eppinger Darevle excels with lake trout. And for good reason: Eppinger himself came from Detroit a pulled a lot of fish out of the Great Lakes. It’s also one of the few lures still made in the USA.
Mepps Little Wolf
While Mepps spinners are legendary to trout fisherman, don’t sleep on their spoons. It’s designed for an “active fall,” meaning that it keeps moving even when you’re not reeling it in. It’s a great spoon to experiment with, since it’ll keep moving through a variety of retrieval speeds and methods.