Ask any trout fisherman which lure is the best for catching trout, and chances are he’ll pull out a spinner.
Like any lure, finding the best trout spinner for your situation is a game of numbers. Every trout stream, pond, and lake is different, and you never know what fish will bite on. But 5 spinners in particular have separated themselves from the rest, consistently pulling trout out of all kinds of water.
Read on for how to catch trout with spinners, what colors to choose, and which spinners are the best of the best!
Table of Contents
The Best Spinner Colors For Trout
It’s almost impossible to say what color spinner is best for trout on any given day. There are too many factors at play, and what slays trout in one stream might not get a single bite in another. In many ways, it’s more art than science, and it pays to keep a bunch of colors handy. However, there are a few tips you can follow when you’re choosing colors.
- Keep the weather in mind. A golden spinner will match the rays of the sun, while a silver spinner matches the grey of a cloudy day.
- Look at what trout are eating. If you can see little fish around, try to match their colors with your spinner. They’re what the trout are after. And don’t forget that trout are cannibals! A spinner that mimics a rainbow or brown trout fry will catch wild trout who eat their own species’ young.
- Check the water visibility. Brighter colors and a golden flash will pop more in cloudy water. In clear water, more muted colors will more closely resemble what the trout is used to seeing.
Overall, make sure that you have a good selection of colors. When you’re having no luck with one, put on the exact opposite (gold/silver, neon/brown, etc.) and see if that works. And don’t worry too much. The color of a spinner definitely helps, but there are many other factors that influence whether a trout bites.
Worden’s Rooster Tail
The key to the success of Worden’s Rooster Tail is in the name. The fluffy tail sends it own vibrations through the water, getting trout even more interested. Plus, it looks like a lot of natural food, including the tail of a baitfish or the appendages of a fly. If you’re headed out to a river or stream, Rooster Tails are a great bet to catch trout big and small.
Blue Fox Vibrax
The Blue Fox Vibrax runs pretty deep, great for getting down to where trout are holding. It’s also one of the best trout spinners in eliminating line twist, which can be an annoying problem. The fluorescent colored Vibrax spinners work particularly well in darker water. Blue Fox also makes a great dressed Vibrax with a RoosterTail-like fluff around the hook.
They tell you that size isn’t everything, but that’s not entirely true. You see, Panther Martins have a larger blade than other spinners. That bigger blade makes for even “louder” vibrations that attract trout to the spinner. Panther Martins are also one of the few spinners that can be trolled pretty deep without additional weight.
Joe’s Flies Short Striker
The Joe’s Flies Short Striker is both a spinner and a fly, a perfect combination for catching trout. The flash and vibration of the blade pull them in. But unlike a lot of other spinners, the Short Striker actually strongly resembles trout food. It also has both a single and treble hook, increasing your chance of hooking and keeping your fish.
The Mepps Aglia is a little heavier/denser than other spinners, giving you a longer casting distance and a bit deeper run. Some of the smaller Mepps will still catch remarkably big trout! Try out one of their packs that combine spoons and spinners for a great variety of trout lures.
How To Catch Trout With a Spinner
A spinner is a lure with a blade that spins as it is retrieved. The spinning blade sends vibrations through the water that catch trout’s attention. It also has an alluring flash as the (generally shiny) blade catches the sunlight. These two factors work together to excite trout enough to strike at the spinner. Unlike flies, crankbaits, and soft lures, spinners don’t necessarily look like the things trout want to eat. Instead, like spoons, they act like the trout’s prey, mimicking the vibrations that smaller fish make in the water.
Understanding that is key to understanding how best to use a spinner to catch trout. You need to retrieve it in way that seems like an enticing baitfish. This can be done in a variety of ways:
- Keep it slow. Trout won’t want to chase prey that’s moving too fast for them to catch.
- Vary your speed. Fish don’t swim in a straight line at one speed. Slow down a bit, speed up a bit, keep it interesting.
- Stop and start. Stop, let the spinner fall little, then continue the retrieve. This mimics a wounded fish in the water.
- Twitch your rod. This is especially good to do at the start of your retrieve, in order to activate the blade. A sudden twitch also gives a chasing trout the cue to strike or risk losing its prey.
Lakes and Ponds
In still water, deeper is usually better. After you cast, wait and let the spinner fall before retrieving it. Give it a twitch just as you start reeling it in to make sure the blade is spinning. Keep the retrieve on the slow side to keep it down. Too fast, and the spinner will run too shallow to catch trout.
You can also use a spinner as a trolling lure, but they often tend to ride high. You can combat this by adding weight. Tie a sinker onto a three-way barrel swivel and attach your lure and line to the other two ends. This allows the sinker to keep the spinner low without interfering with the lure’s action.
Streams and Rivers
In moving water, it’s tempting to let the current activate the spinner on its own. But the best technique is actually to cast the spinner upstream of the trout. This is because trout use the current as a sort of food delivery system. They’ll park themselves somewhere just outside the current (like behind a rock), and see what comes. So, you’ve got to let the “food” come to them by casting upstream.
This gets a little tricky, because you need to retrieve fast enough to activate the blade and keep up with the current. Be sure to keep your line as tight as you can, without any slack.
Another method is to cast across the current, getting the whole width of the river in. It’s still best to cast slightly upstream for this, and let the current swing your spinner down and across the stream as you retrieve.