How To Use A Kastmaster To Catch Trout

The Acme Kastmaster is one of the best lures for catching trout. It works in almost any type of water, and can catch anything from tiny brookies to massive steelhead. There are a variety of ways that you can fish for trout with a Kastmaster, and a lot of different types to choose from.

Here’s how to pick the right Kastmaster for your purposes, and how to use once you’re out on the water!

Choosing the Right Kastmaster for Trout

Acme Kastmasters


It’s a well-worn phrase, but bigger isn’t always better. In fact, going big may actually hurt your chances of catching a trout with a Kastmaster. Sure, big fish like big prey. But they’re not picky! If something smaller swims by and looks enticing, they won’t pass up a snack. Smaller trout, on the other hand, may see large lures as too big to eat.

Overall, keeping it small will up your chances of hooking something. A 1/8oz. Kastmaster is a very popular lure for trout, and can attract a wide range of other fish. If you need a bit more distance, 1/4oz. will give you a bit more weight. Unless you’re going after very large trout, that’s about as big as you’ll want to go. On the other end of the spectrum, you may find it hard to cast 1/12oz. Kastmasters for long distances, but they work great in rivers and streams with smaller trout.


The best color can vary according to the weather, water conditions, and what the trout feel like eating that day. Overall, though, some colors have proven more effective that others.


A gold Kastmaster has possibly caught more trout than any other lure out there, and should be in everyone’s tackle box. It’s particularly perfect for bight sunny days, when it can really catch the sun’s rays. It’s also a good option for cloudier or browner water, since it will pop very clearly.


Chrome Kastmasters come in a close second to the gold, and are particularly useful on greyer days. They’re also great in clearer water, where their flash can be seen a long ways off.


Much like the silver Kastmater, the blue/silver combo can catch a lot of fish on a grey. The two-tone coloring helps it mimic the look of popular trout prey.


Speaking of mimicking prey fish, the firetiger Kastmaster does a great job of looking just like what the trout like to eat. That includes, by the way, other trout! Trout are known for cannibalizing their own young, as well as the young of other species.

Don’t Be Afraid of Generics!

Kastmasters are incredible at catching trout. They are also incredibly at catching weeds, lake bottoms, tree branches, and just about everything else. Even when you’re being careful, it’s not hard to lose a Kastmaster on a day of trout fishing.

That’s why I often buy South Bend Kast-a-Ways, a generic form of the Kastmaster. They’re pretty much identical to the Kastmaster, and come in convenient 3-packs that end up being significantly cheaper than Kastmasters. While they don’t have the same range of colors and sizes as the original, there’s still some good variety. And remember, fish can’t read brand names!

How To Fish For Trout With A Kastmaster

Basic Strategies

Kastmasters are a type of spoon. They work because they mimic the look and movement of the fish that trout like to eat. Even better, they swim with the erratic motion of a fish who is wounded or otherwise helpless. The trout sees a potential easy meal, and lunges at your lure. Congrats, you’ve got a trout on the line!

Check out this video showing the signature underwater motion of a Kastmaster:

Knowing how it works is key to figuring out how to best use a Kastmaster. The first thing to remember is that the natural motion of the Kastmaster in the water only does part of the job for you. If all you do is cast out and reel in again, you may get some bites. Add some twitches, pauses, and other erratic movement, and you’ll get a lot more.

This lure lends itself really well to experimentation. Try these tricks out the next time you’re out on the water!

  • Stop your retrieval and let the Kastmaster sink a little bit before starting back up. To a trout, that looks like a fish struggling to stay swimming.
  • Give your rod a twitch every few seconds on the retrieve. Not only does this make the lure look more erratic, it’ll help induce bites. As the “baitfish” lurches forward, the trout will think it’s speeding up to try to get away and will lunge forward to try to catch it.
  • Vary your retrieve speeds, from slow to fast and back again. Fish don’t swim straight in one direction at one speed, so your lure shouldn’t, either.

Using a Kastmaster in a Lake or Pond

Kastmasters are just about perfect for catching trout in lakes and ponds, because they can go far and deep. Whether you’re fishing from shore in a lake or trying your luck at a stocked trout pond, you need your lure to get where the trout are. Often, that means getting into the deepest parts of the lake or pond, where the water is cool and trout fele more comfortable.

When you get to the water, you’ll want to gauge just how deep those trout are. One great way to do this is by counting down your lure. Cast out, and then start counting before reeling in. Start with five seconds, then ten, then 15, and so on until you hit the bottom. Now that you know where the bottom is, keeping varying the depth of your lure by counting it down. Once you start getting hits, you’ve found the trout.

Speaking of hitting the bottom, here’s one killer trick to try when the trout are hanging deep. Let your Kastmaster sink all the way down, then twitch it and reel it in a bit. Let it settle again, and repeat. Again, this is mimicking a struggling fish, one that looks like an easy snack for a hungry trout. Even if they’re being lazy, they’ll want grab it!

Using a Kastmaster in a River or Stream

In moving water, you’ve got the current to help move your Kastmaster around. You also usually don’t need the same distance that you do in a lake. Keep your lure small, especially in smaller streams. Remember, big trout will hit smaller lures if you present it right! The 1/12oz. is particularly nice in streams filled with brookies.

When you’re at the river, you have to keep in mind how the trout are going to react to the current. Imagine if there was a conveyor belt with all kinds of tasty food sitting on it, and all you had to do was sit and catch it. That’s what the current is to a trout. When they’re feeding, they’ll be facing upstream and seeing what comes by.

Once you think you know where the trout are holding, trying a little downstream and casting upstream. When you’re reeling in, make sure that you’re going fast enough to match the current and keep slack out of your line. Your Kastmaster will float right by the trout in the same way they’re used to seeing food float down, and they’re react accordingly.

Another strategy is to cast across the river, and perhaps slightly upstream. As you retrieve, the current will swing the lure downstream and set it in a fluttering motion. This is great for covering a wide swath of water in one cast.

Trolling With a Kastmaster

Kastmasters are great spoons for trolling because of their weight and tendency to sink lower than other trolling lures. You can keep the boat going slow and they’ll still move around in their inimitable way. This is the best way to keep trout interested; go too fast and they might not want to bother. Keeping it slow also helps the Kastmasters run deeper, getting down to the cooler water where the trout are most active.

If you need to get even deeper, get some three-way swivels. Tie one end to your line, one end to your Kastmaster, and tie a weight onto the third end. This will keep your lure low without affecting its motion in the water.

Jigging With a Kastmaster

Jigging is also a very effective way to fish for trout with a Kastmaster. They’re especially effective around structures like submerged logs or under docks. Let it sink to the bottom, then jerk up quickly. Trout will immediately get interested in the sudden flash and movement. Then, let it fall back down and flutter to the bottom, drawing the trout even closer as they inspect what looks very much like a wounded fish.

If you’re ice fishing, you can also jig with Kastmasters effectively. This time, though, you won’t necessarily want them to go all the way down to the bottom. Trout often feed surprisingly shallowly during the winter, so keep it within the first couple feet of the bottom of the ice. Again, a quick jerk up followed by a pause to allow it to flutter down is the best technique.

Modifiying Kastmasters

While Kastmasters work great as-is, there are a bunch of ways you can help them work even better. One of the most popular is the so-called “dressed” Kastmaster. Putting a tuft of fuzz or feathers around the hook makes the lure look even more like typical trout prey. Plus, the “tail” will vibrate as it moves in a way that will draw fish closer in. You can actually buy dressed Kastmasters off the shelf, or you can make your own.

Another popular thing to do is put a bit of bait on the hook. This adds another sense to the Kastmaster’s allure, smell. It will also affect the motion of the Kastmaster in the water. If you’re fishing in a stocked area, a bit of Powerbait on the hook will work wonders. Just make sure it’s still wobbling; too much bait on the end and it won’t move much at all.

You can also buy scented sprays to give your lure a scent that trout will love. Spritz some on and see how they react. Just remember to keep re-applying, since the spray will wear off after a while.

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