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Best Trout Lures for Rivers and Streams

The best trout lures for rivers and streams have stood the test of time and are probably already in your tackle box or at least a few of them will be in there.

Lure fishing on streams and rivers can be a great way to cover a lot of water as you seek out trout in the various features along the banks.

Best Trout Lures

  • Panther Martin
  • Rooster Tail
  • Rapala original
  • Blue Fox Vibrax
  • Acme Phoebe 
  • Mepps Agila
  • Acme Kastmaster
  • Acme Little Cleo
  • Rebel Minnow
  • Luhr Jensen Krocodile 

1. Panther Martin

Panther Martin

The Panther Martin is one of the all time classic spinners for trout. It has an inline blade that produces a very distinctive action.

Compared to other trout spinners the Panther Martin will dive a little deeper so it can be great for targeting trout in deep pools and river runs.

2. Rooster Tail

Rooster Tail

Rooster Tails have a mighty reputation as being able to catch trout even when they are feeding on insects/nymphs this is probably due to the dressed hook at the back.

If you are fishing a catch and release stream they are available in single hook configurations and if you flatten the barb on them the will cause minimal damage to the trout.

3. Rapala Original


The Rapala trout lure Original floating in smaller sizes has been a firm favorite when fishing trout rivers. On the smallest streams or very clear days the sizes F03 and F05 are best.

If fishing a larger river or on darker/murky water you could move up to an F07. The most reliable colors are gold/silver or brown/rainbow trout.

4. Blue Fox Vibrax

Blue Fox Vibrax

One of the best lures for rivers and streams and available in a range of sizes and colors there is something in the Blue Fox spinner range for every fishing venue.

These lures tend to need a slightly faster retrieval rate than other spinners so this needs to be taken into account.

5. Acme Phoebe

Acme Phoebe

This little spoon is great for very small waters and in the gold color is very effective at attracting trout.

It can be fished on very light gear and in shallow areas.

6. Mepps Aglia

Mepps Aglia

The Mepps Agila easily one of the best trout lures of all time. Available in a large range of colors and sizes it has produced fish on many different waters for decades. This is the classic french blade spinner for trout.

It can also be trolled in the larger sizes on lakes

7. Acme Kastmaster

kastmaster spoon

The Kastmaster for it’s size is quite heavy so you can really hit long distances even in the smaller sizes.

That added weight makes it easy to get down deep. Perfect for hitting those deep pockets on larger rivers.

8. Acme Little Cleo

Acme Little Cleo

A great little spoon for targeting deep pools or cast up and across stream you can cover a lot of water in a day with one of these.

Just like the Kastmaster above the Little Cleo is bet worked in deeper area’s where trout like to wait in ambush for smaller fish. 

9. Rebel Minnow Lure

Rebel Minnow Lure

Like the Rapala only a sinking variation the Rebel can be used to target exact depths.

Casting out and then using a slow count to vary the depth is a great way to find how deep the trout are exactly lying.

10. Luhr Jensen Krocodile

Luhr Jensen Krocodile

The Krocodile is a great attractor spoon and can be used in bright colors on dull days or when the rivers or streams are running high. Due to it’s stream lined shape it can be retrieved quite quickly.

Top Trout Lure Brands

Below is a list of the best brands that make trout lures:

  • Mepps – Made famous by the world famous Mepps Agila.
  • Luhr Jensen – Luhr Jensen’s best know lure if probably the Krocodile which is a great slim line spoon.
  • Rapala – Rapala make the all time classic minnow imitator the Rapala Original Floating lure, they have since expanded their product range to include sinking versions as well as crankbaits and slat water trolling lures. 
  • Worden – Worden are the original designers of the Worden’s Rooster Tail lure. It has been copied by many lure companies. They are also makers of the flatfish lure.
  • Acme – Acme has so many successful lures to it’s name there is surely one of theirs in most tackle boxes. They predominantly make spoons such as the Kastmaster, Phoebe, Little Cleo and  Thunderbolt.
  • Eppinger – Makers of the famous red and white Dardevle fishing spoon.
  • Panther Martin – Makers of the famous inline spinner by the same name.
  • Blue Fox – Now a part of the Rapala group of companies Blue Fox is the designer of the popular Blue Fox spinners range.

Brown trout are generally trickier to catch than rainbow trout. Wild brownies on a mountain stream are some of the prettiest fish you will ever encounter.

The best brown trout lures will imitate first and attract second.

What does this mean?

It means you should match or at least try to match exactly what the trout are feeding on day in day out. 

On smaller rivers that may well be a small jig that imitates a nymph. On larger waters were there is an availability of small baitfish then you can try to imitate those using a Rapala or spinner.  

Rainbow trout can be less fussy than brown trout. If they are stocked fish them you can catch them on almost anything flashy as long as it is well presented.

All the lures listed above can and will catch rainbow trout. You can also use more artificial types of bait such as Powerbait or salmon eggs.

Fishing for Trout on Rivers and Streams

Some of the best methods when fishing with lures for trout on rivers and streams is to actively seek out where the trout will naturally hide.

Trout love to hide away from prying eyes and they are one of the easiest fish to spook , take great care as you walk along the bank of the river not to make too much noise. 

Stay low and try to avoid wearing bright colors or disturb the foliage of trees or grasses as you move along.

Start by looking for deeper holes that trout like to lie in during the day. In a fast flowing river they will be in places were smaller fish and nymphs will tend to get washed down into.

Behind sunken logs and downstream of large eddies are a particular favorite of theirs. You can cast upstream and beyond these points so that as you retrieve you lure it will pass right past there nose.

Trout love to strike hard so putting in front of them almost forces then into hitting your lure.

Pair the best spinning rod you can afford with a good ultralight spinning reel and 4 to 8 lbs monofilament as your main setup.