When I got my start fishing as a little boy, my earliest memories were on my parents boat trolling for salmon and trout on a big lake. For me, that was what fishing was all about. It wasn’t until I got a little older that I really learned how to hone my abilities and improve as an angler, but not on a boat. The education I got from fishing was all learned on small rivers and streams. It was there I learned how to cast with control, precision, how to present lures, and ultimately how to find spots that hold fish. From all my time I spent fishing in streams and rivers, I was able to come up with three of my absolute favorite lures to catch trout on. To me, these are the best trout lures for streams. If you don’t have these in your tackle box, be sure you get them. You’ll be extremely pleased with the results!
Best Trout Lures for Streams – Top 3 Guide – Mepps Aglia
Absolutely the best. Absolutely the best, hands down, lure I’ve ever used to catch trout. Invented in France, manufactured in Wisconsin, the Mepps Aglia is my numero uno go to trout lure when stream fishing. It’s not even close. The action from the Aglia spinner blade seems to be like an addictive drug to trout. You can cast them upstream, downstream, directly across, it doesn’t matter. The spinning blade does all the hard work for you and if trout are in the area, they’ll notice it and eventually they’ll strike. They always do.
I prefer the simple colors: Gold and Silver. Silver seems to work best for me in my location but they all work very well. Some anglers prefer the patterned Aglias so to each their own. The bottom line is you should have at least a few of these in your tackle box. Not just one, because if you’re familiar with stream fishing you know you’ll be making at least one lure deposit per trip. That’s just the way it works.
FISH TIP: Depending on the quality of fish in the area, I’ll never pick up Aglia’s sized smaller than 2. 2 is big enough to get distance out of each cast but small enough to target any size trout in the water. Anything smaller and you’re really struggling unless you have ultra light tackle. But don’t forget the tried and true rule: bigger lure = bigger fish. It’s true!
Best Trout Lures for Streams – Top 3 Guide – Flies
We’ve all seen them. Sleep mountain rivers with the fly fisherman and his guide trying to coax a trophy brown trout into biting. The repetitive back and forth motion whipping the long graphite fly rod sending a fuzzy hook floating in the air until it reaches the bubbling brook. Flies are great lures for trout. And the best part is, you don’t have to own a very expensive fly rod and reel to fish with flies. All you need is a clear water slip cast spin float, a bead to keep the float in place, a swivel, a leader line (light if possible) and you can use flies to catch trout. There are so many patterns of flies out there to choose from so I cannot recommend any specific patterns. I would suggest you purchase a fly assortment pack as well as find your local fly tying expert and buy some locally made flies. They’ll best match the flies local to your area and will likely be the most productive.
Best Trout Lures for Streams – Top 3 Guide – Worms
Trout worms and small grubs are great in streams because they mimic earthworms free floating downstream after a big rain. Trout love an easy meal and worms in water are the easiest. The best part about fishing worms in a stream is unless it’s a very slow moving current, correctly hooking the worm will allow you to let the current provide all the action needed to coax a strike. A wacky rig hook up seems to be the best setup for this. The soft rubber ends will wobble in the water giving it lifelike action without having to sit there and jig, jerk or pull the rod every couple of seconds.
The industry leaders in the rubber worm market are Berkley Gulps and Powerbaits. I prefer Berkley Gulps but either will work just as well for you. The natural worm color is my favorite but it does not hurt to try the other colors. You may find immense success using a chartreuse or pink worm. Won’t know until you try!
FISH TIP: Make sure you add a bobber to your worm rig. Even if you have a floating worm you’ll want the extra weight on the line to give you ultimate casting control.
Best Trout Lures for Streams – Fishing in a Stream
Some simple tips to help you find and catch fish in your local stream. First and foremost, depending on your state, if you’re in a suburban area or know of a stream that has pretty easy access, the chances of it being cleaned out by other anglers is pretty high. The downside to stream fishing is you have to hike a ways to really find good spots. If you’re like many anglers and are just interested in chasing the stocking truck, you can find success once you know approximately when the streams were last stocked. But if you’re okay with finding new, hard to reach places that may be holding your next trophy, walk up stream a ways (legally of course) and take a chance on some great new fishing spots.
One thing I learned pretty quickly when stream fishing was the best retrieval was winding my reel when the lure was cast upstream. Take my favorite Mepps Aglia for instance. I would get more strikes when I cast upstream and slowly retrieved the lure. Rather than watching the spinning blade spin so quickly, I let the current dictate the action. The blade rotated the bait, but that extra flutter from the current seemed to drive the fish wild. That, coupled with the fact that because I was casting from behind the fish they were less apt to spot me on the banks. This same principle holds true for any of the other baits mentioned. If at all possible, cast upstream and let the current plus a slight winding of the reel bring your lure back to you.
I’d quickly like to expand upon the idea of fish seeing you. Trout have exceptional eyesight and can spot unusual things on and around the river banks very easily. I was taught at a very young age to slowly and slyly, almost as if I was stalking a deer during a hunt, approach the river. Soft steps with little noise let out small, almost undetectable vibrations that the fish can’t sense. My dad told me at one point I should crawl on my stomach to the river before I let out the first cast. I thought he was nuts but I saw a video a few years back of Eric Haataja, an accomplished trout and salmon angler from the midwest, doing the exact same thing when fishing for steelhead. Of course I cannot find the video at the time of this posting, but if I run across it again I will absolutely update the post.
Finally, look for big boulders and bends in the stream when scouting a place to fish. Trout are opportunistic feeders and because they’re constantly battling the current, if they can sit behind a big boulder or around a bend where the current isn’t as difficult, they will wait for their next meal to float or swim by. Always look for areas where the current isn’t as strong and make sure your bait crosses its path. You’ll likely find a good fish sitting their waiting. Tight lines!