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What Type of Lures do Trout Like?
Ok, I’m going to let you into a secret.
It’s the key to catching more trout using lures. Want to know what it is?
Two words. Movement and Color.
Trout are super aggressive and have a little bit of a temper. Imitation patterns work really well, but you’ll find that a colorful lure that moves will far out fish something stationary when it comes to trout.
When you check out my list below, you’ll see (with one exception) that all of the lures I list are designed to flutter, flip and flash. There’s a reason I chose them. It’s because I want you to catch a trout.
I can think of no better way to get a trout riled up and ready to smash a lure than to choose things that can’t fail to be noticed by the fish.
What Color Attracts Fish the Most?
Trout can actually see colors in much more detail than the human eye.
Want me to prove it? Here check this out…
From my own experience, choosing the right color when ice fishing for trout is important. Alongside movement, color can be the difference between a good day and a blank day. Once you pin the right color down, you’ll find your catch rate will increase dramatically.
Not quite. The ‘right’ color changes day to day, so you’ll need to take a variety of lures to give you plenty of options.
I find that bright colors out fish darker colors. My normal starting point is silvers, whites, and golds. It’s only once I have exhausted those options that I start working my way through some of the more outlandish colors in my ice fishing lure box.
What are the Best Ice Fishing Baits for Trout?
Lures aren’t the only option when fishing for trout. When it comes to bait, trout like to eat baits similar to things they’d find ‘in the wild’. The staple of most trout’s diet is a mixture of baitfish and other subsurface creatures…
Do you know what they are?
In case you were wondering, nymphs are larvae that one day (when the weather is warmer) turn into flies and insects. (it’s the reason why trout can be caught on flies in the summer).
But you’re here to talk about the best I’ve fishing lures for trout. Well, don’t worry.
I’ve got you.
In my list below, you’ll see that I’ve included a lure that is designed to look exactly like larvae. It’s my secret weapon/They’re a bit unconventional when ice fishing, I’ll admit, but they work. In fact, they are ideal for magicking up a bite even on the coldest, slowest days.
If you want to ice fish for trout, then here’s what I take in my lure box on a normal day:
Minnow Style Lures
I normally take a selection of patterns designed to look, at least a little like minnows. Trout are extremely predatory, and if they see a smaller fish, they will attack them ferociously.
See it for yourself!
I talked about movement at the start. When it comes to fluttering movement, spinners are a great choice.
Aside from the glittery flash they make, they also produce little ‘shockwaves’ as they rotate. Most predatory fish can sense this disturbance. So even if you are ice fishing at night, you’ll find that spinners can work well.
Spinners come in a range of colors and sizes. I find smaller spinners work best for trout.
Spoons attract trout for a similar reason to spinners, but they work differently. When they are dropped through the water column, they flutter in a really erratic way.
Do you know what else flutters and flashes erratically?
A wounded fish. Trout are ruthless when it comes to getting an easy meal. Wounded fish are easy prey (and a rather nutritious snack for a hungry trout).
You’ll find spoons in many different sizes and shapes. My favorite is ‘wedge’ style spoons. The extra weight makes them easy to drop through my hole in the ice, and they sink pretty quickly.
Jigs are a staple for any ice fishing with lures. If you’ve seen my article on ice fishing for walleye, you’ll see that they feature heavily. What works for walleye will often work for trout too.
Jigs move up and down. You can even get some that ‘swim’ away from you on the drop, accurately mimicking the movement of real fish.
So, I told you about my secret weapon.
Nymphs are an artificial bait, but unlike the others, they don’t move particularly quickly. Nymphs emerge from the mud when the sun gets low and drift through the water column.
The key to successful nymph fishing is to find the right depth where the trout would expect to find them. From there, it’s just a case of holding your nymph in place until a trout spots it. Gold headed nymphs are best for ice fishing as they have enough weight to sink down into the depths.
They are really great trout catchers. The thing I love about these trout fishing lures is the ultra-flashy body.
These minnow style trout lures have lifelike 3D eyes and a holographic finish creating maximum flash in the water.
How they flutter when retrieved is also pretty realistic. The lures have their center of gravity right in the middle of the body. As you pull them in, the body rotates around this point, making it ‘swim’ in an erratic fashion that mimics that of an injured fish.
There are two hooks on each lure. The fore hook also has strips of pearlescent wire. For those of you who fly fish, you’ll already know how deadly this can be.
Reward: One of the best ice fishing lures for lake trout.
As a pack, you get a choice of colors and plenty of variety.
Provided you look after them, these lures are solid and built to last.
I found when ‘jigging’ these, the front hook could sometimes catch my mainline. The easiest way to solve this is to remove the upper hook.
A really eye-catching lure. They are great for low light conditions (like under the ice).
They are utter cannibals. That’s right, they are absolutely ruthless predators, even with their own species! Bad news for baby trout, good news for you.
This spinner mixes a bit of the trout’s natural ‘prey’ with all of the technology designed to invoke an aggressive response.
A lure that is absolutely superb for trout ice fishing. The body of this lure is heavily weighted, making it sink through the water column quickly. The blade is mounted in such a way as to ensure a really fast spinning action, crucial for creating lots of commotion in the water.
Reward: The best-dedicated trout lure for ice fishing.
An excellent blend of natural finish and lure technology.
I like how quickly the heavily weighted spinner’ body’ sinks.
The blade requires constant movement and fast retrieval. If the fish are having a slow day, then it might not be as effective.
A really effective trout lure. Surprising considering it looks a little like ‘one of their own’, but that said, if it catches fish, then we are all for it.
Ask most what the best way to catch trout is, and they will say ‘fly fishing’. It stands to reason that lures with feathers should work well, even with ice fishing.
This set of lures gives you plenty of color choices and includes quite a few spinners with incorporated feathers and streamers. You get a mixture of styles, all backed up with a rotating blade that should catch the fish’s attention.
What I really like about this set up, aside from offering great value, is that it comes with a karabiner mounted wallet. You can clip it anywhere. If your ice fishing jacket has a few D-rings, then you’ll always be able to have it in easy reach.
We’ve all been there, using the old favorites, without success. If this sounds familiar, often ‘switching it up’ a little will yield results.
These micro ice fishing jigs are great to tease out a bite from fish that are being tentative. They have two things that make them attractive.
The first is a 3D style eye. You’ll find eyes on the most successful lures. It triggers something instinctual in the fish. The scone is the glittery ‘scale’ pattern that you’ll find on the lure body. They are really simple to use. Just drop them down and ‘twitch’ them to create a fluttering effect.
I really like that they are simple to set up and use. If you are fishing on our near weeds, then the single hook setup makes them snag-free too!
Reward: The best small ice fishing lure for trout.
Easy to set up and use.
The small size can often lead to a bite when bigger lures have failed.
They can be a little fiddly if you have thick gloves on. That said, if you’ve seen my article on the best gloves for ice fishing, you should be able to tie them on, no problem at all.
You’ll already know I’m a huge fan of simple solutions. They don’t come much simpler than this. These are hard wearing and durable lures that will work for several different species, so they are of great value.
Fly fishermen have known for decades that these work. And there is no reason why they won’t work in the winter when ice fishing. These nymphs are designed to look like little larvae suspended in the water.
The gold head ensures that they sink quickly to your required depth. You don’t need to jig these or move them at all. A nymph’s natural tendency is to ‘hang’ suspended in the water.
Due to the lack of weight on the line, you’ll feel even the most tentative of bites. Not that you’ll need to. When trout chomp a buzzer, they do so with force. A top tip is to mount 2 or three at once at 2-foot intervals. That way, you can cover various depths and really pin down where the fish are feeding.
Reward: The best ice fishing nymphs for trout fishing.
Cheap and really effective.
A real imitation of the trout’s natural diet.
Fishing nymphs can be a little boring, especially if bites are slow and you are cold.
These are really effective (and often neglected) in ice fishing. By breaking the ‘norm’ you might just find that you are pleasantly surprised.
Trout are a little harder to catch than other species as they eat specific things on specific days.
The best ice fishing lures for trout fishing will allow you to match whatever the fish prefer to eat on a given day.
If you want lure suggestions for other types of fish, check out my articles here, where I talk about the best ice fishing lures for both walleye and crappie. You’ll also find some great suggestions for other gear for ice fishing, such as really great ice fishing boots.
What’s your secret ‘go-to’ lure? Why not let me know in the comments?