Those of us that grew up reading Ernest Hemingway are familiar with fishing for trout in rivers. The natural beauty of the scenic landscape, the cold bite of a glacier stream, and the guile needed to lure in a fish are all parts of the story, save for later, like choice parts of a meal.
But for those anglers who have partaken in this unique experience themselves, it’s more than a tall tale told amongst friends.
It’s an arduous labor of love that often comes up empty-handed. However, with the right lures, you too can be the Hemingway of your friend group with a tall tail to show and tell.
So without further ado, here are the best trout lures for rivers.
Our Top Picks
Best Trout Lures for Rivers
- Best All-around lure – Rapala Original 05
- Best Midlevel Diver – Blue Fox Vibrax
- Best Unweighted Diver – Panther Martin Holograph Trout
- Best Pulsing Tail lure – Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner Lure
- Best Simplistic Lure – Hence Fishing Lure Spinner Bait
- Best Shallow Diver – Dynamic HD Trout
- Best Fly/Spinner combo – Joes Flies
- Best Jighead lure – Marabou Jigs
- Best Spoon Bait – Crocodile Spoon
- Best Soft Plastic – Mister Twister Curly-Tail Grub
Best All-around lure
- Balsa Wood Construction.
- Natural Minnow Profile.
- VMC Black Nickel Hooks.
- Multifaceted for Topwater, shallow running, diving and bottom walking
- Emulates a wounded minnow in its movements
- Balsa wood frame
- Black Nickel hooks dulled so as not to give off reflection or glints
If you began your angling career as a bass fisherman as most (myself included) did, then it should come as no surprise that the number one spot for the best trout lures for rivers falls to the Rapala Original Floater.
This balsa wood lure has stood the test of time and is a major draw for both Trout and Bass, and can be found in many tackle boxes across the nation.
Weighted down with split shot, this lure can be utilized in multiple capacities depending on the angler’s needs. The Rapala Original 05 is an excellent choice for anglers of all skill and experience levels.
Best Midlevel Diver
- The flash and action of these lures is truly legendary.
- The free-turning brass gear housed within the lure reduces…
- Machined brass main body
- Two-piece design that lets out a low-frequency vibration
- Stainless steel shaft wire
- Internal rattles that vibrate
- VMC treble hook that’s both durable and high quality
The Blue Fox Vibrax is a high-quality lure that is a serial trout catcher in rivers and moving water. Coming in a multitude of sizes and colors, its two-piece design allows for rotations that prevent line twists while triggering vibrations that draw in the trout like a homing beacon.
Though flashy and fancy, this brass-bodied lure has a silver or copper plate attached that will withstand each and every strike and snag you hit.
Best Unweighted Diver
- Unique shaft through blade design creates easiest and…
- Convex concave blades send out Sonic vibrations that are…
- Heavy weighted bodies cast like bullets and go down deeper
- Blade attached to the shaft
- Weighted body
- Blades that are concave for sonic vibrations
- High-quality treble hook
Rarely are the lures as beautiful as the trout they catch, but the same cannot be said for the Panther Martin Holograph Trout. The shaft through the concave blade is a feature unique to this lure that allows for rapid spinning action and attractive vibrations.
This lure’s weighted body allows it to reach depths that would require the addition of split shot or bullet weights on other brands and is perfect for reaching the depths of trophy bass.
Its bright and vibrant body pops even in the murkiest water making it a solid choice for anglers looking to tackle trout fishing in murky deeper water.
Best Pulsing Tail lure
- Unique spinning action
- In-line weighted body design
- Pulsating Hackle tail attracts Fish
- A spinning action unique to this lure
- Weighted body
- UV finish
- Ability to create a larger profile in moving water.
With its wide rotation and pulsating tail, this lure is a staple for river fishing for trout. Coming in over several dozen color variations and multiple sizes, this tubular bodied lure features a copper, silver, or brass Willow-style blade attached along with a hackle tail that shrouds its aggressive treble hook.
Effective across multiple fish species, the Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spin Lure is a solid bet in drawing in big trout in moving water.
Best Simplistic Lure
- Treble Blood Hooks: Each Spinnerbait comes with a sharp…
- Easy to Store: The packing box makes you more convenient to…
- Wide Range of Applications: Widely targeting at predator…
- Simplistic yet incredibly effective
- Lifetime Money Back Guarantee
- Rainbow decal spinner that reflects specific prisms of light like fish scales
- All Brass components
Keep it simple stupid rings true in fishing as much as any facet of life. With its lifetime money-back guarantee, this 12 piece set from Henceto is cost-effective but doesn’t shave on quality.
Each lightweight simplistic lure features a unique blade with reflective capabilities, a brass hook, and varying accessories, making it a solid purchase for any angler looking to simplify their fishing trip.
Best Shallow Diver
- SLENDER, LOW PROFILE DESIGN – Vertical Jig Fishing Lure
- SINKING LURE – Evenly weighted to jig and bounce when…
- BRIGHT COLORS – Consistently attracts stubborn fish at all…
- Low Profile, Slender design
- Brightly colored
- Sturdy bodied
- Aggressive plug for sharp, shallow dives
The zero to the two-foot range can be a sweet spot for trout that inhabit the waters near the river banks or shallow rock bed. The Dynamic Trout HD lure allows you to dip into their world with a tantalizing lure that few can resist.
Its durable build, sharp hooks, and bright colors mean that one bite is all it will take before an angler finds themselves doing battle with the river monster of their dreams.
7. Joes Flies
Best Fly/Spinner combo
- Package length: 12.7 cm
- Package width: 5.08 cm
- Package height: 1.27 cm
- Wet fly and Spinner Blade
- Exchangeable system to switch patters
- Trail Treble hook
- Incredibly lightweight
If light as a feather came as a lure, this would be its incarnation. Joe’s flies are effective when it comes to letting your lure be drug along by the current, swept past hungry trout looking to ambush their next meal.
Well crafted, the fly/spinner combo is as deadly a pair a Cassidy and the Sundance kid when it comes to drawing out and hooking trout. The only downside comes in its lightweight build, as casting far can be difficult.
8. Marabou Jigs
Best Jighead lure
- Attractive Jigs – Each jig head is brightly colored, making…
- Lifelike Action – The jig features a jig head, a thread body…
- Barbed Hook – The fishing jig head has solid body, the tip…
- Feathertail and thread body
- Bright coloration
- 20 piece set
- Weighted jighead
Jigs are a staple in freshwater fishing, and Marabou Feather Jig Heads are a mainstay amongst them. Simplistic and easy to use, these lures can easily be seen in a variety of water conditions and utilized by most rookie anglers in a straight retrieval.
Best Spoon Bait
- Versatile, multi-species Narrow minnow shape
- Heavy-duty construction
- Great for Trout Tuna Bass Fishing
- Heavy-duty durability
- Chrome-plated silver Prism
- Reflective material
- Narrow Minnow Shape
This quick sinking aerodynamic lure is simple yet highly effective. Perfect for shallow streams and clear water, this highly reflective lure has the ability to draw in both quality and quantity.
Though capable of use in salt water with the right size, it will be incredibly effective in transferring trout from the water and into the ice chest.
Best Soft Plastic
- Curly tail
- Soft plastic
- Ability to pull smallmouth when trout aren’t biting
An effective and versatile bait, the Mister Twister Curly-Tail Grub comes in multiple colors and sizes that can match both smallmouth and trout’s forage.
For anglers that prefer soft plastics, Mister Twister’s curly tail moves will in fast-moving water with rapid tail movement and life-like responses to current.
Things to Consider When Buying Trout Lures for Rivers
There is a multitude of factors to consider when fishing for trout amidst a river.
Trout will use this to get out of the current or as an ambush site, dragging bait past rather than placing it directly on the X is a sure-fire way to catch their attention.
Trout stereotypically prefer the thermocline (where warm and cold water meet), but like most fish, prefer colder water in hotter weather and warmer water in colder weather. Use your lures accordingly.
Trout prefer gravel-bottomed cool streams and will bite better during warmer weather.
Trout prefer clean, clear, moving water that’s cool, so find a lure that suits the environment you are angling in.
Trout eat a variety of creatures such as insects, fish, works, leeches, and crustaceans. Find what is prevalent in your environment and base your bait choice accordingly.
With all these factors considered, choose the lure that works best for you as an angler and the environment you find yourself in.
Trout fishing in rivers can be an incredibly rewarding but challenging experience. Choosing the right tackle is a critical component in the success of your fishing trip. To come home with a full stringer, pay attention to the surroundings and what the trout’s local forage is.
Utilize a bait that can be best observed in the water conditions and still make it to the proper depth the trout are lurking in.
Finally, use the current to your advantage as trout prefer moving water, so momentum against the current can draw attention to your lure. Find the lure that best suits you as an angler to be the one with stories when the day is done.