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Best Bait for Rainbow Trout Fishing: Top 10

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Rainbow Trout are predators.  They will eat just about anything they can catch.  As fry (young fish), they typically feed on small water insects, fish eggs and small crustaceans.  And, as they grow (known as fingerlings then parr), they add smaller fish and plankton to their diet.  Juvenile and full grown Rainbow Trout diets mainly consist of large insects, other fish and large crustaceans.  Their diet tends to include more insects than other trout species.  And, Rainbow Trout feed more frequently from the surface than other types of trout.  However, keep in mind that hatchery fish grow up eating small pellet food that sinks which alters their natural eating behavior.  Knowing their eating habits is crucial to help us pick the top 10 best bait for Rainbow Trout fishing.

The goal of artificial lures is to tempt a strike from a freshwater trout by imitating their natural prey.  Also, the most successful lures are the ones that effectively blend in with the their habitat and imitate the natural food source.  This article will cover the top 10 Rainbow Trout spin fishing baits that will help you fill the boat.

#1. Berkley PowerBait Power Worm: The Best Bait For Rainbow Trout

Because soft plastics are widely available and come in a variety of shapes and sizes finding a good match is easy.  One of the most popular soft plastic lures among anglers is the worm.  They have a ribbon tail that swims naturally as it falls with a twitching movement that Rainbow Trout find hard to resist.  We also recommend using lighter colored worms in waters that trout mostly feed on minnows and shads and using darker where they feed on mostly on earthworms. The best bait for Rainbow Trout is the Berkley PowerBait Power Worm. Because, it has a soft but firm texture irresistible to fish and is perfect for fishing your favorite lakes, rivers and streams.

#2. Mister Twister Micro Crawfish: Great Bait For Rainbow Trout

Soft plastic crawfish (also called crayfish and crawdad) have a wider profile which allows them to fall slowly and naturally.  Their legs will flutter in the current without needing to use action with the rod’s tip. A soft plastic bug is best used when the water is clear and the current is moving quickly. A crawfish imitator provides a lifelike presentation in clear rushing water that hard baits can fail to do. So, The Mister Twister Micro Crawfish is a great duplication that fools even the most curious of Rainbow Trout. Designed to mimic Mother Nature, the Mister Twister Micro Crawfish comes in all the natural colors that fish love. We have had great success using this lure and is also one of the best bait for catching Rainbow Trout.

Best Bait for Rainbow Trout Fishing: Soft Plastic Honorable Mentions

The Rapala Storm WildEye Live Minnow and the Berkley Rib Shad are also strong performers.  To learn more about these soft plastic Rainbow Trout lures click here to read our article The Five Best Soft Plastics For Trout.

#3. Rapala Original Floating Minnow Best Plug Bait for Rainbow Trout

Plug baits are designed to mimic injured fish. They are dependable and imitate smaller bait fish better than most other lures. The Original Floating Rapala is a top choice for steady retrieve. However, a stop and go retrieve or as a twitch bait will also work well. No matter how you fish with this classic bait it is almost always guaranteed to bring the bite. Choose your size based on the size of the trout you are fishing for. For example, back country trout are usually on the smaller side so choose a smaller plug bait The buoyancy and roll of their balsa wood body gives them a natural wobble and float making them a best bait for rainbow trout.

#4. Rebel Wee-Crawfish: Excellent Bait for Rainbow Trout Fishing

Plugs are often thought of as bass bait but certain styles are trout magnets. For Rainbow Trout, the best plugs either have a longer fish shape or a smaller crustacean body. If the plug is too rounded or too large bodied the trout will avoid the bait because it can’t fit into its mouth. The Rebel Wee-Crawfish is an excellent choice for catching Rainbow Trout.  It has a small lifelike pulsating action and realistic crawfish features.  And, it can dive to approximately 7 feet in still water so you are able to work it along the bottom in most streams and lakes. If crawfish are part of the water’s natural fish diet, then use the brown and moss colors to resemble their natural food source.

Best Bait for Rainbow Trout Fishing: Plug Bait Honorable Mentions

The Smithwick Rattlin Rogue and Strike King Bitsy Minnow offer some fantastic bite action. So, to learn more about these Rainbow Trout plug baits click here to read our article the Five Best Plug Baits.

#5. Acme Little Cleo

Spoons have a simple, oblong and concave design. They are made to reflect light so they resemble flashing injured bait fish. The wobble of a spoon directly impacts its success and is based on it’s shape and thickness. Long spoons and deeper concave spoons have a wider side to side wobble. So, these are best used in rough water where the action of bait needs to be seen by the trout. Also, lighter weight smaller spoons allow for a subtle presentation and are better used is calmer waters. The Acme Little Cleo creates a wild and irregular swimming action without causing line twisting.

#6. Luhr-Jensen Hus Lure

The Top colors used for spoons are gold and silver. These colors are the most reflective and flash like minnows. Spoons with spots and stripes increase the visibility of the spoon underwater so Rainbow Trout can see the bait. Luhr Jensen Hus-Lure can cut through surface currents reaching the strike zone. It has a smaller design that is compact with erratic, wounded baitfish action. The Luhr Jensen Hus-Lure can be used in some of the toughest of conditions. This spoon will entice the trout to attack.

#7. Acme Kastmaster Spoon

Trout fishing with spoons requires a technique. Reel just fast enough to keep a tight line while pumping the rod tip to give a wobble action to the lure. Erratic retrieves will always catch more fish. The Acme Kastmaster Spoon Fishing Lure has as a fantastic weight to spoon ratio. Even with the smaller 1/8th ounce versions you can cast them a long ways because of their weight as they are literally a chunk of metal with two flat sides. When I need to cover a lot of water quickly this is one of my go to lures and it rarely fails.

Best Bait for Rainbow Trout Fishing: Spoons Honorable Mentions

The Mepps Little Wolf, South Bend Kastaway Trophy Pack and Eppinger Dardevle spoons are also strong performers.  To learn more about these spoons for Rainbow Trout click here to read our article the Top 5 Best Spoons for trout fishing.

#8. Panther Martin Hammered

Spinners are best used when you fish where there is heavy cover. The weighted presentation allows you to cast into the cover and sink your bait quickly to the hiding trout. Also, spinners can be cast to target areas that are further away. The Panther Martin Hammered is one of the most versitile and simple Rainbow Trout lures available. According to the Panther Martin website, they suggest using a size 1 and 2 to work shallow waters and small trout streams. And, then sizes 2 through 9 for deeper waters, longer casts or areas where large trout are known to lurk.

#9. Blue Fox Classic Vibrax

Spinners have a rapid moving blade attached to a wire shaft. This allows it to drive and push though water. This design helps imitate many of the natural foods that trout eat and they put out an immense amount of flash. Blue Fox Classic Vibrax spinners are high quality. The flashy design and unique action of these spinners really does make them amazing. They also feature a brass gear housing built into the lure that reduces line twisting. The Vibrax is one of my favorite trout spinners for backcountry fishing.

#10. Yakima Bait Worden’s Rooster Tail

Rooster Tails wont sink as quickly as other spinners due to the tail. This makes them a great choice when fishing Rainbow Trout in shallow creeks and streams. The most versatile and reliable patterns for rooster tails are black, chartreuse, firetiger and white. The Yakima Bait Wordens Original Rooster Tail Spinner Lure is one extremely productive. The action of the spinning blade and colorful hackle tail makes them irresistible to Rainbow Trout and also is a lure that consistently catches fish.

Best Bait for Rainbow Trout Fishing: Spinners Honorable Mentions

The Joe’s Flies Short Striker and the Mepps Aglia also perform very well for catching Rainbow Trout. To learn more about these spinners, click here to read our article Top 5 Best Spinners for trout fishing.

Best Bait for Rainbow Trout Fishing Summary

Rainbow Trout habitats include both still and moving waters, so your fishing tactics, including bait, should be primarily based on their specific location.  Whether fishing lakes and ponds or rivers and streams, knowing the food sources and water conditions before choosing your bait is vital for success.  The choices for bait can be overwhelming but if you follow these three basic tips it does not have to be frustrating. 

#1. Rainbow’s have excellent vision and color perception so stick with realistic color presentations.

#2. Rainbow’s need the bait to match their size.  If the bait is too large for their mouth they will pass on the bite.

#3. Rainbow’s like food that is swimming.  Use flashing, wiggling, falling and spinning baits to trigger the chase response.    


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