When Bass Lures are Great for Trout

It’s no fluke to catch trout on a tradition bass bait like spinnerbaits, crankbaits and jigs. Here’s how: (Shutterstock image)

A smart move is to turn to these lures in high, muddy water.

The way I discovered just how effective bass lures could be for trout was a fluke.

As is true with many streams, this featured a stocked trout fishery in its upper, cooler reaches and a bass fishery in its lower, warmer reaches.

I was fishing the lower section for bass and because the water was high and stained, I had tied on the lure that I often use for such conditions — a double-bladed spinnerbait.

I had caught and released several smaller bass when the strike of the day occurred.

I knew the fish was a keeper as it felt heavy, but, still, something was not quite right about the hit or battle.

Nevertheless, I was still surprised when I landed the 18-inch rainbow. Given the cold, rainy weather that spring, the fish must have made its way far downstream, as rainbows sometimes do.

That first trout caught on a spinnerbait was a fluke, but the second one I later caught was not.

For indeed, ever since that day I’ve tried a number of other bass lures for trout and found they perform amazingly well, especially in the spring and particularly when the water is high and stained, or even muddy. In fact, I even use the same types of retrieves for trout as I do for bass.

For example, slow-rolling spinnerbaits is a time-honored method for enticing black bass, but this retrieve works very well for trout, too. Trout, like bass, often move toward banks when the water rises, and a spinnerbait rolled over logs, submerged brush and rocks will often garner strikes.

Best Fishing Tips Ever: John Murray

Another lure that performs quite satisfactorily for salmonids is a crankbait. And as is true for bass, trout are more likely to hit cranks when they have been bounced off rock or wood or ripped across submerged grass beds.

I also employ hard-plastic jerkbaits; my favorite is the Rapala Original Minnow, again fished in an aggressive way — ripping them through the water column, particularly in pocket water and deep runs.

A fourth artificial that has bewitched a great many trout for me is a 3-inch grub on a 1/8 or 1/4-ounce jighead. These perform best when the water is just stained and a standard, moderate retrieve is best.

Look, I prefer to fly fish for trout, but when high, stained/muddy water exists, the smart move is to turn to these bass lures.

Brandon Palaniuk Q&A

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