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  • Writer's pictureNorth Dakota Wildlife Federation

Spoon & Spinner Tips for Spring Trout

For light tackle anglers looking to connect with trout when they hit the waters of their favorite stocking lake this spring, few lures are as effective as spoons and spinners in triggering a reaction bite from these aggressive fish. Even those holdovers on deeper flows aren’t so wary coming into the cool open water season that they won’t hit such a flashy offering. Having a selection of smaller spoons and spinners on hand is a great way to start off the spring with some fast fishing action.


Gear Up

Few lures produce a reaction strike in trout – wild or stocked – like an inline spinner.  Whether dressed with squirrel hair, flash or other material, or left plain, the whir of the blade draws fish in for a look and a strike.  Options like the

Mepps Aglia, the Panther-Martin, or Worden’s Roostertail run the gamut of sizes and styles necessary for a broad spectrum of tackle and are relatively inexpensive when it comes to building an arsenal for any trout water. Additionally, small spoons, like Daredevles, Kastmasters and dozens of other brands and models offer up an enticing wiggle and flash that trout can’t resist. 

Top metallic colors include gold, bronze and silver, accented with a variety of paint hues, with red, black, or popular baitfish patterns for an accent.  Match the size of the spinner to the appetite of the trout in a given water, going as big as three inches for larger stocked trout, but having a few undersized models available for smaller fish.  In those rare lakes where holdover fish make it from season to season, don’t be surprised if they smash a spoon or in-line that’s a bit bigger – say one that could be used for pike or

smallmouth bass.


Depending on water clarity, one can get away with using thin superline, such as PowerPro or Berkley Fireline in ten pound test but having a spool of monofilament in six-pound test ready to go for casting or trolling these metal options for trout is also a good idea for those gin-clear waters.  Be certain enough line is on the spool to make some long-distance casts and that the weight of the spoon on a long bomb doesn’t leave the spool empty.  Light to medium-light rods in lengths of six to seven feet will cover most trout duties, and a respectable reel with a good drag mechanism can handle the outlying larger trout in any water. Consider going a bit smaller with a five-foot ultralight when fishing streams where vegetation may interfere with casting.


Count Down

Simply due to their heavy nature, spoons and spinners can be used as search lures to help find where trout are holding. If fish are on the rise and feeding near the surface, an angler can start the retrieve as soon as the lure splashes down.  When there’s no topwater activity, each cast can be counted down to get the lure lower in the water column.  Try fan-casting spinners and spoons in an area around a boat or shore with a quick countdown of two or three seconds, and if there are no takers, try counting down

further, such as five or even 10 seconds to find where fish are holding.  While some trout will relate to the bottom, they are likely to suspend somewhere in the water column of a given lake.  Keep that in mind when searching, and note that after stocking many of the introduced trout will relate to the top of the column before the acclimate to the water.  Vary the speed or impart subtle twitches in the retrieve for a quick spasm of action to set following fish off and trigger a bite.


In addition to casting and counting down, spinners and small spoons can be trolled for trout.  As long as the speed is enough to turn the spinner’s particular blade or make the spoon wobble with a seductive side-to-side action, it should attract trout while in motion around a body of water behind the boat. Use the main motor or a strong enough trolling motor to impart the action, and slow down to put the offering in a deeper strike zone or speed up when fish are active up top.  Pop the rod time from time to time to make the lure jump and trigger following fish into biting. Hold on tight as even a moderate-sized trout can provide a jarring strike, especially on lighter tackle.


With a selection of spinners and spoons and a bit of experience with them on the water this time of year, it’s easy to find fast action for stocked trout with a bit of flash and fun built right into each cast or troll.

By: Nick Simonson


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