By learning, which lures work best under different water conditions, and where and how to fish them, anglers using artificials can often take more fish and have more fun!
One of the best and most popular artificial lures for catching trout in the spring is the spinner. In fact, spinners just may be the finest stream-prospecting lures of all time. Spinners imitate small minnows and insects swimming through the water. They attract trout by flash and sound. Spinners work under all conditions, but when it comes to taking the biggest trout from big water, it is usually the angler fishing a spinner who is successful in doing so.
This does not mean that spinners will always take fish, though. They may, for instance, locate a large fish that, if not immediately caught, has at least revealed its hiding spot. They often produce good catches when you least expect results of any kind.
Spinners come in many different lengths and weights, as well as colors. Spinners in the 1/32-ounce to 1/8-ounce range work well for trout.
The important thing to remember when choosing spinners is to select blades that provide noise or "throb" coupled with flash to attract fish and get strikes under various water conditions. Because a slow presentation is vital to success in the often high, cold-water conditions of big streams or rivers in spring, a spinner should rotate well at slow speeds.
Colorado Blade Best At Slow Speeds
The rounded Colorado-type blade is the best choice for slow speeds. The blade's color should be matched to water conditions. In clear water, black works well; silver is preferable for dull days and in deep or murky water; copper is recommended for brighter conditions; and in roily water on dark-bottomed streams, gold spinners work well.
When fishing a spinner upstream, retrieve the lure at a slow rate slightly faster than the current flow, so its blade just ticks the rocks on the stream bottom. When fishing in streams with shallow water, the rod tip should be kept high to keep the spinner off the bottom. In deeper water, cast quartering upstream and across, let the spinner sink, then keep the blade throbbing while the current carries the lure downstream. In mild currents, cast across the stream or quartering downstream. Often, trout strike the lure at the end of its drift, just as it begins to rise from the stream bottom.
Spoons are another good choice for catching trout in the spring. A spoon is basically a spinner blade with a hook at the wide end, and a means of connecting it to the line on the other. Spoons wobble or flutter rather then spin. When fishing for trout in streams or rivers, spoons can be retrieved faster and more erratically, and they work better than spinners in swifter water.
Use spoons for trout in lakes, slack areas of tailwaters and when fishing shallow tails of pools on streams. In these spots, a slow retrieve, with pauses to allow the spoon to rise and flutter back down, produces good results.
Spoons are a good choice for fishing the tailwaters of dams. An erratic retrieve resembles an injured minnow, a prime food source for trout in areas below dams. Spoons are also productive when jigged in deep water.
Other Lure Options
Other artificial lure options include plastic minnows, alone or in combination with a spinner blade, balsa minnows, small crankbaits, and small plugs. When choosing a plug or crankbait, pick one that performs well in slow currents.
An ultra-light or light-action spin-fishing outfit with 4-pound-test monofilament is the way to go when fishing for trout with artificial lures. It is best to tie a small swivel to the business end of the line, then attach the lure to the swivel, to avoid line tangle.
When fishing in current with artificial lures, be certain to work areas between the main current and slack water, particularly if rocks or other obstructions are deflecting the flow. The slack water created where the main current breaks behind a boulder is also a good spot to find resting trout.
Deep, undercut banks are also prime hangouts for trout, and they often hold some of the largest trout in the stream. If there are submerged logs, tree roots or overhanging vegetation, so much the better. You'll lose some lures in spots like this, but the rewards override the losses.
To sum up, if spinners aren't productive on a particular day, switch to other artificials. Anglers need to be flexible and not lock into a particular lure unless it's working.
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