In February 2022, On The Water Magazine ran a story called “The Buel Spoon” that delved deep into the history of metal fishing lures we know as “spoons”. In short, a fisherman named Julio Buel discovered the potential of these simple lures in 1824 after he fumbled a teaspoon overboard during a pause for lunch. The utensil shimmered as it fluttered down through the crystal-clear waters of Vermont’s Lake Bomoseen, before an enormous lake trout inhaled it on the drop— a behavior for which they are now well known. Flabbergasted, Buel was inspired to create a spoon-style fishing lure, and today, nearly 200 years later, spoons remain one of the most historically successful lures for trout and salmon fishermen. With dozens of options available to anglers nationwide, the best spoons for trout are the ones with realistic action and unique features that allow them to outperform other lures in certain environments.
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Best Spoons for Trout Streams
Shallow-water streams and mountain creeks are held in high regard by fly fishermen, but at times, their resident trout can best be targeted with spinning gear. Where there are shallow and expansive slow-moving pools, these tiny tins are the best spoons for trout streams.
A pronounced curvature in the body of the lightweight Phoebe spoon is designed to catch water and create a natural swimming action while resembling a fat-bodied baitfish with its realistic profile and scaled body. Cast and retrieve it along current edges and seams where eddies cycle along the shoreline.
Named after its Colorado-style blade, this portly, scale-patterned spoon is slightly concave on one side, which creates a small but noticeable amount of drag that allows it to sink slowly and give off a pronounced wobble. Slow retrieves with a brief twitch or pause work best to generate the desired flutter action, especially when it’s dragged through shallow, seemingly stagnant pools.
Best Shore Casting Spoons for Trout
Casting spoons are designed to kick, or swim, side to side on a steady retrieve, imitating the action of a frantic or confused baitfish. These metals cast like a bullet, but sink relatively slowly, and although they can catch when jigged or trolled, they are most appropriate for wading and shore-based trout fishing on lakes and ponds.
With its slender profile and oblong-shape, this aerodynamic spoon casts a country mile and sinks fast. Its sloped edges minimize resistance on the drop but create a uniquely frantic kicking action that resembles a fleeing baitfish on a steady retrieve. For these reasons, Kastmasters excel for shore fishermen who need a lure with casting distance that can be fished at variable depths and speeds.
The stout, wide-bodied Buoyant spoon swims most effectively when it is retrieved slowly, making it ideal for use in shallow streams where it can be swung through slow-moving currents and deeper pools where larger trout tend to linger.
The Krocodile spoon casts like a bullet due to its dense, rear-weighted design that allows it to fly long distances even in gusty conditions. One side features a slight impression that allows the spoon to flutter as it falls through the water column and generates its exaggerated side-to-side wobbling action as it is retrieved.
The Little Cleo has a dramatic wobbling action due to its wide body, rounded edges and slightly concave construction. While it does cast well, it is most effective for long-distance trolling in shallow environments because it is nearly flat, which causes it to plane out and generate a strong kicking action that is visible in the tip of most light to medium trolling setups.
The aerodynamic shape and brass construction of the Rough Rider spoon allow it to soar long distances into headwinds which makes it easy to cover water and locate the fish. Its sleek design generates cuts through the water just like it does the wind, rendering it most useful on a speedy retrieve or when cast around wind-blown coves and points where there is some wind current or directional flow of water.
Best Trolling Spoons for Trout
When trolling via boat or kayak, it is imperative to use a spoon that reaches and maintains your desired depth while on the move. Lead core line and outriggers will help, but finding a spoon that swims effectively and translates its action to the rod tip or line at various depths will provide you with confidence that it’s swimming naturally and unobstructed.
The rounded edges and subtle curve to the body of this casting spoon will produce noticeable swimming action at any speed or depth. The Williams Wabler has a history of success among shore fishermen targeting lake trout due to their long-casting ability and a ridged “spine” in the center that stabilizes the lure to minimize line twists on longer retrieves through deep water.
The Michigan Stinger trolling spoon was specifically designed to excel at catching trout that are hanging around schools of small baitfish in open water. This lightweight spoon has a uniquely lean profile with a slight curvature towards the rear that acts like a keel to trigger a tight wobble even at slow trolling speeds. With a seemingly endless selection of colors and patterns, they can effectively “match the hatch” of most trout forage in large lakes and reservoirs where trout are primarily bait oriented.
Best Jigging Spoons for Trout
These hardy, fast-sinking metals have a reputation for imitating a wide variety of forage with their realistic sheen and swimming action, earning them permanent real estate in tackle shops wherever spin fishermen target deepwater trout.
Jigging spoons work best with a vertical or near-vertical presentation, making them the ideal choice for boat and kayak fishermen. However, because these metals are designed to sink rapidly and reach the target depth with ease, they are not out of the question for shore fishermen casting into deep water. When effectively jigged, they feature a similar flutter action to their cast-worthy counterparts.
The CC spoon has a short and stubby profile and a slender build, which, along with its hammered metal finish, allows it to mimic a variety of small, scaly baitfish and reach the strike zone with ease in deep water. Rounded edges and slight impressions toward the front and rear allow it to dive efficiently without sacrificing the flutter action of an injured or frantic baitfish on the drop.
Like a true spoon from the utensil drawer, one whole side of this brass lure is concave to create a considerable amount of drag that leads to a distinct side-to-side flutter when trolled. It can be trolled effectively at high and low speeds because it generates resistance so well, and in deeper, darker water, their hammered finish reflects light bright enough to call in trout from distance.
The Dinner Bell spoon has a reputation as unique as its construction. It was designed with an inner willow-style blade that is rigged on a split ring to create a commotion when any action is imparted to the lure. Its oblong shape allows it to sink easily, and as it falls, one concave side generates a flutter of both the spoon and its inner blade, duping trout and panfish— or at least antagonizing them—into biting aggressively.
Developed by Arkansas fishing guide Darrell Binkley, these slim-bodied spoons are ideal for deep vertical jigging from boat or kayak, but can also be fished effectively from shore due to the way they sink. Bink’s spoons are uniquely balanced so they flutter downward like a leaf falling from a tree, resembling a mortally wounded baitfish to entice strikes from large trout on the drop.
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