This is article 3 in our Best Trout Lures of All Time series.
- Best Trout Lures of All Time: 5 Best Spoons
- Best Trout Lures of All Time: 5 Best Spinners
- Best Trout Lures of All Time: 5 Best Plug Baits
When you go backcountry fishing for trout and other species, it’s very important to have a range of different lures to call on when the fish aren’t biting. Sometimes, things like spinners and soft plastics will do the trick, but at other times, you will have to use spoons or plug baits.
Plug baits – also known as minnows, divers, and crankbaits – come in a range of different shapes and sizes. Many of them are designed to look like a small fish, but some come shaped like crustaceans or insects. When choosing the right plug to use, you need to consider the types of baitfish in the area. After all, a trout is much more likely to hit a lure if it looks like natural prey.
With this in mind, we have put together a list of our five favorite best trout lures for backcountry fishing. These lures are reliable, tough, and versatile, making them perfect additions to your tackle box.
1. Rapala Original Floating Minnow
Number one on our list is the Rapala Original Floating Minnow. Rapala has been making high quality lures for decades. The Original Floating Minnow is one of their first lures, and it has been refined over the years to become a fish catching machine.
This lure comes in a range of sizes, but you will probably want to choose one of the smaller ones if you are planning on using it in backcountry areas. Backcountry trout are usually on the small side, which means that you need a smaller lure to catch them.
The Original Floating Minnow also comes in a range of colors. I have had plenty of success using the Rainbow Trout, Gold, and Silver color variations, but this doesn’t mean that the other colors won’t work. Although I haven’t used it, I do love the look of the Bleeding Pearl color.
If you’re looking for some new plug baits to add try out on your next backcountry trout fishing expedition, then I can’t recommend the Rapala Original Floating Minnow enough. It really does work – the fact that it has been around seemingly forever is testament to this.
2. Rebel Wee-Crawfish
Unlike most plug-baits, which are designed to imitate small baitfish and minnows, the Rebel Wee-Crawfish is designed to look like a small crawfish scooting along the bottom. This means that they are obviously best used in areas where crawfish are common, but that isn’t to say that they won’t work elsewhere.
Coming in at just two inches long, this plug is perfect for backcountry trout fishing. It will dive to around 7 feet in still water, which means that you should be able to work it along the bottom in most backcountry streams. It has a very erratic action, meant to imitate a crawfish trying to outrun a hungry trout, and this will almost always draw any fish in the area in and entice a strike.
I have found that the darker, more realistic colors like brown and moss work the best, probably because they look more like a real crawfish. If you are looking to expand your fishing repertoire and get more out of your next backcountry trip, I can’t recommend this lure enough.
3. Smithwick Rattlin Rogue
Although significantly larger than most of the other lures on this list – coming in at 4.5 inches – the Smithwick Rattlin Rogue is one of the best lures I’ve found when it comes to targeting larger backcountry trout. Sure, you might miss out on a few smaller fish if you use a lure this big, but it will all be worth it if you manage to land an extra-large backcountry trout.
In saying that, I usually only use this lure in waters where I know or suspect that there is at least a few larger specimens swimming around. If my smaller lures are continually being taken by small trout, then I like to use something like the Rattlin Rogue to give the bigger specimens more of a chance.
As a neutrally buoyant lure, the Rogue is perfect for fishing still, slightly cloudy waters. The internal ball bearing noise makers will draw large fish in, and the flashy, erratic swimming motion should entice them to strike.
4. Strike King Bitsy Minnow
The Strike King Bitsy Minnow comes in at just 1 ¼ inches and an eighth of an ounce, making it perfect for targeting hungry little trout in backcountry waters. It is best used with light line that allows it to move with a natural, lifelike action.
This movement, combined with reflective eyes and clever color configurations make the Strike King a perfect lure to add to your tackle box. If you haven’t used one before, you will be amazed at just how good it works!
5. Rebel Tracdown Minnow
The Rebel Tracdown Minnow is a great little sinking lure that is perfect for fishing in deeper pools in rapidly moving streams or rivers. It has been designed with backcountry trout fishing in mind, and at just 1.5 inches long, it is perfect for the smaller trout you are likely to come across.
Sinking at decent rate of one foot per second, this lure will allow you to fish any depth you want. It is easy to cast, and it has a clear, strong swimming motion that won’t be impacted by fast-moving water. If you prefer the barbless hooks are designed for catch and release fishing, but you could always change them if you need to.
Plug baits make a great addition to any fisherman’s tackle box and deserve a spot among the best trout lures of all time. They come in a huge range of shapes, sizes, styles, and colors, meaning that you can simply never have everything. If you’re looking for a few new lures for your next backcountry trout fishing expedition, make sure that you do plenty of research. Choose plugs which have a proven track record – like the ones we discussed above – and make sure that you have the right combo to use them. Good luck, have fun, and hopefully you catch some nice trout on your next expedition!
Checkout the rest of the series: