Spinner Fishing For Trout: Best Tips And Techniques

Trout fishing, especially for beginners, often starts with the spinner. Born from the streams of the French Alps and popularized across the U.S., the spinner is a classic lure. Its simplicity, affordability, and undeniable effectiveness have made it a staple in every angler’s toolkit. Whether you’ve heard it called a Rooster Tail, Panther Martin, or MEPPs, this timeless lure stands out. It has earned its place as a top choice for those chasing after trout.

It takes both ability and knowledge to navigate the waters of trout fishing. Among the array of techniques at an angler’s disposal, spinner fishing emerges as a tried-and-true method. Whether you’re new to spinner fishing or looking to improve, this guide is only for you. It offers invaluable insights and techniques to boost your success in catching trout.

Suitable Conditions For Spinning

Suitable Conditions For Spinning

When the sky is cloudy, the water is not perfectly clear, and the fish are tricked by these conditions, spinning is effective. It is a good idea to spin when the water is muddy or wavy, particularly if all three occur at the same time. Since fly fishing is best done in clear water, I prefer to spin when the river is murky. Spinning, however, can be challenging if the water is calm or clear and the sun is shining, particularly in lakes. But persevere; fishing is full of surprises.

Use a light line and a small lure under those circumstances. Spinning works even better in the fall and winter when the water gets colder and the trout are more ferocious. So keep in mind that spinning is usually most effective during the winter months.

Basics Of Spinner Fishing

Spinner fishing involves the use of a spinning blade attached to a wire shaft. This blade spins as it moves through the water, creating vibrations that attract fish. Since trout are drawn to the movement and flash of these spinning blades, many anglers always choose spinners.

Why Do Spinners Work So Well For Trout?

Spinners are helpful for trout because they mimic vibrations and flashes like prey. These vibrations are picked up by the specialized lateral line of trout, which warns them of possible food sources or dangers. Trout’s excellent vision enables them to detect movement from the spinner, which frequently results in a strike. Even when trout are not hungry, they find it difficult to resist the movement and vibration of the spinner.

When fishing for trout in small creeks and streams, it’s smart to go for lightweight tackle. I prefer using a 3000-size spinning reel with 8-12lb braided line, a 3-4 ft fluorocarbon leader, and a 6-8 ft light action fishing rod with a soft tip. Keep it light; you can try a baitcaster, but it’s best for lures that are at least 1/8 oz to avoid frustrating backlashes. Check Table 1 for a quick guide on line and lure sizes. Stick to a 7 ft light-medium action rod for optimal results.

Spinner DetailsReel SizeMainline (Braid)Leaderline (Floro)Spinner SizeWater ConditionsTrout Types
Spinner Set 11000-30008-12lb4-6lb1/32 oz; 1/16 oz; 1/8 oz1-5ft, light currentSmall to Medium: Rainbow, Brook, Brown Trout
Spinner Set 21000-300010-12lb6-8lb1/4 oz1-10ft, light to heavy currentMedium to Large: Rainbow, Brook, Brown Trout
Spinner Set 33000+10-12lb6-8lb1/4 oz1-10ft, light to heavy currentMedium to Large: Rainbow, Brook, Brown Trout
Spinner Set 43000+12+lb8-12lb3/4 oz; 1 oz1-10ft, light to heavy currentMedium to Large: Rainbow, Brook, Brown Trout

Tackle Setup Guide:

Tackle Setup Guide:
  1. Spinning Reel (Size 1000-3000): Compact and light, suitable for large trout in fast currents. Choose a quality brand with aluminum, steel, or carbon-fiber handles and bodies. Recommended: Daiwa Legalis 3000 LT.
  2. Spinning Rod (5-8 ft, Light to Light-Medium Action): Longer rods for longer casts, shorter rods for precise casting around obstacles. Opt for maneuverable rods to navigate dense shoreline cover.
  3. Line (8-12lb Braid, 4-6lb Fluorocarbon Leader): Light braid for more casting distance; fluorocarbon leader is nearly invisible to trout.
  4. Lure Size and Weight (1/32 to 1 oz): Choose based on depth, wind, fish size, and water type. A 1/8 oz spinner is a solid middle ground for various conditions.
  5. Spinner Color: The body color is less critical; focus on blade style and color for flash and vibration. Experiment with darker colors on clear days and brighter colors on overcast days.

How To Rig A Spinner:

Attach a fluorocarbon leader to the braid with a swivel to prevent line twists. Tie the mainline and leader to the swivel using an improved clinch or palomar knot. Maintain 1-2 feet of leader between the swivel and the spinner bait.

How And Where To Use A Spinner For Trout:

River Fishing:

  • Cast at a 45-degree angle up-current for optimal swinging.
  • Walk upriver when bank fishing to approach fish from behind, minimizing spooking.

Lake Fishing:

  • During Spring and Fall, trout hunt along shorelines.
  • Keep the spinner a few feet above the bottom, casting towards structures or the bank.

Brown vs. Rainbow Trout:

  • Browns prefer cover for ambushing, while Rainbows may be found in deeper, calmer waters.
  • Larger spinners with wider blades tend to attract more brown trout.

Note: Retrieval rate is crucial; find the optimal rate for your spinner, and always maintain a slow retrieval for effective results. Good luck and tight lines. 

Safety And Respect In Trout Spinner Fishing

Safety And Respect In Trout Spinner Fishing

When using spinners to fish for trout, it’s essential to prioritize safety and respect. Make sure you’re not putting yourself or others in danger by staying alert of your surroundings at all times. In addition, if you intend to release the trout, handle them carefully to ensure their wellbeing. Recall that everyone’s enjoyment of fishing can be preserved with a little thought and effort.


Do you need a swivel with a spinner?

Many spinner anglers prefer to fish with a snap swivel. The only good thing about this is that it allows them to switch lures quickly. Directly attaching a spinner to a swivel is not recommended. Most fishermen use swivels that are far too big, which can obstruct the action of the lure.

Do you put bait on a spinner?

No, most of the time spinners are used without bait. Through vibrations and flashes, they entice fish with their spinning blades.

How do you fish with spinners?

Select a spinner bait that is perfect for the species you are targeting. Before attaching a leader to your main fishing line, ensure it is fastened to the spinnerbait’s eyelet. You can cast once the leader has a hook added to it. Cast the spinner bait close to the cover or structure to sink it.

What fish can you catch with a spinner?

Spinners are versatile and can attract various fish species, including trout, bass, pike, and panfish. Their flashy and vibrating design makes them effective in enticing a wide range of freshwater fish.

Can you put a weight on a spinner bait?

You can add weight to a spinnerbait by using weighted trailers or attaching additional weights to the hook. This allows you to control the depth at which the spinnerbait runs in the water.

Final Thoughts

In the world of trout fishing, spinners emerge as a timeless and effective choice, especially for beginners. From the French Alps to streams across the America, spinners have become classics. It includes like Rooster Tails and Panther Martins. Their affordability, simplicity, and undeniable success make them important for any angler. Whether you are cruising rivers or casting into lakes, spinner fishing demands a combination of skill and knowledge. 

This guide offers important insight for both newcomers and those seeking to refine their technique. It ensures a rewarding experience in the pursuit of trout. Remember, in the world of fishing, respect for safety,  and must fellow anglers is the key to sustaining the joy of this timeless pastime. Happy fishing, and keep your lines tight. 

Leave a Comment