Does the Ned Rig Work for Trout?

When I heard about the Ned Rig I was a bit skeptical at first. However, after I saw several anglers have a lot of success with this bait, I decided to give it a go and see what this rig was all about. Fast forward a few years and this bait has become a staple for me. But have you ever asked yourself this question: Is the Ned Rig just a bass fishing technique?

That is the question that I asked myself after catching several trout on accident going after bass. After playing around a bit with this rig my answer to this question is very simple. The Ned Rig flat out catches trout and if you haven’t already, it’s something that you need to give a try. In this article I will break down everything I have learned and everything you need to know about fishing the Ned Rig for trout.

What is the Ned Rig?

The “Ned Rig” is an awesome ultra-finesse styled bait that started in the mid-west, since then this rig has taken the fishing industry by storm and flat out catch fish. It’s a simple rig but extremely effective.

The traditional Ned Rig is basically a mushroom shaped jig head paired with a small plastic bait. Light tackle is key when fishing the Ned Rig and a spinning rod is a must.

Although the Ned Rig has been traditionally a bass fishing technique it also works well for trout. Be sure to check out our Ned Rig – Ultimate Guide for some more in-depth information about a Ned Rig

The Ned Rig for Trout

Jig Head

When fishing the Ned Rig it’s always important to use the lightest jig head possible. Trout will often hit the bait on the fall and the light jig head will help keep the bait in the strike zone for longer. A lighter jig head will also help prevent your bait from getting hung up in rocks.

In most situations the 1/10, 1/15, and 1/20 oz. jig heads will be your best bet, depending on where you are fishing. When fishing in deeper water (20ft +) a 1/6 or 1/5 oz. may be needed.

The mushroom shaped jig head is the most popular and effective for this technique. These jig heads can come in a variety of colors. But you can’t go wrong with black, white, green pumpkin and Chartreuse (some anglers love using pink jig heads).

In my experience, the color of jig head hasn’t made too much of a difference. But feel free to find a color you are confident in. My go to jig head is the Z-man Finess Shroomz Jig.

Best Ned Rig Baits for Trout

It’s important to choose the right type of plastic to pair with your jig head. The right Ned Rig baits are going to be made of Elatech material. This material provides the bait with buoyancy and allows the bait to stand up off the bottom.

The Elatech material is extremely soft and durable and actually gets better with use. As the bait gets beat up and chewed on by a few fish, the flexible material starts to exude salt and takes a softer spongier feel that can be irresistible to fish.

Best Ned Baits for Trout


I approach the Ned Rig colors for trout, a lot like I would if I was fishing with tubes. There are a few things you may want to consider when selecting the right color of bait. Both your waters forage and water clarity are big ones. I found pink and white/pearl colors to be extremely effective as well as green pumpkin.

Best Ned Rig Trout Colors:
  • White
  • Pearl
  • Bubblegum
  • Purple
  • Green Pumpkin

For other great ned rig fishing tips go check an article by Zman called 8 Most Common Ned Rig Mistakes. This article has some great information about the ned rig.

Best Trout Ned Rig Setup

This finesse technique is best fished on an ultra-light setup. Many anglers make the mistake of fishing with too heavy tackle.


Because of the light weight and small profile of this bait, fishing with a spinning rod is a must. Ideally, rods should be light or medium-light powered with a fast action and a super soft tip. A lighter rod with a fast tip is best suited for the smaller hooks used while fishing the Ned Rig.


Standard bass fishing reels (2500 or 300) can work just fine for this setup, however I found that smaller size reels (1000) suits this technique better. The smaller spools takes in less line with each turn of the handle, allowing anglers to slow down, which is important for this technique (especially those who have never fished the Ned Rig).  


Fluorocarbon and monofilament can work just fine for this technique. However, I found light braided line (6-10lb) with a fluorocarbon leader (4-8lb) works best. The braided line allows for longer casts while using light weight jig heads, and the fluorocarbon leader allows the bait to be more invisible.

  • Rod: Medium or light
  • Action: Fast Action
  • Reel: 1000 to 300
  • Line: Fluorocarbon 4-10lb or 10lb braid with 4-6lb fluorocarbon leader

I’ve found this setup to work great for this technique:

  • Rod: Lews 6’7” Tournament Performance TP1 Speed Stick Spinning Rod
  • Reel: Lew’s Mach Speed Spin
  • Line: Power Pro Spectra Braided Line Moss Green (8-10lb)

Trout Ned Rig Retrieves

Although some anglers refer to the Ned Rig as the do nothing rig. There are a few retrieves that might help you catch more trout. All of these retrieves can be effective depending on the situation.

The Swim-Glide-Shake: This technique shines when the fish are feeding more aggressively. Try this technique by simply casting your rig out and letting it fall to the bottom, as it falls give it some more action by shaking your rod lightly. Once your bait is on the bottom, simply shake and reel your rig back to you or the boat. You can try different depths depending on where the fish are holding.

The Drag: This retrieve is simple yet effective. I like to think of it as letting the bait do all of the work. In this retrieve, cast your Ned Rig out, once it’s on the bottom place your rod at 3 o’clock and with your rod, slowly drag the bait towards you. You want make sure that you are only reeling in your slack line as you are dragging it with your rod.

The Deadstick: After launching the bait let it fall to the bottom and simply allow your bait to lie dead for about five seconds. After this you can shake it and work it back in and then dead stick it again by holding your rod still. Rinse, wash and repeat.

The Hop-and-Bounce: This retrieving method is much like the drag technique. After your cast, hold your rod to about the five-o’clock position. Once your bait has fallen to the bottom, hop it by turning your reel handle twice, and then pause, Allow the lure to fall back while shaking the rod. Repeat this cadence throughout your retrieve.

The Straight Swim: No need for too much detail for this retrieve. Cast your rig out and hold your rod at 2- to 5-o’clock and slowly turn the reel handle at a moderate speed. You can also improve your probably for success by adding some shakes and pauses as your work the bait in.

Other Bass Fishing Techniques for Trout

Additional Trout Fishing Resources & Techniques

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t fished the Ned Rig for trout, you need to start now. This finesse technique is known by most anglers as a bass fishing only technique. However, as you now know that is not the case. This gem of a rig simply catches trout and a ton of other species. Go out and give the Ned Rig a try, and who even knows this may become a staple bait for you as it has for been for me.

Tight Lines!

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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