Trout fishing on a river or stream can be much different than fishing on a calm lake or pond. The continual movement of water not only impacts where the fish can be caught, but can also determine what techniques and lures you should use.
Understanding what lures to use in fast water, where to fish and the techniques you should use will help you have more success and ultimately enjoy your time out on the water.
In this post, I’ll share with you the 5 best trout lures to use when fishing in fast water as well as some tips and tricks that will help you catch more fish.
Let’s get started.
Best Trout Lures for Heavy Current
I’ve compiled the following list of the best trout lures to fish with in faster water and heavy current. These are all proven lures and baits that when fished right will help you catch a lot of fish.
One of the great trout fishing lures of all time is the Panther Martin. It works pretty much anywhere but it can especially be a great option when fishing in fast water.
This is an extremely affordable lure that comes in a variety of color patterns and sizes to help you easily match your local rivers. You can find these on Amazon by clicking here.
The key to catching trout with the Panther Martin in heavy current is to not fish it too fast and allow the flow of the current to spin its blades.
At the same time, you don’t want to fish it so slow that you get hung up or the blades don’t turn. It’s best to make a 90-degree cast and retrieve it just fast or slow enough to get the blade spinning.
As far as the best lure colors to use, I like to keep things simples and go with either the regular silver/yellow or regular gold/yellow and regular gold/black. I’d highly recommend picking up a couple of these spinners for you next fishing adventure.
Trout spoons have been a staple in the trout fishing world for decades and the Acme Kastmaster is one of the best spoons out there.
The Kastmaster spoons are pretty common but you can also pick them up on Amazon by clicking here.
As far as the best colors, you pretty much can’t go wrong with any of them, but my favorites are brook trout, chrome/chartreuse, cutthroat, gold and silver.
There is something about the vibration, flash and action that flat out catches fish. It will catch small trout, big trophies and a variety of species. I’d highly recommend giving this lure a shot the next time you hit the water.
There are a lot of spinners to choose from, but not all are created equal. The Mepps spinner is another great lure to fish with for trout in fast water.
The best size for these types of situations is a #2 or #3. They are heavy and big enough to be able to make longer casts but aren’t too large to prevent any strikes.
Where the Mepps really shines is when the bite gets tough. When trout aren’t very active you need to find ways to get a reaction strike. That’s when you should throw the Mepps spinner.
The combination of its flash and vibration makes it hard to resist for any nearby trout. You can find these spinners on Amazon by clicking here.
An often overlooked but yet extremely effective lure for fishing in fast water is the Jake’s Lure. You can find this lure on Amazon by clicking here or you can pick one up at most local tackle shops.
Where I have found Jake’s Lure’s to be the most effective is in fast deep water and nearby slack water. It’s heavier weighted than most spinners making it easy to cast and allows you to fish that deeper water. It also tends to hold up better in heavy current when smaller, lighter lures might struggle.
The two main color options I like to use are the gold or silver. On sunny days, I like throwing the silver Jake, it reflects better off the sun and will produce more flash. On cloudy days or during low-light conditions the gold tends to work better. This is especially true when targeting brown trout.
If you are fishing in faster deeper water than the Jake’s Lure is a great option and is definitely worth adding to your tackle box.
As effective as any lure might be, it’s sometimes hard to compete with using live bait where fishing regulations allow it. Live bait can be an extremely effective way at catching trout.
Here are some great trout bait options to use on fast water:
For tips on how to rig and set up live bait when fishing in rivers and streams check out this video: How to Trout Fish Bait in Creeks & Rivers by Addicted Fishing.
The next time you are faced with heavy current and fast water fishing conditions, I’d highly recommend trying out one of these lures or techniques out. When fished the right way, they will help you catch a bunch of fish.
Choosing the Right Trout Lure for Fast Water
All of the lures I have mentioned in this article come in a variety of patterns, colors and sizes. Understanding the fishing conditions will help you determine what the right colors and sizes will best fit the fast water you are fishing.
Here are a few things to consider that will help you determine what lure is right for you:
The depth or water level of the water you are fishing can be a big factor in determining what size lure you should throw. For example, if you are fishing a deep pool in a river and the trout are holding towards the bottom, then a deeper diving bait would be the better option.
On the other hand, if you are fishing in a smaller stream that is only a few feet deep, a smaller, lighter bait would be best.
Another key factor that is important when deciding what lure or bait to use is the water clarity. In clear waters, more natural looking bait are going to be the best trout lure. In murky or darker water, bright or dark colored lures will produce more results.
‘Match the hatch’ is one of the most common fishing terms for a reason. You can increase your catch rate by simply matching what fish in your local river or stream would most likely be eating. This is especially true in clear water. If you are going to trick a trout into taking a swipe at your lure, the color, size, and movement of the bait needs to closely imitate what they would naturally be eating.
What is the weather like? Are you fishing on a bright sunny day, or is it rainy and cloudy? These things should be taken in consideration when deciding what lure to throw. Much like in murky water, dark and bright colored lures are going to do well in low light conditions. On clear sunny days your natural looking colors are the better option.
Tips on Catching Trout in Heavy Current
Having the right baits and lures tied on is an important first step. Just as important if not more is being able to locate where the fish are and make the right casts and retrievals.
I have put together the following tips that will help you identify key areas and utilize simple strategies that will help you have more success out on the water.
Add a Split Shot
A great way to get either your bait or lure down is to add a few split shot weights to your line. You’ll want enough split shots that the weight will barely bounce on the bottom. However, if you add too much weight you’ll get snagged easy. So it’s best to play around with it depending on the depth you are fishing.
Find Slack Water
Most of the time the best fishing areas aren’t going to be in the fastest water. Fish are smart and don’t want to expend a lot of energy if they don’t have to, that’s why they will hide out in the slack water that is next to fast water.
This still allows them to ambush a potential meal coming down stream but they don’t have to burn energy swimming in the fast current. Next time you are fishing a river check for the eddies and slack water next to heavy current, these high percentage areas where fish like to hang out.
Target High Percentage Areas
Wherever there is slack water next to fast current the odds are pretty good there will be a trout nearby. However, there are also some other high percentage areas that you should look to target. Eddies, bend, breaks and shade are also great spots you should look for and fish.
For more trout fishing tips make sure to check out this article: 20 Trout Fishing Tips to Catch More Fish.
Mix it Up
Casting and winding on a straight retrieve can catch you fish but if you want to increase the number of fish that you catch try mixing things up. Try adding a pause, twitch or jerk to your lure as you reel it in. You’ll be amazed with how many more fish you can get to strike. It’s also a good idea to mix your retrieval speed and the lures you are using until you can find what the fish are responding to.
Go with the Flow
Instead of fighting the current try and use it to your advantage. Throw the baits and lures I mentioned in this article and others that are meant for the added action of the current. The last thing you want to do is fish with stuff that doesn’t work and will give you headaches.
I have found the most success by fishing my baits and lures in fast water by casting at a 90-degree angle. This makes retrieving your lures so much easier and allows you to use the current to your advantage. If you cast directly upstream or downstream you’ll have a hard time getting the right action and being in the right zone.
Additional Trout Fishing Resources
For additional trout fishing tips and tricks, check out some of our other articles below:
- Best Lures for Brook Trout
- Catch More Brown Trout with These 7 Lures
- Fishing a Drop Shot Rig for Trout
- Fishing a Ned Rig for Trout
- 7 Best Ways to Catch Trout
- Best Trout Spinners
When fishing in fast water and heavy current it can be a challenge to know where to fish and what lures and baits to throw. For that reason, I have put together this article to help you understand what lures to use and the best areas to catch fish.
I hope this article has opened your eyes and given you some ideas on how you can have trout fishing success in fast moving water.