Trout Spoons work in a somewhat similar way to a trout spinner i.e vibration and flash. The vibration from a spoon however does not come from a spinning blade, instead it comes from the wobble that is produced as the spoon shimmies from side to side in the water as it is pulled along.
This means you really need to be careful at the speed of which you retrieve or troll the spoon through the water.
Maintaining the optimum speed for the spoon ensures that it is moving through the water with the correct action and this action is what will attract the trout towards it.
Spoons force the trout into attacking them in an aggressive manner so when choosing you need to match the size, weight, color and action to the stretch of water you are fishing.
It is said that spoons were invented in New York in mid eighteen fifties by Julio T.Buel. Apparently he had broken one of his silver spoons and rather than scrap it he decided to put a hook on one end and use it as a lure. Ever since then they have been a staple addition to every pretty much every lure fishers tackle box.
When choosing a spoon for trout the general rule of thumb would be that for rivers and streams anything from three and a half inches down to about an inch just be sufficient.
With really small spoons it can be very easy to cover even the most shallow of streams provided there are not too many snags about and you keep the speed up to stop the spoon hitting the bottom too easily.
For lake trout you will definitely need to size up and choose a heavier weighted variation. The use of a down-rigger can be a big aid in getting the spoon to run at the right depth or alternatively a lead core fishing line may be used.The weight of a spoon will have a significant impact on its action.
Shape & Thickness
The shape of a spoon will obviously determine its movement so a long thin spoon used for trolling for lake trout will have a more erratic movement than say a short thicker spoon for casting.
The ticker variations are generally better for casting from the shore into large rivers and lakes, whereas thinner longer ones may be better for trolling.
For trout spoon fishing in smaller rivers and stream it’s best to stay light and small in your spoon choice and keep the rod tip up which will help the spoon run shallow.
Lures such as the Acme Cleo can be highly effective in smaller rivers and streams.
Color as with any trout lure will have a big effect on your catch rate and is influenced mostly by water conditions and weather.
On clear running water you would want to stay with the classic colors so: red/white, five of diamonds or the traditional nickel and brass.
For darker running water it would be best to go a bit brighter and try and force a trout into striking so best to try fishing with a firetiger, or orange/brass or even bright yellow pattern spoons.
Undoubtedly the classic spoons to use on lakes for large trout are gold or silver variations and may include the addition of blue or green into the body of the spoon, and well the pattern combinations are endless.
Casting spoons are generally considered the classic shaped spoons.
They have a more oval shape than trolling spoons and have a very noticeable wobble effect that move back and forth from side to side.
They are generally heavier than spoons used for trolling, which enables them to be thrown more accurately.
Trolling spoons for trout are noticeably longer and thinner than there casting counterparts. Because the are thinner they tend to be lighter and as such will not run as deep as a casting spoon. This means that a either a weight, down-rigger or a diving vane is used to get the spoon down deep where the trout lie.
Weedless spoons are rarely used for trout, more so for bass and walleye. They generally have a single hook and hook guard that reduces the amount of snagging and weed build up on the spoon.
Jigging spoons are generally used to target schools of fish from overhead once located on a fish finder. They are generally the heaviest of spoons and are usually used with a non-stretch line. Not used very often when trout fishing but this method is gaining in popularity.
Topwater spoons are rarely used for trout they are best used to hunt out predatory fish in the summer months such as musky and bass.
As a general rule of thumb you should be aiming to fish the spoon as slow as possible to maintain the it’s correct swimming characteristics. The exact speed at which you fish a spoon for trout will vary slightly from manufacturer to manufacturer, for example a slim trolling spoon may need a different speed to a casting spoon.
How to Fish a Trout Spoon
Spoons can be used to target either river/stream trout or big laker’s from a boat. And clearly each different venue will require a different approach.
For both approaches the speed and the running depth are crucial to get right. The patterns of colors of the lures are a secondary consideration.
When fishing smaller spoons on rivers and streams you will need to target the trout specifically where they are lying. Aimlessly casting along a river bank in an effort to cover more water is generally going to waste time and lead to a disappointment.
You need to find small pockets and holes that occur naturally in the rivers. These places are where trout will lie in ambush. Casting upstream and across these features can be the most productive.
However if you are stuck upriver of these spots and cannot get down river of them then you can actually cast across them and use the natural speed of the river to slowly back the spoons onto the waiting fish.
You may also let the spoon sink a little just as it crosses the deeper parts, trout have been known to knock a spoon hard as it drops.
Lake Trout Spoon Fishing
As a general rule when fishing for lake trout you will need to pay close attention to water temperature rather than specific features in the lake.
In Spring and Fall trout will tend to hold around the surface of deeper water, you can use shallower running spoons to target the trout and may not need to use a down-rigger.
During summer however you may need to run your lures deeper. Lake trout like to stay in deeper waters during the summer. The reason for this is that the deeper water will be cooler and trout do night like excessively warm water.
Using lead core lines and a down-rigger will help get the spoons down to a reliable running depth.