Jigging for trout can be a real treat and is one of my favorite ways to pursue trout. If you happen to live in the Pacific Northwest, you know trout are the main state fish. You can try baits, worms, lures or power baits, but nothing works as well as jig does.
Now, there are hundreds of jigs out there, and finding the best trout jigs won’t be that easy. You have to try out a bunch of them, try different combinations and colors or try what others are using.
You never know which one will work for you. You can try using an Eagle Claw Jig Ball and tip it with either a worm or a Strike King Bitsy Bug.
You can also tip it with a worm and let them drift along currents. Using a bitsy bug on 1/8 and ¼ jigs are more of a traditional method for jigging. For lakes and streams, you can also use the Trout Magnet.
To catch trout in lakes and streams, jigging is perhaps the most efficient way of trolling for trout. You don’t need any kind of precision to cast. There is no need to be an expert to manipulate the action on the lure.
You only need to drop the bait and let it drift in the current. When the fish coax to strike, you can lure it by raising up the fishing pole.
In a Hurry? Check Our Top 5 Picks Of Trout Jigs
Why Trout Jigs?
To catch fish in a lake, jigs are most commonly used. But jigs are also effective to catch fish in rivers, ponds, and streams. Stock trout will eat anything as long as it is shiny. Fishing with bait is kind of boring and doesn’t entice trout as much as spinners, spoons or jigs will.
But when shiny things fail, jigs will be the only option left. They have been in use for a long time in the bass and crappie fishing worlds, but recently they are also used for trout fishing with some modifications.
When I fish for trout, I always prefer to use jigs almost exclusively. I keep a couple of jig heads at 1/32 and 1/16 oz and also some soft small plastic worms. Having a lot of different trout jigs will cover almost any situation you find yourself in for trout fishing. Under right conditions, the best jigs for trout will outperform their more natural counterparts.
Top 5 Trout Jigs
1. Trout Magnet Jigs
The Trout Magnet has become one of the best-selling lures around the country over the past 20 years. As long as you fish with a 2lb. test line, a good lite action rod with a good backbone, a reel suitable for trout fishing, you can easily outperform and out-fish any lure on the stream for trout. It’s a great lure to have and works really well for catching trout and other species.
Instead of falling head weight like all other jigs, the trout magnet hook and body falls in a horizontal manner in the water. This jig is considered as the number one in fishing sports. It has great jig body color, EZ trout floats, and jig head selections. It is made right here in the USA with high-grade plastic and with bright colors that won’t tear like other plastics on the market.
2. Strike King Bitsy Bug Mini Jig Bait
There something to this Bitsy Bug mini jig that makes trout go crazy for it. The premium silicone skirt gives more action than a soft plastic body jig. This small jig is definitely worth the money. It’s small and light but heavy enough to cast far on light gear. It is also not too big to scare the fish away. You can use it as a traditional drag-along bottom jig or as a micro-swim jig.
It all comes down to you, how do you want to use it? The hooks on this are very sharp and fiber weed guard helps prevent the line from getting cut. On the upper part of the head, there is an inverted line tie that keeps the line from being frayed on rocks. This lure is ideal for fishing under docks and heavy covers because it has Snagless/Weedless design. It helps prevent the jigs from getting wedged in rocks.
3. Strike King Bitsy Bug Crawfish Jig Trailer Bait
This is a crawfish jig trailer bait that features a soft plastic body with lifelike pinchers. These baits are perfect for pairing up with Bitsy flips, Bitsy bugs or other small jigs. They also work well with Texas rigged and open jig heads. There is a tiny amount of salt impregnated into the body that affects the action and sink rate of this jig trailer bait.
It’s a good little plastic lure with great lifelike movements. This is a perfect fit with bitsy bug jigs and the small profile and natural look work great for catching the attention of trout and bass. The intimidating design of this lure provokes the trout to bite it.
4. Woolly Bugger Trout Fly Fishing Streamer Assortment
The black woolly bugger is just plain devastating on big rainbow trout. These are durable lures and tied by professionals. Only the finest materials are used in making these lures. These are best used for catching brook, brown, cutthroat and rainbow trout. These have great action and perfect for beginner fly fisherman.
Compared to local flies, these are also reasonably priced, and you can instantly notice the quality of these flies. They have a couple of different colors so that you can try out a bunch of them. You can use them when trolling from a kayak or for fly fishing.
5. Flies Direct Muddler Minnow Assortment Trout Fishing Flies
The Muddler Minnow Assortment jig works great for all kinds of trout. These are hand tied by professionals and do a great job of catching fish. These flies are tied with high-quality Mustad hooks. They are not the best or high-end jigs out there, but you are getting a great price. These are great for beginners or someone that loses a lot of them. Apart from that, they do catch a lot of fish.
The only downside is that they don’t hold up that well. You get what you pay for and they do have a decent selection of sizes. They float well as dry flies and will catch trout every time you cast. The barbs on these flies are easy enough to crimp. You can also use these lures to catch bass and panfish.
How to Fish Small Jigs to Catch More Trout?
Jigs are the most versatile of trout lures. They can be made of plastic, feathers, fur and they can be fished fast or slow, deep or shallow, anyway anyhow according to the needs of the moment and the environment that you are in.
They become very effective in waters from tiny creeks to major rivers. You can also jig for trout in most ponds and lakes. As good as they are, only a few people use them.
I guess the primary reason is that they don’t know how. Jigs are completely different that spinners and spoons. You don’t need that cast-and-crank mentality when you fish with jigs.
Spinner and spoons have enough built-in action to catch at least some trout when you start to reel them in after a cast. Most people don’t even bother with retrieving either of these lures with some finesse.
On the other hand, jigs are on a completely different level. They don’t have any inherent action. Some do, but only a small portion of them. They will only come to life with the rod-tip twitches that you will provide.
To catch fish in a variety of conditions, jigs are the most useful tools. The main function of jig fishing is to control the depth of the river or lake.
As we have discussed before that use of jigs has become new and being more and more popular than crappie fishing world. The trout fisherman can feel the effects of using jigs.
Size & Color
Most of the effective trout lures are made for crappie fishing. And because of that, there are hundreds of different jigs sizes ranging from 1/64 to 1/8 ounce. What size you will need will depend on the depth of water and speed. 1/16-ounce and lighter jigs are often more than enough on small streams or in slower-flowing big rivers.
You should use the lightest jigs possible that will tick the bottom when you drift and twitch the lure in the current. Marabou dressing jigs are the most common that you will see. Jigs made from soft plastics work well too.
In terms of color, black, olive, white and brown are the best colors. But try having different color combinations when you are out fishing. You never know which one will get the most bites.
Trout Jig Heads
Generally, jig heads come pre-made. There is a light wire hook with a small shaped weight. It is situated at the eye of a hook. They are designed perfectly to balance the body of the trout magnet. 1/32 oz up to 1/8oz weights is used generally.
Different configuration which is available in trout jigs are discussed below:
- It may be painted/unpainted.
- It may have painted/unpainted eyes.
- Eye of the hook is a straight/perpendicular angle.
- A small bard is used on the back of the hook for holding plastic bodies.
- The shape of it comes with flat, angles, round or ball-shaped.
Tying On A Jig Head
While tying jig to a leader, you should make sure that the knot must be tightened in that way to keep it in a sitting direction of the eye.
There will be an effect on the movement in the water if the knot is angled in any way on the eye.
Types of Jigs
A huge range of jigs is available on the market. Jigs for trout are not considered the best for the crappie fisherman.
Trout jigs become lighter and smaller in their manufacture
1. Marabou Jigs
- To imitate injured bait-fish, nymphs or small crayfish, Marabou jig is preferred. The color of the jig becomes olive or dark while imitating.
- It creates a flash when the injured minnows being imitated.
- Size of Marabou jig is 1/8 ounce
- Marabou jig is really good in the water as a lookalike minnow.
2. Tube Jigs
- Lake trout tube jigs are known as top secret ice fishing lure. To catch burbot and huge lake trout, it is more popular.
- Sizes of 1 to 2 inches tube jigs work best. Length should be 1 or 1 1/2 inches to make the fishing more comfortable and easy.
3. Soft Plastic
Soft-bodied plastic has come with a variety of styles. You can choose any style and re-use or change them on the same jig head.
Some of the varieties are here:
- To imitate small baitfish, you can choose the Fish shaped style
- To imitate crappie/Trout/Bream/Panfish/Perch/Chubs/Shad, choose Curly Tail.
- The skirt provides less movement than Curly Tail.
- The split tail is a re-usable fish lure tail that can be bonded directly on the hook.
- To ambush predator that lay in wait, it is a great jig.
4. Hybrid Jigs
- It is a combination of Marabou tail and soft-bodied plastic jig.
- There are interchangeable hook features and less thrown hooks.
- It also provides unique minnow like action. So, it helps to enhance bait movement.
Trout Jigging Techniques
For fishing trout jigs, there are two most common methods. The first one is to cast the jigs straight. The weight of the jig head is the main issue that depends upon it.
By using this method, you can influence the movement of the jigs. You can cast more strikes by jerking the rod tip suddenly. This strike is a lot more than being statically under a float.
The other productive method is bouncing the jigs off the bottom. On the bottom, if the snags are less, this method is the most fruitful.
You can target a trout which are lying under deep rivers or pools. You can ambush them by bouncing the jigs off the bottom.
Trout Jigging Tackle
For catching trout, the rod is used constantly. So, the tackle must be light otherwise jigging arm will get tired.
More of that, heavy line jig would spoil the action of the lures. For that, you must use small light lures.
Spinning tackle is the most commonly used tackle for trout jigging.
The strength must be 4 lbs generally. But you can raise up to 6 to 8 lbs strength. It is better to use the line as light as possible.
Length of the rod should be 1.8m. In the first action rod, the bend is in the third row. But in the medium action rod, the bend is in the top two thirds. To hook a big fish, medium action rod provides more safety.
Overhead/bait-casting reel should be used. To cast very light weights, you can also choose ultra-light spinning reel.
Trout Jigging Tips
Try tossing your jigs directly upstream when fishing small rivers that is less than about 25 feet wide. Try to reel at a pace where the jig will travel faster than the current.
As you reel in, try moving your rod tip to steer the lure into the target zone. Twitch once or twice and be ready because trout will always hit downstream-swimming baits very hard.
On bigger water bodies, try casting about 45-degrees up and across the current. Give the jig some time to sink before you start retrieving. Once it reaches the bottom, you will feel the tick-tick of the bottom. Tighten the line up by reeling in slowly and avoid cranking the lure back in.
Now, twitch the rod tip intermittently and make sure you contact the riverbed occasionally. If you don’t feel any bites, repeat the process again.
There is a tactic called the jig-and-float which is very popular on Ozark tailwaters. You will need a very lightweight marabou jig and suspend it with a round Styrofoam bobber keeping a 2 to 6 feet gap. The bobber should be roughly ½- to ¾-inch diameter.
Cast upstream but don’t retrieve. Instead, let the waves and ripples move the bobber up and down. This will wiggle the little jig hanging underneath. This is very effective and you can catch a lot big rainbow trout with this technique.
If you are still not convinced about using the best trout jigs, here is one convincing reason to use them. The current world-record brown trout which was a 40-pound 4-ounce monster was caught on a 1/32-ounce olive marabou jig and 4-pound-test line. It was hooked by Howard “Rip” Collins in May 1992.
This monster was caught in the Little Red River tailwater near Heber Springs, Arkansas. Beat this…