The Best Hooks For Trout Fishing (Full Guide)


Trout tend to be very wary of their surroundings and what they eat as part of their defense mechanism. Some trout species, like brown trout, have good eyesight and can spot hooks, especially large ones. Therefore, it is very important to pay attention to the types of hooks you buy and use for trout fishing. The wrong hook can affect your catch because the trout will tend to keep off.

It would be best to have a wide selection of hooks when you go fishing. The selection will help you adapt to trout fishing size needs. Moreover, you can catch various species, even larger ones, with a wide selection of hooks.

Features To Look Out for When Buying a Hook

A hook has various features, and you will come across some terms when dealing with hooks. These features help to differentiate fishing hooks. They include:

  • Eye. It is the point of the hook where you tie the fishing line.
  • Bend. It is the curved or bent part of the hook.
  • Shank. This is the length between the eye and the starting of the bend.
  • Point. It is the pointy end that hooks on the fish.
  • Barb. A sharp end behind the point.
  • Hook gap. The distance between the point and the shank.
  • Hook Gauge. It is the thickness of the wire that forms the hook. Thick hooks are ideal for live bait.
  • Hook Offset. The hook shank and point are usually parallel to each other. There is a hook offset if they are not designed to be parallel to each other.

Best Hooks For Trout Fishing

1. Single Hooks

Single hooks are the most common and popular type of hook for trout fishing. They are small and cause little vibrations in the water. Thus, they are less noticeable to the wary trout. Remember, trout have good eyesight. Moreover, they can detect vibrations in the water thanks to their perceptive lateral lines. Single hooks are ideal for bait fishing and fly-fishing.

There are different types of single fishing hooks. They include:

  • Circle Hooks: As the name suggests, circle hooks are rounded hooks. Once a fish hooks, the circle hook forms a loop at the corner of the trout’s mouth. However, it is hard to maintain bait on a circle hook.
  • J Hooks: J hooks get the name because their bend’s loop forms a J shape. Its shank is straight. The point and the barb at the end of the loop bend slightly to complete the J shape. J hooks are ideal for live bait. Moreover, there is no need to set them because they hook anywhere within the fish’s mouth. Their ability to hook anywhere on the fish’s mouth is also a disadvantage. It can lodge on sensitive parts like the digestive tract and can damage or kill the fish. Improperly set J hooks are responsible for the death of many fish during fishing.
  • Kahle Hooks: Kahle hooks are a blend of J hooks and circle hooks. They have a high affinity for hooking the trout’s guts. Kahle hooks cause the most damage, and you should avoid them if you intend to put the trout back in the water.

For Single hooks, you should normally use size 12 hooks. You can increase the size to a size 8 hook for larger trout and use power bait. However, if the trout at your fishing spot is really large, you can increase the size up to 4. On the other hand, if you are fishing for small brook trout in stocked ponds and rivers, you can use hooks as small as size 16. Furthermore, Larger hooks are ideal for use in murky waters, while smaller hooks like size 10 are best for trout fishing in clear water.

2. Double Hooks

Double hooks are like two single hooks attached as one hook. Anglers rarely use them. However, you can use them if you have power bait or large flies. Treble hooks and single hooks are highly efficient and available, so anglers rarely use double hooks.

3. Treble Hooks

Treble hooks are three hooks with a joint shaft. They work well with lures and power bait. Larger hooks are better for trolling lures and spinners, while smaller treble hooks are best for power bait. However, treble hooks are three single hooks in one, which makes them more conspicuous. Therefore, the trout are three times more likely to notice and avoid treble baits because they can easily see them or notice their vibrations. It would be best to use size 12, 14, or 16 treble hooks for trout fishing.

Treble hooks are ideal for anglers who intend to keep and eat trout. You should avoid treble hooks if you are on a catch-and-release expedition. They almost always hurt the fish as you remove them.

4. Barbless Hooks

Barbless hooks are the best option for a catch-and-release expedition. They cause far less damage than the other hooks because the barb is not present in these hooks. These hooks got their name from the absence of the barbs. Barbs can cause major damage to the fish, especially if it hooks a sensitive part.

There are many fishing destinations that make it a rule to use only barbless hooks. It would be best to check the local regulations to avoid fines or, worse, losing your fishing license. You can buy barbless hooks or easily transform your single hooks into barbless hooks using a pair of pliers.

Hook Size Matters in Trout Fishing

Regardless of the type of hook you use, small hooks are always the best for trout fishing. They are ideal for the following reasons:

  • Small Hooks Are Less Conspicuous. Trout with good eyesight like speckled trout and brown trout can easily spot large conspicuous bait and hooks.
  • Small Hooks Are Ideal for Small Trout. There are trout species such as speckled trout and brook trout that have small bodies. Therefore, they are most likely to fall for smaller bait and hooks.
  • Trout Have a Small Mouth. A smallmouth means that they will only reach for bait they can fit in their mouth. Fish species with large mouths like the largemouth bass can go for large bait, which means you can use large hooks. However, there are a couple of times you should try larger or medium-sized hooks. They are:
  • When Fishing for Species Like Rainbow Trout and Mature Brown Trout. They are larger trout species and can go for large hooks.
  • Fishing in a Stocked Pond. You may need to use larger hooks when fishing in stocked ponds to avoid catching the young and small fish.

Hook Scales

There are two types of scales you can use to tell the size of a hook. You can either use the number size or the aught size.

  1. Number Size: Number sizes are the most common scale. However, you should know that there is no universal scale, and the actual size depends on the manufacturer. Generally, the smaller a number is, the larger the hook is. The largest size is 1, and the smallest number usually depends on the manufacturer. The scale could extend to size 16 or over.
  2. Aught Size: Aught size scale works opposite to the number size scale. It means that a smaller number signifies a smaller hook size and vice versa. Therefore, a 3/0 hook size is larger than a 2/0 hook size. Aught scale hooks are usually larger than number scale hooks. A 1/0 aught scale hook is similar to a size 1 number scale hook. However, the 2/0 aught scale is bigger than any hook available on the number scale. Aught scale hooks are not ideal for trout fishing because they are too large. The trout can easily spot them, and if not, they can cause major damage.

Hook Gauges

You should also pay attention to the size of the hook gauge. It tells you how thick the hook wire is. The hook gauge uses an X scale. 1X is the smallest and 2X is twice as strong, and so on. Trout can easily notice hooks with thick wires. Therefore, it would be best to use hooks of about 1X or 2X.

In Summary

There are different types of hooks for trout fishing. They include single hooks, double hooks, treble hooks, and barbless hooks. Single hooks are the most popular for trout fishing. They are less conspicuous due to their size. Double hooks are twice as conspicuous than single hooks. Treble hooks are ideal for power bait use. However, the trout can easily spot them. Moreover, they cause the most damage to the trout.

Barbless hooks are hooks without a barb. They are best for catch and release fishing. Remember to use smaller hooks because trout can easily sense vibrations in the water and have good eyesight.

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