Trout are very sensitive to anything in the water. Therefore, if you are serious about trout fishing, it is essential to choose the right hook. Salmon hooks come in many types and sizes, and some are sure to be better than others.
The hook is essential, and choosing the right hook size allows you to catch more fish. Conversely, using hooks of the wrong size, shape, or even color can cause you to end up with no fish.
Generally, a smaller hook size is usually best for catching trout. The larger the hook size, the more cautious the trout will be, and the more likely it will be considered something to be avoided.
If you don’t know where to begin, don’t worry. We worked with professional trout anglers to help you answer, “What is the best hook size for trout?” So let’s get into the details!
What size hook for trout should you use?
The best hook size for trout will, in our opinion, should range from 8 and 12. In general, the best hook size for catching trout will depend mainly on these two factors:
- The size of the bait
- The size of the trout you aim for
Bigger trout hooks will be heavier, stronger, and thicker. They have the advantage of hooking and holding the trout better. Also, these hooks will grab more flesh to hold the fish better.
But, a large trout hook could be bad in certain situations. The fact is that trouts feed mainly on sight rather than scent or other factors. Therefore, a too big hook will be easily detected by them. In that case, you will have a hard time catching trout.
A too-large hook will become overly prominent and will likely be ignored by more giant, wiser trouts. Beyond that, wild trouts that feed in clear and slow water conditions always tend to be more cautious. So choosing the wrong hook size will allow trouts to identify more efficiently, resulting in you catching fewer fish.
Although trout are not smart enough to know that it is a hook, all they know is it is not normal, and their instincts kick in and tell them to ignore it. Also, if your hook is too big, trout cannot put it in their mouth in the first place.
On the other hand, a small hook that is less stand out will not grab a lot of flesh and may have trouble hooking a giant trout. Moreover, it is more likely to tear out of the trout’s mouth. Yet, small hooks will be less likely to be seen by the trout, allowing you to attract more fish.
So, it is essential to know when you should use the bigger hook and when to utilize a smaller hook.
Choosing the right hook size for trout is not easy and can even be a painful task for beginners and inexperienced. However, if you are one of them, you should consider and follow these tips:
- Typically, for trout, we recommend choosing a 10-sized hook, about half the size of a quarter.
- Trout are very wary of anything in their habitat. So it is wise to use a size between 14 to 8 for trout. You should not use something bigger than a size 8 hook as it may be too big, resulting in trout that will not bite.
- Size 8 to 10 hooks are great for actual sunfish, bluegill, and other panfish that you can utilize with ease. And you can downsize your bait and hook size if fish are pinching the bait.
- It is best to pick high-quality hooks that feature prickly sturdy points. Also, they are strong and can be loosened without becoming bent or breaking.
- The best-quality hook for trout should be small, sturdy, and sharp.
- The size of hooks should be based on your target fish size.
Trout hook size chart
|Type of trout bait
|Ideal single hook size
|From 8 to 14
|From 8 to 12
|From 10 to 12
|From 10 to 12
|From 6 to 8
|From 10 to 12
Bear in mind that trout can see very well and usually lives in clear water. Therefore, if you use a hook that is too large, there is a chance that they will see your bait and hook and avoid it as it looks suspicious and unnatural.
Therefore, you will need to know the average trout size in the water you plan to catch and choose the hook accordingly. If you are unsure, going with the smaller hook is wise.
What Size Hook for Trout to Use With Different Baits
While there are many different kinds of lures used for trout fishing, the top three that make up about 90% of all baits used for trout fishing are powerbait, worms, and salmon eggs.
So, in this section, we’ll take a closer look at the best hook sizes for these baits.
Best Hook Size for Trout Powerbait
The Powerbait is a highly effective trout bait, and many anglers prefer to use the triple hook with the powerbait. The best hook size for this bait depends on the type of hook you will use. Specifically, if you use a single hook, its size should range from #8 to #12. Yet, if you prefer a treble hook, your hook size should be somewhere between #10 and #14.
Do not forget that trout have relatively small mouths. Therefore, if you want to use a triple hook, it is essential to choose a smaller hook size than a single or double hook so that the trout can eat your bait with ease. Otherwise, they will just nibble on the bait without eating it properly.
When utilizing powerbait nuggets, adjusting the size of your hook to the size of the trout nuggets that you’re using is essential. Ideally, the fishing hook is wholly concealed inside the nugget. If you utilize a bottom fishing rig, you will need smaller hook sizes to let the nugget float in the water.
Then you can adjust to smaller hooks if needed until you gain the proper behavior. If you use a bobber rig, you can get a bigger hook as you want it to sink in the water.
What Size Hook for Trout Should You Use With Worms?
When using worms, the ideal size hook for trout should range from 8 to 14. If you use nightcrawlers, it is wise not to utilize the whole worm. Instead, we recommend cutting it into a 1 to 2 inch long piece before threading it onto the single hook.
If you want to fish trout with worms, consider using a baitholder hook that features two additional barbs located on its shank.
This hook can prevent a worm from sliding down after threading it on. This type of hook is beneficial when utilizing live bait since you will want your bait to move while staying in the optimal position to trigger bites.
What Size Hook for Trout Should You Use With Salmon Eggs?
Salmon eggs may be one of the best baits, and it is also a favored bait of many anglers and a good pick for salmon fishing). In fact, some manufacturers make hooks specifically for this use, but those are not an absolute necessity.
The best hook size for trout if you want to fish with worms ranges from 8 to 14 for the single hook. If you use nightcrawlers, it is wise not to utilize the whole worm.
Instead, you should cut it into 1 to 2-inch long pieces followed by threading it onto the single hook.
What size hook for trout should you use with different types of hooks?
You should be fine if you go with a standard single hook for trout fishing, which is also a popular choice for anglers of all levels, from novice to advanced.
However, more experienced players may prefer to use more specialized models, which work better with certain baits and techniques, such as treble, octopus, and circle hooks.
The most significant advantage of the treble hook is its ability to better keep the powerbait from falling off the hook.
In addition, it also limits the possibility of losing a trout once it has been hooked into a treble. On the downside, it’s larger and bulkier, requiring a smaller hook size than the single hook.
Circle and octopus hooks both feature relatively short shanks, great for concealing them inside baits (such as a salmon egg or a powerbait nugget).
What Size Treble Hook Should You Use for Trout?
If you want to go with a treble hook for trout, the ideal size will be from 10 to 14, which is smaller than the size you need for a single hook.
The main reason behind this is that the treble hooks are three times larger than the single hooks. So obviously, you must use a smaller hook size to allow the trout to get your hook into their mouth with ease.
Plus, if you use a treble hook with powerbait on a bottom fishing rig, it is essential to ensure your hook is small enough to let the baited hook float in the water.
The bigger your hook, the more likely it’s to make trout nuggets sink. Hence, generally, it is wise to pick the hook as small as possible. It is feasible to determine the correct size treble hook by testing it in a small pot of water at home.
Ideally, if you want to catch a medium-sized trout, use a size 10 to 14 triple hook. Size 16 may come in handy for fishing smaller trout in streams and creeks.
But if you’re not going to eat the trout you’re about to catch, you’ll want to use a different type of hook, as the triple hook can cause significant damage to the fish, causing them to almost dying later.
What Size Hook for Trout Should You Use When Using Octopus Hooks?
The ideal octopus hook size for trout fishing is somewhere between 8 and 12. Many anglers prefer to use this hook with worms and salmon eggs. The fact of the matter is that octopus hooks are very popular in trout fishing as they work well with salmon eggs, worms, and powerbait.
What Size Hook for Trout Should You Use When Using Circle Hooks?
Circle hooks in sizes 10 to 12 are ideal for trout. One of the most significant advantages of this type of hook is that it sets itself in the trout’s mouth.
In other words, you will not have to worry about setting the hook, making this type one of the best hooks for trout fishing when using stationary bait presentations. It will also come in handy for fishing trout with several rods.
What size hook to use for rainbow trout
A 12-sized single hook or a 14-sized triple hook is best for handling rainbow trout. In fact, you will fish these trout in stocked lakes and ponds in most cases, and they are pretty similar in size, usually 10 to 25 inches long.
Many skilled anglers prefer to catch them with powerbait, salmon roe, or worm flakes.
A 12-sized single hook is great to be hidden inside a salmon egg or a powerbait nugget, while a 14-sized treble hook is good enough to keep powerbait on the hook more reliably, especially when utilizing a bottom fishing rig.
How to Bait a Trout Hook
When it comes to how to bait your hook properly, the most important thing is hiding the hook inside the bait as much as possible, making it more difficult to detect by trout.
That’s why octopus hooks are preferred for fishing trout. These hooks feature a shorter shank, making them easier to get the whole hook inside a salmon egg or trout nugget.
If one piece of corn or salmon egg cannot cover your hook completely, all you need to do is use a second one to ensure it is completely hidden inside your bait.
If you use a worm for baiting your hook, it is wise to cut off a 1 or 2 inch piece of the worm before inserting the hook’s point into the cut end of the worm and threading the whole worm onto your hook. We recommend using a baitholder hook for worms, as this type prevents the worm from slipping down the shank.
Barbless Trout Hooks
If you are planning to release things that you will catch with your hook, the wisest choice is barbless hooks which provide a higher survival rate for the trout you catch. They will not seriously hurt the fish when you try to remove it from your hook.
In this case, we recommend choosing barbless circle hooks as they will tend to hook trout in their mouth’s corner, where it is easy to remove your hook without hurting them.
It is easy to get barbless hooks fishing trout at any tackle store. You can also use a pair of pliers to squeeze down the barb, and any hook will turn into a barbless one as a result.
Hook Sizing Explained
The existence of two different size systems, including the aught sizing system and the number sizing system, can confuse beginners.
The aught system consists of a number with a /0 after it. This system is mainly used for sizing the large hooks utilized for saltwater fishing.
On the other hand, the number sizing system is a number scale applied to hooks used for fishing freshwater. The largest size is number 1, and the larger the number, the smaller the hook size.
The gauge of the hook is also another factor to be considered. Basically, it refers to how thick the wire is, including a number scale of 1X, 2X, 3X, etc.
The higher the gauge number, the thicker the wire of the hook. 2X is the ideal hook gauge for average size trout, while 3X and 4X are great for the bigger ones.
The Bottom Line
Trout fishing is supposed to be fun above all. And by the end of this informative article, we are really in no doubt that you will never again wonder about the suitable hook size for trout fishing.
Generally, trout hooks that are between sizes from 8 to 14 are ideal. The specific size of the hook should depend on the size of the trout you aim for and the size of the bait. Always utilize barbless hooks for trout unless you will eat what you catch.
For our final piece of advice, try some combinations of hooks and bait to determine what will work best for you.
We would be happy to handle any questions you might have on hook size for trout. So feel free to leave a question or comment in the comments section below.
Thank you for stopping by!
Born in Lakeland, Florida, Daniel has started fishing since he was just a tiny little kid. His father was a real good fisherman, as he taught Daniel tricks and tips to catch the fish better. From those childhood memories, Daniel has built up his love for fishing. Until now, he has been participating in several bass tournaments and currently serves as the Chief Editor of fishingonsunday.com to share his precious knowledge and experiences with many more people.