14 Trout Fishing Rigs For Lakes And Streams

Trout Fishing Rig Setup

Trout are among the most popular fish to catch. People may catch them with various types of lures and baits. Moreover, many different trout types live in distinct habitats.

Thus, anglers are likely to catch them in their local lake or river. Using the appropriate rig is critical for effectively catching trout.

Understanding which rigs to use for specific conditions is also critical to raising the success rate of catching trout.

Fortunately, you are in the right place. In this post, we have the answer to your problem here. So, keep scrolling down for all knowledge about trout fishing rig setup.

How Do You Rig For Trout?

A fishing rig is a collection of tools needed to reel in a plentiful catch. There are three different sorts of rigs you can use to bait for trout:

  • Rigs that dangle your bait underneath a float or bobber
  • Rigs with a weight that bring your bait close to the bottom
  • Rigs that let you actively toss and retrieve a lure

The three styles above include almost every trout fishing technique. However, they are available in many forms and shapes, each of which is particularly fit for a few different applications.

Generally, a rig has these tools:

  • Fishing rod: Rods under 7′ are ideal for brown trout, panfish, and brook. Longer rods over 7′ are popular for some bass fishing techniques such as using swimbaits and crankbaits and longer rods are also the go-to choice for anglers targeting salmon and steelhead. ( See also: trout fishing spinning rod setup)
  • Fishing reel: If you don’t have one, Check out our recommended top reel for trout here.
  • Fishing line: A pair of fishing reels and rods may already have a fishing line. If not, you can buy a separate line of around 5 to 10 lbs. 
  • Hooks: The best hooks for trout fishing are sizes 4 to 12.
  • Bobbers: The bobbers should be big enough to prevent the bait, hook, and shot from sinking. 
  • Sinkers: Unlike the bobbers, the sinkers must be lightweight. 
  • Bait: Worms and crickets are both good for trout fishing.

Most tools from the list above come in different kinds. You can choose the best one depending on your fishing technique. 

Gather what you need for your trout fishing
Gather what you need for your trout fishing

Bobber Rigs For Trout 

A bobber rig may be ideal if you like more visually exciting fishing. It works best on quiet days with calm water. 

A vigorous trout’s reluctance at the end of your fishing line is always exciting to experience as you observe your bobber descend just before lifting your rod to secure the hook.

Choosing the right bobber setup is crucial, even if bobber fishing is usually more straightforward than many other methods.

To effectively use bobbers for fishing trout, you must also set them correctly. There are two main types of bobbers you can use for your trout fishing rigs: 

1. Fixed bobber

The fixed bobber helps you fish in shallow water
The fixed bobber helps you fish in shallow water

This rig has a fixed bobber fastened to the line, a sinker, and a hook to help the baited hook drop to the bottom of the water. The depth of the bait varies depending on the distance you set between the bobber and the hook.  

How to tie?

Here is how to set up a fixed bobber: 

  • Insert a swivel to the main line to avoid a line twist.
  • Attach a fluoro leader, which is around 10 to 12 feet, to the swivel.
  • Tie a float to the leader.
  • Tie the hook at the desired depth on the hook.
  • Insert split shots to keep the bait at the target depth.

When to use it?

This rig works best when fishing in shallow water, dragging bait down a stream or river, and when the trout feed near the water column. 

The ideal way to fish the rig is to leave the bait until you notice the bobber bounce and hook a trout. 

2. Slip bobber 

The slip bobber offers a flexible fishing technique
The slip bobber offers a flexible fishing technique

A slip rig, the most adaptable for bobber angling, is the ideal way to bobber fish. You can fish in almost any area at a variety of depths with this tool. 

Using this method, all you have to do is adjust the bobber stop placement on the fishing line. Then, you can make sure that you fish at varying depths. 

How to tie?

Tying a slip bobber rig is more complicated. Make sure you don’t miss any of the following steps:

  • Add a slip bobber before a plastic bead to the fishing line.
  • Place a sliding sinker underneath the bobber.
  • Set one of the barrel swivels in place.
  • Connect the swivel to your 3 to 5 feet of the fluoro leader line.
  • Attach your selected lure to the end of the hook.
  • Add a bobber stop to any position on the main line to determine the depth at which the hook will be added.

A huge part of using a bobber rig for fishing involves adjusting your rig according to your situation.

For instance, if you find the water is shallower or deeper than you thought, you might need to tweak the depth setting.

If you use live bait, keep in mind that you can also attach a barrel swivel between the bobber and hook to prevent the fishing line from twisting.

When to use it?

This method is a wonderful trout fishing setup to employ when you fish in shallow and mid-water. Adjusting the bobber stop, you can adequately fish from 20 to 30 feet under the water’s surface.

Read more: How To Rig A Slip Bobber Rig Effectively

Bottom Fishing Rigs For Trout

Bottom fishing is about dropping a weighted hook to the water’s bottom. Since trout usually feed near the bottom, it’s the best option when trout are feeding in deeper water.

The fact that there are numerous ways to engage in bottom fishing is one of its many addictive characteristics.

You can select from many fishing techniques depending on the water you’re angling in and the fish you intend to catch. So feel free to experiment with various presentations and use different baits and gear.

3. Slip sinker rig for trout

The slip sinker rig is the best technique for bottom fishing
The slip sinker rig is the best technique for bottom fishing

The easiest trout bottom fishing rig is the slip sinker. This technique has been around for centuries and still works these days. 

How to tie? 

Make sure to pull out the fishing line from the rod tip before starting. After that, follow these steps:

  • Insert a sliding slip sinker into the fishing line. 
  • Secure one of the barrel swivels. 
  • Attach a three-foot fluorocarbon leader.
  • Insert a book to fit the size of your bait.
  • Attach a floating bait.

Most fishermen toss it out to a potential location and then wait for the prey to get caught. If you do, test various places and check it constantly to see if the bait remains on the hook.

When to use it?

The slip sinker works best when used in waters where trout like to stay around water deeper than five to ten feet.

Since you can throw it relatively far and reach far with it, it’s also a great rig to use when fishing from shore.

Because you don’t want the baited hook to be resting on the bottom where fish won’t notice it, it’s crucial to utilize this rig with a floating bait.

Another solution is to use float-designed power bait or worms that have had air pumped into them so they can float. 

4. Carolina rig for trout

Carolina rigs help you handle deep waters
Carolina rigs help you handle deep waters

In waters where trout swim around the bottom area, Carolina rigs provide one of the most effective sets-ups for trout fishing.

Most of the time, trout can get caught when your bait stays one or two feet over the bottom if you set it appropriately.

Besides, Carolina allows you to fish in two ways:

  • Passive: Wait for the fish to come across and grab the bait
  • Active: Retrieve the rig and work a floating bait close to the bottom 

How to tie? 

The instructions for tying a Caroline rig for trout are as follows:

  • Tie a sliding sinker to the main line.
  • Attach a sliding bead to the sinker.
  • Add one of the barrel swivels.
  • Tie a one- to three-foot leader line.
  • Insert bait to the hook.

When to use it?

The Carolina fishing rig is one of the best when you intend to fish near the bottom, particularly in deep waters like reservoirs, lakes, and large rivers. The heavy sinker allows it to get to the bottom. 

You can fish the Carolina rig with a fixed bait, but a bait that floats similarly to the split shot rig will be far more successful.

Leave the trout rig to sink before bringing it back gradually at first, then at different speeds, until you have a bite. If you wish to, you can even immediately pull it over plant beds. 

Moreover, since the rig is flexible, it can work in various situations. It has an impressive performance from a boat and shore. 

5. Split shot rig for trout

split shot weights -The nice solution for picky trout
split shot weights -The nice solution for picky trout

A split shot rig is essentially a finesse form of the Carolina rig that employs one or more split shots tied to the main line in place of a sliding sinker.

It’s always a good idea to have a couple of finesse methods up your sleeve because trout can sometimes be picky (especially in heavily hunted waters).

How to tie? 

Here is how you set up the split shot rig:

  • Insert some split shots to the main line.
  • Place a snap swivel or a barrel underneath the split shots. 
  • Add a leader line.
  • Attach a floating bait to the end of the leader line.

Adding a floating lure to your main line ensures that it goes at the proper depth and generates an enticing movement in the water for trout.

When to use it?

This trout rig is fantastic for fishing picky trout since it is very subtle. You can also use it in small waterways and/or crystal-clear waters. 

Throw your fishing line as far as possible with this setup, and let it drop to the bottom. After that, carefully retrieve your rig to you while jigging and resting.

This method keeps the bait moving at various depths to entice the fish. If a slow return doesn’t attract trout, try adjusting the speed.

6. Drop shot rig for trout

drop shot rig You can cast straight from the bottom
drop shot rig You can cast straight from the bottom

Although a drop shot rig is popular for bass fishing, it can also be an effective method for catching trout under the right circumstances.

The ability to set your bait in the impact zone and hold it there for a long period is one of the main benefits of the drop shot.

How to tie? 

Tying the drop shot rig is difficult because you have to deal with two knots, the palomar and the double-uni one. Here is how to do it correctly:

  • Tie five feet of fluoro line to the main line using a double-uni knot. 
  • Tie the bait hook around three feet from the fluoro end with a palomar knot. 
  • Pass the remaining end of the 3-foot tag through the hook’s eye again. The line should become perpendicular to the hook as a result.
  • Attach the sinker to the tag end. 
  • Tie a soft plastic bait to the hook. 

After setting, cast your fishing line and gently retrieve it by bouncing the weight and bait up and down. 

You may hold the drop shot rig in position in the strike zone if you can spot it and just wriggle the lure into place without disturbing the weight. 

In this manner, you can cast once and set your bait in front of the trout for an extended time without needing to retrieve it.

When to use it?

This trout fishing setup is made to be cast straight from the bottom. To provide the lure rig some movement, you should shake it up and down before dropping it to the bottom and carefully lifting it, 

This setup is advantageous in deep and shallow water, so you can use it wherever trout swim close to the bottom, regardless of depth.

7. Paternoster rig for trout

Paternoster rig for trout

The Paternoster is an empathetic and adaptive method of fishing. One part of the line has the lead, while the other part is attached to the hook.

The rig’s principal goal is to provide little or no resistance to a fish as it goes away with the bait. As a result, it is a suitable fishing method for any distance.

How to set up:

  • Thread a 1/8 or 1/4 ounce sliding sinker (bullet, cylindrical, an egg sinker) onto your main fishing line.
  • Then, let the line go through a tiny bead and tie it to a barrel swivel. The bead helps prevent the weight from breaking the knot when throwing. Yet, if your used weight is a small one, you can do without that bead.
  • On the other swivel end, attach a leader. Then, knot your hook to that leader. Remember to choose the type and size of the hook based on the bait type you want to use. For example, hooks with a long shank are more convenient for placing worms. Yet a short shank one goes well for artificial eggs and corn.

This is the most straightforward rig for stagnant water (ponds, lakes) with a depth of about 5-10 feet.

If the bottom of the reservoir is not flat and has some branches or algae, the bullet weight will be the best choice. 

The most common bait is earthworms. Trout can fiddle with the worm bait for a long time without letting it fall off the hook. You can also use artificial salmon eggs and canned corn. Artificial eggs should not be too soft because the trout quickly rips them off.

Lure Rigs For Trout 

Since you can cast and retrieve continuously while searching for fishy water areas, using a lure rig appears to be a more active method of trout fishing. 

If you don’t have any other tool, you can use a lure to catch trout by simply attaching the bait directly to the end of your fishing line.

In any case, the lure’s whirling movement may generate turns in the line, reducing the line’s chance of breaking or perhaps resulting in a huge, tangled mess.

8. Spinner rig for trout

Spinner rig for trout - The rig is good for both deep and shallow waters
The rig is good for both deep and shallow waters

The spinner rig, which utilizes a spinner lure in addition to or instead of some split shots, is the most prevalent trout fishing lure setup. 

Many anglers use this rig with spinners, such as panther martin or rooster tail, but some prefer to work with artificial lures made for tossing and retrieving. 

Read more: Top 7 spinners lure for trout and how to use them

How to tie? 

To use a spinner rig, please take these steps:

  • Insert a swivel into your braided or mono line.
  • Add a fluoro leader that is about three to five feet long.
  • Attach some split shots above your swivel.
  • Tie the spinner lure to the end leader.

To reach the optimal depth during retrieval, you can change the number of split shots according to the weight and size of the lure.

The swivel keeps the main line from twisting. Yet, you may alternatively tie the line straight to the leader for a lure that doesn’t cause a twist.

Spinner rig

When to use it?

This technique is one of the most adaptable trout fishing rigs available because it is successful in all types of water, including deep lakes and shallow rivers. 

The loud, shiny spinner attracts trout from afar, who come to inspect and bite it.

Although you should aim to cast in the center of the water column, if the trout stay close to the bottom, you may need to go deeper. The spinner rig can help you do it with ease. 

9. Trout rig with bobber and jig

Bobber and Jig Rig The weeds will not be a problem
The weeds will not be a problem

This method is best to use when fishing in weedy regions. It allows you to determine the lure’s depth and prevents your fishing line from getting tangled. 

How to tie? 

Here is how to tie the jig and bobber rig:

  • Attach a bobber to the leader.
  • Add a soft plastic and a job to the leader.
  • Use a stopper to make your setup adjustable.

Cast out your rig and allow the jig to descend as deep as it can if you’re fishing in the lake. After retrieving the rig for about four to five feet, stop and allow the jig to sink back down slowly.

If you use a plastic worm as a lure, the worm will wiggle through the water. This movement is very alluring to trout. 

When to use it?

Anytime you’re casting over weed beds and need to keep the lure above the weeds, this trout rig will help you accomplish your goal easily by setting the right depth for your bobber. 

The bobber setting on this trout rig is adjustable. Hence, you can keep the lure above the bottom of the water when drifting in rivers and streams.

10. Ned rig for trout

ned rig - Avoid this rig when there is a lot of vegetation
ned rig – Avoid this rig when there is a lot of vegetation

Bass anglers most commonly use the ned rig, but some share that it also effectively catches trout.

The ned rig’s most crucial characteristic involves a floating plastic tail, making it a fantastic way to work with trout fishing. 

How to tie? 

The guidelines for setting up a ned rig are as follows: 

  • Insert a six-foot fluoro leader to the main line using a double-uni knot.
  • Attach a mushroom jig head to the end of the line.
  • Tie a floating plastic tail.

After tying the rig, cast it out, let it hit the bottom, and retrieve it by jigging for three to four feet before letting it touch the bottom once more. Repeat those steps until you sense a bite.

When to use it?

This method will enhance your fishing experience in streams, lakes, rivers, or wherever trout are feeding near the bottom. You shouldn’t employ it only when the bottom has a lot of vegetation that may trap your ned rig. 

What Are The Best Bait Rigs – Natural (Live) Bait  For Trout? 

Your rig won’t be complete without bait. The best choices are natural baits, such as minnows, worms, salmon eggs, corn, and maggots. You can also use scented baits, such as powerbait. 

Those baits are suitable for fishing passively. You just need to cast your rig and wait for a fish to come across and bite the bait. 

Worm rigs for trout

Worms can go well with slip sinkers and slip bobbers. While the former is perfect for fish feeding near the bottom, the latter is more suitable for trout swimming higher in the water. 

If you use the slip sinker with worms, ensure the book can float well in the water because trout won’t eat if it rests on the bottom. 

Typically, you can achieve your goal by pumping air into the worms with a worm syringe. You can get them from tackle shops. 

Worms have become increasingly popular to use with floating jig heads. This combination makes your bait float nicely in the water. Adding a marshmallow on the tip will turn your hook into a buoy. 

Regardless of the type of worm rigs you use, it’s typically best to avoid using an entire nightcrawler on the hook because it is too large for a trout’s mouth.

You can also cut a one- to two-inch portion of the worm and tie it to the hook. 

A bait keeper hook, which keeps the worm from dropping the hook’s shank, is the ideal hook used for this.

Worms are very popular as bait
Worms are very popular as bait

Minnow rigs for trout

Minnows are best for bobbers
Minnows are best for bobbers

Minnows are the best to work with bobber rigs, both slip and fixed. Depending on the size of your bait, the most suitable hook size is from 8 to 12. 

Small fish can make great bait because they account for a significant portion of trout diets.

Bobber setups enable you to delay releasing your hook for long enough to allow the fish enough time to properly swallow the minnow because you can easily detect a bite when the bobber drops.

The depth of the water you wish to fish in and the depth at which trout are moving will determine the right type of bobber you should use. 

To ensure that live minnows remain at the proper depth, you can use split shots to hold them down.

Salmon egg rigs for trout

Salmon eggs can be attractive bait
Salmon eggs can be attractive bait

If you use salmon eggs as your bait, the hook size should be from 8 to 14.

If you have a bigger book, you can thread more eggs. No matter which size of rig you use, cast gently to avoid ripping the salmon eggs off your book. 

Go for a bobber rig when you fish in a pond or lake. It will help you present the eggs suspended easily in the water.

If you fish in a river or stream, consider a bobber rig so you can drift the eggs. 

Another method is to use split spots to keep the eggs on top of the bottom of the water. This method is suitable for handling trout, but you will find it hard to detect trout bites. 

Trout Trolling Line Setup 

If lake trout are feeding over large areas, trolling is the most effective way of catching them. Searching through a lot of water is necessary to find specific species in this case. 

Trolling rigs come in four different varieties. The good thing is that you may combine them in different ways. They also allow you to troll for trout with or without a downrigger. 

11. Cowbell rig

You can cover a wide area
You can cover a wide area

The cowbell trolling rig is a typical attractor setup. This method will bring out the best of your experience in catching salmon and lake trout.  

How to tie? 

Please follow these steps to set up your cowbell rig: 

  • Attach a lure to a one-foot leader. 
  • Add a snap swivel to the leader and tie it to the main line. 
  • Insert a rudder to prevent the spinning blades of the cowbell rig from twisting the main line. 

When to use it?

This type of trolling is good for fishing in big lakes, where you have to cover a huge area to catch fish. 

The spinning blades of the cowbell can rotate around the wire to create vibration. This feature can attract trout around your boat.

12. Three-way rig

Three-way Swivel rig Fishing in spring will be an excellent experience
Three-way Swivel rig Fishing in spring will be an excellent experience

Consider this method if you fish trout in spring when the water gets shallower. It will be your best choice. 

How to tie? 

To set the rig up, you need to: 

  • Tie the main line to a 3-way swivel. 
  • Attach a one-foot dropper line to one eye of the swivel. 
  • Tie a weight at the end of the dropper line. 
  • Add a two- to three-foot leader to another eye of the swivel. 
  • Attach a snap swivel of the end of the leader, where you can insert a lure. 

When to use it?

Those rigs are excellent for shore trolling, especially in spring. By adjusting the weight’s size and the length of the fishing line you extend beneath your boat, you may alter the depth where your troll runs. 

13. Spin-n-Glo rig

Spin-And-Glo rig

The spin-n-Glo rig gives you a nice bait presentation for trout trolling. You can combine it with a downrigger, lead core trolling, and a 3-way rig. 

How to tie?  

The best way to tie your spin-n-Glo rig is to:

  • Thread a spin-n-Glo bobber to the end of the leader. 
  • Thread plastic beads behind the bobber. 
  • Attach a size two hook. 

When to use it?

This trolling rig is a fantastic technique that you can use throughout the entire open water period. It is effective for both deep and shallow-water fishing. 

14. Dodger rig 

Dodger rig You can attract more fish
Dodger rig – You can attract more fish

Another powerful attractor for trout trolling is the dodger. You can pair it with different lures and in various trolling configurations. 

How to tie? 

To let the dodger work properly, you need to perform these steps:

  • Thread the main line through one eye of the swivel and a glass bead. 
  • Tie the main line to the swivel. 
  • Connect a mono leader to the other eye of your swivel. 
  • Attach the dodger to the leader, and tie another leader to the other end of your dodger. 
  • Tie a lure to the end of the leader. 

When to use it?

The dodger setup is terrific for trolling deep lake trout. It can go well with downriggers, lead core lines, and 3-way rigs. 

This rig is similar to the cowbell as it creates a lot of flashes and commotion in the water. Thanks to the flashes, you can attract trout easier.  

What Are The Best Rigs For Trout? 

Considering the best one of the three rigs, you will find that they all have benefits. It depends on your requirements to determine the winner.

  • The slip sink rig is ideal for sending bait toward the bottom, typically the best depth to catch trout.
  • The slipper bobber rig can present a bait draped beneath a bobber. It works well when trout feed in the water column.
  • The spinner rig is simple yet effective for luring fish actively, making it a perfect method for covering a vast area to search for trout. 

Final Thoughts 

There are many trout fishing rigs to consider. You can determine the best one based on your preference, fishing techniques, season, and water condition. 

You should also check out for fly line trout rig ideas. Follow us, and you will have an exciting fishing trip to look forward to. 

Hopefully, you will find this guide helpful. If you have any questions about trout fishing rigs, do not hesitate to contact us. We are always ready to assist you.

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