For many of us, the classic line spinner represents the first artificial lure we tricked a brook trout onto, a milestone in the progression of an angler, which probably began with drifting worms. red, mealworms or salmon roe.
Classic spinners – like the Rooster Tail, Blue Fox Vibrax, Panther Martin, and Mepps Aglia – have inherent qualities that make them effective trout catchers for beginners and veterans alike. The newcomer will benefit from the built-in attraction that a simple cast and crank layout offers, along with sharp and relatively small treble hooks that essentially set themselves. Conversely, the former understands the importance of detail, elevating spinner fishing to that of a highly efficient search and catch approach.
In a vein like the bigmouth/spinnerbait connection, the key to spinner success lies in fine-tuning variables such as size, blade profile, and finish of the lure to the conditions encountered.
The most suitable spinners for brook trout fishing range from size 0 to size 2. One condition that would tip the scales towards the smaller end of this scale is clear water. Another is the size of the trout caught. If the quarry is hand-sized native streams from a backcountry stream, go for a small size. On the other hand, when the setting is a good sized stream flowing hard from early spring rains and snowmelt, a larger version, easier for fish to see and more should be used. representative of the size of the food they eat. .
Color offers another opportunity for refinement, although personal preference, fueled by the confidence established by past successes, is an important factor. That said, color can make a difference. On the local streams where I learned to spoon fish, a popular combination was a brown rooster tail with a copper blade, especially for brown trout. The accepted theory was that the color combination suggested a crayfish, a food source that browns are particularly fond of. This match-the-hatch notion can be effectively applied to white-bodied spinners with silver blades, a finish that mimics many minnow species.
Contrasting colors can help turn a trout’s head, especially when the water is stained. For example, the glowing dots on the black blade of the Mepps Black Fury – another classic trout spinner – could give the appearance that trout react to marginal light conditions. Treble hooks with a bucktail dressing have the potential to trigger an extra strike or two, with the breathing aspect imparted by water passing through the hair making the difference between a trout eating the bait or turning around at the last moment.
How and where you fish a spinner is at least as important as the details of the lure. Think of a spinner as a search tool, the one best used to search for active fish. So fish it in and around feeding areas – the areas that trout migrate to when in feeding mode – and tight for cover, relying on the spinner’s attraction powers to attract the Pisces. Stains of these natures include the end sections of swimming pools; transition zones where a sill feeds a slower basin; deep tracks strewn with rocks; pocket of water along the aprons; narrow to undermine banks; next to traffic jams.
The blade of a spoon needs some resistance to “bite”, so don’t cast directly uphill. An exception to this would be in areas where the water is deep and the current slow. Upstream casts allow the lure to sink deeper; since the current is relatively light, the lure can be retrieved at a speed that keeps the blade spinning. Generally, however, the most productive presentation is one where the cast is angled slightly upstream, so that the bait sways with the current during the retrieve. Often a trout will hit a spinner at the end of the swing, as it is suspended in the stream, so give the bait a second or two at this point, maybe even jigging it a few times with the tip of the cane.
The best anglers put wear and tear on the soles of waders, covering lots of waterways for a day, shooting casts in and through likely dens, and then moving on.