Streams are usually flowing strong with higher water levels in the early spring due to melting snow and rain runoff so you can usually catch rainbow and brown trout on action lures such as Panther Martin's, Blue Fox spinners, small jerkbaits and crankbaits, and spoons. I prefer throwing these lures on spinning tackle with 4-pound test low visibility green monofilament if the streams have stained water. If the water is ultra-clear I will scale down to a 4-pound test fluorocarbon line.
Lake Fork Guy with a mountainside brown trout
Two of my favorite lures for early spring trout are the Karl's Amazing Whipper Snapper in green or bluegill. This bait has such an enticing wiggling action trout have a hard time resisting. The Whipper Snapper is a floater so I attach a small bb split shot on my line about 2 to 3 inches above the lure so the lure will dive down deeper. I cast the lure into any current seams and eddies in the stream and retrieve it at a medium speed. If I see a trout following the lure, I will jerk the lure once or twice while reeling to trigger a reaction bite from the follower.
Alex Peric wading for river rainbows
The marabou jig is ideal for finicky trout or fish holding close to the bottom. For finicky trout that don’t want to chase a lure, I throw the jig up current in front of the fish and shake the jig with a semi-taut line as it drifts by the trout. I try to shake the jig as close to the trout as possible to make it bite as the lure passes in front of the fish.
Target current seams, eddies, and bends in the river for active river trout.
For trout hugging the bottom, I throw a 1/8-ounce jig upstream and let the lure sink to the bottom. Then I jerk the jig off the bottom a couple of feet and let it fall again. I keep a close vigil on my line because strikes usually occur as the jig falls.
Updated April 5th, 2022 at 6:19 AM CT