What Are The Best Hooks For Trout Fishing


Having a fun day out in the water catching trout all starts with picking the right fishing hooks. If the hook is too small, it’ll pop out of the trout’s mouth when you set the hook. But if the hook is too big, it won’t fit inside the trout’s mouth. 

Oh, did I mention that you need to worry about the type of hook as well? 

This article will cover everything you need to know about hook types and sizes for trout fishing.

As catch and release fishing is on the rise, understanding the relationship between hook type and size on trout is critical to being a responsible angler. Even if you intend to keep your trout to eat, you might still have to return trout that don’t meet your local size requirements.

There are several studies published investigating the relationship between hook type and size on a trout’s mortality rate. I found a helpful 2005 study published by the National Marine Fisheries that examined various trout species’ mortality rates against different hooks.

This is an important topic to understand as anglers. To be able to enjoy trout fishing for generations to come we need to make sure there are trout to fish. Trout sustainability is essential for us to share the wonders of trout fishing with our children.

Let’s take a deep dive into the different types of hooks that are commonly used for trout fishing.

How To Hook A Fish! - Step by Step ...
How To Hook A Fish! - Step by Step Instructions To Help Your Properly Hook A Fish

Best Type of Hooks for Trout Fishing

There are four types of hooks commonly used when trout fishing.

  • J Hooks
  • Treble Hooks
  • Circle Hooks
  • Octopus Hooks

J Hooks

J Hooks are the most commonly used for trout fishing

Many anglers have great success using J hooks, or else they wouldn’t be the most common type of hook for trout fishing.

J hooks are the most versatile type of hooks on the market today. You can easily bait your J hook with artificial bait, live bait, or dead bait. The hook gap also allows you to set the hook essentially anywhere in the fish’s mouth. This is great for increasing your catch rate.

However, there are some issues with them. J hooks are more prone to deep hooking trout in the throat, dramatically increasing a fish’s mortality rate if released, especially if the hook is barbed.

You must set the hook in the fish’s mouth to hook the fish. If you don’t do this, the hook might pop out of the fish’s mouth.

Properly sizing your J hooks and with some practice using J hooks are good for trout fishing.

Pros

  • Can hook anywhere in the fish’s mouth
  • Versatile
  • Commonly Used
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Greater chances of deep hooking
  • Setting the hook is required
  • Can miss hooking the fish if you miss a bite

Treble Hooks

Treble hooks will give the best chances for hooking the fish

Treble hooks are great for hooking fish, but there is some controversy around using these hooks.

These hooks are known to cause a lot of damage to a fish’s mouth. If you’ve ever tried removing a treble hook from a fish’s mouth, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Treble hooks are associated with a high mortality rate and should be avoided if you plan to release your trout.

Many fishing regulations state you can’t use treble hooks for trout fishing. A little confusing because the majority of lures you buy will come with treble hooks.

Assuming they are allowed by local fishing regulations, treble hooks are d for trout fishing. Treble hooks shouldn’t be used for catch-and-release fishing.

Pros

  • Can hook anywhere in the fish’s mouth
  • Higher hookset rates
  • Versatile
  • Common Type of Hook
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Greater chances of deep hooking
  • Can cause a lot of damage to the fish’s mouth
  • Setting the hook is required
  • High mortality rates associated with treble hooks

Circle Hook

Circle Hooks are the best hooks to reduce mortality rates for trout fishing.

Circle hooks are designed to only hook in the corner of a fish’s mouth. When the trout takes the bait and swims off, the circle hook will roll in the fish’s mouth towards the corner and eventually hook the fish.

Because the circle hook will hook the corner of the mouth, it prevents deep hooking and hooks the fish in an area where it causes the least amount of damage. This dramatically reduces the trout mortality rates making it an excellent choice for catch and release. 

Since circle hooks are designed to hook the corner of the fish’s mouth naturally, this makes it a self-setting hook. Meaning you don’t have to set the hook yourself. Circle hooks are great for beginners and children for this reason!

Circle hooks are great to use for trout fishing.

Pros

  • Hooks only the corner of the fish’s mouth
  • Reduces mortality rates
  • Self-Setting hook
  • Great to use for all experience levels
  • Chances of deep hooking are significantly reduced

Cons

  • Not suitable to be used with lures
  • Slightly more expensive than other hooks

What Size Hook Is Best For Trout

You’ll find that your hook size will depend heavily on multiple factors:

  • Typical size of trout
  • Type of bait
  • Water Clarity
  • Trout activity for that day

For these reasons, it’s hard to give you an exact hook size that you should use when trout fishing. 

Generally, the best hook size for trout ranges between #8 to #14.

Use #11 to #14 hooks if trout are on the smaller side or if the water clarity is high. These small hooks are great to experiment with if you need to be more stealthy in your baiting. 

Use #8 to #10 hooks if trout are on the larger side. 

Best J Hook Sizes For Trout

The best J hook sizes for trout fishing are between #8 – #14. Experiment with different sizes to see what works best for you.

Best Treble Hook Sizes For Trout

The best treble hook sizes for trout fishing are between #14 to #18.

Best Circle Hook Sizes For Trout

The best circle hook sizes for trout fishing are between #8 – #14

What Colour Hooks Should You Use For Trout

There is much debate in many fishing circles if hook colours matter and why certain colours seem to work better than others.

There is no definite way to determine why some colours work better than others. Depending on certain conditions, some of the most popular colours might not work as great. 

Experimenting with different colours is good to see what works best for your particular conditions.

Generally, red, gold, bronze, and black hooks tend to work well.

Recommended Hooks For Different Trout Bait

Best hooks for trout Powerbait

The best hook size when using powerbait as trout bait is between #8 to #14.

Best Hooks For Corn Bait

The best hook size for corn as trout bait is between #8 to #14.

Best Hooks For Fish Eggs

The best hook size for fish eggs as trout bait is between #8 to #14.

best hooks for trout beads

The best hook size for beads as trout bait is between #8 to #14.

Best Hooks For Worms

The best hook size for worms as trout bait is between #8 to #14.

Best Hooks For Insects

The best hook size for insects as trout bait is between #8 to #14.

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