Home Fishing Tips & Advice What is the Best Hook Size for Trout Fishing?

What is the Best Hook Size for Trout Fishing?

The ideal hook size for trout fishing range from 6-18. The right hook size is just as important as the right rod, lure, and fishing line. Using the correct hook will increase your chance of reeling in the best trout.

Did you know that trout have superb sight? Did you know that trout also has precise lateral lines capable of recognizing unnatural vibrations and pressure? Because of these fantastic capabilities, fishing for trout requires just the right hook. If trout see the hook, they will go the other way, and you will have a day of fishing and no catching.

There are three common reasons why anglers don’t catch trout when fishing for them, and they all center around the wrong hooks. First, fishermen use the wrong hook size. Next, they use dull hooks, and finally, they lose line tension, which causes fish to spit out the hooks. To help prevent these things from happening, we will look at different hooks and sizes and figure out which hook is best for trout fishing. 

Trout Hooks vs. Other Hooks

There are hooks on the market that are advertised as trout hooks. However, there is no difference between trout hooks and other hooks available on the market. These hooks have the same construction with the same parts. These parts include barb, threat/bite, bend, eye, shank, gape/gap, hook offset, and point. The shank is the length of the hook between the eye and bend. For beginning trout anglers, the longer the shank, the more successful they will be catching trout. The eye is the circle where the fishing line is tied. The bend is where the shank curves forcing the point forward. The point is the sharpened end. The last part of the hook that is important in trout fishing is the barb. The barb is a sharp spike that is bent from the back of the hook point. The purpose of the barb is to keep the hook in the fish’s mouth.

Single Hooks and Treble Hooks

Two standard hooks are used in trout fishing. These hooks are single and treble. A single hook is barbed. They can be straight or offset. The benefits of using a single hook are numerous. A single hook can be used with a variety of baits, including Powerbait and worms. They are cost-effective, and the fish are easy to remove. The straight hooks generally get stuck in the corner of the mouth, which is ideal. The bend of the hook act as a hinge that allows fish to thrash around without falling off the hook. If you plan to catch and release use single hooks. Single hooks also don’t get stuck in nets, clothes, and weeds. Single hooks are the most popular for trout fishing. A single offset hook can also be used. Generally, hits will increase, but trout can shake the hook off easier.

Using treble hooks is a possibility but can be more damaging to the trout. A treble hook is a hook with a single eye that has three shanks and points welded together. If you plan to keep the trout to eat, you can use a treble hook. Treble hooks cause more damage through foul hooking. They also snag on the grass more. A benefit of using a treble hook is that one hook goes into the fish while the other two can be used as leverage to get the hook out.

Both treble hooks and single hooks come in barbless as well. These hooks are ideal if you are catching and releasing them. Barbless hooks make it easier to lose trout while you are trying to reel it in. You must maintain tension on the fishing line to keep the trout from slipping off. You can make your barbless hooks by snipping off the barb with pliers.

Hook Sizing

The first thing to know about hook sizing is that not all brands have universal sizing— a size 6 in one brand maybe like a size 8 in another brand. The hook sizing system is global, however.

Made from bent wire, hooks are shaped and sharpened to a point. The higher the gauge number, the thinner and lighter the wire. The lower the gauge number, the thicker and heavier the wire. The gauge of the wire helps understand the sizing of the hooks. Sized in whole numbers, hooks range from 32-1. The lower the number, the bigger the hook. For example, a 32 is a teensy, tiny hook, and a 1 is a quite large hook. After size 1 hooks, hooks begin to be number 1/0, 2/0, 3/0, and so on. The larger the first number, the larger the hook. When reading these numbers aloud, they are read “number-aught.” For example, a 3/0 is read three aught.

Best Hook Size for Trout

Now that you know how hook sizing works let’s look at the best hook size for trout. There are four factors to take into consideration when fishing for trout. The first factor is the type of trout. There are three types of trout-brown, brook, and rainbow. Another factor to take into consideration is water clarity. If the water is murky, use sizes 6 and 8. If the water is crystal clear, use sizes 10 and up. The size of the bait/type of bait is also something to take into consideration. You want to make the hook invisible within the bait leaving the point out to stick into the trout when it is bit.

If you use a larger hook, be ready to use a lot of bait. A larger hook will kill the bait faster. The final factor to take into consideration is the trout size. If you are fishing for smaller fish, use a smaller hook. If you are fishing for large trout, use sizes 2 and 4 hooks. If trout keep stealing your bait, try downsizing your hook and bait. Trout have smaller mouths than other common game fish, like bass and crappie, so using smaller hooks is essential.

Quality Hooks

Trout are finicky. They don’t like to bite anything out of the ordinary. Being one of the harder game fish to catch, trout fishing requires high-quality hooks. Eagle Claw is a famous brand of hooks that is affordable, but they have low quality. Quality hooks have sharp points, no flexibility, no bend, and do not break. They are durable as well. Some popular brands that make quality hooks are Gamakatsu, Mustad, and Owner.  Owner hooks are our favorite as they are super sharp and maintain their sharpness through multiple fish.

The Right Bait, The Right Hook

As mentioned before, there is a range of hooks to use when trout fishing. One of the factors to consider when picking the right hook is the size of the bait. If you plan to fish with salmon eggs, corn, or trout nibbles, a single #12 hook will get the job done. If you are a traditionalist and use nightcrawlers, a single hook is ideal, and the size is dependent on the size of the worm. Size 8-14 will suffice. Finally, if you use PowerBait, you can use a single or treble hook. If you are targeting larger fish, use a single hook size 8 or 12. If you want to use a treble hook, use sizes 12, 14, or 16. 

Trout Fishing Equipment

Some other essential fishing equipment include a spinning rod and reel. The rod can be 6 ft-9 ft long. The longer the rod, the more leverage you will have when reeling in the trout. The rod should be a medium to a medium-light pole. The suitable line class should be 4-12 lbs. The fishing line you should use is dependent on the season. During winter, spring, and fall, you should use an 8 lb monofilament. Monofilament floats and has stretch, which is optimal for when the fish are in shallower water. In summer, you should use fluorocarbon. Trout go deeper in the summer, and the fluoro is invisible, has no stretch and sinks. We suggest you don’t use braid as fish can see braid and trout have excellent eyesight.

Conclusion

A 7 foot, spinning medium to medium-light rod and reel with 8lb test is the perfect equipment for trout fishing. Pair this with a single hook armed with a nightcrawler, and the trout will go crazy. Remember to keep tension on the line and keep the rod tip up. Using a trout net will help bring the fish safely. Use a pair of pliers or your hand to get the hook out. If you plan to keep the trout, kill it immediately, gut it and wrap it in the grass. Put it in a Ziploc to keep it fresh. If you don’t plan to keep the trout, release it quickly and humanly. Using the proper hook size will make your trip more successful, help protect the fish, as well as yourself and your equipment.

Also, check out Can You Legally Fish with Goldfish as Bait?

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Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, Chum Charlie has always had a passion for fishing. His favorite fish to catch is a striped bass and his favorite bait to use is bunker. Off the water, he enjoys blogging and sharing his favorite fishing tips & tricks that he has learned over the years.