Hooks are the most important piece of fishing equipment you will use… Period. Having a dull or wrong size hook can be the difference between catching fish or getting skunked.
Pro tip: spend money on good quality sharp hooks so you can catch any fish that bites. The worst feeling is getting a ton of bites but not landing any fish because of a dull hook. Even worse is when you start reeling in a fish thinking it’s hooked only to have the fish spit the hook out when it flops in the air.
So which size hook should you use for trout fishing? Any hook size 8 to 14 will work for trout.
Personally, I would use size 10 to 14 for treble hooks and size 8 to 12 for single hooks. The reason for using small hooks is simple – trout have small mouths. Trout are also picky eaters so you typically want to have your hook buried in your bait.
If you do use bigger hooks then you will need to use more bait to hide your hook. If you have too much bait on your hook then you will only get nibbles but no proper bites.
Price for Best Trout Fishing Hooks
So how much do good quality hooks cost over the cheaper types? Truthfully, high quality hooks won’t cost you that much more. Let’s take a look at a real life example.
Eagle Claw are cheap hooks that you can purchase at any tackle shop or store like Walmart. They are great to start off with and typically cost around 24 cents per hook.
Eagle Claw Down Eye Baitholder Hook, Size 12 (50 Pack)
- Great Price
- Low Quality
- Made in USA
Gamakatsu produces high quality hooks that big fisherman rely on such as salmon and ocean fishing. This company also produces high quality trout hooks. These hookes typically cost around 74 cents per hook. You can purchase bigger quantity packs of Gamakatsu hooks which drops the price down to 29 cents per hook.
Gamakatsu Octopus Hook, Size 12 (10 Pack)
- Higher Price
- High Quality
- Made in Japan
Here’s a quick side by side comparison:
|Material||Varies||High Carbon Steel|
|Sharpness||Dull to Medium||Sharp|
|Average Price Per Hook||$0.24||$0.29 – $0.74|
In summary, higher quality hooks will cost you a few cents more per hook. Much like getting a good pair of tires for your car, getting sharp hooks will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Best Trout Hooks for Bait Fishing
The best hook to use when bait fishing for trout all depends on which type of bait you’re using. See the Best Bait for Trout Fishing in Lakes and Ponds article for more info on the different types of trout bait. We’ll cover the 3 most common bait types.
You can either use a single hook size 8 to 12 or treble hook size 10 to 14. Personally I go for the single hook and mold the Powerbait in a football shape to cover the entire hook. You can also use single hooks for any type of bait so it gives you more options.
The reason for smaller treble hooks is that you want your powerbait to float. Using a larger hook means more Powerbait otherwise your bait will sink. Trout have small mouths so having too much bait will get you nibbles but no bites.
When fishing with nightcrawlers be sure to use a baitholder hook size 8 to 14. These hooks have barbs on the hook shank in order to help keep your bait on when casting and reeling.
There are a ton of ways you can hook a worm and truthfully there’s no wrong or right way. You can hook them through one end and fish the nightcrawler like a trout magnet. You can also hook the worm through the middle for a “wacky worm rig.”
I have the best luck when I cut the nightcrawler in half or in 1/3 since trout have small mouths. I simply thread the hook through one end of the worm so that the hook sticks out near the middle of the worm. After that you simply wait for a bite which usually ends up in a fish.
Remember, if the worm is too large then your bait and hook won’t fit in the trout’s mouth.
Corn and Salmon Eggs
When using corn and salmon eggs, you can use any single hook size 10 to 12. These hooks do not need to be the baitholder hooks since corn and eggs will not wiggle off your hook like a worm would.
Choosing the Best Hook Size and Type for Trout Fishing
In order to decide on which hook size and type to purchase, you need to answer two quick questions:
- How big are the trout that you’re fishing for?
- Which bait are you using?
If you’re fishing for stocked trout that are only 1 pound then you should use a smaller size hook such as a size 12 or 14. Otherwise you can use a larger hook such as a size 8 or 10 for the larger trout.
If your bait comes off easily then use a treble or baitholder hook to help keep the bait on. Otherwise you can use a simple single hook that way you have a higher chance of easily getting your hook out of the trout’s mouth.
Single Hook versus Treble Hook for Trout
Are treble hooks better than single hooks when trout fishing? I hear this question a lot from Powerbait fisherman who swear by a small 14 or 16 treble hook as the ONLY hook they use when trout fishing.
I grew up using treble hooks when Powerbait fishing for rainbow trout so before I would agree with these fisherman. However, I noticed that treble hooks usually end up damaging the fish making catch and release impossible. It’s fairly common to have a barb sticking through the trout’s eye or hooked in multiple spots in the throat with a treble hook.
So which is better for trout fishing? Treble or Single Hooks…
The short answer is that it doesn’t matter if you plan on keeping the fish.
Treble hooks do work in hooking a fish so they will get the job done. However, if you plan on catching and releasing some small trout so you don’t waste your daily limit on tiny stockers then you will want to use a single hook.
Here’s a great video that shows Single vs Treble hooks for Trout and how often a fish is caught, hooked in a way that damages them, or gets off the hook:
Personally my vote is for using single hooks since I can now release those small trout to keep my daily limit open for the bigger ones. Here’s a great in-depth article on the benefits of catching and releasing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best hook size for trout fishing?
A: Hooks size 8 to 14 will work for trout. Get size 8 to 12 for single hook and size 10 to 14 for treble hooks.
Q: What size hook is best for Powerbait?
A: Hooks size 8 to 14 will work for trout. Get size 8 to 12 for single hook and size 10 to 14 for treble hooks. Personally I use size 10 to 12 single hooks for Powerbait so you can catch and release the small stockers.