What Size Hook is Best for Trout Fishing? [Choose Correctly]

What size hook for trout fishing

Choosing the right fishing equipment to perform a certain task is essential. Wrong choices can result in frustration and disappointment.

Most common mistake among anglers, especially beginners, is using a wrong hook size, that is not suitable for a certain situation.

There are various factors to consider when choosing a hook, and those are the size of a fish you are trying to catch, fishing technique you plan to practice, and the bait you want to use. For trout, anglers will usually choose in a #8 to #14 range, depending on a situation.

Besides hook size, anglers should consider the hook type, and choose between barbed or barbless hooks too, which is especially important if you are practicing catch and release.

Choosing a hook for trout fishing can be hard because there are different ways of trout fishing, including spinning, jigging, fly fishing, and more.

Here I am going to tell you more about what size hook for trout fishing you should use, and how is that choice affected by different fishing techniques.



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What is the Best Type Of Hooks for Trout Fishing?

You can use different hook types for trout, but not all of them are equally good.

Firs of all, go for a single point hook. This goes for both bait fishing and fly fishing.

When it comes to the shape, you can use J hooks. These hooks are relatively easy to set, but the problem is that fish can swallow them completely and you will not be able to unhook the fish without causing injuries.

The safest option is to use circle hooks. These are not going to cause serious damage to a fish, but the problem is that they can have problems with holding your bait. Also, setting a circle hook is easier, and beginners could benefit from that.

Some anglers use treble hooks with powerbait, or when trolling, but you should not do this if you are planning to release the fish. Those who plan to eat their catch, can benefit from using smaller treble hooks.

Besides this, I have to mention that trout hooks have to be very sharp. Invest in new ones, or get a hook sharpener, because a dull hook will not to the job.

What Size Hook for Trout Fishing?

First of all, you have to be aware of the fact that trout can see very well, they live in clear water, and if you are using too large hooks, there is a chance trout will see it, and avoid your bait because it looks suspicious. You will have to know how large the specimens are in the waters you are fishing, and choose accordingly. If unsure, go for a smaller hook.

Best Hook Size When Fly Fishing for Trout

Fly fishing is the most demanding technique.

Anglers spend a lot of time learning the technique, and if you are not using the right hook, all of that effort is pointless. Choosing the right hook for this is hard, and it depends on a fly.

For dry flies, you will have to use lighter hooks. Those are a bit thinner, and not suitable for very large specimens. When it comes to dry fly hook size, it should be #14 to #20.

For larger wet flies you should choose #6 to #10 hooks.

There are various flies you can use (some of them you can even make yourself), and choose from the tiniest to the largest, however, some common hook size range for fly fishing would be #12 to #16, and that is some mid-size for this purpose.

Fly fishing is a science, and so is the right hook choice for it. Numbers here are just general numbers that should clarify some basics for beginners.

What size hook for trout fishing - Fly Fishing

Best Hook Size When Spinning for Trout

Spinning for trout is one of the most common trout fishing techniques.

Your choice of spinners and hook sizes should be in accordance of the body of water and trout size.

Size 10 in-line spinners should be paired with #10 single hooks, or slightly smaller #12 treble hooks.

This setup is excellent for a bit shallower waters and some medium trout. If you are targeting very large specimens, you can increase the size, but the one mentioned here is useful in many average situations.

If you want to learn more about spinners for trout than you can read my other article with title Best Spinners for Trout.

Best Hook Size When Jigging for Trout

Jigging for trout can be very successful, but it kind of seems less popular than spinning. To catch a trout when jigging, use smaller jigs.

Smaller ones are easy to control and go well with lighter tackle.

Jig size 1/16 oz is a good option when jigging for trout. If fishing in deeper waters, use a bit heavier one, preferably 1/8 oz, which is still very light.

With those jigs, you should use #4 hooks. Some anglers use larger or smaller, depending on a situation. Keep in mind that jigs recommended for trout are very small, and pairing them with a hook that can hold a trout can be hard.

So, you probably won’t be able to buy this setup, and you will have to make it yourself.

Best Hook Size When Trout Fishing with Powerbait

Powerbait is an extremely efficient trout bait, and as I already mentioned, some anglers like to use treble hooks with it.

In some average fishing circumstances, #10 to #12 single point hook will get you a nice trout. Those who would like to keep their catch and use treble hooks, go for those in #12 to #16 range.

Powerbait is frequently used for stocked trout, and if the place is freshly stocked, the majority of specimens are probably smaller.

From this, you can see that #12 is some mid rage, universally good, powerbait hook. Smaller hooks can easily be hidden in a “ball” of powerbait. Keep in mind that trout does not have very large mouth and presenting too large baits and hooks is not a good idea.

Best Hook Size When Trout Fishing with Salmon Eggs

Salmon eggs can be a great bait, and it is also a popular bait (also good bait for salmon fishing).

Some manufacturers make hooks specifically for this use; however, those are not an absolute necessity.

Hooks #12 or #14 are the best choice for salmon eggs. Both of these hooks are small enough to be used with such a small bait, and can actually be very well hidden in it. If you want, you can try to use two salmon eggs at the same time. Try both options and see what works for you and suits the specific location and conditions.

As you can see, #12 hooks can be used in almost any trout fishing situation, with almost every fishing technique.

So, if you had to choose only one size, it should be the #12.

Barbless vs. Barbed Hooks: Which one to Choose?

It is not just about what size hook for trout fishing to choose, and what hook shape.

One of the most important decisions to make is to choose between barbed and barbless hooks.

Barbed hooks can hold some baits better, and when the fish is hooked, the hook will stay in and will not slip. But the problem is that barbed hooks cause damage to the fish. Even if you plan to eat the trout, it can happen that you catch a small one, under the legal limit, or you accidentally catch a fish specie that is not legal to catch. In both cases, barbed hooks will be a problem. If you release an injured fish, it will probably die.

So, barbless hooks are definitely a better option. Another reason for using barbless hooks is practicing catch and release. In some places that is mandatory, while in other places anglers do it because they do not plan to eat the fish, and they want to preserve the fish population.

Releasing grown-up specimens ensures future reproduction and healthy fish population.

No matter what your reason to release the fish is, barbless hooks will enable you to do it safely, without causing damage to the fish.

Because of all this, I would advise anglers to use barbless hooks, take a picture of their catch, and release it back into the water.

What size hook for trout fishing - Barbless vs Barbed


Fishing for trout is very challenging, and choosing the right hook means being one step closer to success.

There is no definite answer to what size hook for trout fishing is the best, and it depends a lot on a fishing technique and trout size. Using the sizes mentioned in the previous chapters can be a great guideline, but always have different ones with you so that you can change on the spot if necessary.

And one more tip; trout is a cautious fish, so you have to pick the right line color too. It has to be almost invisible under water.

About Me

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind Slo-fishing.si and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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