Fishing for Trout with Crankbaits


A crank bait is a common type of lure that usually is designed to appear to be either a minnow, small fish, grasshopper, or occasionally a crawdad. A crankbait is usually made from a light wood (such as balsa) or from plastic. Having any where between 1 and 3 hooks, crankbaits can greatly vary in size and shape. There can be anywhere between 1 and 3 treble hooks protruding from the underside of a crankbait.

The vast majority of crank bait lures have some type of lip on the front of the lure that acts as a diving mechanism. When pressure is applied (reeling) the crankbait will dive causing a desired reaction and likely attracting near by trout.

Many crank baits have a hollow body that is filled with some type of rattle, often metal beads. A rattling sound is emitted is the crankbait is reeled in causing vibrations throughout the water alerting fish to the lures presence and hopefully causing instinctual striking action. Occasionally, in clear waters, it is frequent that the best performing crank baits will not have a rattle.

There are three main styles of crankbaits lips. Each determining the depth of which your crankbait will dive.

Shallow Crank Baits

Medium Diving Baits

Deep Diving Crankbaits
Shallow Diving – Shallow diving crankbaits have the smallest lip and will usually only dive to depths of 2-6 feet. Shallow diving crankbaits are best used in shallow, vegetation filled waters. Medium Diving – Medium diving crankbaits, as their name implies, have a medium sized lip. These crankbaits will dive to depths of 6-18 feet and are ideal for medium depth waters or deeper trout grazing zones. Deep Diving – Deep diving crankbaits can swim deep and can dive to depths of 40+ feet. The deep diving lip is perfect when trout are pelagic or bottom dwelling, as well as for scraping the bottom in more shallow waters.

There are many types of bodies styles for crankbaits, however only a few of them are ideal for fishing for trout, we will go over those only.

Crawfish Crankbait

Minnow Crankbait

Wide Crankbaits
Crawfish – Crawfish crankbait lures are specifically designed with a small lip for top water action. Crawfish designs are most effective amongst vegetation banks along a lake or river beach. During the summer months this can also be an effective way to catch bass and crappie. Minnow – A minnow crankbait can be designed for either of the tree depths based on the length of the lip. Minnow crankbait lures can be fished effectively all year due to the variety of depths that can be reached. Minnow designs should be kept no longer than 3 to 4 inches unless you are targeting exceptionally large trout. Wide -Wide crankbait style can be fished at either of the tree depths based on the length of the lip, much like the minnow styles. this type of crankbait mimics the shad and generally shorter than minnow designs. The wide or shad style can also attract large mouth bass due to the tight wiggle action created by the shape of the lure.


There is a simple rule of thumb when determining your ideal crankbait size… A trout will occasionally eat a lure (or smaller fish) up to 1/3 the trout’s size, but almost never larger and usually smaller lures are preferred.

When fishing in a stocked lake it should be considered that few of the trout will be more than 18 inches in length, and to catch the most trout possible it is strongly advised to fish with a lure no longer than 3.5 inches. Crankbait lures can be a great addition to the arsenal necessary for trout fishing, and there for all types should be well understood.



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