Best Bait or Lures to Use in Streams and Small Rivers

The standard rules for water current and lures apply to most species in streams and small rivers. Most fish mainly eat small minnows and crawdads that live in the river, but they won’t pass up insects like dragonflies, mayflies or grasshoppers that fall into the water.

Live bait like nightcrawlers, minnows and leeches will catch almost every type of fish, and they’re your best options for bottom-feeding fish like catfish, carp and suckers.

For predator fish like trout, walleye or bass, small minnow or crawdad imitators are my main choice. Shallow or medium running crankbaits scurry along the bottom like a crawfish. Two- to 3-inch-long jerkbaits, inline spinners and soft plastic swimbaits resemble little minnows.


  1. I usually prefer the white rooster tails or blue fox spinners. I’ve caught striped bass, walleye, and pike on it

  2. Rapala original floating size F7-F11. Black & Silver (overcast days), Black & Gold (clear sky). Brown or Rainbow trout color anytime.

  3. Have you ever used a Monty spinner , best thing I ever used for trout, but I can’t find them online any where, I think they came from Ma company in Montana. Sure would like to find and order a few online ! The Monty spinner would always out fish any other trout lure 10 to 1 !

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