What Is the Best Bait for Lake Trout?

Lake trout fishing can be an exciting and rewarding experience. However, selecting the right bait can be the difference between a successful day on the water and coming home empty-handed. In this article, we will explore some of the best baits for lake trout and how to use them.

Understanding Lake Trout

Before we dive into the best baits for lake trout, it’s important to understand their behavior and feeding habits. Lake trout are predatory fish that feed on smaller fish such as minnows, shad, and smelt. They are most active during low-light periods such as dawn and dusk and prefer cooler water temperatures.

The Best Baits for Lake Trout

1. Live Bait

Live bait is a popular choice among lake trout anglers. Minnows, shad, and smelt are all effective options when Targeting these fish. When using live bait, it’s important to match the size of your baitfish to the size of the fish you are Targeting.

To rig your live bait, use a slip sinker rig with a small hook or a treble hook. Hook your bait through its lips or back so that it can swim freely in the water.

2. Artificial Lures

Artificial lures can also be effective when fishing for lake trout. Some popular options include spoons, jigs, and soft plastics. When selecting an artificial lure, choose one that mimics the size and movement of the fish’s natural prey.

Spoons are a popular choice because they mimic injured baitfish, which can trigger a predatory response from lake trout. Jigs can also be effective when tipped with a piece of cut bait or soft plastic.

3. Cut Bait

Cut bait is another option when Targeting lake trout. Cut pieces of shad or smelt can be rigged on a treble hook or a jig and fished near the bottom of the lake. This method can be especially effective when fishing in deeper water.

Tips for Fishing Lake Trout

Now that we’ve covered some of the best baits for lake trout, here are a few tips to help you increase your chances of success:

  • Use a fish finder to locate schools of baitfish and lake trout.
  • Target low-light periods such as dawn and dusk.
  • Experiment with different retrieval speeds and techniques until you find what works best.
  • Pay attention to water temperature and adjust your bait selection accordingly.


In conclusion, selecting the right bait is crucial when Targeting lake trout. Live bait, artificial lures, and cut bait are all effective options.

When choosing your bait, consider the size and movement of the fish’s natural prey. Remember to also pay attention to water temperature and Target low-light periods for the best chance at success.

Photo of author

Michael Allen