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Written by: Pete Danylewycz
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Not all trout anglers use fly rods, and fans of spinning tackle don’t need to feel left out of the game.

Truth be told, ultralight spinning rods and ultralight reels really do outperform fly tackle when it comes to fighting big trout. They’re also far, far easier to cast well. 

And with the right fishing rigs, you can entice trout to take live bait or cast flies like a pro.


Keep reading!

Related: Best Trout Lures

Gear-Up for Trout Rigs: The Essentials

South Bend Slip Cast Spin Float

Spin floats, or “casting bubbles” as they’re often called, are ideal for enabling anglers to use flies on spinning gear.

Simply fill the float with enough water to allow you to cast, and you’re ready to go.

Easy to use and inexpensive, they’re an item every trout angler should have.

South Bend Slip Cast Spin Floats | Fishing Weights


Thill Crappie Cork

The Thill Crappie Cork is simply a fantastic slip float.

And don’t let the name fool you: while it may be designed around the needs of slab hunters, trout anglers can tell you that it’s perfect for buoying a worm, trout bait, or an egg at just the right depth to entice a strike.

Thill Crappie Cork Fishing Slip Float with Built-in Bobber Stopper, Great for Crappie and Walleye Fishing, 1/4 oz, Red/Yellow


Mimilure Soft Silicone Float Stops

Soft silicone float stops are easy to use and dependable. 

They’re my preferred method for rigging a float stop, and I typically keep a few in my tackle box no matter what I’m fishing for that day.

Mimilure 100 Pcs Rubber Fishing Bobber Stopper,6 in 1 Float Sinker Stops,Black Orange Oval Cylinder Float Stop Available (Black & Oval, M)


Mustad Classic Barbless Special Long Shank Beak Baitholder

Many trout waters require catch and release, and in more than a few of these areas, you must use a barbless hook.

Mustad produces a great long shank baitholder with no barb that’s just perfect for trout.

Like most, I prefer a #8 hook, but I’ve gone a bit smaller or larger on occasion with no harm done.

Mustad Classic Barbless Special Long Shank Beak Baitholder Hook with 2 Baitholder Barbs (Pack of 10), Bronze, Size 6


Gamakatsu Octopus Hook

When I plan on keeping a few trout for the table--where that’s legal--I like to run a high-quality octopus hook.

This style hook results in better lock-ups and nearly perfect positioning every time.

Gamaktasu is a brand you can really trust, and these hooks won’t let you down.

Gamakatsu 25 Pack Octopus Hook(Black, 8)


Eupheng Barbless Trout Hooks

If you prefer a more or less standard hook to a baitholder for running eggs or soft trout baits, for instance, Eupheng’s barbless hooks are a great option to have on hand.

Sharp and sized right, they’re an ideal addition to your angling arsenal.

Eupheng 100pcs Plus Best Barbless Competition Fly Fishing Hook Collection, Dry Nymph Strimp&Pupa, Pupa jig Fly Hooks High Carbon Competition Hook (Pupa Fly Hook EP-9254, 10#)


Jumping Fish #10 Barrel Swivels

Some trout rigs demand tiny barrel swivels, and Jumping Fish has you covered with their size #10.

100pcs Fishing Barrel Swivel Extra Strong Ball Bearing Fishing Swivels Accessories Tackle (6#)


4# Stren Original

Trout leader doesn’t have to be expensive fly tippet. Simple 4-pound clear mono is an excellent choice when you need a leader for trout that’s smaller than your main line.

Stren Original®, Clear, 4lb | 1.8kg Monofilament Fishing Line, Suitable for Freshwater Environments


Best Trout Rigs for Spinning Tackle: Step-By-Step Instructions

The Slip Float Rig

slip float rig

Popular for everything from catfish to crappie, the Slip Float Rig has earned its reputation as a go-to option.

Very easy to assemble, this rig enables excellent casting while still buoying your hook at a known--and adjustable--depth.

Some trout anglers still use standard red and white bobbers, but let me tell you, the first time you run a slip float, you’ll know why this is the better choice!

Because the float is free to move, you can reel your line in and cast normally, allowing greater distance and accuracy than a red and white bobber.

Ideal for lakes, ponds, and sluggish streams, the Slip Float Rig has no rivals where current won’t be an issue.

To assemble a Slip Float Rig, follow these steps:

  1. Attach a float stop to your main line.
  2. Slide a slip float onto your line.
  3. Using a Uni Knot (the eye on a #8 hook will be trouble for the Palomar), attach the hook of your choice.
  4. Wet the knot, tighten it down, and trim the tag end.
  5. Slide the float stop to set the depth of your float.

The Bottom Rig

bottom rig

In faster water, a Slip Float Rig just won’t get the job done, and that’s when I turn to an easy-to-assemble Bottom Rig.

Ideal for faster streams and rivers, the Bottom Rig is perfect with floating baits like those offered by Berkeley. And by dint of its streamlined components, it’s pretty hard to get hung up on sharp rocks and other debris, making it a solid choice where that’s an issue.

To assemble a Bottom Rig, follow these steps:

  1. Using a Uni Knot, attach a swivel to the end of your main line.
  2. Wet the knot, tighten it, and trim the tag end.
  3. Cut roughly 24 inches of leader: either your main line or 4# mono.
  4. Using a Uni Knot, tie your leader to the swivel.
  5. Wet the knot, tighten it, and trim the tag end.
  6. Using a Uni Knot, attach the hook of your choice.
  7. Wet the knot, tighten it, and trim the tag end.
  8. Crimp several split shot to your main line, just behind the swivel.

The Casting Bubble Rig

casting bubble rig

I first discovered casting bubbles on the trout streams in Bosnia, and they’ve revolutionized how I fish.

By filling them with varying amounts of water, you weight your line enough to enable you to cast flies with a spinning rod, radically tipping the odds in your favor.

Some anglers like to run the float at the end of their line, placing flies behind it.

Others run the float three or four feet from the end, tie on some 4# mono or fly tippet, and place the fly at the end.

I’ve seen both styles work wonders, but running the float behind the flies seems to be the superior option.

To assemble a Casting Bubble Rig, follow these steps:

  1. Slide your casting bubble onto your main line.
  2. Using a Uni Knot, attach a small barrels swivel.
  3. Wet the knot, tighten it, and trim the tag end.
  4. Cut 24 to 36 inches of leader.
  5. Using a Uni Knot, attach one end of the leader to the barrel swivel.
  6. Wet the knot, tighten it, and trim the tag end.
  7. On the other, tie-on the fly of your choice.

Final Thoughts

While we typically associate fly tackle with trout angling, spinning tackle has earned a place on the streams and lakes in which these beautiful fish thrive.

We hope that this article has helped you find a new trout rig for your spinning tackle, and we’d love to hear from you if it has.

Please leave a comment below.

About The Author
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. Whether he's casting a line in a quiet freshwater stream or battling a monster bass, fishing is his true passion.
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