Complete Guide to Trout Fishing Rigs Setup

Live bait set on a spinning rod is considered the best trout fishing rig by most anglers. However, there are more than sinking trout fishing rigs that you could use depending on the water you’re fishing.

Here are our favorite trout fishing rigs.

What Do You Need for Trout Fishing Rigs?

First things first, it’s important to have everything you need to set up a great trout fishing rig. 

The required trout fishing rig equipment includes:

  • Rod/reel – a 6.5-foot rod with a spinning wheel is best for trout fishing, but you can use also use a 7-9 foot fly rod if you prefer.

  • Fishing line – we recommend 4 to 6-pound mono line for a light spin rod around 5 to 7 feet. This gives you enough stretch to work with.

    Otherwise, fluorocarbon line is another good choice that’s practically invisible in the water so it won’t spook trout.

    You can also look for weight-forward or floating lines that help you turn the line over for better casts.

  • Hooks & bobbers – try sizes 4-12 for hooks and basic bobbers that are large enough to stop the split shoot, bait, and hook from sinking water.

  • Sinkers – 1/64, 1/16, and 1/8 oz sinkers are lightweight and great for trout fishing. Anything heavier may drag the bobber down too far.

  • Bait & lures- fresh worms, crickets, or maggots make good trout bait, or you can try minnow lures in bright colors like white, gold, silver, and yellow.

How To Setup Trout Rig Fishing Line?

There are several trout fishing rigs to choose from depending on if you want to fish with a bobber, sinking bait, or lure.

Before we go into each setup, let’s look at getting the fishing line ready to go. After all, every rig needs clean, tidy line to prevent tangled hooks and fishing mishaps. 

Follow these steps for a standard trout fishing line setup with your chosen type of line and weight.

You can always alter this basic method for a more complex rig, but as long as you follow this general method, you should be good to go.

  1. Tie the hook onto the line. Take the tip of the line and loop it through the hook’s tiny hole. Grab the end of the line that’s entered the hook and twist it around the main line about 9-10 times.

  2. Loop the line back. After twisting the line, loop it back through the hook hole again, this time from the other side.

  3. Tighten. Once the line is looped in, pull the longer main line to bring the twists snugly together.

  4. Cut the excess. Remove the extra hanging line on the side closer to the hook.

  5. Finish prepping. Now you can set up the weight, bobber, and bait/lure for the rest of your trout rig. 

Best Trout Fishing Rigs Setup

With the right fishing line, rod, and reel, anything is possible for a day of trout fishing. You may want to try a few rigs in one outing to see what trout are biting on the most, or you can stick to your favorite bobber or bait.

Live bait on a spinning rod is arguably the trout fishing rig with the most potential, but a bit of patience pays off with any setup you choose. 

Here are my top three trout fishing rigs. 

Sinking Live Bait Trout Rig

Best Trout Fishing Rigs Setup

Warm weather sends trout toward the lake bottom in search of colder temperatures and food.

This is a great opportunity to use a sinking trout bait, and all you need is worms or other live bait, plus a hook, swivel, and slip sinker.

  1. Slide the slip sinker onto the end of the line. 
  2. Tie the swivel onto the end to keep the sinker safe on the line.
  3. On the other side of the swivel, add a 12-18″ section of fishing line.
  4. Attach the hook.

There are a few good things about a sinking live bait trout rig. The first is that if the fishing line breaks, it will just be at the end of the rig, as long as the line has a smaller pound test than the main line.

This rig also lets the trout take the bait without resistance from the sinker. While you won’t have a visual surface marker, you can keep a finger on the line or watch it closely for any bites.

Lure Rig Trout Fishing

Best Trout Fishing Rigs Setup

We like a good lure rig for trout fishing too because it’s a super easy setup without as many segments as bait and bobber rigs. You can use different trout lures with a leader line and an optional swivel. 

In a hurry, you can keep it simple and tie the lure directly onto the end of the line.

This could lead to line tangles or breaks due to the spinning motion of the lures, so we recommend using a clip swivel instead. 

  1. Tie a clip swivel to the furthest point on the line. 
  2. Attach the lure to minimize line twists.
  3. Quickly change out lures to find the best bites.

For the best lure rig trout fishing, try the Rebel Wee-Craw, trout worm, or a minnow lure. Don’t be afraid to switch them out and try a few lures to encourage trout to hit the line.

Bobber Trout Fishing Rig

Best Trout Fishing Rigs Setup

If you prefer more visual fishing, using a bobber trout fishing rig may be great for you. A slip-bobber works the same way as a slip-sinker.

We like using this bobber rig on relatively quiet days when the water is calm and the trout are biting. It’s exciting to watch the bobber go down, and it’s worth the extra work it takes to set the rig. 

Instead of a basic bobber clip, a slip bobber works well, giving you more power and flexibility for trout fishing in deep lakes.

Save the clip-on bobbers for shallow trout fishing, and make sure you also have a hook and swivel. 

  1. String the bobber stop onto the end of the line to serve as a movable stop point for the bobber.
  2. Add the bobber and tie the swivel on to prevent sliding.
  3. Like the sinker rig, use a 12-18″ piece of line to attach the hook.
  4. Slide the bobber stop up and down to keep the lure at the right depth once you cast.

With a float fishing trout rig, try powerbait or fish worms to attract trout. As with any float fishing, watch the bobber and adjust the stop to keep things interesting for the fish beneath the surface.

More Tips For Trout Fishing Rig Setup

When prepping your trout fishing rig, here are a few more tips to keep in mind:

  • Start with a basic knot to tie the hook to the line. If you plan on catching bigger trout or want enhanced performance, use a Palomar knot or an improved clinch knot.

  • When inserting the line through the split shot, keep it 10-15 cm higher than the hook so the bait can drop low enough.

  • Make sure the fishing line runs around the float or bobber by quickly running the line through the top and bottom of the metal hooks. 

  • Ensure the float or bobber rig is stationary with both hooks anchoring it. You may need to double check this after switching out the bait.


You can choose from sinking live bait, lure, or bobber trout rigs to catch trout in ponds, streams, rivers, and lakes. Worms, minnows, powerbait, and colorful lures may attract trout to any decent fishing rig. 

For the best chance of trout fishing success, make sure your fishing rig is properly set up with a 6.5-foot spinning rod and 4 to 6-pound mono or fluorocarbon line.

Use size 4-12 hooks and 1/64, 1/16, and 1/8 oz sinkers for your trout fishing rig.

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