Fishing Hook Sizes for Trout [Fishing Hooks Easily Explained]

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Kyle Whitley

Fishing Hooks for Trout

When fishing for trout, you need to find the perfect size hook. Too big and you won’t catch anything; too small and you might not hook the fish successfully. Let’s take a look at fishing hook sizes for trout.

In this article, I’ll share with you the sizes of hooks that work best for catching fish. It’s important to understand these sizes because you’ll need to match them to the type of line you use.

This information will help you determine the correct size hook for each type of lure you use. Once you’ve determined the size of your hook, you’ll be able to choose the right lures to match your needs.

What Size Hook To Use For Trout Fishing a Detailed Guide

Trout are among the most popular game fish, and in fact, many states require anglers to keep at least two per year. Trout are native to North America, and were originally found in rivers and streams throughout the continent.

However, due to habitat loss and pollution, many populations have declined dramatically. Today, however, there are still large numbers of wild brown trout in the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest, and other areas.

Since you want to make sure you’re choosing the right size hook for trout, you need to make certain you’re choosing the best size hook.

What size hook for trout should you use?

A size 8 to 14 single hook is usually recommended for trout fishing. A size 10 to 14 trebles will also work, but they are bulkier and harder to cast. A size 12 single hook is usually the best choice for most situations.

The best sizes of hooks depend on several factors: the size of fish you expect to catch, the types of baits you plan to use, and whether you’re fishing in clear water or cloudy water. If you’re fishing near shore, smaller hooks may help you avoid snagging on rocks and other obstructions.

For larger fish, bigger hooks will allow you to land them more easily. And when you’re using a fly rod, you should select a size of hook that matches the weight of the line you’ll be using.

What size hook for trout to use with different baits

There is a wide variety of fish bait available for trout fishing. Powerbait, worms, salmon eggs, and other types of baits are the most commonly used baits for trout fishing. While there are many different sizes of hooks for each type of bait, the three most common sizes are 8/0, 10/0, and 12/0.

Best Hook Size For Trout A Guides Advice On Trout Hook Size

Knowing the right size of trout hooks will help you catch more trout. Ever wondered which hooks river guides actually use and why? 

The best hook size depends on the size of the lure and the size of the fish you are trying to catch. The best hook size to use for trout will be between an 8 and 12. A bigger fishhook is better for catching larger fish but it can also be worse in some situations.

There are many benefits to using the correct hook size for trout fishing, but there are also some drawbacks to using the wrong hook size. A bad hook, a bad bait, and even a bad color can result in a no-catch day.

For the past 20 years, I’ve been doing a lot of research on fish feeding habits. Working with professional trout anglers and guides has given me the opportunity to learn from them. It has allowed me to see thousands of fish feeding above and below the water’s surface.

Fish have been known to reject baits, but with a few hook modifications, I’ve seen that same fish take the bait.

For years, I’ve tested baits, tested hooks, and tested different methods for catching trout. And I believe I have come out with the best hook sizes for trout under all conditions

Trout Hook Sizing

Hook sizes vary from 1 to 26, with larger numbers representing smaller hooks and smaller numbers representing bigger hooks. I don’t know why they do it this way, but I think they did it to confuse the heck out of new fishermen. I am joking obviously but it does seem backward.

A size 24 hook (less than 1/4 inch) is smaller than most people expect and is unlikely to be used for tying large flies. A size 1 trout bait is about an inch long, which is meant for much larger baits.

There are also hooks larger than a size 1 and these are rated from 1/0 to 8/0.

When I fish for trout, I usually use a size 10 hook but sometimes I carry a size 6 hook or even a size 14 hook.

The Difference Between Hook Sizes

A larger hook is any size larger than a size 6 hook, for example, a size 8 hook. Even a size 6, it could still be too big for trout.

A larger hook will be thicker, weigh more, and hold the fish better than a smaller one.

A bigger hook will be wider which means it will penetrate deeper into the flesh. However, don’t let that be the only reason you choose a bigger hook. If the hook is too big, the fish might not even put it in its mouth.

On one hand, a small hook doesn’t grab a lot of flesh, and isn’t as effective at hooking fish as a larger hook. But a smaller hook is less likely to be noticed by the fish and is more likely to be caught.

Whenever I can, I use a larger size 6 or 8 hook, and when I need to, I use a smaller size 10 to 14 hook. The key is knowing which type of hook to use at any given time.

The Hook Size For Trout Depends On The Bait

Wild trout feed in clear water. If you put a big hook in the water, the trout could see it and may ignore it. A small hook will stick out less and be easier to catch.

Trout feed more based on sight rather than smell or other factors so I usually adjust my hook size to ensure they don’t see the hook.

If they see your bait, you will have a hard time catching fish.

Trout that are feeding in clear waters will be extra cautious and a smaller hook could mean more fish caught.

fishing hooks for trout fishing

Single Hooks

When fishing for trout, the most popular choice is single hooks. They’re less noticeable than the other types of fishing hooks. They’re also the simplest kinds of hooks. Trout are so wary in the waters that they’re often best caught using just one hook.

Trout have excellent vision and sense their surroundings using lateral lines. They can detect vibrations underwater. They also detect even slight changes in air pressure. It lets them detect abnormalities like your hooks. The more subtle a hook is, the more effective it will be.

If you are fishing for trout using bait, like worms, dough balls, or power bait, then you will want to use a single hook.  The same goes for fly fishing. There are a number of kinds of single hooks available.

Types of Single Hooks

J Hooks

 A J-hook is shaped like the letter J. There is a J-loop on the bottom of the shank. You can set these hooks anywhere in the fish’s mouth. A J-hook is best for fishing with bait.

Circle Hooks

Circles hooks are designed to loop into the corners of the fish’ mouth You don’t need to set one of these. You simply need to reel in your lure to set the hook. It may be more difficult to keep the bait on a circle hook than on a J hook.

Kahle Hooks

They’re kind of a cross between j-hooks and circle hooks. These fishing hooks have an extremely high rate of gut hooking. They are some of the most harmful to trout.

Double Hooks

Double hooks are some very rare fishing hooks used by anglers. You probably won’t ever need to use a double hook. They’re sometimes used when tying large flies.

You could also use two hooks with power bait. You don’t usually need to worry too much about double hooks.

A single hook or treble hook can do any job a doubled hook can do just as easily.

Treble Hooks

Triple hooks are three hooks joined together at their shafts. Trout lures often come equipped with these. A treble hook is much less common than a single hook.

We said that trout can be very wary. They will often avoid the hook when they can see it. It makes sense that they’d want to avoid a treble hook. It’s 3x as visible as a single button.

Small treble hooks are best for fishing powerbait. Bigger ones can do well with spinner baits and troll baits. Use treble hooks in sizes 12, 14, and 16. These are ideal if using powerbait for fishing.

If you intend to keep and eat your catch, then you’d only use treble hooks. It’s nearly impossible to remove a treble hook without injuring the fish. If you’re going to be catching and releasing fish, there’s no need to use treble hooks.

Barbless Hooks

Today, many anglers will use barbless fishing hooks for trout fishing because they’re easier to remove from fish after catching them. They’re much less harmful to fish when you catch ’em. If you’re doing catch and release, then this is the best choice for you.

A barbless hook does not include a barb at its tip. It means that it will cause less damage if it hooks a fish through its mouth. You can easily remove the smooth point.

If you don’t want to eat what you catch (e.g., fish), you should always be using an unbarbed fishing hook. In many fisheries, you are required to use barbless hooks, especially in catch and release only areas of a body of water. It’s a part of conserving our resources and being a responsible fisherman.

Some fish don’t always hit the bait the same way. Sometimes you’ll puncture a lip, but sometimes the hook will go deeper into the trout’s mouth.

They’re always vulnerable to unexpected damage, so take care. Without the barb, the damage is greatly reduced. It increases the chances that the fish will survive.

If you have a bunch of hooks with barbs on them, you can turn them into barbless hooks by removing the barbs. You can use fish pliers to flatten out the barb. There will still be a bump there, but it won’t be as damaging to the fish.

Before you go fishing, check local regulations first. Always keep this rule of thumb in mind. If you catch fish using a barbless hook, you won’t be fined. If you use a barbed hook you could be fined or lose your fishing license

Hook Size Numbers vs Aughts

Which kind of hook you should be using is probably the most common fishing question. Next up is what hook size to choose. It’s hard to give a definitive answer here. Hook size depends on several factors.

The most obvious factor is the size of the fish you want to catch. It gets more complicated than that, but not too complicated. There are several ways to size a hook.

Number Sizing

This is sometimes called “the normal” or “standard” hook size. Hooks are sized by numbers starting with 1 and increasing from there. The hook size decreases as the number increases.

A 1 is the largest kind a company will use for its hooks. A size 2 hook is smaller than a size 1 and,  and a size 3 is smaller than that. Some hooks can be as large as 16 or more. These would be very tiny hooks.

There is no universal size for this normal scale. That means a size four from Owner may not be the same as a size four from Eagle Claw.

Aught Sizing

Aught hooks work backward from the number scale. For these hooks, the size will be listed as something like 2/ 0 or 6/0. In this case, a 6/0 hook is larger than the 2/0. These hook sizes are generally too big for trout and are used for other species like bass.

The Aught Scale takes over where the Number Scale leaves off. It’s less confusing when you think of it in this manner. A size 1 hook is very close in size to a size 1/ 0 hook.

On the single number scale, a size 2/0 hook would be larger than anything else. A 1/0 hook is usually the medium size you’d use for any kind of fish.

Hook Gauge

The size of the hook is not the same as the gauge of the hook. Gauge refers to how thick the wire is. These are measured using a number X scale.

Gauges can be measured as 1X, 2X, 3X, and so on. The X refers to how strong the hook is. So 2X is twice as strong as one. Three X is three times as strong as one (3x). The thicker the wire, the higher the number.

A thicker wire makes the hook easier to see. A lower gauge is what you want.

Bigger sizes, like 3X or 4X, are best suited for bigger fish such as saltwater fishing. It’s not really useful to fish with a hook this size because there isn’t a lot of practical use for it.

Bigger hooks aren’t necessarily better for trout fishing.

Hook Sharpness

This is something a large number of people overlook. A hook almost always looks sharp, but there are exceptions. You don’t ever want to actually stab yourself. One of the biggest reasons for losing trout is dull fishing hooks.

Even if it looks sharp, it might not actually be. They dull very quickly if they’re stored in a tackle box. If you keep them in a tackle box, they’ll dull really quickly.

Summing it up: Fishing Hook Sizes for Trout

In conclusion, when it comes to fishing hooks, size matters. In fact, it’s probably the single biggest factor in determining whether or not you catch fish. That’s because the larger the hook, the bigger the bait you use, which means that the fish has a greater chance of taking notice. However, too large a hook can cause problems, such as snagging on weeds or branches or catching on rocks.

The solution? Use smaller hooks for small streams and lakes, where fish aren’t as wary. But regardless of where you fish, keep these three points in mind: make sure your hooks are sharp, make sure you’re using the right bait, and make sure you know how to properly set the hook.


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