How To Rig & Fish A Rooster Tail For Trout, Bass & Crappie

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Rooster Tail spinners are some of the more popular trout fishing lures on the market but they can also be used to catch crappie and bass. In this post, I’m going to be talking about my favorite colors and sizes for each fish, how to rig everything up, and how to actually fish a Rooster Tail for trout, bass, and crappie.

The way you set everything up and fish the spinner is pretty much the same for all types of fish. You might have to make a couple of small tweaks when it comes to gear, but a lot of it is the same. The thing that is different is the size and color you pick. I’ve caught fish with a bunch of colors and sizes but a few have been a bit more consistent for me. If you want to get a new Rooster Tail spinner, you can grab one here on Amazon.

Best Rooster Tail For Trout

The good news about Rooster Tail spinners (other brands too) is that you can catch trout on a bunch of different colors. I’ve used a lot of the colors and have caught trout on most of them. That being said, there have been a few that were a bit more consistent across the board.

The main thing that matters here is picking the right size. Trout don’t have huge mouths and won’t be able to bite some of the larger spinners. You might get one by pure luck but you’ll be way better off getting the right size from the start. If you’re fishing for trout, the size I’d recommend is between 1/16 and 1/8 oz. This will catch pretty much all sizes of trout.

Rainbow Trout Spinner

My favorite Rooster Tail color for trout is silver or rainbow (picture above is rainbow but not a Rooster Tail). I’ve noticed that natural-looking colors seem to perform a bit better compared to some of the others. Natural colors are anything silver, white, brown, gold, or black. Trout are predator fish and are used to eating smaller minnows. That’s why silver and rainbow-colored spinners work so well.

  • Size: 1/16-1/8 oz.
  • Color: Silver or Rainbow.

Best Rooster Tail For Bass

What I like about Rooster Tails is that there aren’t only one or two sizes you can use for bass. Bass has much larger mouths compared to trout and I’ve been able to catch them on a range of different sizes. I still think you should have the “correct” size because it’ll give you a good balance of numbers and size.

The size I’d recommend for bass fishing is a 1/8 to 1/4 oz Rooster Tail. You’ll want to have something bigger because it’ll help you cast easier. You’ll probably need a stiffer rod when you’re bass fishing and it’ll help if you have a heavier spinner. You can go bigger and you can go smaller, but this size has caught me a lot of fish, and some of them were a really good size.

The color I’d recommend for bass fishing is a white and chartreuse Rooster Tail. I like this color because it works well in clear water and it works well in stained water. Black and blue, brown, and silver have all worked too but the first one I always tend to throw is white/chart.

  • Size: 1/8-1/4 oz.
  • Color: White and Chartreuse.

Best Rooster Tail For Crappie

The size I’d recommend for crappie is going to be between 1/16 and 1/8 oz. They do have bigger mouths than trout but they’ll hesitate a bit more than bass when it comes to bigger objects. I also like using this size because I can easily use it for trout fishing as well.

Silver Rooster Tail

My favorite color for crappie fishing is a silver or gold Rooster Tail. Again, other colors have worked as well but I’ve caught the most on these. I’ve used them in clear water and they still work in muddy water. As long as you have the basics (silver, gold, white) you should be able to catch any fish out there.

  • Size: 1/16-1/8 oz.
  • Color: Silver or Gold.

What Gear To Use

The most important thing when it comes to your gear is having a rod that can do the job. The reel and fishing line isn’t as important and is more of a personal preference. When I was first getting started, I wanted to know the exact gear I should be using and that’s why I wanted to show you what I use.

When it comes to your rod, you’ll want to use something that can easily cast the Rooster Tail. If I’m fishing for crappie and trout, I’ll use a light action rod (see what I use here). If I’m fishing for bass, I’ll probably use a medium-action rod. You’ll probably have a tough time casting a 1/16 oz Rooster Tail using a medium-action rod. Having something that bends will be so much easier.

When it comes to your reel, you’ll want to use a spinning or baitcasting reel. For 90% of people, I’d recommend a spinning reel because it’s a lot easier to use and you’ll have fewer headaches. If you’re already used to a baitcaster then feel free to use that. The choice is completely up to you.

For my fishing line, I almost always use braid with a fluorocarbon leader. I think it gives the best performance overall but you could use straight mono or fluoro if you want. I normally use 10 lb braid and 6 lb fluorocarbon on my spinning reel and then 20 lb braid and 12 lb fluoro on my baitcasting reel. Here’s a video showing how to spool your spinning reel:

I like using braid because I can use a heavier line, it casts much better, and it’s a lot more sensitive. It’s not going to stretch when something bites and that’ll let you feel it right away. I normally use Sufix 832 braid and Seaguar Red Label fluorocarbon. I’ll attach the two lines with the Surgeon’s Knot and then attach the Rooster Tail with an Improved Clinch Knot (see how here).

How To Fish A Rooster Tail For Trout, Bass & Crappie

There are a number of ways to fish a spinner and the great thing about them is that there really isn’t a wrong way to do it. You can cast and retrieve, you can cast them into current, you can jig them, and you can troll with them. Here are some of my favorite ways.

Method 1: Lakes & Ponds. This is the most common place to fish these spinners and the technique for fishing them doesn’t really get any easier. All you have to do is cast it out and reel it in. The tricky part is that you’ll have to figure out where the fish are, what depth they’re at, and how fast you should be reeling in.

The best spot to fish a Rooster Tail is near the shoreline. If you’re in a boat, all you have to do is hug the shoreline and cast in close. Look for spots where fish might be hiding such as logs, brush piles, rocks, etc. They’ll most likely be there.

The next thing is how deep you should be fishing. Fish will be near the bottom on hot days and they’ll be near the top when the water is cold, on overcast days, or in the evening. You should fish your spinner where the fish are if you want to catch them. If they’re at the surface, cast it out and start reeling right away. If they’re deep, cast it out and let it sink down just above the bottom.

The final thing is how fast you reel in. You’ll probably have to experiment but the general rule is to reel in at a good pace when the water is warmer and slow it down when the water is cold.

Method 2: Moving Rivers. The strategy here is pretty simple as well and the current should do a lot of the work. The first thing you’ll need to do is figure out where fish might be. Look for sunken logs, brush piles, rocks, etc.

What you’ll want to do is position yourself just above this point. All you have to do now is cast your spinner upstream and let it sink near the bottom. The current will do a lot of the work so you just need to add a slow retrieve and you should be good to go.

If you feel the current really take your spinner then you can stop reeling and pause for a second. Once you reel it back to you, simply repeat the process.

Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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