In this article, I am going to discuss on how to select the best lures for night fishing. The information within is going to be relevant for both night time spin fishing and fly fishing with lures or streamers. At the end I am going to highlight my favorite trout spinners and streamers for night fishing.
Catching fish at night is both challenging but very rewarding, and success can largely depend on selecting the correct lure. The lure must be visible enough to grabs a trout attention, while at the same time it must be realistic enough to trigger a trout to strike.
It is no secret that trout are more confident at night, they are more willing to feed in the shallows and other exposed areas. They are also more willing to take a risk, but they are still naturally cautious fish, so if we fish something too big, loud and obnoxious it will still likely scare them away.
So to maximize success, lure selection, and its presentation is just as important at night as it is during the day.
Best Lure color for night fishing
When selecting a trout lure to fish at night, the best colors is the one which contrast the most with its surroundings. Color selection applies to both spinning lures and fly fishing streamers.
Choose dark lures when fishing near the surface
For lures which are fish close to, or on the surface, dark colors work best. That is because they contrast nicely against the brightness of the night sky. It might not look like it, but the sky is the brightest natural object at night. When the trout look up to feed, anything dark really stands out against the sky.
My favorite colors for night fishing is typically black or olive. Now, I find the underside of most jerkbaits sold retail to be too bright. So, for jerkbaits I fish at night, I often color in the underside with marker pens to darken them up.
Choose white lures when fishing close to the bottom
When the trout are feeding close to the bottom it is a different story. Looking down, the bottom of the river or lake is typically dark. So to contrast against the dark mud, weeds or stones a pale or white lure usually works best.
There are some exceptions, if the river bed is very light, maybe golden or limestone sand. Then it too will likely be reflecting a lot of light back up towards the sky. So, to contrast against a bright bottom again requires a dark lure.
Do not worry too much about the specific color
The exact color combination does not really matter. At night, all colors start to resemble a shade of gray. Just to select dark colors for night, or very bright colors if fishing deep.
Noisy lures can also grab a trouts attention
Trout do not only hunt by strike, they use their other senses. Brown trout in particular often hunt by sensing vibrations through the water.
So a lure which gives off plenty of vibrations and ripples through the water is another way way to grabs a trout attention. But, like I said in my introduction. A lure which is too noisy, might just scare the trout away. A lot of noise, suggest something big is moving through the water which could easily scare a trout away.
In still water, or slow flowing rivers. I find the normal action of a lure through the water works well enough to catch a trouts attention.
But if the water is flowing, or if there is a lot of wind chop on the surface. A lure with a little extra noise can prove to be the difference between blanking and a successful trip. Noisy lures is one area where spinning has more options than fly fishing.
That is when I reach for lures which give of additional vibrations. In-line spinners are a great option, when wanting to fish sub-surface. It is no secret that the blade gives of plenty of vibrations.
When surface fishing, then jerkbaits with an internal rattle. Usually a ball bearing system is a great option.
Finally, there are some lures which are naturally noisy, such as poppers which splash about above across the surface.
Best lure size when night fishing for trout
I trend to fish slightly larger lures at night than during the day. This is simply because the larger profile is much easier for the trout to see, and it gives of more vibrations.
While trout certainly take massive lures, I never go too crazy. I typically only go up one or two sizes from what I will fish during the day.
The Influence of the moon?
The moons influence on fishing is still a mystery to me.
A full moon does make it easier to see, both for us and the trout.
I do not change my lures just based on the moon. But, Sometimes when the moon has been out and bright. Then suddenly moved behind the clouds, the fish do seem to go off the feed for half an hour or so. Maybe they take some time for their eyes to adjust to the darker conditions.
Does UV lures catch more trout?
I am still not convinced that it makes a difference, but I also do not believe that UV hurts. The theory goes that trout can more easily see UV which makes UV coated lures more visible in low light conditions.
I am certainly not opposed to adding a few UV fibres to a streamer, or adding a UV clear coat to my favorite lure to give it a bit more glow.
I have had quite a bit of success targeting sea trout with UV streamers.
Does glow in the dark lures work?
I have certainly caught trout on glow in the dark lures, but I am also convinced that they can scare trout at times. I treat glow in the dark lures as a last resort, if nothing else in my box is working. I will then charge up a few glowing lures and give them a try.
They certainly make seeing, and keeping track of the lure easier.
Five Best Streamers for catching trout at night
These are five of my favorite streamers for night fishing. Most are large bulky flies which give off plenty of action in the water. When night fishing, I prefer bulky, bold streamers. There are many other similar flies which I am sure would also work well.
Woolly Buggers, Black Zonkers and Apache Black Flies can also fished on ultralight spinning tackle if used with a float or split shot.
Black or Olive Woolly Buggers are a classic streamer for night fishing. The Woolly Bugger is a good generalist pattern which resembles various aquatic lifeforms. Use unweighted versions to fish close to the surface, or with a beadhead to get down deep.
The black zonker is one of my favorite streamers for night time fishing. The large strip of fur, slims down and does a great job resembling a squirmy leech or escaping baitfish. Works well with or without beadheads depending on depth you wish to fish.
Apache Black Fly
The Apache Black has a thick mink body which pulses through the water. The large profile works well in ponds and reservoirs. Again, works well with or without a beadhead.
Bunny Strip Popper
The bunny strip popper is an excellent surface lure, it splashes across the surface sending a lot of vibrations through the water. The strip of rabbit fur creates a slithering lifelike silhouette. Do not retrieve too fast, give the trout a chance to strike.
Deer Hair Mouse
There is nothing more exhilarating when night fishing then watching a large brown trout raise too the surface and swallow a mouse imitation. The Deer Hair mouse, is a classic. The natural deer hair fibres make it very buoyant. Works well stripped across deep river pools, or along overhanging banks.
Five best spinning lures for night trout
These might just be my favorite lure for night fishing in ponds and resivors. Flatfish plugs create a lot of action even on the slowest retreives. Plus they come in same great colors for night fishing. My favorite patterns for night fishing are Black with orange spot and Frog.
I rate the dynamic trout HD trout as my favorite jerkbait for night fishing. It swims quite close to the surface, and the internal ball bearing gives off a fish attracting vibration. My color preference is Dark Halo, with the Halo Red as my back up option. The Halo Red is also an excellent lure when the water is cloudy.
The orignal jointed floater has a very exaggerated action as it wiggles through the water. To get best results, the Original floater must be fished very slow. I like fishing is as close to the surface as possible. I am a bit disapointed with the color selection for night fishing, but I usually go for a Jointed Rapala in Perch or Brook Trout colors. That is because the orange bellies do appear as dark gray in the dark.
Frog and mouse Lures
These lures are popular, although in my experience a very niche lure. I find frog and mouse lures work best when targeting a specific large trout. Cast the frog, so it lands near the opposite bank, and slowly work it across the water. Frog lures, can scare trout, but there is nothing more exciting then watching one getting smashed.
If there is a mouse plague, or plenty of frogs croaking. Then certainly give them a try.