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Lure Overview

Lures for the Backcountry: The "Must Have" arsenal

Date: 9/2/2001
Tackle type: Lure
Manufacturer: Acme, Kalin's, Panther Martin, Thomas Buoyant
Reviewer: JIP

Introduction: Labor day weekend is known to be one of the most busiest weekends in the year.  People are everywhere!  Having a nice BBQ outdoors, traveling to National parks, and doing many other road trips or activities is common.  But what you may not know is fishing is also very popular during this time.  When the local waters are over-populated with both fishermen and recreational folks, I head to what I consider my backyard, that is the backcountry at Yosemite National Park.  Being "out there" away from most of the people I am able to relax and fish in peace, unless I run into black bears that want to ruin my weekend getaway.  Trout fishing in the backcountry is extremely fun, but you will need to know more about the lakes and rivers before you head out, and of course what lures to carry with you along with the other 30 pounds of necessities.

Recommended Trout Lures

Manufacturer Type Weight (oz.) Color
Acme Kastmaster 1/8 FT, RT
Acme Kastmaster 1/12 Gold
Kalin's Trout Tube 1/16 and 1/32 Smoke/Clear sparkle
Kalin's Trout Tube 1/32 and 1/80 Black
Panther Martin Classic Regular 1/16 PMR-BZ (Black Zebra)
Thomas Buoyant Spoon 1/6 Red Gold

What, When, Where, Why, and How: Using an ultra-light outfit and lures, by far, is the most exciting and one of the most enjoyable method of trout fishing, except fly fishing.  Now that we have the bag of tricks for the backcountry, I will now try my best to show you when to use this lure, where to use it, why this lure works, and how to fish it.  


Acme Kastmasters are well known to fishermen.  Everyone should already have at least one in their tackle box, and if not then this is a definitely must have lure.  This is a popular lure because you can use this lure almost anywhere, but in the backcountry I apply the Kastmaster in lakes and deep large pools of calm water in rivers or streams.  When the fish are deep or when you need casting distance this heavier and aerodynamic lure works good.  The Kastmaster creates an irresistible movement and the colors they come in are probably two of the many reasons why this lure works.  Fish the lure with a constant retrieval, stop and go method, or twitch it once a while.


Panther Martins are one of my choices when the fish are more shallow.  I fish this lure in rivers and streams because of the design.  You are able to fish this lure slow because it does not sink quickly, and some of the patterns imitate what the trout normally eats in the backcountry; that is the reason why I carry the black zebra pattern.

Thomas Buoyants are under the class of spoon lures like the Kastmasters.  The red on gold color is my favorite one from this manufacturer.  Fish this lure in lakes when the fish are holding deeper during mid-day with a constant slow retrieval, and once a while twitch it to make it look lively.


Kalin's Trout tube mini jigs are killer lures to bring with you during your adventure in the backcountry.  These mini tube jigs have never failed me when fishing is tough.  Fish the Kalin's during the morning and evening when the fish are feeding near the surface of the water in lakes, river, or streams; or in any shallow water.  This is because most of the time the fish are feeding on flies that land on the water.  Some of the reasons why I like the mini tubes is that they stay in the striking zone for a longer period of time, sinking slowly, it lands on the water without spooking the cautious trout, and the fish mistakes the tube as some sort of insect.  Fish the trout tube by casting the lure in front of the fish about five feet and let it sink slowly, or you can fish it using a very slow and gentle retrieve.

Conclusion: As you can tell from my list, all the lures are small in size.  Do not carry heavy lures because the trout feed on mostly small insects such as beetles, flies, small grasshoppers, etc...  Also because it will add weight to your backpack.  When I fish in the backcountry, I use only premium Trilene XL monofilament 2-4lb. test line and set the drag loose.  There is a good reason why I recommended these specific lures and colors because they have worked wonders for me!  You can always experiment with others, but don't forget to bring what I have mentioned above.


Have fun and keep on fishin!









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