What Is The Best Knot For Trout Fishing?

It doesn’t matter if you are just getting into fishing, or have been fishing for a lifetime, your knot is going to make or break you landing a fish. If you do not tie the right knot, you run the chance of losing either a decent-sized fish on a shake, or losing your favorite lure.

Knots are sometimes regarded as something sacred in the fishing community, and you could ask five different people what the best knot is and get five different answers. Knot tying has also been regarded as something that takes years of practice to master, but is that really true, and is there one perfect knot for trout fishing? We are going to dive into that, and give you some easy instructions on how to tie a strong knot and which ones work best.

What is the best knot for trout fishing? The best knot for trout fishing with Mono and fluoro line is the improved clinch knot. It is a strong and simple knot that is good for trout fishing with smaller hooks and is very easy to learn. The clinch knot is good for hooks, lures, and swivels, so it provides a simple solution for any trout configuration you can think of. There are tons of knots out there to try, but the clinch knot has been the most popular for both novice and expert anglers.

Tying the clinch knot is actually pretty easy, and can be done in only four steps! We are putting the steps below, and also giving you a simple to follow video for you to follow along with.

How Do I Tie A Clinch Knot?

4 easy steps for tying the improved clinch knot:

  1. Pass end of the line through the eye of the hook or swivel
  2. Pull about 6 inches of line through and double it back against itself. Twist five to seven times.
  3. Pass end of the line through the small loop formed just above the eye, then through the big loop just created. Be careful that the coils don?t overlap.
  4. Moisten and pull the tag end and mainline so that the coiled line tightens against the eye. Trim excess.

Here is a video of Berkley explaining how you can tie this Improved Clinch Knot.

Does Your Knot Really Matter?

In most cases, your knot really doesn’t matter as long as you tie it right, and tight so that it does not come loose. Knots are a sort of personal preference, but some knots are stronger than others. Tying a simple knot a few times may seem strong, but can be pulled loose. Mono and Fluoro lines stretch so if you snag trees, weeds, and rocks you can pull your knot loose and lose all your gear. Most knots are tied so that when you pull on them, they clench tighter, and do not pull out.

Does The Knot Matter For Hooks And Lures?

You can use the same knot for both hooks and lures, especially for the clinch knot. If you are using a lure, it is common practice to use a swivel as well, and you can use the same knot on that too. Knots are universal for things like hooks and lures, and as long as you tie them right, you should have no issues with your hook or lure.

Lures tend to get the most wear and tear on knots because you are casting and reeling in rapidly, so you are putting more stress on your knot. Fish also hit your lure a little bit harder because the lure is moving through the water, so it strikes it with more force.

What If I Use Braided Line?

If you use braided line and do not use a leader, there is a much better knot for your line, and that is called the Palomar knot.


  1. Double about 6 inches of line and pass through the eye of the hook
  2. Tie a simple overhand knot in the doubled line, letting the hook hang loose. Avoid twisting the lines.
  3. Pull the end of the loop down, passing it completely over the hook.
  4. Moisten and pull both ends of the line to draw up the knot. Trim excess.

Here is a simple video from Berkley of how to tie the Palomar Knot.

Should I Use A Swivel?

If you are using a hook, a swivel is not really necessary for your setup. If you are using lures or trading off from lures to hooks, a swivel will be the best option for you. You can use the same Clinch knot tying for a swivel and really is your best bet for quickly changing your setups.

Since you only have to change the bait on your hook setup, a swivel is really not needed, but for lures it is different. You might go through three or four lures before you find one that the fish want to bite on. Having to re-tie your knot several times can be more time consuming, so we highly recommend using a swivel if you are wanting to fish with lures.

Should I Change My Knot For Lakes And Rivers?

There really is no need to change your knot for different bodies of water. Whether you are fishing lakes, ponds, rivers or streams, you can use the same knot for all of the above. There are different knots for deep sea fishing, but at that point, you are using completely different fishing line. For your typical mono, fluoro and braided lines, you can stick with the clinch or Palomar knots and be just fine.

Is The Palomar Knot The Strongest?

The Palomar knot is known as one of the strongest knots you can tie, and is the preferred knot to use with braided fishing line. This knot takes only a few steps to learn and can be used with almost all fishing setups. The Palomar knot can be used with Mono and Fluoro line, but the clinch knot tends to work better for these types of fishing line. Knots are usually a preference thing, so once an angler learns how to tie one well, they normally stick with it for years.

What Should I Use To Cut Excess String?

When you tie a knot, you will normally have quite a bit of excess fishing line left over, so you will have to cut it off. The biggest thing to remember here is that you do not want to pull out the fishing line or fray it in any way or you will lose strength in your line and knot.

knot for fishing

Most everyone with a tackle box will have something sharp like a knife, or needle-nose pliers to cut things, but what we have found is that fingernail clippers work the best. Fingernail clippers are usually pretty cheap, and they tend to cut the fishing line extremely well and do not cause stretching or fraying. If you have a braided line, it is best to use something like a razor blade and cut at a slight angle. Cutting the braid straight can cause it to catch and fray.

How Often Should I Re-Tie My Knot?

Knots can wear out, and anytime you catch a fish, snag in weed or bushes, it puts stress on the knot, and fishing line. When you catch fish, they can cut the fishing line making it less durable, so it is recommended that you re-tie your knot every few fish you catch, or every time you get a snag or catch the shrubs. Always inspect your line and hook after each fish you catch as some fish try to shake the hook more than others, and bigger fish tend to surge more the closer they get to shore.

Final Thoughts

Our findings found that the Clinch knot is the best overall knot when fishing for trout on mono, and fluoro lines, and using the palomar knot for braided line setups. The bottom line is that any knot that you use as long as it works is good. Most people who fish find a knot they like and stick with it which is fine, but if you find yourself losing lots of hooks and lures to fish and snags, it might be time to try a new knot.