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Little Cleo being “bounced” off gravel bottom for Brook Trout

So what is likely the single most popular lure for catching trout and related species? For me at a young age I learned the value of this little piece of tackle back in Nova Scotia on my frequent camping trips fishing for the elusive brook trout. Until I moved to NW Ontario I hadn’t really experienced its true value to any fisherpersons tackle box.

What is the Little Cleo?
It’s a spoon style lure made by ACME tackle, comes in various sizes from tiny 1/16 oz. to 1-1/4 oz. in a rainbow of colours/colour combinations. It has been around for over a quarter of a century and Field and Stream list it as one of the greatest lures of all time.

How can you use the Little Cleo?
Well, its versatility is across the board, from casting smaller ones in rivers, to trolling and even vertical jigging through ice, I have caught fish with them in all the ways listed, I’ve even heard of people using small ones on fly rods.

What do they catch?
Although I principally use them for salmonid species (all trout and salmon) I’ve also had great success with walleye, perch and pike (much to my dismay after returning home from work to find my son used all my Cleos for pike fishing with no wire leaders). I’ve caught some giant whitefish while trolling and Lake Cisco through the ice.

What colours should I have?
The base colours are either Gold or Nickel (silver), these make for great general purpose lures for your tackle box. These colours/combinations are a guide, as all these colours can yield any fish.
Blue/silver and green/silver are probably the most used colour combinations I use and always have a few of varying sizes on hand. I have caught all species mentioned with blue/silver and green/silver. Gold/Red as well as rainbow have given me numerous rainbow trout as well as perch with the smaller ones. Gold/orange and Nickle/Orange are great for Lake trout as well as whitefish.

What sizes?
Depends on the target fish, tiny ones for perch, larger ones for brook trout, and giant ones for lake trout/salmon. The most common size I use is the ¾ oz. – for casting and trolling.

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This article is from
Northwest Ontario Outdoors Magazine.
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