Trout fishing in a lake or pond can be a convenient way to catch fish during the Fall and Spring seasons. These fish are frequently stocked in popular ponds and lakes making them an ideal fish to catch when you’re just starting off.
In order to catch Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, or Brown Trout, you need to make sure you’re using the right bait to get them to bite.
We’ll help you take some of the guess work out how to catch trout using bait.
Best Bait for Trout
Most of the baits listed below work best with stocked trout since these fish are fed food pellets in the hatchery.
Outside of nightcrawlers or worms that can be found in nature, the pellet shaped baits work since that’s what hatchery fish have been eating their entire life. The only difference is your bait will have a hook nestled inside so you can catch these freshly stocked trout and bring some home for dinner.
So what is the best bait for trout? There’s no one answer but Powerbait, nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, and corn always work when fishing for trout.
Quick Trout Fishing Tips
If you want to try using fishing lures to catch Trout then be sure to checkout the Best Trout Fishing Lures where we cover the top 10. A popular combination is to use one rod with bait and one rod with a lure so you can get the best of both worlds.
Some states require two pole validation so make sure to check your state’s regulations on two pole fishing.
The most critical step when fishing for trout is knowing where they are.
Make sure to check which of your local lakes, ponds, rivers, or waterways are stocked with trout. The Trout Stocking: How To Find Nearby Trout Fishing Spots guide will walk you through the top 3 ways of finding stocked trout along with direct links to each state’s stocking schedules.
Now let’s get into each of the Best Baits for Trout Fishing.
Powerbait is the most common and strangest bait to see work if you’ve never gone trout fishing before.
These come in a variety of colors from bright pink, neon green, yellow with sparkles, and more. You would think that this is some child’s Playdough mislabeled as bait. But this stuff simply works.
Powerbait is a moldable bait that you can roll into a ball and place over a treble or single hook.
Powerbait also floats which means if you put enough of it on your hook then your hook and bait will float. This is perfect for fishing off the bottom by putting a weight 1-3 feet above your hook.
You can also attach a bobber above your weight or leader so that the powerbait is suspended in the water. This will allow you to see when the fish start biting.
Powerbait Mice Tails
Berkley not only came out with Powerbait but also Floating Mice Tails which are incredibly effective at catching trout.
This bait combines two common trout foods, the egg and the worm into one single bait. These artificial worms are scented which draws the trout in since trout can smell.
They also have ridges along the worm body which causes these to dance in the moving water.
Similar to the original Powerbait we listed above, the mice tails come in a huge variety of colors as well.
I can personally vouch for the White/Bubblegum color which is the white egg and pink worm. The Chartreuse/Fluorescent Orange color which is the green egg and orange worm is another popular combination.
One thing is for certain, Powerbait mice tails work and are highly visible in the water.
The ole trusty nightcrawler lives up to the adage “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.” This is arguable the best bait on the list but I placed the Powerbaits higher due to convenience.
You will need to get fresh nightcrawlers each time you go out fishing since these worms will die if not properly stored in a cool area.
The huge benefits of using a worm is that these are cheap, easy to find, and will always work. All you need to do is use a single hook, place the worm through or on the hook depending on the worm length, use a bobber, and cast out.
This will cause your worm to be suspended in the water from the surface by the length of the bobber to your hook.
Worms do not float on their own so you should use a bobber when fishing with a worm. You can use an air pump to get the worm to float if you want to fish your worm off the bottom without a bobber.
Worms are just one option for live bait. There is a long list of other live baits that you can use including minnows, eggs, insects, frogs, crayfish, and so on.
Check with your state and local fishing authorities to see which live bait is legal to use.
Powerbait Power Eggs (Salmon Eggs)
I know you’re probably thinking I’m some sort of Powerbait fan boy seeing a third one show up on this list. I promise it’s only because Powerbait Power Eggs are the most available salmon egg online.
If you want more variety then you can grab regular salmon eggs at your local tackle shop for bait.
Either option is great and both look, smell, and feel like the tasty salmon eggs that trout love to eat.
In order to rig salmon eggs properly you should use a smaller single hook such as a size 10-14. Place however many eggs you want on the hook. I recommend placing three just in case one falls off then your hook is still baited.
Much like the other bait options, you can either fish off the bottom using weights or by using a bobber to suspend it in the water.
Corn might be another one of those surprise baits that you wouldn’t normally think fish would love but they do.
Now this one on Amazon is an artificial corn which is great since it will not go bad. However, you can grab a can of sweet corn from the grocery store and use that as bait.
Both are great options when it comes to fishing with corn.
Similar to fishing with salmon eggs you will want to use a single hook and place a kernel on it. Since the corn is larger you will want to use a size 8 or 10 hook.
Place one kernel of corn on the hook and test to make sure it floats. All you need to do now is add weights about 1-3 feet above the hook to fish off the bottom.
Add a bobber above the weights and then you will be fishing suspended from the surface.
Pro Tip: Garlic Scented Bait
The pro tip when fishing with baits is to dip your bait in garlic scent before casting out.
For better results make sure to soak your artificial bait overnight so the scent really sticks.
When researching trout scents I noticed all of them are heavy on garlic. So much so that someone wrote in a review:
Below is one of the most popular garlic scented dips for your bait. These garlic scents will also work on your fishing lures.
Frequently Asked Questions About Trout Bait Fishing
Q: Can trout smell bait?
A:Yes trout can smell your bait in the water, along with see it, and even taste it. They can be a picky fish which is why you should read through this article on bait.
Q: Does trout bait work for other fish? Does trout bait work for bass?
A: Although trout bait is best suited for catching stocked trout, it can also work very well for small bass, wild trout, catfish, and panfish such as crappie, bluegill, and yellow perch. Keep in mind you will need to change your hook size if you’re fishing for a larger fish such as large mouth bass.
Q: What trout bait should I use?
A: It depends on the conditions. Sunny days you should be fish off the bottom so use a bait that will float. Around sunrise and sunset you should use bait that closer to the surface so anything with a bobber. If a bait is not working that day then change it up! It’s called fishing not catching.
Q: Where can I find trout fishing near me?
A: If you are fishing for stocked rainbow trout then be sure to research in advance how to find trout near you using that guide.