Powerbait is one of the most common and weirdest baits to see if you’ve never gone trout fishing before. It literally looks like Playdough that has been relabeled as fish bait.
So does Powerbait work? Yes Powerbait works for trout fishing. Powerbait dough, trout nuggets, eggs, and worms all work even though they are all artificial baits. Make sure to have a variety of Powerbait colors and styles as trout are known to be picky eaters.
Below, I will cover the best color and scent options for each Powerbait style. This way you are almost guaranteed to catch a trout on your next fishing trip.
Why does Powerbait work?
At first glance it doesn’t make sense why a neon colored bait that can be shaped into a ball works as effective trout fishing bait. After all, trout have great vision and a great sene of smell so shouldn’t they know to not bite Powerbait?
Not to mention trout are carnivores so why would they eat something that is clearly not a smaller fish or insect?
The main reason Powerbait works is that stocked trout grow up in hatcheries and are fed pellets growing up. From the image below, you can see that these pellets are tiny brown shaped balls which the fish learn is food.
These fish pellets are a blend of ground up fish, wheat, shrimp, crab, and other dried foods that the trout grow to love.
Once these fish are stocked in your nearby lake, they are still searching for pellets when they feel hungry.
This means if you fish with the neon green Trout Nibble from above that the trout will think it found a food pellet. The neon colors help make your bait stand out from the water so the trout can find your bait and eat it.
Ultimately, you are presenting a stocked trout with a bait that is shaped just like the food it ate its entire life.
Powerbait does not work very well for wild trout since they do not associate floating balls of Powerbait as food. This is why you will see more river fisherman fly fish or use lures and worms when fishing for wild trout.
Best Powerbait Colors for Trout
Trout have great vision so getting the right color when trout fishing is important. There isn’t only one answer when it comes to the best color for Powerbait but I’ve listed the three that have worked the best for me from fishing in San Diego, California and Portland, Oregon.
- Garlic Scented Powerbait (any color)
- Silver Vein or Gold Vein (striped color)
- Neon Pink (solid color)
You can get any Powerbait type you want such as the moldable dough, power eggs, trout nuggets, or worms.
Just make sure you have those 3 color combinations listed above so you can fish in any water conditions.
If the water is murky then you will want to use the garlic scented Powerbait since the fish will be relying more on scent than sight. Whereas on a clear day you might have better luck with the gold vein or sold pink color.
When someone mentions Powerbait, the dough type is the first thing that comes to mind. This type is the most popular Powerbait option since it simply works when used properly.
The best ways to fish with Powerbait dough is to either use a bobber and fish the surface or use a weight and fish off the bottom.
Personally, I have had a lot more success using a weight and fishing off the bottom since Powerbait dough floats.
This means if you use a carolina rig with an egg sinker, swivel, and a leader that has your Powerbait dough at the end then you will have your bait floating above the bottom by your leader length.
This will get your bait right in the strike zone of the trout which can be seen in this video:https://youtu.be/OYjXoE7UtMk?t=76
Powerbait Trout Nuggets
Another type of Powerbait are the pre-molded trout nuggets. These have gained popularity since they are not as messy as the dough.
Not to mention they can also be reused on multiple fish whereas the dough can fall off or get eaten by the fish.
Trout nuggets are generally only fished using single bait hooks whereas the Powerbait dough is usually molded around small treble hooks.
Personally I use the single bait hooks with the dough as well since I like having the fish hooked on the lip instead of in the throat.
Trout nuggets are a great option to have just in case you want to move around the lake trying different fishing spots. They are much easier to put on and take off your hook versus the dough.
Both of these types of Powerbait float so they can be fished the same way with a carolina rig.
The third type of Powerbait are the Power Eggs which look similar to floating fish eggs.
This is the most natural looking Powerbait out of all the types on this list and logically make the most sense on why it works.
The Powerbait eggs are synthetic and pre-molded so they are easily placed on and off a single bait hook. These eggs also float so they can either be fished on the surface or off the bottom using the carolina rig.
A great tip when using these eggs is to place 2-3 eggs on your hook so that it is completely covered. You want to leave just the point of your hook barely exposed.
Having multiple eggs helps just in case one of the eggs falls off or gets eaten before you have a chance to reel in.
The worst feeling is when you reel in your hook after waiting 10 minutes and the bait is gone so having multiple eggs helps prevent that from happening.
Powerbait Floating Trout Worms
The final most common type of Powerbait for trout fishing is the Powerbait Floating Trout Worms.
These worms are another synthetic option where your hands stay relatively clean when you use this bait.
This bait also floats so these worms can be fished near the top or off the bottom depending on your fishing rig.
You can rig these trout worms in anyway that you would rig a bass worm. I have seen texas rigs, carolina rigs, and wacky rigs all work when fishing for trout.
The best part of these worms is that you do not have to sit around and wait for the fish to bite your bait.
You can jig them as seen in the video below so it can be a more active way of fishing.https://youtu.be/sjCgSX-9mhU?t=291
How to fish with Powerbait
Trout fishing with Powerbait is about as simple as it gets. This style of fishing is sometimes referred to as still-fishing, dead-sticking, or plunking.
Simply put, you just cast out and wait for the fish to bite your bait.
This is the most reliable way I have found of catching trout since it brings them to you using their food.
You can use a lure but if the fish are not nearby then they will not bite. Whereas bait will eventually get eaten if you give it enough time.
To learn more tips on trout fishing, be sure to checkout the Top 10 Rainbow Trout Fishing Tips and Tricks article.
Powerbait Trout Rigs
Carolina Rig (Egg Sinker Method)
Setting up your trout rig is where the real magic of Powerbait fishing is.
I have fished between two groups of people and caught my limit while they never got a bite. We all were using Powerbait and fishing off the bottom.
The only difference was that I had figured out where the trout were biting.
In my example, I had found where the trout were biting which is also referred to as the “strike zone.”
The trick was that I had a long enough leader so that my Powerbait was suspended from the bottom enough that the trout could bite it.
When I looked at the nearby fisherman’s setups, they were using shorter leaders and kept reeling in seaweed. This meant their bait was hidden in the seaweed at the bottom which meant the fish were never going to even see their bait.
Below is an example of the Carolina Rig setup for Powerbait trout fishing.
All you need is an egg sinker attached above a barrel swivel with a 1-2 foot leader.
You can use a treble hook or single bait hook and use whichever Powerbait you prefer.
Make sure to have enough Powerbait so that it floats with the hook. Otherwise your bait will sit on the bottom and the trout will never see it.
The main benefit of this rig is that you can cast far out with the weight of the egg sinker.
This is a great setup if you are trout fishing from shore and need to cast out to the deeper waters.
Bobber Fishing Rig
The classic bobber fishing is the most recognized form of fishing where you fish from the surface waiting for that bobber to get pulled beneath the water.
I have seen this method work well when the weather is cold and the trout are near the surface. This method also works well around sunrise and sunset as the trout are actively hunting bugs near the surface.
The bobber fishing rig will only work if this method allows you to place your bait in the trout’s strike zone.
This means if the trout are near the bottom then this method will not work very well. Your bait will be floating near the top while the trout are swimming at the bottom.
There are ways to setup your rig so that you can fish deeper in the water column while using a bobber.
This is called a sliding slip bobber rig which you can see below:
The most critical aspect is having a split shot weight beneath the bobber so that it pulls your bait and hook down. This will allow your bait to slowly descent towards the bottom which should allow you to present your bait in the trout’s strike zone.
If you have a general sense of how deep the trout are then you can have a stop knot so that your bait will not descend any deeper than the length you allow.
Fishing Tackle for Powerbait
The tackle you will need for Powerbait fishing is:
- Rod and Reel
- Selection of size 10-14 treble hooks
- Selection of size 8-12 single bait hooks
- Selection of 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 ounce egg sinkers
- Size 10 barrel swivel
- Size 4mm plastic beads
- Spool of 2 – 6 pound test leader line made of monofilament or fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon line is less visible to fish in the water.
If you are just getting started with fishing then be sure to checkout the Trout Fishing For Beginners article which will help you get setup.
Frequently Asked Questions About Powerbait
Q: What is the best Powerbait for trout?
A: The short answer is it depends. There isn’t one single answer to this question since the best Powerbait can change daily. What works one day may not work at all the next so it’s best to have a few options. See above for my recommendations on Powerbait.
Q: How do you keep Powerbait on your hook?
A: Powerbait dough may fall off your hook so make sure to mold it around your hook and compress it with your fingers. BEFORE you cast be sure to dip your molded Powerbait into the water so it sticks together.
Q: What size hooks for Powerbait?
A: Bait-holder hooks (single point) work well in sizes 8 to 12. Treble hooks work well in the 10 to 14 sizes. Keep in mind that treble hooks tend to get swallowed so the fish will likely be fatally injured. A bait-holder hook has a chance of hooking the trout on the lip so you have a better chance of catching and releasing.
Q: What is the best bait for stocked rainbow trout?
A: Stocked trout respond very well to all forms of Powerbait. Stocked fish are fed pellets in the hatchery so a ball of Powerbait is very appealing to these fish. Nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, and other bait can also work depending on the weather and fishing conditions. Be sure to checkout Best Bait for Trout Fishing in Lakes and Ponds for more information on the best bait for stocked trout.
Q: Should you use a bobber when trout fishing?
A: You can use a bobber when trout fishing but it is not required. If you want to fish near the surface or are fishing moving water then this can be a good option. Otherwise you can use an egg sinker in a carolina rig and fish trout from the bottom.
Q: What color Powerbait is best for trout?
A: Short answer is it depends, but I would absolutely get the garlic scented Powerbait regardless of color. Trout absolutely love garlic and anise scented bait so the scented PowerBait is a must have. For the colors I recommend getting one neon color such as orange or green, one striped color such as gold or silver vein, and one sparkly color. Ask fishermen and your local tackle shop what they hear is working best and test those colors first.
Q: Where do you find stocked trout?
A: The 3 best methods for finding where to fish for stocked trout are (1) checking your state’s DNR / Fish and Wildlife website, (2) asking for advise at local tackle shops and (3) Facebook groups. I go into detail on these 3 methods and directly link to each state’s DNR / Fish and Wildlife website in this Trout Stocking: How to Find Nearby Trout Fishing Spots article.