Stocked trout are a fun fish to catch and eat. They are relatively easy to catch when you use the right bait and fish for them at the right time and conditions.
So, what is the best bait for stocked trout? The best baits for stocked trout are Powerbait, nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, Powerbait mice tails, and corn. Stocked trout are fed pellets in a hatchery so they will not think twice about eating a smelly pellet or bait ball. All trout will eat natural baits such as nightcrawlers since this is what the fish would find and eat out in nature.
Lets go through the top 5 baits for catching stocked trout and how to fish each one.
Best Stocked Trout Bait
Stocked trout respond very well to a variety of trout bait. This is my short list of the best bait for stocked trout:
- Powerbait Dough
- Powerbait Mice Tails
- Salmon Eggs
Powerbait dough is the most used trout bait when fishing for stocked trout. The simple reason is that Powerbait will always work for catching stocked trout.
Powerbait dough is moldable so it is easy to create a small ball or pellet which is what the stocked trout are used to eating as food in the hatchery. This bait is also very bright which will get the attention of a trout swimming by hunting for food.
Read the Best Powerbait for Trout article to see all the different Powerbait options and how to use each one. Personally, these are my top 3 Powerbait dough colors to catch stocked trout in any condition. Checkout these top 3 options on Amazon:
Egg Sinker Rig for Bait
I recommend using an Egg Sinker / Carolina Rig setup so that you are fishing off the bottom which allows your Powerbait dough to float in the middle of the water column.
Simply mold the ball over a single or treble hook and then you’re ready to catch some trout.
This egg sinker method will help you fish from the shore since the egg sinker weight allows you to cast further.
Some tips to keep in mind when using the egg sinker rig:
- Trout will not eat your bait if it’s stuck in the weeds near the bottom so make sure your leader line is long enough
- If you need to cast out even further then just use a larger egg sinker weight
- Make sure your bait floats with the hook. Test this by having your bait float in the shallow water in front of you before casting out
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.
Worms are a natural fish bait that work for all types of fish. This option is great if you’re looking to catch trout, bluegill, crappie, bass, and other types of fish all on one fishing trip.
Bait Fishing With A Bobber
Bobber fishing is the other option when it comes to bait fishing. This style is great when you want to fish near the surface. When the trout are near the surface in deep waters then using a bobber is highly recommended.
The most important thing when bobber fishing is to have a slip bobber that can slide up and down the line so your bait can drop to deeper depths after you cast.
Here are some tips for bobber fishing using the sliding slip bobber rig:
- Have a Stop Knot above your slip bobber so it stops your bait from falling all the way to the bottom
- If your bobber is floating on its side (horizontally) then that means your bait is dragging on the bottom. Reel in and place your Stop Knot closer to the hook
- Use a Split Shot weight between the bobber and the hook IF your bait floats such as PowerBait
- If you’re using a bait that sinks such as a nightcrawler then you do not have to use a Split Shot weight
Powerbait Mice Tails
Powerbait Mice Tails 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.
Simply use a bobber and fish these Mice Tails suspended in the water column. The trout will come biting when they see and smell this bait. You can hook these mice tails similar to the many ways you can hook a night crawler.
Salmon Eggs are a great option when fishing for trout since this will also work on wild trout and other fish. Real salmon eggs need to be refrigerated and can spoil over time. Luckily, we can use Powerbait’s Power Eggs which are artificial and can last in our tackle box until we run out of them.
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 as many kernels 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. If it doesn’t float then add more kernels of corn until it starts floating. 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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bait Fishing For Stocked Trout
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.