How to catch trout on corn?

Trout eat some strange things, and corn is no exception. Catching trout on corn is not only fun but also very effective. In this guide, I will attempt to answer all your trout fishing sections when using corn for bait.

Is corn a good bait to use for trout?

Corn is a good bait for catching stock trout, and an average bait for catching wild trout. I recommend fishing corn for three main reasons. It reminds stock trout of fish pellets, it is cheap to buy, and finally, it is 100% biodegradable.

Stock trout get raised on a diet of pellets, which are predominantly grain based. Often corn.

Corn also somewhat resembles a pellet. So for the stock trout, it looks like food, and might even taste somewhat familiar.

When wild trout take corn, they probably have mistaken it for a fish egg, or a small round invertebrate. It is certainly harder to catch wild trout, using corn than it is to trick gullible trout from a recent stocking.

Another big advantage of using corn for bait is the price. It is extremely cheap, several cans of corn can be purchased for the price of a single spinner. This makes it a very affordable way to catch a few fish for the table.

Finally, corn is 100% biodegradable. It is corn, so if you lose the bait it is going to decompose a lot faster than a gum base imitation, and certainly will not litter the lake floor, unlike plastic baits.

Fishing with corn is simply more environmentally friendly than using plastic alternatives.

Does corn kill trout?

Corn does not typically kill trout. The belief that it does is nothing more than an urban myth.

Trout can digest the flesh inside the kernels, although it contains little nutritional value for them and they certainly can not put on condition only eating corn.

Corn is a great bait for stock trout

I find corn is best used to catch recently released Brown and Rainbow trout. While it is possible to catch wild and holdover trout it is more difficult and there are better baits.

Brook trout are also a bit trickier to catch, due to their diet being so heavily insect based but it is still possible to catch stock brook trout on corn.

Can wild trout be caught on corn?

Yes, wild and native trout can be caught on corn. But it is going to be more challenging. Wild trout rarely feed on fish pellets and are used to eating natural prey like insects and small fish.

There are a few exceptions. Wild trout love to feed upon fish eggs, and round kernel of corn do somewhat resemble that. So when trout are scavenging eggs from the current, corn can be an effective bait.

If you thread several kernels onto a long hook, it also somewhat resembles a long, multi-section creature, which can also fool wild fish at times.

The Easiest Way to Rig Corn on a Hook

It is very easy to fish corn, and there are many different ways to rig it.

The easiest way to fish corn is to thread a couple of kernels onto a small hook, then just drift it downstream.

If you need to sink the corn a little deeper, it is possible to attach split shots (small pieces of lead weight) onto the line about 12 inches above the hook.

The split shot gives enough weight to cast out the corn further and allows it to sink faster to reach where the trout are feeding. Like with the unweighted corn, let it float downstream in the current. This requires quite a bit of concentration to detect strikes.

It is a good idea to gently set the hook anytime there is an unexpected stoppage in the drift.

Another good way to rig corn is beneath a float which I show in the diagram below.

Simple float rig ideal for targeting trout in the shallows.

How to fish corn from the shore?

When targeting trout from the shore in a lake or still water, I like to fish my corn beneath a float or bobber (Like in the image above).

This is a slightly more complicated rig.

From the float, I will run a couple of feet of to the bottom of which I tie the hook. About 8 inches above the hook, I will attach just enough split shot to get the corn to sink.

I then cast it out to where I suspect the trout will be feeding and allow it to float there for a while. If I know the trout are patrolling a circuit, I will cast out the float and turn when the trout are facing away and wait until it swims around again. Casting directly at a trout can spook them.

When a trout eats the corn, the float will start to move through the water or even get pulled under, that is when to set the hook.

I like to float my bait about a foot or two off the bottom.

How to fish corn in deep water?

Trout typically prefer to feed close to the bottom. That is where most of their food is and the water above protects them against predatory birds. This means trout are often too deep to target with a typical float rig.

There are dozens of rigs that can be used to fish the bottom. One of the easiest ways is to use a three-way swivel. That way you do not need to learn how to tie a dropper knot.

Such a rig works well with natural corn, but it pays to keep a slight tension on the line to keep the corn off the bottom. When fishing this style, I actually prefer to use artificial Floating Corn due to the better buoyancy assists in keeping it off the bottom.

Simple Rig to fish Corn in deep water

Basic rig for fishing corn close to the bottom in deep water

What gear do I need to catch trout on corn?

An entry level spinning combo is what I recommend.

  • This should include an ultralight rod, around 6’6” in length. Although it can be slightly longer or shorter and still catch trout just fine.
  • A reliable spinning reel, for a recommendation, I suggest checking our spinning reel buyers guide.
  • Spool the fishing reel with 4 to 6b monofilament fishing line. Most premium lines are pretty good nowadays. But if you are struggling to decide which line to buy I typically use Stern Oringal or read this guide for more suggestions.
  • A package of hooks, in size 10 to 8. Can also use a long shank hook if you wish to fish several kernels at once.
  • If you want to float fish, then get some quality’ adjustable floats. I like to use large 1″ size fly fishing indicators.
  • A package of split shots.
  • A 1inch or similar size float. I like adjustable ones to allow for fishing in varying depths of water.

The best types of corn to use for trout fishing

The easiest corn to use is sweet corn from a can. It is soft enough to immediately thread onto the hook, plus it has been marinating in corn juices so gives off a lot of scent.

The next best option is fresh corn. It does stay on the hook a bit easier but does give off less scent.

The less convenient corn to use is dry corn. Before dry corn can be used it needs to soften overnight in a bowl of water.

Does garlic corn work better than regular corn?

Some fishermen like to add extra scents to their corn. With garlic being a favorite.

I can not say for sure that garlic scent assists in catching trout. But it is a strong aroma and trout do not seem to be put off by it. It certainly does not hurt in my experience.

Is Berkely Gulp artificial corn better than real corn?

There are several brands of corn imitations on the market, one of the more common ones is Berkely Gulp. It does work, but I do not believe it is any better than the real stuff just more user friendly.

One of the main advantages of gulp corn is that a single container can last mutiple fishing trips. While a can of sweet corn must be used within a few days. It also stays on the hook a bit better.

A major downside to artificial corn is that they typically take a lot longer to break down and decompose.

Is it legal to catch trout on corn?

It is normally legal to use corn anywhere bait fishing is allowed. But I always suggest checking your local regulations to make sure.

Using corn will not be allowed in lure or spinning only waters. Although, in some areas, artificial corn might be allowed while the real stuff is banned.

Do trout swallow hooks more often with corn?

It is true, trout are more likely to swallow corn than an artificial lure or even fly. I suspect it is because corn is soft, so trout do not realize something is wrong until it is too late.


Will, I hope I have been able to answer all of your questions. Any further feel free to ask below in the comments.

If you want to know how to catch larger or wild trout on bait. I suggest fishing minnows, they can be deadly on large brown trout after dark.

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