Fishermen use all sorts of weird and wonderful baits for catching trout, and cheese is one of the more peculiar ones. Cheese is actually a decent bait for catching trout, and it can be molded or sliced in various sharps for different presentations.
In this article, I am going to explain not only how to trout fish with cheese, but why it is also a good idea.
Why do trout eat cheese?
Only trout truly know why they eat cheese, but it is easy to speculate several reasons why they are attracted to it.
Firstly cheese is high in fat and protein, both essential parts of a trout diet. Due to the high fat content, trout might even enjoy the taste. So cheese is a nutrient and energy dense food.
Now, I doubt trout are able to recognize cheese as cheese, they are obviously confusing it for something else.
It is not hard to imagine, that a blob of cheese could be mistaken for a fat, bulbous larvae or caterpillar. While a ball of cheese certainly looks like a round fish egg or even a hatchery pellet.
Lastly, a thin section of grated cheese does a decent job imitating a slender worm, although it is very hard to get it to stay on the hook.
Why use cheese as trout bait?
Cheese has several advantages over other baits, it is readily available and is easy to thread onto a hook. A ball of cheese also stays on the hook much better than bread, or even a worm.
Cheese also smells better, and is less dirty to handle than the likes of worms, maggots, or dead minnows.
Finally, if you get hungry cheese makes for a pleasant snack on the riverbank.
How to present cheese as bait?
I like to present cheese in three main shapes, to try and represent different types of prey.
Firstly, I massage the cheese into a rough ball sharp, about the size of a pencil eraser. This round sharp looks quite a bit like a fish egg. I then thread it onto a hook. I like to fish the cheese ball beneath a float, I gently cast upstream and allow it to drift back towards me. I find a ball of cheese works better in rivers than in a lake.
I also like to fish cheese in long thin slices, to represent a worm. Grated cheese is perfect. I thread the cheese onto the hook, then gently cast it out, I retrieve it very slowly. To gain weight for casting, I use a couple of split shots or again fish it beneath a float. Cheese worms work well in both lakes and streams.
Finally, I use an oval blob of cheese. This represents both a chubby insect, but also a fish pellet. Again, this can be fish cast out with the assistance of some split shot or a float.
Can I catch wild trout on cheese?
Cheese works best when targeting stock trout, they are more familiar with human food and some pellets might even contain dairy products.
I have also read online, that some hatcheries feed their trout cheese. I can almost guarantee this is not the case. Few if any hatcheries are going to feed their trout cheese when they have access to specially formulated pellets to feed them.
With the correct presentation and a degree of luck, it probably will be possible to trick a wild trout into taking a cheese bait. Especially if they have been feeding on eggs.
What is the best cheese to use for bait?
I like to use a medium-firm cheese with quite a bit of natural fat. A normal Cheddar or Colby seems to work well. Mozzarella is also okay but seems to be slightly less fatty.
When the weather is cold Velveeta cheese is a good choice. Velveeta is very malleable making it easy to mold around onto the hook. In the summer heat, I often find Velveeta a bit too soft meaning it is difficult to get it to the stay on the hook. One trick is to put the Velveeta in the freezer for half hour or so to firm it up a bit.
Other soft cheeses like cottage or even feta, tend to fall off the hook too quickly, and hard cheese can be a bit brittle.
What hooks to use with cheese?
I like to use a single baitholder hook, the extra barbs help prevent the cheese from falling off.
Treble hooks also work well with the multiple points helping to hold the bait in place. Although treble hooks are more difficult to remove if the trout swallows them.
With regards to hook size. I tend to fish anywhere between a size #12 and #16 when targeting stock fish.