Wild trout do eat powerbait, but not with the same enthusiasm as stockfish. Wild trout are most likely to feed on powerbait while they are predating on fish eggs, it is a case of mistaken identity.
Out of all the common species of trout, I find that wild rainbow trout are the most likely to take Powerbaits, which might have something to do with their more vigorous appetite and generally more aggressive style of fishing.
Wild Brown trout, are more likely to go after lures and spinners with a more natural appearance, such as Small minnow imitations like Rapalas work well, and when the water is a little cloudy spinners can be very effective.
Some fishermen even go as far to claim that wild brown trout will not take a powerbait or a powerbait egg. Will, they are wrong. Given the right circumstances and conditions, a wild brown trout will take powerbait but it is certainly is not my bait of choice.
Finally, Wild Brook trout seem to have a preference towards small, dark spinners. Which could represent a small insect or tiny minnow.
Why are stock trout more likely to eat powerbaits?
To explain why wild trout are less likely to eat powerbaits, I first need to explain why stock trout eat it.
Stock trout eat powerbait for two main reasons. First, they grew up feeding on a diet of pellets, so a floating ball of dough does somewhat resemble food to them. Secondarily, stock trout are ignorant to wild food. If they are hungry, they are willing to try almost anything resembling food.
It just so happens, that a brightly colored powerbait has good visibility making it a tempting meal for a hungry stockie.
Meanwhile, wild trout know what wild food is, and been feeding upon it their whole life. A ball of pink dough is very foreign to them so they really have little motivation, or need to try and eat it.
Tatics for catching wild trout on powerbaits
- Generally speaking smaller balls of powerbait dough work better. Try and match the ball of dough to match the general dimensions of the food the trout are feeding upon.
- Powerbaits work best when the trout are feeding upon eggs. That is because a small piece of powerbait dough does somewhat resemble an egg.
- Other Berkley powerbait products such as worms and nightcrawler are usually more effiective on wild trout than the dough.
- Generally, it is best to slowly drift the powerbait down stream and past feeding fish. I will not wait for a cruising trout to come to the bait.
- If fishing in a lake or pond, I suggest casting out over flats or weedbeds and use a tiny split shot to get it to gently float towards the bottom. Want to maximize the time it spends in the strike zone.
- When fishing powerbaits, make sure to get the drift as natural as possible. Try to minimize any unnatural drag that could warn a wary trout that something is not quite right.
What is the best color powerbait for wild trout?
I personally will use a color that best resembles that of wild food. So I will start with something like Salmon Egg powerbait because it is small, round and looks like a salmon egg. Apparently, it also tastes like them.
It is also important to remember, that not all fish eggs are the same color. Even trout and salmon eggs come in a range of different colors and shades. Trout eggs, based on species, and locations come in a wide range of colors from yellow, white, orange and all shades in between. The red eggs we see in the stores, for the most part are dyed that color to be more attractive to fishermen.
Depending on the species spawning you might want to try red, pink, yellow or white powerbait.
This is really a case of matching the color of the bait to what the trout are naturally feeding upon.
Only use powerbait when fishing for the table
I feel like I need to make a point that trout are more likely to swallow a ball of dough and get hooked in the guts or stomach compared with a lure or fly.
A gut hooked trout is difficult to release, and it is normally a good idea to take home such fish for a meal.
So due to the high mortality rate of trout feeding on baits, it is generally a good idea to avoid bait fishing when practicing catch and release fishing. Wild trout fisheries are valuable but often fragile. So treat them with respect.
Do I recommend using powerbait for wild trout?
No, I personally do not suggest it. While it is possible to catch wild trout on powerbait, there are better options available to fool the trout into feeding. I nearly always will rather present a fly or actively fish a spinner than drift powerbaits downstream.
Powerbait also has a problem that trout are more likely to swallow it. When I fish for wild trout, I normally release them. So I want to hook the trout in such a way making them easy to release. A swallowed hook is not easy to remove.
It’s use is also banned in some wild fisheries (check your local regulations), because trout are likely to swallow it and many anglers feel using bait and scents is less sporting. Wither you agree with it or not, trout fishing is still a very traditional sport.
Finally, loose balls of powerbait is quite polluting and simply looks a bit ugly.
Which powerbait products are best for wild trout?
I suggest avoiding the dough, and go for Powerbait, or even Gulp products that resemble natural insects and eggs. The Gulp Earthworm product is an excellent option. Its profile resembles that of a worm and it is full of scent.
Other good options include the fish egg imitations, and also the Gulp Extruded Nightcrawler or the Pinch Crawler. There are plenty of options.
Disclaimer: Some of our pages contain affiliate links. At no cost to you, Troutresource may receive commission from purchases made through such links. Here at Troutresource we try are hardest to give unbias advice and gear recommendations independent on whether we earn a commission or not.