Do wild trout eat Powerbait Dough?
Wild trout, while not as eager to eat Powerbait as stocked trout, may still take it under certain circumstances. One such scenario is when they are preying on fish eggs and mistake the Powerbait for a similar-looking prey item.
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 not my bait of choice.
Finally, Wild Brook trout seem to have a preference for small, dark spinners. Which could represent a small insect or tiny minnow.
Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that wild trout have different feeding habits and preferences compared to stocked trout. While Powerbait may not always be the most effective bait for wild trout, it can still be a viable option in certain situations. Experimenting with different baits and techniques is often the best way to determine what works best for catching wild trout in a particular body of water.
Why are stock trout more likely to eat Powerbaits?
Stock trout are often raised in hatcheries and fed a diet of pellets, which can influence their feeding behavior. They become accustomed to a certain type of food and are more likely to eat things that resemble that food. Powerbait dough can resemble the pellets they were raised on and may be seen as a viable food source.
Additionally, stock trout are not as knowledgeable about wild food sources as their wild counterparts. They are more willing to try anything that looks remotely like food, including brightly colored Powerbait. This lack of experience with wild food can make them more susceptible to being caught by bait anglers using Powerbait.
On the other hand, wild trout have been feeding on a natural diet of insects, small fish, and other aquatic organisms their entire lives. They have a strong preference for natural foods and may not be as likely to be attracted to Powerbait. In fact, wild trout may only eat Powerbait by accident while they are predating on fish eggs, mistaking the bright-colored dough for eggs.
In summary, stock trout may be more likely to eat Powerbait because of their upbringing and lack of experience with wild food. Wild trout, on the other hand are less likely to eat Powerbait due to their preference and familiarity for natural foods.
Tactics 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.
- Experiment with different colors of Powerbait to see what the trout are most attracted to. In general, bright colors like pink and chartreuse tend to work well.
- Other Berkley Powerbait products such as worms and nightcrawler are usually more effective on wild trout than the dough.
- Generally, it is best to slowly drift the Powerbait downstream 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 weed beds 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.
- If you’re fishing in a river or stream, look for areas where the current slows down, such as pools and eddies. Trout often hang out in these areas waiting for food to drift by.
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.
Which Powerbait products are best for wild trout?
I suggest avoiding the dough and going 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.
Great alternatives to Powerbait
When bait fishing for trout, here are some alternative baits that I suggest using instead:
- Natural baits: Live baits such as worms, mealworms, and wax worms can be very effective for catching wild trout. They provide a natural scent and texture that can be very enticing to trout.
- Salmon eggs: If you want to use bait that closely resembles eggs why not use eggs. They are a natural bait and are the real thing.
- Corn: While not a natural food for trout, corn can be effective in catching them. Use canned corn, it is very convenient.
- Cheese: Believe it or not, cheese can also be an effective bait for wild trout.
- Artificial baits: While still not great for the environment, consider using soft plastics or small jigs that imitate small minnows or insects. These baits can be more effective than Powerbait because they closely mimic natural prey and allow for a more natural presentation.
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.
Trout are also more likely to swallow Powerbait. 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.
Its use is also banned in some wild trout fisheries (check your local regulations). Probably because trout are likely to swallow it and many anglers feel using bait and scents is less sporting. Whether you agree with it or not, trout fishing is still a very traditional sport.
Finally, as an angler, it is our responsibility to minimize our impact on the environment. Loose balls of Powerbait can be polluting and unsightly, and we should aim to leave the area better than we found it.