The five best baits for catching stock rainbow trout are Corn, Worms, Powerbait, Cricket, and Minnows. It is always a good idea to bring a selection of different baits to cover all possibilities.
I recently asked around a group of trout fishermen based in the Southeast what their favorite bait for recently stocked Rainbow trout was.
Corn took the outright title, although it was close with worms just two votes behind. These two baits combined will cover a lot of trout fishing situations.
Powerbait, took third. I actually, consider corn and Powerbait to be very similar presentations. They both in many ways resemble a fish pellet which stock trout are used to feeding on.
It was also quite an even split comparing natural baits such as worms, crickets, and minnows and pellet imitation baits such as corn and Powerbait.
I suspect the poor showing for Salmon eggs is because trout are not usually stocked around the time of spawning, so will be less likely to be caught on eggs. Although that is pure speculation on my part.
There was also a strong showing for Other. I know several responders voted others to include inline spinners or flies. Although, I personally consider both different from bait. Some baits which were in the other category included cheese, maggots, trout magnets and even fish pellets themselves.
The Best Five Baits For Stocked Rainbow Trout
Corn is a popular bait for several reasons. Firstly it is affordable, but also very effective. Stock trout eat corn out of curiosity or, maybe more likely that they confuse it for fish pellets.
Corn is very easy to fish. Simply thread it onto the hook and allow it drift through the water. One downside to corn is that it does come off fairly frequently, requiring it to be replaced every few casts.
Some fishermen, like to add additional scents to their corn such as garlic powder. I have written a previous article, on how to catch trout on corn. Read it here.
#2 Worm / Red Wiggler / Nightcrawler
A worm is an excellent bait. They are an absolute favorite for all types of fish including trout.
Worms are also very easy to find. Either dig them up in the garden or purchase a container from the local bait shop.
Worms are an effective bait to catch nearly any type of tout, both recent stockfish and truly wild trout can happily eat a well presented worm. They are extra deadly after recent rain, when there is a little more water in the river.
It also happens to be one of the more effective baits to use when the trout are reluctant to feed. Say when the water is too warm or cold.
I have more information on how to catch trout on worms here.
Powerbait kind of resembles gum, and it comes in a whole range of different colors, scents and even shapes.
Most trout fishermen simply roll their favorite powerbait into a little ball, then thread it onto a hook and cast it out. Powerbait, and corn is basically fished in the same way. If you know how to fish one , you can fish the other.
Powebait does seem to stay on the hook somewhat better than corn does. Plus a little container can last for many trips. Over a season it might even work out cheaper than corn.
Crickets are excellent trout bait, and they appeal to any trout no matter if it is freshly stocked to the wariest of wild fish.
While crickets are an excellent bait they do have a few downsides. Firstly it is quite difficult to get them to stay on the hook, they also can come off during the cast. It can be a lot of work.
Crickets can usually be purchased from the local bait shop or even a pet store where they are sold as pet food.
Secondarily, they are such a tasty bait that any chubs, suckers or bream will make a beeline for it.
Minnows can be fished either live or dead. I personally love to fish live minnows when targeting large wild trout, especially brown trout.
But, even a recently stocked trout has enough natural instincts to recognize a struggling, injured minnow as an easy meal.
It is often possible to purchase minnows from bait shops, failing that they usually take a bit of preparation and planning to scoop a few up in a small net.
To read more on trout fishing with minnows I have an article discussing how to catch trout on them.
When to fish the different baits?
How to decide which bait to fish?
This is a difficult question to answer because all of these baits work well, some of the time. I always suggest bringing a selection of two or three different baits and keep rotating between them to find the ones the trout are most interested in.
Well, when the stock trout are newly released. Then baits that resemble fish pellets often work well, so could be worth using corn or powerbait.
The longer the trout have been free, the more they start to expermiment. So I will consider using worms or crickets instead.
I also suggest using worms after heavy rain. This is because worms often leave their barrows during rain events and end up getting washed downstream.
Another time, I will consider using worms instead of corn is when the water is very cold or very warm. During these water conditions, the trout become reluctant to feed, and worms are one of the only baits that can still tempt them.