Best Trout Bait – A Fishermans Guide

When looking for trout bait you really need have a fair idea what trout eat day after day.

I have fished with an endless list of baits and lures but it really helps to have some background knowledge when you hit the water.

Fishing conditions and, how and where the trout come from, have a huge impact on the types of bait best used to catch these awesome fish.

Get it right and you fill your bag.

Get it wrong and you catch nothing…

What Baits are best for catching Trout?

Put simply the best bait is either exactly what trout feed on all the time or some artificial substitute that is good enough to trick them into taking a bite 🙂

trout bait - whats the best bait

Trout can be quite picky when it comes to feeding time. They spook easily and once you scare them off it goodnight – well for an hour or so anyway.

Presenting a natural looking bait in front of a hungry trout is a bit of an art – but that depends on fishing techniques and conditions.

Today we are going to go through the various trout baits available and how to fish with each one.

Bait Guide

Fishing For Trout With Nightcrawlers

Nightcrawlers have been time-tested on trout because they are so easy to get your hands on them – and trout love them.

Present a nightcrawler on a single hook to a wild trout and he is sure to have a go.

I like to fish this bait in two ways – depending on conditions and my mood.

The simplest way is to fish it on the bottom with a single worm on a single barbless hook. The wriggling action is enough to tempt the hungry trout out of its hiding place and attack.

I also fish worms for trout below a float with a single split shot to pull the worm down into the water.

Nothing too scientific about this setup but it suspends the work up in the water flow and trout can spot them a mile away.

You also get the added excitement of watching as your bobber or float dips below the surface of the water – time to strike.

nightcrawlers for trout

Nightcrawlers for Trout

Nightcrawlers or worms/earthworms have been around since the dawn of time – and hungry trout have been eating them for just as long.

These are probably the best natural bait you can get your hands on for wild trout and small brook trout that hand about in rivers and streams.

Best fished on a single hook.

Finding this bait

The beauty of using nightcrawlers is you can dig it up right out of the ground.

I will often head straight to the river and dig them up at the water’s edge just before I have my first cast.

This has a couple of advantages:

  1. You can’t get any bait as fresh as this…
  2. It’s a natural bait that trout are used to eating all the time

Powerbait Trout Worms

As mentioned above, worms are the most readily available bait you can get your hands on for trout fishing because you can dig them up right on the river’s edge.

If however, you don’t feel like getting your hands dirty or are short on time then PowerBait worms are the next best thing – some even say they are better than the real thing.

Gin clear water calls for natural looking worms and for this I will always use Berkley Powerbait floating worms. No mess, no fuss and deadly for trout.

My Top Worms: Berkley Powerbait Floating Worms

I am a huge fan of these. They are dynamite on trout and they cannot resist attacking them. I like to whacky rig them and run them about 8 inches up from a weight or bobber. They are very realistic and with the added scent the trout love them.

They work well for me in natural swims as well as stocked lakes and will often catch a few trout on the same worm 🙂


75mm or about 3 inches is perfect for most trout and in most conditions so stick to that. If you find you are not getting the fish to bite try dropping down to a smaller trout hook size and a shorter or chopped up worm.

Fishing with Powerbait

A lot depends on the size of the fish you are targeting.

I like to use a whacky rig setup for larger trout but will chop up a worm and use it on smaller hooks if chasing small brook trout.

The worms are fairly sturdy and you can often reuse them for multiple fish.

Keep the bag sealed and they are good for quite a long time.

PowerBait Trout Bait

We discussed using PowerBait worms when trout fishing so now let’s look at something really special.

PowerBait has been on the shelves in good tackle shops for quite a while and is hugely popular with trout fishermen.

When it comes to rigging up there is nothing to it.

Just mold a bit of dough around the hook and fire it into the water.

The glittery flash from the bait, coupled with the strong scent pulls in the trout from miles away.

You can get this bait in a wide variety of colors but I always go for something bright with a hint of glitter through it.

When I first saw this bait I said ‘no way will this work’

How wrong I was.

The trout went mad and I filled my bag in record time.

Every tackle bag or box should have a tub of PowerBait inside – trust me you won’t regret it.

Fishing technique

I like to mold these baits around my hooks leaving the tips just barely visible.

It holds firmly together and is easy to use.

The strong scent this stuff gives off really draws in the trout from surrounding areas.

Make sure to use a long enough leader if you want it to float on the surface.

Salmon Eggs Trout Bait

Another fantastic natural trout bait is Salmon Eggs.

Found in abundance during spawning season in rivers all over the world this natural bait is a favorite of hungry trout.

The only challenge is getting your hands on it – fresh from the river anyway…

Worry not though, because you can buy it in small tubs straight from your local tackle store.

I fish with Pautzke Bait Co. salmon eggs fairly often and the results are always great.

I use a single small size 12 hook and a single egg most of the time which has delivered some really great fish.

You can fish these high up in the swim – the same way an egg would bob downstream during spawning.

The alternative is to fish them on the bottom. hungry trout will often forage around in the silt and sand looking for Salmon Eggs so presenting it this way also gives rise to some great hook-ups.

Fishing this Bait

I like to mold this bait around my hooks leaving the tips just barely visible.

It holds firmly together and is easy to use.

The strong scent this stuff gives off really draws in the trout from surrounding areas.

Make sure to use a long enough leader if you want it to float on the surface.

Sweetcorn, Breadflake, Maggots & Cheese

When it comes to trout bait you have a huge selection of options available to you.

I have covered off the best trout bait and here are some other varieties I use from time to time.


I sometimes use simple bread when trout fishing.

If you fish in rivers where the public feed ducks and swans then bread can be a fantastic bait to use on trout.

The only real challenge is getting it to stay on the hook.

I normally just fold it over the hook and pinch it slightly – that’s usually enough for one cast.

Fished on very light tackle the bread will float on the water and it’s great fishing when you see a large mouth sucking it off the surface.


When I fish stocked lakes I will often use sweetcorn as bait. Great for both Brown trout and farmed Rainbow Trout, sweetcorn is a very easy bait to use.

A single kernel on a small size #12 hook below a bobber or pencil float is all you need.

Add a couple of synthetic shot to the line to pull the bait down into the water a bit and you are good to go.


In wild rivers, I have had some good success using just cheese.

I just mold a small bit of cheese into a ball and stick the hook through it – leaving the point slightly exposed.

Fire it into the swim and let it drift downstream under a float.

Not sure if its the color or the smell that brings in the trout but it works and its a bait you can grab straight from the fridge at home if you manage to sneak out for a fish unexpected 🙂


Trout love maggots or fly larvae but they are often hard to get your hands on and that’s why they are all the way down here on the page.

I fish these on small single hooks and just barely knick the top of the flat end of the maggot to hook it.

You want the maggot to still be alive when it hits the water as the wriggling action brings in the trout.

Don’t drive your hook through the middle and burst it as it will die immediately and loose its awesome wriggling action.

Tackle for Trout Fishing

The last thing I want to cover off is the tackle and rig setup for trout fishing.

I like to keep things very simple and light when it comes to trout.

Wild trout are very nervous and spook easily so the more natural your bait is presented, the better the chance you have of catching fish.

Trout Rod

For my rod, I use a fast action minimum 7foot rod like this Okuma Celilo. I don’t spend big money on trout rods because I like to wander off into the thick scrub around river banks hunting for trout that have never been caught before.

This is great but you tend to go through rods as the ends get caught up in everything and inevitably snap off. This rod is fantastic value for small money and well worth it.


Sticking to lightweight setups for trout I use something like this reel – the Shimano Sienna. A sturdy offering from Shimano that is lightweight but can handle larger fish if you are lucky enough to hook one up 🙂

Fishing Line

For trout fishing, I like to use fluorocarbon line as my leader. To keep cost down I don’t fish this all the way through the reel but rather back it off onto cheaper mono or even braided line. My line of choice here is Berkley Vanish all day long.


Hook selection depends a lot on fishing conditions and the size of the trout you are targeting. I wrote a full review on trout hooks here so check it out and make sure you have a good selection in your bag on the day.

Final Thoughts

Trout fishing is a fantastic sport and with the right bait and set up you will enjoy endless hours of fun.

I like to fish with many different methods to catch trout and work on the principle of the easier it is to rig up the more natural the presentation and the more time you have to fish.

Tight lines…