These warmer waters lend themselves to trout more open-minded to worms passing by. This article may contain affiliate links. If you study up a bit on their biology, they love to inhabit structures and stay out of sunlight. You can also jig smelt through the ice during the winter for good results. A single kernel on a small size #12 hook below a bobber or pencil float is all you need. Season: For sure, fishing grasshoppers during summer is your best bet. Best 10 Baits (Natural & Artificial) for Big Rainbow Trout. Check with your state fishing regulations on the legality of trapping and using suckers as fishing bait. One grasshopper may only last you one or two casts before you need to swap out a new one. Best fished with jerk bait type action Length: 2.5 in. Select shiners under 4 inches long and slowly troll these baits at depths of more than 20 feet beneath the surface. The best trout rod to use when looking to target rainbow trout on light gear will have roughly the following specifications: You need a rod length that will match the type of water you intend to fish on. Power should be light to ultralight. Check your local salmon run time frames. On large rivers and lakes, trolling for trout with suckers can also be effective. Season: I’ve found the best success fishing shiners during late summer but other fishermen catch rainbows in fall and spring-time as well. You may occasionally find them in larger rivers but never in small streams. Season: Within 1 month following a major salmon run in that river system. Again you want a simple setup using either just a hook on smaller waters and light trout fishing gear or on larger waters a bobber setup or some kind of weight or sinker. There is no point in using a 7 foot rod on a small stream or creek as it will be too awkward to be usable. Just like salmon eggs. How to: The best way to fish with salmon eggs is to tie on small roe bags or individual egged threaded on a hook. Despite their ugly and prickly appearance, they can be incredible rainbow trout bait. Pros: Grasshoppers are a favorite naturally occurring food source for all species of trout. It can either be the fresh smell of a live bait that emanates fear hormones, or the putrid stench of a bashed up small fish that can be carried by the water currents. Cons: They aren’t useful in the wintertime. Salmon Egg-Fly Pattern 3. They expect bait to drift a similar way just as you expect a feather to float a certain way. How to: Hook a single or multiple kernels of corn to a bait hook and allow the bait to drift freely in the current. Reservoir rainbow trout also hit minnows during the dead of summer. Smelt can be available at some bait stores alive and can be bought dead as well. 1. The positioning of their face means they can also drown with the added weight of the hook pulling them down. Sculpinsand madtoms also are excellent trout baits, as both those small fish ofteninhabit cold trout waters. Corn is one of the cheapest and readily available bait for rainbow trout. Pros: Corn is obviously not a “live bait” but it can be highly effective for rainbow trout. Powerbait from Berkley has to be my number one choice. Bait is a food item that is placed on the hook to entice fish. You can ice fish with corn too. You can of course use artificial trout fishing lures that imitate small minnows and nymphs instead of bait. Although it is somewhat out of fashion these days some fishermen will use live minnows as there bait. Most bait shops don’t sell them and they can be tough to catch on a fishing line. Worms release scent that naturally attracts rainbow trout and they can be fished in all bodies of water with some degree of success. You need be very careful if you decide to use live bait. There are a variety of trout such as the brown trout, lake trout, brook trout and probably the most well-known, rainbow trout. For a complete breakdown of everything you need for trout fishing, click here for my comprehensive trout fishing gear list. Cons: Shiners can be “hit or miss” for rainbow trout fishing. One method to collect them is after it rains at night go out into you back yard on the grass with a flash light and you nearly always just pick them up off of the ground. Sculpins are plentiful and make excellent trout bait in the 2-3 inch range. It is a terrific lure for trolling up a big rainbow trout. Hookbaitfish through the lips with a size 4 or 6, thin-wire, short-shanked hook. How to: You can jig, cast, or troll fathead minnows. They can be easy to catch and cheap to buy at bait or pet shops. So what are the best baits for hatchery trout if you want to go out and catch a few of these "farm raised" rainbows? Certain areas hold fish better than others and you have to know how. The best spot for rainbow trout is usually around the bank. Always hook the bait through the lips to ensure it is as healthy and lively as possible. This is primarily true in western rivers where naturally occurring salmon runs take place annually. But if I have my mind set on securing the main ingredients of a trout dinner and live bait is the best way to do it, then you'll probably find a worm on the end of my hook. If you are going to buy these fish at a bait shop, make sure you keep the receipt as game wardens may demand proof these minnows were purchased locally. (Moon Phases, Seasons, Baits), link to Ice Fishing Holes: Diameter, Distance, Patterns, Target Fish, click here for my comprehensive trout fishing gear list. Minnows can be found in many trout waterways so they are naturally going to be a great source. 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. Cons: These likely won’t work as rainbow bait in moving water. Too much weight will drag your lure or bait. Using natural bait for trout has a number of advantages over hardware or flies. Both PowerBait and Pautzke produce artificial salmon eggs that come in a large range of colors and scents. Some local and state laws prohibit the use and selling of live shiners. They are also free form your back yard if you are inclined to put in a small bit of effort. How to: Hook medium-to-large grasshoppers through the back behind the head and before the base of the wings. Suckers are hardy and are attractive to big rainbows. Both can be collected with minnow seines or minnowtraps where permitted. They may also be a really nice jigging bait for winter ice trout. The power minnow is a great alternative. They are also extremely hardy and resilient. Being a natural prey of rainbow trout, small shiners can be a good bait to select. You’ll get a specially curated box of bait mailed to your door every month that you can’t find in stores. A reel should match your rod and line in order to get the best casting performance as possible. Using a light or ultralight rod can make for a more challenging and sometimes more exciting fishing experience. During the summer, grasshoppers accidentally jump or fall into both ponds and stream-systems. This site is owned and operated by Eric Matechak. How to: Hook sculpin through the upper lip. Depth: 2-4 ft. Sound: Rattle; Berkley Gulp Floating Trout Worm – Soft-plastics are deadly trout lures that few anglers fish. It’s best to swap out hoppers after each fish. You’ll get a specially curated box of bait mailed to your door every month that you can’t find in stores. Pros: Shiners are a readily available food source for many river and reservoir rainbow trout especially in the mountain states. © 2020 Copyright Freshwater Fishing Advice, 10 Best Live Baits to Use Fishing for Rainbow Trout, If you want an unfair advantage over other anglers and to get your hands on some of the best and hardest to acquire baits and lures on the market, you need to check out Mystery Tackle Box. FreshwaterFishingAdvice is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Some large rainbow trout will devour them whereas others may completely ignore them even if hungry. It’s useless to fish them during the winter. Cons: Grasshoppers are not very tough. Maggots have been a firm favourite bait for trout anglers for decades. You can catch your own using minnow bait traps or casting nets. You can remember this as you begin your search. The more natural your presentation here the better. You can buy tubs of nightcrawlers or worms in most local bait and tackle shops. Bait shops almost never carry sculpins as bait sources. Rainbow trout chase bait that has a slow and easy drift. The small white grubs provide a tasty wriggly snack that trout struggle to refuse. Minnows and other smaller bait fish are obviously one the most natural baits for rainbow trout that you can use. During major salmon runs, minnows lose their effectiveness since trout become so focused on consuming eggs while they last. They can be kept in a plastic container with some good quality dirt. When the bite is tough, these 2-inch floating worms fish well drifted through large holes. Pros: Salmon eggs are arguably the best rainbow trout bait you can use in river systems. You can also find them during the day by looking under any type of object that has been placed on the dirt or ground for a few weeks. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Wet Fly 5. Season: Corn will work year-round. Want to Know the Best Time of Day to Fish? That’s not natural. Cons: Suckers can be tough to acquire. I'm addicted to having a big bend in my fishing rod, regardless of what I'm using on the other end. When I fish stocked lakes I will often use sweetcorn as bait. For a complete breakdown of everything you need for trout fishing, If you’d like to learn more about rainbow trout fishing, check out our, link to Will Salmon Bite at Night? Small Spoon 9. Allow the hopper to kick and swim at the surface. Trout are often a challenge to catch as they take patience and skill, and can either be caught using a rod and reel or by fly fishing. The Most Popular Baits for Catching Rainbow Trout. You can use this fact to great advantage. Copyright text 2019 by Lake Ontario Outdoors. They are a good live bait option to use jigging, drift fishing, and especially trolling for large open-water trout. Pros: Smelt are one of the best baits for lake and reservoir rainbow trout. For smaller creeks and streams a 2 or 4 lb rated monofilament should be good enough once you move to larger waters then it is time to move up to 6 lb line. Several types of bait are commonly used in stock lakes. If you’d like to learn more about rainbow trout fishing, check out our complete guide to rainbow trout. Nightcrawlers are without doubt the all time classic brown trout bait but they are also extremely effective for rainbow trout. A single grasshopper will not catch you multiple fish. Dry Fly 6. Regardless of the method you’ll use to fish with them, always hook the minnow through the lip to allow for natural swimming action and minimal damage to the minnow. There are 7 species of Salmon in North American waterways and they are incredibly valued targets for fishermen. Season: Fathead minnows will work best year-round. The biggest key when using live worms as bait for trout is … Live bait is a better choice because the unpredictable movements small fish and bugs make will attract predators like rainbow trout. Find schools of baitfish and work your bait near the perimeters of these schools. Liveones always work best, but even dead ones work in current. You may occasionally find them in larger rivers but never in small streams. How to: Hook a 2-4 inch sucker through the upper lip and allow the bait to swim freely. Anything else will make the rod feel unbalanced. These, in my opinion, are some of the best/ top trout baits out there. They don’t put up the best fight like your bass, salmon and northern pike, but they sure make up for it in taste. Think of how a feather floats through the air. Lake Ontario Outdoors is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. Cast above large pools and let the current carry your bait to waiting trout. They can be caught in small nets or bought prepackages from a bait shop. Large reservoir fish dine on smelt as part of their regular diet in many waterways. Pros: Baitfish make up a large portion of an adult rainbow trout’s annual diet. Some large rivers may contain smelt but small mountain streams don’t. Season: Your best bet to catch rainbow trout with worms or nightcrawlers is during the late spring and summer. Let’s take a closer look into each of these live bait options and give you my breakdown of each…. Worms are also not a naturally occurring part of a trout’s diet. They are best caught in traps as catching on rod and line can be tricky. Season: The best time to fish reservoir trout with smelt is during the peak of summer by trolling or jigging. They are also active at night, which helps during dusk or night fishing. Now this is obviously the simplified version of bait fishing. Live Worms - Live worms, such as night crawlers and red worms, are an excellent bait for rainbow trout. Once they begin to acclimatize to their new environment they will quickly learn what natural foods are available and start to focus on those depending on the time of year. They want the thrill of the chase, and they’re attracted to the movement. At this time of year rainbow trout will feed almost exclusively on salmon eggs. How to: Don’t waste your time trying to fish crayfish to reservoir trout. Cons: There aren’t many cons honestly. Cons: Only really effective during short windows associated with salmon spawns; Won’t work well on eastern rainbows nor on reservoir trout; Will seem out of place to trout in rivers that don’t see salmon runs. The best time I think is during the early summer before waters really heat up. I’ll tell you what fly rods, spinning rods, flies, castable fish finders, and waders you need to be more successful than anyone else on the water. To fish for river and stream fish, hook a crayfish between 2-3 inches long through the midsection of the tail. This is especially true of stocked or hatchery-raised trout that grow accustomed to grain-meals. I grew up fishing for anything that swims but really cut my teeth fishing for trout, chain pickerel, bass, and bullheads in my teenage years. There are several different rigging methods that you can try but I have found the best method is to use a good quality trout hook and hook them through the back. The bottom line is that flies are an excellent bait for catching trout of all kinds, including rainbow trout. Some waterways forbid the use of minnows altogether. Using a simple setup you can drift a salmon egg down and across a river to great effect. Though not as in demand as minnows, trout can consume sculpin as part of their regular diet. Smelt is a luxury bait that works great but is tough to come by. Presented on the right day, maggots can outfish artificial baits. Minnows are competent in both still and moving waters, cold, or warm liquids. Although it is not a natural food item for rainbow trout, they seem to love it! It can be either natural or artificial. Look under logs, large flat stones and pieces of plastic. How to: To best fish worms, hook a worm a couple of times to a single hook and present the bait slightly upstream of a large promising pool. Choosing the best Powerbait for trout however is not always and easy task. Hopefully we can take some of the guess work out of how you approach fishing with this artificial bait. If you can time your fishing with salmon runs, you may also enjoy good success. I think the best way to present sculpin to trout is by letting the current carry the bait into deep pools where big trout are likely sitting. Although you can find natural salmon eggs to use and they are very effective in this instance I actually prefer the artificial versions as they can be kept in a jar for a very long time with out loosing their freshness. Many states are now banning the process so always make sure to read your local fishing regulations before using live fish as bait. If hooked improperly, they can die very fast or lose their will to kick. Click here to read. Small Plug or Jerkbait 10. This minimizes damage to the sculpin and allow it to swim about free. Smelt may be tough to acquire from bait stores or catching them yourselves. Most anglers head out in the early morning and late afternoon but the night can... Ice Fishing Holes: Diameter, Distance, Patterns, Target Fish. 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