Spring is here and that means trout season is as well. Time to dust off the rod, stock the tackle box and hit the stream. But what bait should you bring?
Trout are not especially finicky eaters, likely to take a swipe at almost anything shiny or even remotely resembling a tasty morsel. But that doesn’t mean that some baits are more productive , or productive on a more steady basis, than others. These constant producers are what you want in your tackle box on Opening Day.
Nightcrawlers are one of the best baits for both stocked and wild trout. Not only are they cheap and readily available (you can dig them in you flower bed or pick up at any bait shop) they are easy to use. Simply thread them onto your hook and cast away. They stay on for a long time and you might even catch multiple fish on one worm.
Minnows are any small fish caught or sold for bait and specific species vary from location to location. For the best results you want to use minnows native to the area you are fishing. This is what native fish will be looking for and what stocked trout will become accustomed to in short order. They entice trout with a combination of movement and shine – both appealing to any fish. The only down side is the need to carry live minnows in water. If you do not wish to be burdened with keeping minnows alive try salting them- simply fill a small plastic bag with minnows (live or recently dead) and salt, let sit over night and you are ready to go.
Paste bait revolutionized trout fishing and Berkley PowerBait is without a doubt the leader in the field. It uses a combination of colors and odor to attract fish. It naturally floats off the bottom, making it more easily located. With the right color selection it can be visible from great distances, making it even easier for fish to find. Many anglers swear by the brown color for stocked trout as it resembles the pellet food feed in hatcheries. Honestly, after years of fishing for stocked trout I don’t think it matters. In fact I have found that brighter colors are more consistent and any color mixed with glitter and garlic scent works wonders in any situation.
Those tiny little marshmallows you put in your kid’s hot chocolate are also an excellent trout bait. Like PowerBait they are available in a variety of colors and naturally float – again making them highly visible. Unlike paste baits they leave no messy residue on your fingers nor do they smell like garlic. I also believe they stay on the hook better. Plus, they can be snacked on between bites. I find the best way to use them is by putting two or three on a small hook with a small lead sinker and then just cast into your favorite hole.
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