Trout. We often associate trout habitats with the crystal clear water of cold mountain streams or pine-fringed lakes with sand bottoms.
However, most anglers fail to realize that a significant trout population is stocked and residing in their favorite lakes and rivers.
These trout spend most of their lives before entering the wild in a pond or tank surrounded by others of their kind, fed the same diet daily, and ripened for the harvest.
Because stocked or “Truck Trout” spend their formative years in ponds or tanks, they often are incredibly picky with their dietary choices.
However, after some time of living in ponds, lakes, or streams, their pallet will adapt to that of the natural trout.
Here are four baits that will help ensure success when angling for stocked trout.
Powerbait is the number one best choice for catching stocked trout when making food pellets.
These truck trout are often raised on fish pellets or other generic fish foods at the hatchery that can be distributed en masse to the farm-bred schools as it mimics the food stocked trout were raised on. It is also pungent enough to draw in natural trout, making power baits an incredibly effective bait overall.
Though wild trout can often be incredibly skittish around objects that don’t look natural, stocked trout are inquisitive and are drawn to colorful, vibrant things.
Coming in various colors and flavors, powerbait’s effectiveness extends to the three common species of trout that are stocked (brook, brown, and rainbow). Colors such as yellow, orange, and pink work well with stocked rainbow trout because of their vibrancy.
We Recommend: Berkley PowerBait Natural Scent Glitter Trout Bait
One of the best powerbaits available in the Berkeley natural scent glitter trout bait. With a salmon egg smell, flavor enhancers, and flotsam-like design, this vivacious power bait is infused with glitter, which causes increased visibility due to its sparkle.
Due to its glitter-based light reflection, the appeal has increased visibility in both murkier water and from a greater distance.
- Salmon Egg odor
- Glitter infused
- High visibility
2. Salmon Eggs
A close second to Powerbait is salmon eggs. Favorite among anglers for stocked trout, this bait is a great source of protein and is still considered food by the fish even though it is not within their regular diet.
Because wild trout predate upon the eggs of other fish, the transition from the farmed to a natural diet allows wild and stocked trout to feast upon salmon eggs.
Best incorporated with a bobber and tiny hook, salmon eggs come in various colors. They range from yellow, red, and pink; these brightly colored baits work similarly to Powerbaits. These baits don’t go wrong and can last for months after opening.
Insider Tip: Salmon Eggs are soft and, if cast too hard, can fly off the hook.
We Recommend: Berkley Gulp! Alive! Floating Salmon Eggs
This beat works well in both still and moving water. This bait is marinated in the alive golf attractant, resembling real salmon eggs.
With 20% more potency, the salmon eggs will last a lifetime. Replace them in the jar and cast them again on the next trip.
- Gulp Attractant marinade
- Resembles true salmon eggs
- The flotation formula keeps off the bottom
- Works best on a #10 or smaller hook
3. Inline Spinners
In-line spinners can be incredibly successful due to their invitation of small baitfish making their way through the water.
Stocked trout raised on minnows or not, their predatory instincts remain intact. Running in-line spinners in front of stock trout will usually garner a strike reaction.
With stock trout, anglers looking to spice up their day on the water should incorporate in-line spinners, as the strikes will usually be more aggressive and exciting. Aggressive species such as brown trout have a high predatory drive and can easily be persuaded to strike on in-line spinners.
The spinners may vary depending on the environment and species anglers are chasing. Size, color, and retrieval techniques can all make a significant difference in the success of the fishing trip. If any initial methods or spinners fail, anglers should not give up but instead, try a different approach.
Insider Tip: Dragging a lure out of the current and through the cusp of a still pool is an excellent way to tease out any lurking trout.
We Recommend: Panther Martin Spinner
With over a half-century of experience in the water, the panther martin spinner is a tested and proven answer to a stocked trout picky palette.
With its concave/convex blades which emit sonic vibrations that attract fish and a weighted body, this lure casts like a bullet and returns in the same fashion.
Its directly mounted blade spins faster and more quickly due to its attachment to the shaft, while its quality hooks ensure that the catch stays on.
- Weighted body
- Rapidly spinning blade
- Convex/concave blade
4. Natural Baits
Similar to all other freshwater species, worms work well for stocked trout. One look is all it takes, and a floating worm becomes an easy snack. Reliable and excellent for multi-species angling, nightcrawlers are a solid bet when luring in stocked trout.
Insider tip: Dyeing or scenting the worms (purchased or done aftermarket) may increase an individual’s chances of snagging a stocked trout.
Often assumed to be an old wives tale, many old hands in the trout angling business swear by corn. Having experienced its potency firsthand in the water, corn can be incredibly effective on a hook and bobber.
When submerged, its bright yellow color stands out like a beacon and is small enough to cover a hook with kernels. One corn is all it takes, and anglers often have maxed out their stringers.
It doesn’t take long for stocked trout to acclimate to their new environment. In fact, within a week or so, stocked trout forage will have changed from their earlier diet to that of their new home.
Food sources such as insects and small fish become a mainstay, and anglers can use this to their advantage.
Dead, alive, or chunked, minnows can be incredibly advantageous under bobber and hook. The more potent the odor of these baitfish, the higher the chance of success. This is also in conjunction with the brightness of the minnow, mainly if they reflect a high level of sunlight.
Angling for stocked trout can be challenging—anglers looking to bring home a solid harvest of fish who don’t partake in the regular diet.
However, the difficulty can be circumvented by understanding that trout are attracted to sight and smell. With these two factors in mind, anglers can incorporate baits that capitalize on these two factors to their advantage.
Baits such as Powerbait, salmon eggs, and minnows permeate the water with their smell and sparkle, while lures such as inline spinners draw attention with their movement and flashy parts.
Above all, it is essential to remember that these are still trout. They will bite if the bait is right and the angler knows their craft. With all this in mind, best of luck, and stay on the water.