Best Bait For Trout (Natural & Artificial Trout Baits)

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Angling for trout is a pastime amongst American outdoorsmen that spans generations.

From the early settlers to today’s anglers, fishing for trout has been not only a source of sustenance but also a game of cat and mouse between the wiley fish and the angler.

Though the joy of trout fishing has stayed the same, much of the tackle has been updated since man’s first cast.

One of the most significant advances has been the development of baits. When it comes to angling for trout, many artificial and few natural baits can help you stack an icebox in no time.

Below we cover how to fish for trout with bait and what baits we recommend to pack your stringers. 

best bait for trout
Source: Flickr

How to Angle for Trout with Bait


There are a few simple steps to setting up a suspended bait beneath a bobber. Place the bait on the hook, and fix a small lead weight directly above the hook but beneath the bobber. Depending on the environment, the distance between the hook and the bobber should be between 1.5 to 3 feet.

This setup works well and still or slightly moving water and can be accentuated by a slight movement to the cork, jiggling the bait beneath the water’s surface.


Bait fishing off the bottom allows anglers to work for trout at various depths.

This method does not utilize a bobber; instead, a hook is baited and placed on the line with a lead weight approximately 1 1/2 feet further up the line. The lead weight sinks to the bottom wall the bait can float up into the water column.

Depending on the depth of the water, anglers may wish to adjust the distance between the weight and hook.

This angling technique is perfect for anyone looking to run several rods at once as it requires little maintenance for anglers in a scenario with running or fast-flowing water.

In these situations, the moving water flickers the bait in its current, presenting it as an easy meal to any trout who happen by it. 

Time and Place

Time and place are critical to successfully angling for trout with bait. Depending on both the time of day and year, anglers may find themselves throwing an appeal that is nearly always successful yet yielding no results. 

Matching the bait with seasonally relevant food sources will only work to the angler’s advantage.

While Maggots may work year-round, salmon eggs are seasonal and may be more or less effective depending on the month. Also, flashy chartreuse or sparkling bait may work well in high ilium parts of the day when the sun is more prevalent, while more muted tones may work better in the low ilium.

There are also glow-in-the-dark baits that can work well but don’t ride the hype train too hard. The best trick is a combination of odor, sight, and the ability to match the naturally occurring food chain environments. 

Best Trout Baits

1. Berkley Power Bait

Best all-around bait

Price: $3.96

  • 39 combinations of color and scent
  • Slow to dissolve
  • Walks and talks like live bait
  • Has outperformed real salmon eggs 

Berkeley Power Bait sets the standard of excellence for catching stocked trout. With a higher success rate than any other brand, it’s hard for these beautiful submarine creatures to resist the unique concoction. Molded into a putty that contains a proprietary blend, it lures in trout like a lighthouse in a storm. 

Made from a unique formula that not only floats in a way that attracts fish but also emits a fragrance impossible to resist, this bait works well in a suspended water column, like a lightbulb to a moth.

Depending on the water conditions, there are various bait colors, and Berkeley makes it easy to choose one that works best for you. Berkeley power bait lineup includes glitter and garlic-scented offerings and the glow-in-the-dark option for those night anglers. Any of these are excellent options as bait.

Note: Fish that swim close to the water surface should be strategized for by shortening up the line between a bobber and the hook.

Bating power bait on the hook comes in a few simple steps.

1: First, obtain the power bait and remove the small spears from the container.

2: Form the power bait into a ball, rolling it between your palms. Ensure that it is solid and free of any holes or splits, as water will instantly seep in and fracture the sphere, causing it to slip from the hook.

3: Finally, thread the ball onto the hook. Ensure that the barb and majority of the hook are covered in this malleable bait to guarantee an excellent proper strike

2. Berkley Micetails

Best Bait Combo

Price: $4.99

  • Combination of worm and salmon egg
  • The contrast in head and tail color
  • Vibrant and free moving

Or another incredibly effective way of angling for trout. This concoction of eggs and grubs created by Berkeley is a type of soft plastic bait that appears to be the amalgamation of a salmon egg and grub. The odd-looking Laura has made a name by becoming a staple in any trout angler’s arsenal.

Like power bait, it floats due to a similar composition; however, I am still composed of two distinct colors. The egg is in one hue, and the tail is in a contrasting color, allowing for two separate hook placements on the same bait. 

Because of the tail shape, this bait swims with an incredibly natural motion that makes it difficult for any trout to resist as the egg provides a level of buoyancy, keeping it perfectly placed in the water column.

There are two ways to go about baiting a hook with a mouse’s tail.

  • Place the hook through the head of the lure to allow the tail to dangle amidst the water.
  • The second is to hook through the bottom, which allows for a stronger hookset as more of the hook is exposed.

3. Maggots

Most natural bait

Price: Free, or check your local bait store

  • Often a natural food source
  • Common throughout the United States
  • Anglers can harvest this bait themselves
  • Inexpensive yet incredibly effective

A traditional bait that is most commonly thrown for both rainbow and brown trout, this go-to bait has been used for decades by anglers.

Both species have difficulty turning down this delectable little nibble that wriggles in the current, appearing in several little white grubs. Often, when presented properly, these will outfish artificial baits by miles.

Maggots are usually off-white but may come in a variety of hues. This is introduced to their meal and diet during their upbringing. The more colorful the larva, the easier it is for fish to locate in various water conditions.

Maggots are best fished directly or near the bottom of the body of water. However, on sandy or stony bottoms, the bait and hook may disappear into the floor. To make them stand out, a pop-up rigging method is used, which displays the maggot at an elevated position away from the floor.

When placing a maggot on a fishing hook, there are 2 ways to go about this.

1. Normal

  • Obtain the maggot and ensure that the flat end is facing the hook tip wall grasping the tapered end.
  • Thread the maggot onto the hook, and continue this process until the whole hook theme is covered.

2. Popped up

  • Using a piece of cylindrical foam, roll it in fashion into a maggot as best you can. Once the form is designed, it must be threaded onto the hook. ThreadedIncorporated by its flat end, the hook pin should protrude halfway out of the pop-up’s body. These lifelike pop-ups may be mixed with actual maggots for maximum efficiency.

4. Berkley Honey Worms

Best artificial insect larvae bait

  • It was initially meant for Panfish
  • Resembles insect larvae
  • WorksIt works well under a bobber
  • It is naturally colored with one inch1-inch frame

Another excellent bait for trout in the situation is the Berkeley power bait honey worms. These insect larvae are a common food source for trout, and their tiny worms are fastened to replicate them to the tea. An artificial bait that’s an inch long, they come 55 worms to a container.

These enhanced worms come with Berkeley’s secret aroma and flavor, attracting fish. And rainbow trout fisheries, these realistic bug imitations are increasingly popular and come in various colors for different types of water.

A more natural alternative to the power bait and mice tails, the Berkeley power bait honey worms have a great flavor and excellent scent in the water, attracting fish from all over.

When hooking up a power honey worm, there are a few steps.

Honey worms are easily hooked; thread them from the tail, sweating them with the hook tip coming midway through the bait. Leaving half the bitt dangling from the hook allows trout to confidently take a bite out of the appeal before realizing anything is wrong with this “free meal.”

5. Berkley Powerbait Trout Nuggets

Best stocked bait

Price: $5.44

  • Easily hooked preformed nuggets
  • Eye grabbing colors
  • Irresistible scent
  • A formula that allows the bait to hold 18 times longer than other baits

The fifth recommended bait is Berkeley’s trout bait nuggets. These high-quality pellets mimic the diet of stock trout everywhere. An effective imitation, these brown granules are pliable and easily formed into a ball to shape the hook.

Incredibly malleable, these trout nuggets are infused with a signature aroma and flavor from the proprietary Berkeley blend, making them an absolute delicacy to trout everywhere. 

Resembling the power bait in both buoyancy and composition, the trout bait nuggets come only in a singular color. However, they do come in two distinct flavor combinations. These two flavors, natural and cheese, are trout magnets from when they hit the water.

You should purchase both flavors, as stocked trout. Trout can be incredibly picky eaters at times. Having both available increases your chances of success on the water with a backup plan.

In the United States, trout fishing is a time-honored tradition enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts throughout the generations. Trout fishing has served as both a source of food and entertainment for people of all ages.

From pioneers to modern-day fishers, the thrill of catching trout hasn’t changed, but the evolution of bait has made it far more accessible. 

Anglers serious about capitalizing on artificial baits such as much of Berkley’s catalog and natural ones like maggots should pay attention to environmental factors and water speed to determine the best rig and bait to use when using bait to angle for trout. As always, good luck, and stay safe out on the water.

Fishing tip! If you’re fishing for trout in rivers, these are the best trout lures for river fishing!

Jacob Pelle
Fishing Expert
Jake Pelle is a third-generation outdoorsman and Eagle Scout. He grew up fishing ponds and rivers in South Louisiana and Mississippi and graduated to fishing brackish/marsh and coastal waters for redfish, drum, and speckled trout. When not on a flat range, he can be found with rod and reel in hand searching for the next greatest fishing hole in South Louisiana.
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