Best Trout Baits for Ponds

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Best Trout Baits for Ponds
Best Trout Baits for Ponds

Do you want to fish for trout in your local pond? Do you know what bait to use for those trout?

If you don’t, then this article will help you. I’ll cover the best bait for trout pond, where to find trout in a pond, and how to catch them.

The Best Pond Trout Baits

Trout, especially pond trout, are not very picky. They will eat just about anything that smells good. However, they do love some types of bait more than others. Here are some of those baits:

Note: These baits are for wild pond trout. It also applies to pond trout that have spent more than a few weeks in the wild. Freshly stocked pond trout behave differently than wild trout.

Nightcrawlers

Nightcrawlers for Trout Fishing

Nightcrawlers, also known as earthworms to non-fishermen, are the best natural bait for catching pond trout. They’re easy to fish and relatively affordable (or free if you dig them yourself). You can fish them in a variety of ways, too.

Really, all you have to do is attach them to your hook and put it in the water. Some people freeline worms, others add weight to go off the bottom, and some fishermen use a bobber to get to the middle of the water column.

Overall, nightcrawlers are easy to use, affordable, and versatile. You can’t go wrong with using them when going for trout.


Corn

Corn is actually a fairly effective bait for catching trout. I know, that surprises most people, but it really does work. And it’s cheap since you can use any canned corn.

My favorite part of using corn is that it’s really hard for it to fall off your hook. You do need a small hook for corn. I recommend an #8 or #10 hook for corn. Also, add a few split shots above the hook so the corn sinks to the bottom. You can fish it on the top, but most people fish corn on the bottom. Here’s a great soft corn bait on Amazon.


Berkley PowerBait Trout Bait

Berkley PowerBait Trout Bait

No artificial bait beats Berkley PowerBait when it comes to catching pond trout. For those unaware of PowerBait, it is simply a piece of scented plastic “dough” that you can mold to the hook. It works so well that some fishermen consider it cheating, but I don’t. It’s just part of fishing.

This stuff works well in all conditions. And Berkley sells it in a bunch of different colors to make it even more versatile. In my experience, the rainbow colored PowerBait works best in all conditions because it has a mix of light and dark colors. Some fishermen do well with the yellow or green PowerBait, though. You really should experiment with a few different colors.

Despite that, I still recommend starting with rainbow colored PowerBait. If that doesn’t work, then try the yellow or green PowerBait. Trout won’t bite the same color that everyone else in your area uses, so do pay attention to other fishermen.

You can find them on Amazon right here.

You should also use PowerBait trout bait with as small of a hook as possible – the smaller the better. And make sure to use a 12” leader so the bait sits just above the grass. If your line comes up with a bunch of grass and algae on it, then add another 12” to your leader. The bait must be out of the grass to catch trout.

Unfortunately, PowerBait is a little expensive and tends to fall off the hook, so I only recommend using it if the trout aren’t biting nightcrawlers. However, if you have a bigger fishing budget, then you will do very well only using PowerBait trout bait. As I said earlier, some fishermen consider it cheating since it’s so effective.

One last thing, trout have a tendency to swallow PowerBait, so I only recommend using it if you plan on keeping the trout.


Salmon Eggs

Salmon eggs are a popular choice for a variety of freshwater fish. Of course, they work well for the non-picky pond trout.

I recommend putting two or three eggs on a very small hook (#10-#14). I know, that is a small hook, but you will just have to put more salmon eggs on a bigger hook.

You can fish salmon eggs at any level. I usually like to fish them under a bobber. But for pond trout, you will have more success fishing salmon eggs off the bottom with a few split shot weights. I use salmon eggs when the trout aren’t biting nightcrawlers.

The only downside with using salmon eggs as bait is that they cost a little more than nightcrawlers. Also, make sure that you tightly close the lid after opening it. The eggs will dry out if exposed to too much air.

These are the Salmon eggs I use on Amazon.


Honey Worms

Honey worms are another PowerBait. They are actually officially called Berkley PowerBait Honey Worms, but I’ll just refer to them as honey worms for simplicity.

The honey worms are scented, just like all powerbaits. This makes them great for cloudy days or murky water. But I really like honey worms because you can fish them higher in the water column. This makes them the perfect choice for cloudy days and colder weather.

Personally, I recommend using honey worms as a backup option. If you aren’t having much success with nightcrawlers, spinners, or spoons, then try a honey worm higher in the water column.

Of course, don’t bother with honey worms on the surface if it’s a bright, hot day. Trout never feed above themselves on a bright day.

Here are some great honey worms from Berkley on Amazon.


Spinners and Spoons

Spinners and spoons work well for catching trout. However, you have better options (listed above) if you’re fishing a pond. In a bigger pond, a heavier spoon will often draw trout off the bottom.

As far as spinners, anglers have caught trout for the past 50 years with rooster tails. Look for a lighter weight ⅛ oz to 1/16 oz if you’re fishing for trout under 12” (common in ponds). Anything heavier will often scare the trout.

Here’s a great set of spinners on Amazon. 


Soft Plastics

Soft plastics also work well for trout, but you do have to use the proper rig. In my opinion, a straight tail worm on a drop-shot rig works best for trout. Just drop it in the deeper part of the pond, and jiggle it around.

Now, you don’t need a massive worm like you do in bass fishing. I recommend a 6” straight worm on a drop shot rig. The color depends on the time of day and water conditions, obviously. Clear water will require a lighter plastic. A darker plastic works best in darker water.

Try to keep it about 12” off the grass. You can go a little lower or higher, but try to keep it lower in the water column. Remember, trout tend to stay near the bottom, and they don’t normally attack bait higher in the water column when it’s bright.

Here’s a pretty good worm for trout fishing on Amazon.


How to Find Trout in a Pond

Finding pond trout is actually much easier than finding trout in a river, lake, or reservoir. This is because a pond is small, and doesn’t have many spots that a trout will like.

Simply fish the deepest part of the pond. I recommend fishing deeper in the summer months, but you will probably still have to fish fairly deep in the winter.

Now, if the pond you fish has some structure or inflow, then you should try fishing those areas if nothing bites in the deepest part.

How Stocked Trout Behave

Trout Behavior In a Pond

Many of the trout you find in a pond are actually stocked fish. This means that they were raised on a fish farm, and then placed in the pond. These trout will behave very differently than a wild trout. This unusual behavior only lasts for a week or two, though. Trout fall back on their instincts after enough time in the wild.

Anyway, here are some of the behaviors of freshly stocked pond trout.

Schooling

Farm raised trout are raised in big containers, and are forced to school with other trout. They continue with that habit when released into the wild.

For those that don’t know, trout don’t school in nature. They do congregate in the good areas, but they do not run in schools.

If you see schooling trout in a pond, then you know that the pond has recently been stocked with trout.

Bait

Freshly stocked trout will target completely different bait than wild trout. Think about it, the trout have been raised on a diet of brown pellets dropped in the water.

As you may have guessed, freshly stocked trout will eat pretty much any brown object that falls in the water. You will often see them attacking acorns, leafs, and twigs.

Now, what does this mean for bait?

Well, freshly stocked trout often won’t recognize real bait like worms. And they aren’t really scared of humans. In fact, many trout fishermen have had success by dropping a nightcrawler directly in front of a freshly stocked pond trout. I’ve even heard of trout fishermen using colored marshmallows to catch trout the day after they are stocked.

Location

Trout Location In a Pond

Trout will normally stay near the bottom of the water column, and freshly stocked pond trout are no different in that regard. However, they will often stay 18 inches above the bottom. That height often mimics the distance in a farm raised environment.

If the water at the bottom is too cold, then the trout will stay 18 inches below the surface.

One last thing, they will often stick closer to shore. My theory is that the shoreline closely resembles the walls of a fish farm.

The Best Fishing Line for Pond Trout

Trout aren’t big fish, so you don’t need a heavy line to catch them. 4-6 pound test is commonly used to catch trout. 4 pound test is more common than 6 pound test, but they both work fine. Some adventurous trout fishermen will even use 2 pound test. It’s definitely fun using 2 pound test to catch trout. However, you are much more likely to break such a light line.

Here is what I commonly use on Amazon.

As for monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braided, that’s mostly personal preference. I prefer braided line since it will last multiple seasons, doesn’t stretch, and it’s much more sensitive than fluorocarbon or mono. You should use a mono or fluorocarbon leader with it, though.

You also use mono or fluorocarbon line for trout. Some trout fishermen like using a fluorocarbon leader if using a mono main line. Personally, I don’t think that’s necessary, but you may get a few more bites with that setup. You will also save your main line since the leader will break before the main line breaks.

The Best Fishing Rod & Reel for Pond Trout

Rods

Pond trout, especially stocked pond trout, don’t put up too much of a fight. They just don’t have the size. Due to that lack of strength, I recommend using an ultra-light or light rod when fishing for pond trout. An ultra-light rod will make your 9” trout feel like a 10 pound bass, which is pretty exciting.

You can also use lighter spinners and spoons with an ultra-light pole. I don’t recommend using a pole with a higher action than light – it’s just not practical. One last thing, make sure the rod is 6 to 7 feet. You can go shorter (5’6”), but I don’t recommend a rod longer than 7 feet.

Reels

I recommend a small spinning reel for freshwater trout fishing. Something in the 1000 to 2500 size range should work fine. I find a smaller reel more convenient, but some fishermen like that a bigger reel holds extra line.

You should look for reels that have a strong drag if you plan on fishing for wild trout. Wild trout put up a much stronger fight than a stocked trout. If you’re going for stocked trout, then you will use a looser drag than you’re probably used to using.

Trout Bait for Ponds – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best bait for pond trout?

The best bait for pond trout is Berkley PowerBait trout bait. It works so well that some trout fishermen consider it cheating, which is a little ridiculous.

If you want to use natural bait for trout, then I recommend nightcrawlers. Corn also works surprisingly well, but not as well as nightcrawlers.

What hook should I use for pond trout?

A size 8 to size 14 hook will work fine for pond trout. Some fishermen use a treble hook with PowerBait, but that’s not necessary. You definitely don’t want a big hook when fishing for trout.

What is the difference between stocked trout and wild trout?

Stocked trout eat pretty much anything that falls in the water, which makes them fairly easy to catch. They also fight less than wild trout. Wild trout tend to taste better, though.

Can I use earthworms from my backyard as bait for trout?

Of course, those are the same worms that trout in ponds eat. Just make you hook it properly.

How do I hook a nightcrawler for trout?

You have three options for hooking a nightcrawler.

The most popular way is to put the hook near the head, slide the worm up the hook about an inch, and then hook the worm again. This method looks natural, and it will stay on the hook.

If you are drop shotting, then you should just hook it through the head. The worm often falls off when hooked this way, so watch your cast.

Finally, you can hook the worm by going through the head and then pushing the worm around the hook. A worm hooked this way won’t fall off, which is convenient.

Final Thoughts

That about covers it for the best bait for trout fishing in a pond. Trout bite pretty much all the usual freshwater baits, but they seem to really love Berkley PowerBait trout bait. I like going with that whenever possible. And no, it isn’t “cheating” if you use PowerBait to catch trout.

The other consideration is whether your pond has stocked trout or wild trout. Most ponds, in my experience, have stocked trout. However, you will still find some wild trout in ponds (descendents of stocked trout), which is why I included information on catching them.

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