HuntnFish has spent many years on the water fishing and has caught nearly every species of fish in Washington State.
After the feedback I received from Top 5 Trout Lures, I figured it was time I compile the top-performing trout baits. After all, sometimes there is nothing better than just relaxing on the shoreline, sipping a cold drink, and letting the bait do all the work for you. Also, bait fishing is perfect when taking kids along.
5. Pautzke Salmon Eggs
This one has been around forever. The effectiveness of a salmon egg is dependent on two things: the quality of the egg and the egg cure. Pautzke got both of these right with its eggs. They have been around for over 70 years, so history speaks for itself here, with millions of jars sold since that time.
- Shiny texture and perfect size make it a visually attractive bait for fish
- Keep fairly well
- Not particularly messy
- Pleasant smell (at least I think so)
The Not So Good:
- Sinking (not necessarily bad, just depends on the bait rig)
- Weaker scent trail than some other baits
How to fish with salmon eggs:
Since they are a sinking bait, Pautzke eggs can either be fished under a bobber or float, suspended off the bottom in tandem with a floating bait, drifted along the bottom in current, or added to trolled lures to entice more strikes.
Pautzke Salmon Eggs
4. Scented Marshmallows
I remember as a kid walking up from Lake Wannacut with my dad observing a fellow fisherman with an impressive haul of trout. My father asked what he was using and he told us marshmallows. I was confused, to say the least. Of course, he wasn't referring to the kind I had been roasting over the fire just the night before, but rather scented dyed marshmallows, produced with trout fishing in mind. Atlas-Mikes are a favorite brand of many fishermen.
- Very floaty (unless they start to go stale)
- Variety of scents and colors, with the option of glitter
- Relatively unmessy
The Not So Good:
- Don't keep as well as some other baits (be sure to keep the jar closed, and keep water out)
How to fish with marshmallows:
Read More From Skyaboveus
Since this is a floating bait, rig as usual using an egg sinker or split shot, and suspend off the bottom. Additional sinking baits, a salmon egg for example, can be added to the rig to create an attention-grabbing trout buffet.
The nightcrawler is the oldest bait on my list, and arguably one of the oldest baits of all time. They catch fish in salt water, fresh water, rivers, lakes, anywhere really. I've caught bass, flounder, dogfish, perch, crappy, bluegill, and of course trout, as well as many other species of fish, all on nightcrawlers.
- Catch a variety of fish in addition to trout, you never know what you might pull up
- Available most places
- You can dig, or even farm your own.
- Relatively inexpensive
- Best "action" of any of the baits listed here
The Not So Good:
- Some may object to using live bait.
- Difficult to thread on the hook
- Slimy and messy
- Do not keep well (keep cool, damp and dark for best life, but still only a few weeks at tops)
- Minimal scent trail
How to fish with nightcrawlers:
Just like salmon eggs. Suspend from a bobber or float, float off the bottom with a marshmallow or other floating bait, drift in the current, or add to a trolled or cast lure. For most trout, a whole nightcrawler is overkill, half or third of a worm will do just fine.
2. Berkley Power Eggs
Berkley Power Eggs are a fairly recent addition to the trout fisherman's arsenal. They are the less messy and longer-lasting cousin of dough-style baits. The traditional egg style is likely the most popular, however, the same formula is available in numerous other shapes, with one of my personal favorites being the Honey Worm.
- Low mess
- A wide variety of colors, styles, scents, and glitter patterns
- Stay on the hook very well
- Very long shelf life
- Good scent dispersion
The Not So Good:
- About the furthest thing from a natural bait as you can get
How to fish with Power Eggs:
The egg style of bait is a floating formula, so fish similarly to the marshmallow baits. Either use one or multiple eggs per hook. When using some of their other molded baits, the Honey Worms for example, be aware that they naturally sink, so keep this in mind when tying your rigs.
1. Berkley Powerbait Dough Bait
I know I'll probably get a little flack from a couple fishermen for picking an artificial bait for the number one spot, but my rationale is simple: Berkley Powerbait has put the most fish in my boat. For a substantial stretch of my childhood, the question was never what bait to use, but simply what color of Powerbait to use.
- Mold-able, easy to cover whole hook while still keeping it bite size
- Wide variety of colors, scents, and added glitters
- Relatively long shelf life (just keep the lids tight)
- Absorb and hold additional scents well
The Not So Good:
- Somewhat off-putting smell
- Doesn't stay on the hook as well as others (mostly only a problem with old bait)
How to fish with Powerbait:
Form a ball of the dough just large enough to cover the hook completely. Fish as you would the other floating bait like Power Eggs or Marshmallows.
My No. 1 Trout Bait Recommendation
I Want to Hear From You!
I would love to hear your feedback. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments section below, I'd be glad to help!
Everything You Need to Know to Catch More Fish!
- Getting Started: Basic Trout Fishing Set-Up
- Monofilament Fishing Line: How to Choose the Right One
- Spinner Fishing for Trout: Tips and Tricks
- Top 5 Trout Lures
Sandy on August 31, 2020:
Pink or orange mice tails worms is the only thing that worked for me this summer,catch and release
Lonnie Hartman on June 01, 2019:
I've landed 110 trout from the middle of March til the end of May. 22 on yellow powerbait the other 88 on a joes flies brown hackle. The only spinner i use and have used for years. Trout fishing all depends on the fisherman, how he fishes and what works best for him.
Ramon on May 04, 2019:
I have a lot of luck with either mice tails the pink ones and/or dough bait.
Jeri on April 30, 2019:
Had good luck catching a 19 “ trout 2 hook set up down from the swivel and weight about 8-10” and a1 1/2” tag I put a very small treble hook put power bait on it down from that another 12-14” a very small hook , on that I put a mouse tail bait on it pink color, I had someone at the lake help me with this set up as I am a fly fisher woman and do not usually use a spin rod.....but the lake I went to the don’t like flys at the tackle shop they call them lazy fish..
T-Roy on April 25, 2019:
Minnows. Only problem is there not always easy to get.
Joe on April 04, 2019:
Rolling a piece of whole wheat brown bread into a ball around a #12 treble hook works best for me. Dipping it into Anise oil works well too.
huntnfish (author) from Washington on September 06, 2018:
Thank you for the comment. Regarding artificial baits specifically, I'll be honest, I don't have an answer to your question. I'm going to need to do a little research.
You bring up a very important topic though. Fisherman really need to be conservationists first, and fisherman second. We need to ask ourselves what is the impact of the fishing we are doing, and what more can we do to ensure that habitats and fish populations stay healthy (or better yet, improve). Choosing lower impact methods of fishing, not keeping more than we realistically plan to eat, practicing safer catch & release (barbless hooks, knotless nets), taking a garbage bag with us to the river and cleaning up after less conscientious visitors on our way out, checking engine fuel lines for leaks or drips, helping stop the spread of invasive species like zebra mussels; these all help with the improvement of the environment.
At a slightly higher level, its worth considering that all the sales of fishing gear, not only the bait, but the rods, reels, and tackle needed to use the gear is taxed for the specific use of conservation and habitat restoration (Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act). Additionally, sales of fishing licenses further go towards wildlife management and habitat restoration. So there is some implicit level of cyclic impact and restoration that exists there.
With that said, many states have begun to pass legislation restricting certain types of fishing gear that is known to be harmful to habitats, specifically lead fishing weights. There was recently a national bill passed that would ban lead fishing weights by 2022, but was later over turned. It will resurface, I'm sure.
I wouldn't be surprised if certain other types of fishing gear and baits come under increased scrutiny in the coming years.
So, I don't have the answer to your original question, but I am going to look into it.
Thanks for the thoughts!
dave on September 18, 2017:
I have had the best luck with power bait on fresh planters. Native trout or old planters (1 month) don't seem to take powerbait as well. Powerbait mimics the artificial food used in hatcheries, so planted trout are used to it. After they have been in the wild for a time they seem to prefer more natural baits.
stefano flocchini on March 14, 2014:
I use European Night Crawlers that are Have the size of a regular crawler ,but Larger than a Regular redworm
The are easy to put on a hook and very Lively .
Seth D on April 08, 2013:
Well for a small story I went fishing with my friend trever several times and I grew up fishing with my dad and brother. My friend trever didn't do much fishing but loves it just as much as me. We go out and I catch 4 or 5 trout out at my spot and he doesn't catch anything. So after a few times I start rigging up his line just like mine. Same story. We both use powerbait marshmallows now. He just didn't know when the time to strike was. And how to use certain lures and what not. But I gues I just like a hook with mallow. A weight and a bobber. And I catch fish all day long.
Alberic O from Any Clime, Any Place on December 03, 2012:
Regarding the worms sinking, you can use a worm blower or marshmallows to make them float.
JustCrafty on July 07, 2012:
In Maine we use angle worms for brook trout fishing for rainbow trout.