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How to Catch Stocked Trout

Fishing stocked trout ponds for almost 30 years has taught me one thing: wild and stocked are a HUGE difference.

Read on for some tips on how to increase your odds of catching rainbow trout.

Read on for some tips on how to increase your odds of catching rainbow trout.

The rainbow trout is one of the most popularly stocked fish in the world. These trout are found stocked in lakes, streams, rivers, and ponds all over the world, making it easy to fish for stocked trout in your own backyard.

While some people find it hard to catch trout with conventional gear, most will attest to it being a lot easier and simpler than many realize. Whether the trout stocked in your area are diploid rainbow trout or triploid rainbow trout, you will be able to catch them using the techniques and secrets to catching stocked trout found below.

So sit back, grab yourself a big ol' cup of coffee and get ready to take notes. I'm going to share my trout fishing success stories and hopefully help you catch more trout on your next outing!

Where to Find Trout

A good location to find trout is often the same place people look for bass and crappie during the warmer months.

A good location to find trout is often the same place people look for bass and crappie during the warmer months.

  • The first step in being able to fish for stocked trout and have any success is to find a local body of water that stocks them!
  • Most often you will be able to find all the information that you need about trout and their stockings on your local division of wildlife or natural resources website.
  • Most often times they are stocked in small streams or lakes around major metropolitan areas and sometimes in regular reservoirs as an additional species to fish for.
  • Make sure you keep up to date with the stocking regimen and you will be able to keep on your fishing rather easily.
  • Once you have located a body of water that holds stocked trout, the next challenge will be to pinpoint exactly where to fish for them.
  • Often in streams that hold the trout, they will be found in riffles and undercut banks, deep pools, and around current breaks.
  • In a reservoir or pond, you will find yourself most successful if you were to fish around cover for the trout.
  • Keep in mind that when trout are stocked, for the first day or two they will spend most of their time in the immediate area around where they were stocked.
  • Stocked trout are (supposedly) given a drug to keep them calm when they are planted into a new body of water so they do not stress too hard and acclimate quicker to their new ecosystem.

Common Baits Used to Catch Stocked Trout

When it comes to catching stocked trout, there are many things that are used as bait. I have listed, in order of effectiveness, the baits that I have found to work best.

  • Salmon Eggs - The absolute best bait I have found by itself, salmon eggs are quite easily one of the easiest to obtain and fish.
  • Powerbait - The old standby, Powerbait is, by far, the most widely known bait for stocked trout used by several generations to catch stocked trout.
  • Corn - A good old-fashioned standby. For reasons only speculated, stocked trout seem to love corn.
  • Minnows - It is a well-known fact that a larger trout's diet consists mainly of smaller fish. Minnows help to target trout with a more natural offering
  • Worms - Worms are the standard bait for almost any fish that swims, and though they work, oftentimes you will catch other less desirable species while using worms.

A Little About Your Line

Without a doubt, trout are one of the most line-shy fish that swim in freshwater. To make sure that you do not spook your quarry with an offering that would otherwise allow you to catch them, make sure that you use the lightest line possible. The lighter line will help you catch more fish even in the clearest water. Monofilament and fluorocarbon are the norms, as braids are not opaque and show up too strongly.

How to Fish Salmon Eggs

They really are exactly what they say—preserved salmon eggs.

Most of you using salmon eggs to catch stocked trout will not be lucky enough to be using fresh eggs from salmon that you yourself have caught, but that is fine! Pautzke makes a wonderful product called "Balls o' Fire" and they are by far the absolute best eggs that I have found on the market hands down.

Eggs are almost as versatile as Powerbait in that they can be fished both on the bottom and under a float. If you use a float make sure to keep the bait directly above where you think the fish will be holding and to use the absolute smallest float possible to guarantee you are able to see even the smallest strike.

The other way would be to use your salmon eggs on a similar setup as mentioned above for fishing Powerbait, the only difference is that you will need to find a way to make the eggs stay off the bottom in a still body of water like a pond.

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A Little Tip on Eggs

The best tip I can offer when it comes to fishing with salmon eggs for stocked trout is to combine a single Gulp Salmon Egg with two regular sized salmon eggs on a long-shank size 8 hook. The Gulp will help to float the bait off the bottom and allow you to keep the bait in the strike zone longer.

The Best Eggs For Stocked Trout

A nice limit shared between a friend and I all caught on Powerbait.

A nice limit shared between a friend and I all caught on Powerbait.

How to Use Powerbait to Catch Trout

Easily the most popular and a rather productive way to catch stocked trout that is outshined only (in my experience) with the use of salmon eggs.

Powerbait works best in still to slow-moving bodies of water where your bait has time to sit and not be washed away. Powerbait comes in two forms that are easy to use to catch your fish but preference varies from person to person. The two forms are:

  • the classic paste, or
  • the newer Powerbait pellets.

When using the pellets, you can easily get away with a single long-shank light-wire hook, whereas it is usually preferable to use a small treble hook (size 14-10) and to form the bait around it in a ball shape.

Now there are two methods that are popular for using Powerbait and I have used both to catch trout. The most popular and seemingly productive way to use Powerbait is to use it in a slip-sinker setup. This is an easy setup that will allow you to fish the Powerbait off the bottom where the trout often like to congregate. Now it is no secret that Powerbait floats and the slip-sinker rig gives you a way to make the most of this while still providing the trout the least amount of resistance when they take your bait. The line can pull free of the sinker allowing the fish to run with the least amount of resistance possible.

To rig a slip-sinker setup for Powerbait:

  • Slide an egg sinker 12 to 18 inches above where you would like your hook to be.
  • Cinch a small splitshot onto the line directly below your egg sinker.
  • Finally, tie on a small treble hook which you can later coat with Powerbait.

The second most common setup for those that use Powerbait is to fish it under a bobber, because the Powerbait floats this works perfectly to allow the bait to drift past any suspected cover that could hold the stocked trout. The setup is equally as easy as the slip-sinker setup but allows you to have the added visual aid of a float, which is a great way to introduce the kids to fishing for stocked trout as well.

To set up your Powerbait rig to fish it under a bobber:

  • Attach your hook to the end of your line.
  • Several inches above the hook, attach the smallest splitshot that you have that will not allow the Powerbait to float.
  • Attach the bobber to your line at your desired fishing depth.

Power Bait, Best of the Best

How to Fillet Trout

In this video, I give you a short demonstration of how to fillet a stocked rainbow trout. Just remember that you need a sharp knife and a steady hand. Practice makes perfect, but just remember that even the most seasoned fisherman makes mistakes when cleaning fish from time to time


Fillet or Not to Fillet

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