Top 12 Trout Fishing Baits

Top 12 trout fishing baits

This article will list my top 12 trout fishing baits. Trout species are very popular fish for freshwater anglers in both lakes and streams. Many anglers fly fish or cast artificial lures when trout fishing. However, bait can be very effective and is easier to use for those with less experience.

The list of top 12 trout fishing baits will be broken down into four categories; live baits, natural baits, prepared baits, and artificial baits. Each is a bit different and so will be covered separately along with some tips on how to fish those baits. These are the trout bait that I use when trout fishing.

The top 12 trout fishing baits are;

  • Worms and nightcrawlers
  • minnows and shiners
  • Insects
  • Grubs
  • Salmon eggs
  • Doughballs
  • Velveta cheese
  • Berkley Powerbait Trout Bait
  • Pautkze baits
  • Gulp! Baits
  • Rooster tail spinner
  • Acme Kastmaster spoon

These 12 trout fishing baits will produce for anglers in every environment that they will encounter. While there are quite a variety of trout species, for the most part their feeding habits are the same. Therefore, they will all be covered as one, unless otherwise specified.

Best tackle for trout fishing with bait

top 12 Michigan game fish species

The best rod and reel for trout fishing with bait is a light or ultralight spinning outfit. Spinning tackle allows anglers to cast very light baits a reasonable distance. A 6 ½ foot to 7 foot ultra light rod with a 1000 series reel is a good choice in most situations. 4 lb line is a good all round choice for catching average sized trout.

Shop Amazon for a good trout fishing rod and reel combination

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. ”

Best live baits for trout fishing

There are many different creatures that trout will feed on. However, not all of these are practical to use as trout fishing bait. The top live baits are worms, minnows, insects, and grubs. All of these baits are readily available and are productive.

Worms and nightcrawlers

best live bait for freshwater fishing

Worms are without a doubt my favorite live bait for trout fishing! Worms are easy to obtain whether dug up in the yard or purchased at a store. They are easy to keep alive and store. Worms and nightcrawlers work well in both running water as well as lakes. Floating a juicy worm through a deep hole in a stream has produced a lot of trout over the years!

Read my article on trout fishing tips!

Worms and nightcrawlers can be fished with a float or fished with a couple of split shot in lakes or deeper rivers. The key is to allow the worm to undulate naturally in the water. Worms are best hooked in the front to allow this natural action to occur. Even a large nightcrawler works best with a small hook through the nose.


best live bait for crappie

Minnows and shiners are excellent live baits for trout and they tend to catch larger fish. Anglers can purchase emerald shiners and other minnows at bait shops. Bait fish can also be caught and used, but anglers need to check local regulations first. Minnows are hooked in the back when fished vertically or through the ice and hooked through the lips when free lined.

One drawback of using live minnows is that they are more difficult to keep alive. For the most part, this makes using them in streams impractical. Live minnows are mostly used by anglers trout fishing in larger bodies of water. They are quite effective when fished through the ice as well.


Insects make up a substantial part of a trout’s diet, especially in streams. They do make good trout fishing bait, but are not the easiest to use. Crickets are the most convenient, being available at pet shops and some bait shops. Grasshoppers are excellent trout baits but must be caught and kept in a cage. They are best fished right on the surface, a struggling insect will not last long if any trout are around!



Grubs such as meal worms and waxworms are a bit underutilized by anglers trout fishing with live bait. They are easy to purchase, they can even be bought online. Grubs will live quite a while when kept cool. They are used a lot by anglers ice fishing for trout, but will certainly produce in open water as well.

Best natural trout fishing baits

There are other productive baits that are natural, but not living things. The best of these trout fishing baits are salmon eggs, doughballs, and Velveta cheese. They are easy to use and can be kept in a tackle box until ready for use. Corn is used effectively by some anglers, but there is some debate as to whether this is healthy for trout. Therefore, it was left off the list.

brook trout fishing

Salmon eggs

Salmon eggs are a terrific trout fishing bait! In the wild, trout follow behind salmon on their spawning run, gobbling up eggs as they float by. Fresh eggs are the best, but prepared eggs will work fine and are much more readily available. Eggs are best fished in running water (though they will produce in lakes) and fished on a small hook bouncing just off the bottom.


Doughballs are good trout baits, especially in stocked ponds. Part of the fun is coming up with a special “recipe” for doughballs. Basically, flour and water are mixed to a good consistency. Colors can be added as well as scent; anise oil is a popular scent to use. The downside is that doughballs do not stay on the hook all that well.

Velveta cheese

Trout love cheese! Anglers have been using cheese for many years to catch trout. Perhaps the trout mistake it for eggs. Whatever the reason, cheese is productive on trout, again particularly in stocked ponds. The cheese is molded into a ball around a small hook and can be fished near the bottom or under a float.

ice fishing for rainbow trout

Best commercial trout fishing baits

There are several companies that offer anglers a wide variety of prepared trout fishing baits. These baits are very effective on stocked trout as they can resemble the feed on which they were raised. These prepared baits are very convenient, cost effective, and productive. There is no wonder why so many anglers choose to fish for trout with these baits.

Berkley Powerbait

trout fishing baits

Berkley PowerBaits offer anglers eggs, pastes, nuggets, worms, and other baits. They are available in a wide variety of colors. Bright colors such as pink, chartreuse, and orange seem to work very well. They are also easy to see in the water. Some of these baits float; anglers fish them on the surface or under a float with a split shot.

Shop Amazon for PowerBait Trout Bait

Pautkze bait

trout fishing baits

Pautkze baits are similar to PowerBait. They offer anglers a line of effective trout fishing baits in several styles and a bunch of color options. They work well and are easy to store and use. They are productive on both wild and stocked trout, the eggs in particular.

Shop Amazon for Pautkze baits

Gulp! Baits

fishing baits for trout

Gulp! Also makes some excellent trout fishing baits. This is an offshoot of Berkley, but their baits are a bit different. The Gulp Trout Dough is specifically made for trout fishing. Their Gulp! Alive Minnow works great on a hook or on a jig head. The Gulp! Worms work when fished just like a live worm.

Shop Amazon for Gulp Trout Dough

Best artificial baits for trout fishing

Some anglers may consider artificial baits in a different category, I thought that they should be included. While there are countless lures to choose from, these two artificial lures will produce trout (and other species) in a variety of situations. Both can be cast or trolled.

Rooster tail spinner

rooster tail


The Original Worden’s Rooster Tail spinner is my favorite trout fishing lure. It is especially effective in the small to medium size streams that I like to fish. The 1 1/16 ounce size in bright colors is most productive for me. They can be cast out or slowly trolled. In most cases, a slow steady retrieve works best. Single hook models are available as well, when required. These also work better when in a catch and release situation.

Shop Amazon for Rooster tail spinners

Acme Kastmaster spoon


The Acme Kastmaster spoon is my second favorite trout fishing lure. It is more versatile and is a better choice when fishing larger rivers, ponds, and lakes. It works very well when trolled. The smaller sizes are best, with the bright color/chrome combination being productive. Gold is excellent as well. It is a terrific ice fishing lure, too!

Shop Amazon for Kastmaster spoons

In conclusion, this article on my top 12 trout fishing baits will help anglers be more successful when chasing trout, no matter what the situation!

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

Recent Posts