10 Best Baits for Rainbow Trout

Fishing is one of the most relaxing past times you can do while still actually doing something. However, while waiting for the fish to bite the whole day can be fun, sometimes you want to catch something. A common species of fish that can be challenging and exciting to catch is trout, which can be anything from 12 to 30 inches in size. Using the right lures will make catching them easier than just hoping for the best.

The best fishing baits for rainbow trout are synthetic rubber worms and rubber mouse tails. These are remarkably similar to what the fish would eat in the wild. This is why many bait shops will recommend these above normal maggots or worms that you thread onto a hook, as life bait can be eaten off the hook without catching a fish.

There are many types of lures and baits you should have in your tackle box to try and persuade rainbow trout onto your hook. We have worked with many of these in the past and found that some are simply better than others, with a few outdoing others by so much that it becomes almost pointless not to use them. Rainbow trout can be a challenge to catch when you are unprepared for their tastes.

These are the 10 best baits to entice rainbow trout out of the water and straight onto your hook!

Best Baits and lures for Rainbow Trout

trout lures sitting on the bank by a river

Each bait and lure for rainbow trout can be used to catch some other species of fish. However, you should rather focus on only using these for rainbow trout. Rainbow trout usually eat insects, leeches, crawfish, mussels, and some smaller fish. Each of these has been used to create synthetic lures that work slightly better than live bait you can find.

This is owing to them being slightly more robust but also being the perfect size to catch the right rainbow trout. Many fishing holes will have limitations on the trout size you are allowed to keep, requiring that you throw back adolescent fish.

Here are the top ten rainbow trout lures and baits that you should have in your tackle box whenever you decide to go out into the world to catch some marvelous trout.

1. Synthetic Rubber Worm

The best and most popular way to catch rainbow trout is by using the ever-popular rubber worm, with the most famous brand that creates these being Berkley. However, your local bait shop will have various colors, sizes, and types of these available. They work perfectly to entice rainbow trout to eat them as they closely mimic the behavior of their natural prey.

How to Rig Them

To rig a synthetic rubber worm, you will need to push the hook through the front of the worm, pushing it until you usually pass the second ridge that the worm has. Once you have it past that point, you will turn the hook to have it sticking out of the worm, with the eyelet sticking out of the front of the worm.

Some fishermen will then add a sliding weight to the tip with a piece of fishing line, allowing the tip of the lure to act a bit more aloof when in the water. Some fishermen will add several hooks to their worms; however, this can require a fair bit of practice and special tools. If you want a multi hookworm, then it is best to buy one already made from your local tackle shop.

To fish with this bait, you will have to cast the line and then simply reel it back in bit by bit, having the worm act like a worm that is swimming through the water.

2. Synthetic Crawfish

A bait that is similar to how synthetic worms act, crawfish is a favorite food of rainbow trout around the world. Many fishermen swear by their use over worms any time of the day. Synthetic crawfish are a bit smaller than trout worms and should behave differently in the water once your line has been cast.

How to rig them

Rigging a rubber crawfish is quite simple. With the hook going through the mouth part of the crawfish, you push the hook through until the point is in the middle of the body. Then you pierce through the body so that the hook is sticking out through the flat side of the crawfish. Once you have done this, the eyelet should be near the mouthparts of the plastic crawfish.

Synthetic crawfish is best used in clear, running water where the crawfish and its legs will be moved by the current, clearly visible to any fish that will swim past it. Crawfish is a favorite of many fish, and you will usually catch a lot more than just trout when you use them, sometimes more bass than anything else.

Because the legs of the crawfish are so small, they will start breaking off over time, being eaten either by the fish or simply breaking off as the lure gets stuck in twigs and other debris.

3. Lifelike Fishing Lure

Probably the most complex fishing lure that you can use to catch trout, these are multi-piece lures that look and act almost exactly like small fish in the water. Usually consisting of 6 body parts that are all hooked together, the hook for this lure will already be installed. This lure requires a bit more practice to use and should be used where it won’t get snagged and lost in the flow of water

How to rig them.

Hooking these up to your line is as simple as doing the normal knot through the eyelet. However, there are multiple ways to add countersinks to have it act more like a fish in the water. Some people prefer to add the lure after a piece of line, adding a sinker at the end of the line, tying the lure about five inches above the weight.

This helps to keep the lure in the stream of the water; however, others simply tie a small countersink to the line right in front of the lure. As the line is pulled through the water, the fish will then bob up and down, mimicking the movement of a normal fish. Either way can work, but you should try both ways until you find the way that works best with your technique.

This lure should only be used in clean, clear water where the trout can easily see the fish swimming through the water. These lures can be costly and are not always favored by fishermen that only fish as a hobby, costing around 10 times as much per lure when compared to worms.

4. Berkley Power Bait Trout Bait

One of the leaders in baiting is Berkley, and they provide most of the lures that you will be using throughout your fishing life. This is why it is so good that they provide trout bait specifically, that you can simply add to your hook and cast it. Naturally, there is a correct way to do this. Trout bait like this is perfect because the bait also releases a taste into the water that attracts the trout to your hook.

How to rig them

As simple as it may seem to use this kind of trout bait, it requires several things to be set up on your line correctly, with each step of the line being placed in the exact way that you need it to be placed. First, you will need to tie a lead onto your line, with a sinker before it on the line, and then your normal hook at the very end of the line.

If your line is hanging from your rod, and you are looking down on it, the order should your sinker, lead, and then around 10 inches of line with your hook on the very edge. This will allow your sinker to go to the bottom of the lake or river while leaving your hook to float freely in the water.

When you are ready to cast, you will simply use a small amount of the power bait to mold a small ball onto the hook. Ensure that the bait does not dry out, as this will cause it to go flaky in the water and be lost in the stream. Once cast, the hook will float in the water while the sinker keeps it in place.  

5. Rubber Mouse Tails

Extremely similar to rubber worms, fishermen around the world have used this type of lure to lure trout of all shapes and sizes. The method of using this lure is remarkably similar to that of a worm, except that the head of the mouse tail is larger and round, creating a more profound shape in the water. Many fishermen prefer to use this lure as adding the hook is a much simpler process

How to rig them

Rigging a mouse tail is one of the easiest lures to do this with, only requiring a simple hook to be pushed through the head part of the lure. Once it has been added, you will simply need to tie lead and small countersink to your line for the lure to work perfectly.

This lure is made to float in the water, not sink to the bottom or float on top. After the line has been cast, you will have to pull on the line and reel it in as you go along until either a fish has been caught or you have reeled all of it in. These lures are extremely cheap to use, and there are many kinds on the market that you should consider.

Some of the best are usually neon-colored and will be bright in even the murkiest of water. It is preferred to use this because it only costs a few cents per lure, which means that when it gets bitten off or lost in the river, you won’t seriously consider diving to try and save your $20 lure.

6. Squirming Maggots

Sometimes you need to use live bait, and many fishermen prefer to use something they know will attract trout even if they aren’t actively pulling on the line. Similar to normal bait that is just added to the hook, by using maggots, you will be enticing the trout to eat the hook instead of just biting onto it. However, there is a big negative that smaller trout and other fish will constantly nibble on the maggot, slowly wearing it off.

How to rig them

Maggots are rigged in the same way that you would rig trout bait, by adding a sinker in front of a lead, with the hook having several inches of line to float on. The maggot does not sink once in the water, and you will have to let the trout discover the maggot in the water over time.

However, you will have to regularly reel in the line to check on the condition that the maggot is in, ensuring that you are not having an empty hook floating in the water. Many first-time fishermen are also a bit too zealous when casting the line after not securing the maggot to the hook properly.

Many people will have stories of casting a line only to see the maggot traveling in the complete opposite direction than the hook and sinker are going. This is the complete opposite of what you want to happen, serving only to give some lucky fish a fresh meal.

7. Bait Nuggets

When you already know what the trout in your river or lake love to eat, you can use bait nuggets. These are usually flavored to give the bait extra strength. We like to use these as they function for more than just rainbow trout, generally able to catch most fish that can be found in lakes. Several first-time fishermen should use nuggets, as they are cheap and allow you to learn how to cast the line without having to stress about your bait taking flight.

How to rig them

The rigging for bait nuggets is quite easy to do, and there are two ways to do it. One is the more traditional ways of doing it; choosing which one you will be using can dictate heavily how effective your fishing will be. As is common with the bait that is not active lures, tying a sinker with a lead onto the line, then followed by a few inches to let the hook hang, will work perfectly.

However, many fishermen that use the nugget prefer to have the sinker at the very end of the line, tied into place, followed by a few leaders that all have about one to two inches of line and hook attached to them. This creates a point in the line where two to three hooks are floating in the water.

This easily increases the chances that you can catch a fish, with every hook helping you on the way to catching what you need. However, as these nuggets are quite soft, smaller fish tend to nibble on them as well, or even larger trout prefer to nibble before actively biting and getting hooked.

8. Shiny Spinners

Possibly one of the most famous types of lure to be used when fishing for trout, spinners are so-called because as they gloat in the water, they will slightly spin. Consisting of one or two shiny plates, with beads and a hook accompanying them, these lures are made to attract even the blindest of trout. If you know your water will be murky, it is best to use lures like these to reflect sunlight to be more effective.

How to rig them

Shiny spinners are made out of four things, beads, clevises, hooks, and reflectors, that are made on separate pieces of line and then tied onto your mainline. The hooks are each capped with their bit of bait, usually a worm or live bait. To rig them, you will need a bit of patience to create the spinner, but it is quite simple once that has been created.

The spinner is simply attached to the line, using a joining knot or clasp that you have pre-installed. To use the spinner, you will throw it into the pond or river, leaving it to float, preferring not to throw it so deep that the sun cannot be reflected off the reflector and grab the attention of the fish you are looking for.

If you are not inclined to making these yourself, all tackle shops will have premade ones, either made by the owners of the shop or simply provided by a company. These are so loved in the world of fishing because they can be used to catch most if not all fish in a lake, pond, or river.

9. Rooster Tails

One of the most amazing pieces of tackle you can have in your box is the most famous lure you will find in the world. Usually, being the piece used to show someone is going fishing in series or movies, these are a combination of the spinner that have both reflectors on them. They have large colorful brushes on them as well, in which the hooks are usually hidden.

How to rig them

Adding a rooster tail lure onto your line starts by adding a snap swivel onto the line. The rooster trail rig will then simply snap onto the swivel using the eyelet created on the lure. Rooster tails are effective to catch trout specifically because of the noise and light that is made as the lure is pulled through the water.

Rigging the rooster tail onto your line is as simple as hooking it onto a swivel latch. However, once this is done, you will need to follow the proper technique to have the lure work properly. To use the rooster tail, you must cast the line out as far as you can into the water and then allow the lure to sink in the water quite a bit.

After the lure has sunk a few feet below the water, you will start reeling it in, not too fast or too slow; this lure needs to be constantly moving. Attracting the trout in the water until one of them decides to chase down the lure and bite into it. This type of fishing is best done from a boat or canoe in the middle of a lake.

10. Fishlike Floaters

These are some of the cheapest or most expensive lures that you can find in the market are those that look like fish. These can be hard, thin wooden lures or shiny, hand-painted pieces of art that will attract most trout with absolute ease. However, there are also many dangers to using these lures that fishermen have become disillusioned by.

How to rig them

Similar to rooster tails, these lures are bought already made, with the hooks and reflectors already perfectly attached. To attach these to your mainline, you will be using a simple swivel latch that connects to the eyelet on the lure.

The fishing done with this lure is also extremely similar to how you would use a rooster tail; you will need to be in or near the middle of the lake, preferably in a boat. This is to ensure the water is deep enough and that you can easily throw the lure into the water and slowly reel it back in without getting snagged on random stuff.

The best way to ensure you never lose your expensive fish lure is to make sure the lake or dam you are fishing in is the best place to use them. You will be casting the line for most of the day, then reeling it back in until a curious trout finally takes the bait.

Rainbow Trout Fishing Tips

There are three easy tips to remember when going rainbow trout fishing that all first-timers should know. The first and most important one being the location of where to go fishing around you; rainbow trout do not appear in every river, lake, or stream, and going fishing for them where there are none is a good idea. A quick google search of local fishing locations will easily tell you where to go.

The second tip we have for you is to talk to other fishermen in the location you are planning to fish it. Ask them what has worked for them with the trout in that location or the size of the fish they have seen. This will save your hours of casting the line and not catching a single thing. No two fishing locations are ever the same.

The last bit of advice we can provide for your first trout fishing expedition is to cast the lures upstream so that the lure moves with the water as you reel it back in. This will save you some energy and create a more natural-looking movement for the lure in the water.

Final Thoughts

Catching rainbow trout is both an amazing experience and a surprisingly frustrating one. Many days might be spent where you catch a fish every few minutes, only to be followed by a week of not even feeling some fish nibbling on your lures. Like all things in life, it takes a lot of practice to get everything perfectly done when fishing.

Just be sure that you are always using the perfect fishing lures wherever you are fishing this weekend!

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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