Beautiful and tasty rainbow trout are commonly caught with fly fishing rods and lures, but people who haven't mastered the wrist flicking action of fly fishing can still catch these coveted fish in mountain streams with the right bait. Trout can be picky with what they'll bite, but packing a variety of baits will give you the best shot at attracting them. Find out what baits hatchery-raised mountain stream trout like the most before your next fishing trip.
Small and Still Lures
Artificial jigs and lures absolutely work for catching rainbow trout, but only if you choose the right type. Look for lures that are between one and three inches in length for bigger trout, or under an inch if you are fishing a stream that was only recently stocked with fresh releases that are still small. The best trout lures include features like
It might sound silly, but small marshmallows are an ideal bait for hatchery-raised rainbow trout. They're easy to see, soft enough to encourage striking, and they're naturally buoyant. This allows you to combine bottom and float fishing techniques with less equipment since the marshmallow will slowly sink lower and lower on its own as it absorbs water. The flavorings used by the manufacturer are also a surprisingly powerful attractant in the water.
You might think that only rainbow trout living in streams that also host salmon would develop a taste for the latter's eggs, but it's a popular bait with trout across the country. Look for large eggs sold for individual use, either with a secondary bait scent added or plain. If the fish aren't biting on a single egg threaded onto a hook, try a tiny mesh bag holding a cluster of eggs instead to increase the size of the bait for attracting larger trout.
The sharp cheddar cheese slice you put on your turkey sandwich for lunch could be the ticket to bringing in a trophy trout in a difficult mountain stream. The odors and flavors of cheese spread rapidly and widely in water, drawing in trout that were lurking. Even if they don't end up biting on the cheese, it's still useful as an attractant for bringing in multiple fish before you switch to a more visually appetizing bait. The type of cheese is not very important, but choose a softer and more malleable variety in order to mold it around the hook. Crumbly and dry cheeses are much more difficult to use as bait.
Naturally hatched trout are used to a diet of fly larvae and baby crawfish, but the hatchery-raised fish stocked in most mountain streams develop a completely different palate while being fed fish pellets in the hatchery. This means they're particularly fond of the taste of corn because it's the base of their feed. Fresh and dry corn don't have much flavor to a fish, but cheap canned corn tastes just right. Try to thread multiple kernels of corn onto your hook or use a small mesh bait bag. Avoid the temptation to simply dump the corn into the water to attract the trout because it creates a lot of waste at the bottom of the stream and makes it harder on other anglers to catch from the stream without using corn.
For more information, contact a company like Wilcox Bait Tackle.
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