Best Baits For Trout
Inside the Outdoors, April 15
, 2011

Ask any trout angler what is the best live bait for catching trout and he will probably tell you one out of six choices.

Nightcrawlers just may top the list. Some fisherman seem to think that it is wise to attach the whole worm to the hook and cast far out into open waters. One may catch trout that way, but it’s not the wisest thing to do. Another mistake people make is by winding the crawling onto the hook for permanence. A third existing problem is weighing the bait down with too much weight. That’s a no-no as well.

First of all, whole worms intimidate trout. They seem to be a little more picky and would rather prefer one-half to one-third the worm. That’s economical by a long shot. One dozen crawlers will take one three times as far.

Second, after breaking the worms in thirds, for example, stick the rounded end of the hook where the barb is located into one side the worm and take it through the middle of it, cutting through the middle of the skin, exposing the barb to the outside of the bait. That way the worm piece will look natural and the trout can suck it in when it smells its presence.

It’s all good and well to use weight to get the bait out to when the desired area it is one wishes to put it, but it is preferred that it is not tied on unless split shots are used. When a fish finds a meal and has to pull on it to get its lunch, it will drop it and move on. A slip sinker is much preferred. This weight slips onto the line before the hook is tied on. When the bait is cast out and settles on the bottom, the bait and weight may sit together. If a fish happens to meander by, smells the bait and takes it, the weight will stay behind while the bait is ingested by the fish. It’s a sure way to catch a fish.

Second on the list are dugworms. One may refer to these are garden worms. The secret here is to hook the worm once for a natural presentation. A matter of fact, the whole secret to this sport centers around those two words. As any number of anglers have said in the past, “It’s all in the presentation of one’s bait.”

Third on the list are butterworms. Not all retailers sell them because they are expensive, but they are good trout bait. Because of their tough skin, they can be reused. One angler was known to catch as many as 13 trout on one butterworm.

A popular bait are maggots. One can fish them as is or attach them onto a jig such as a mini-foo. The longer a maggot is on a hook the harder it will be to take it off. Anglers will usually put three to five on one hook if they choose, but one bait may do just fine.

Mealworms come in three different sizes, small, medium and very large. Most anglers prefer the medium-sized bait. Again hooking this bait properly will attract trout. What is want is for the tail to move. So, the hook must be attached to the front torso of the worm. That way the tail will move, attracting the trout for that most wanted treat.

There was a time that anglers used Velveeta cheese out at Keystone State Park Lake. It became so popular that that water basin became known as Velveeta Lake. Small pieces of the light, orange food, when attached to hooks, caught trout, lots of them. Maybe if one fishes two poles, one may want to try this human food for fish food. It’s worth a try. Remember the saying – “What goes around, comes around.” Maybe an old tradition can be brought back again!

- Paul J. Volkmann
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