If you live on the East Coast, opening day of trout season has finally come in your area. What this typically means is standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow anglers, casting Powerbait to hundreds of recently stocked trout (rainbows and sometimes brown or brook trout as well). But it doesn’t have to be that way. For the last few years I have opted to forgo the opening day madness and instead wait until the days after opening day. There are typically less crowds and still plenty of fish left over. The only problem is that by this time the stocked trout have been bombarded with every possible color and scent of Powerbait imaginable. Below are my four “go to” baits to entice even the weariest stocked trout in your local streams.
It couldn’t get much easier that using canned corn for bait. It’s cheap, it’s readily available and it works! Growing up this was one of the two main stocked trout baits which I used regularly. One of the tricks to using corn is to make sure that it covers the entire hook. I like using a size 14 hook which will allow you to easily bury the hook in the corn and keep the presentation a little more realistic. If you don’t fancy fishing with plain yellow corn you can always kick it up a notch by curing canned white shoepeg corn in one of the readily available cures. I prefer Pautzke’s Fire Cure in red and pink. No matter which type of corn you decide to use those hatchery trout are going to love them.
The second bait which I used growing up was only slightly more expensive but just as easily available; Velveeta cheese (or any similar brand). The key to using cheese is again to make sure the hook is buried in the bait. I like using cheese because it allows me to use small size 14-16 treble hooks (check your local fishing regulations to make sure this is legal in your area). The cheese just seems to attract hatchery fish from a long distance probably due to the oils secreted once it hits the water. If you want to add some variety to your cheese try adding some granulated garlic or fresh minced garlic to your cheese as you mold it around your hook. The added scent makes then irresistible! The added bonus with the cheese is that if you get a little hungry you can always have some of it for a mid-morning snack.
There are a variety of different worms covered under this category. The classic nightcrawler is always a staple in my trout bag, if anything to just give the bait a little bit of live action. I like to fish with these underneath a red and white bobber; call me old fashioned. I have also had success with wax worms and mealworms but again these require the use of smaller size hooks. Like with the nightcrawlers I like to place them under a bobber and let them slowly drift downstream. But, one thing I have come to realize is that at times you need to keep the bait in the strike zone a little longer. To accomplish this I will put a mealworm on a hook and add a small piece of marshmallow or Powerbait to keep it floating off the bottom.
I am not talking about just any salmon egg; I am talking about Pautzke Balls O’ Fire! I haven’t been using these very long, having discovered them several years ago but they are potent. The Balls O’ Fire come in several sizes, colors and scents but I prefer the classic Pautzke Red Label premium salmon eggs. I have had success with these on a hook by themselves or paired with any of the aforementioned baits. My favorite way to fish these eggs is to use a size 16 treble hook, with an egg impaled on each hook. It resembles a tiny egg sack. If I need to float the eggs off the bottom I will add a small piece of Powerbait or remove one of the salmon eggs and replace it with a Powerbait Power Egg. I’ve tried to fish with other salmon eggs or even with the Power Eggs and I just don’t get the same interest as when I add the Pautzke egg. They are my favorite stocked trout bait and once you try them they will be your favorite too!
Have you grown tired of chasing those hatchery fish? Are you looking for some wild trout and salmon action on some of the most pristine lakes and rivers in the world? Don’t worry we have you covered, head of over to Fin & Field where you can find the best fishing guides in the business!
By Guest Blogger Sean McCardell
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