Pond fishing for rainbow trout is a ton of fun. It’s even more fun if you use the right bait. We’ve listed the best bait for catching rainbow trout in ponds.
Pond fishing considerations
Normally the same bait and lures that work for wild trout will also work for pond trout. With that being said, pond trout can have slightly different feeding habits. Some lures and baits work well for them but might not work as well for wild trout.
In this list we will take a look at some of the best overall rainbow trout fishing bait. We also name our favorite lures and provide some other presentations to consider.
Want to catch more trout? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Trout Fishing.
Presentations that work well for rainbow trout in ponds
Some bait presentations excel at catching trout in stocked ponds and can actually be extremely simple, for example a piece of corn on a single hook. Spinners, small crankbaits and other types of lures will still catch these fish. In most cases other types of lures such as bug, worm, and other imitations can work better than the traditional types.
Pond fish tend to feed on these types of prey more than smaller minnows. Predatory fish like rainbow trout still have the same instincts whether they are pond raised and stocked or wild. Bait and lures used in the wild will still work for in ponds.
Best artificial bait
Artificial bait is our go to for rainbow trout, especially in ponds. It’s easy to hook and always seems to attract a ton of fish.
PowerBait Trout Nibbles
PowerBaits trout nibbles work excellent for pond trout. The nibbles work great at staying on the hook for long periods of time, even if current is present and are easy to use with any traditional hook and line rigging for trout. Trout nibbles also come in two colors, chartreuse and fluorescent orange, great for any water clarity conditions.
The trout nibbles are scented and pump out a ton of flavor in the water to entice trout to eat it, as is the case with any PowerBait product.
Berkley Gulp Maggots
Gulp baits in any variant you can buy have outfished live bait by 2:1 in field testing, and release over 400 times the amount of scent that live bait does. If you have ever used them, you probably already know the power that the GULP formula brings to the table in terms of catching fish.
In many instances especially ice fishing this has replaced the live bait hassle for me. The maggots come in at 1 inch in length but the profile typically seems smaller in length due to being curved. They are biodegradable. Unlike live bait last on a hook much better than live bait, allowing you to catch multiple fishing on the same one.
Not only are these extremely useful benefits, they also come in multiple colors, from natural, chartreuse, pink and white.
PowerBait Power Honey Worms
Berkley really does run on top for these lure presentations on this list and are the top and foremost company to give anglers these specific style of presentations for fish like trout or panfish. For pond trout, it honestly is really hard beat their products. The PowerBait honey worms are similar to the maggots listed about but are obviously imitating small worm presentations over maggots.
These are great for trout through the ice or on trout ponds, and imitate the larvae of many different insect species that live in the water and the trout absolutely love to feed on. These are sure to get bit on the end of your line.
Lures are a more exciting alternative to artificial bait. Fishing for rainbow trout with lures requires continuous casting and reeling. That means more action and more fun. There are a ton of options out there. Here are tow that you need in your tackle box.
Johnson Beetle Spin
The beetle spin has been around three quarters of a century, first being used in the 1950’s and has been a mainstay for pond anglers. This life span of the beetle spin is simply for one reason, they work. Whether it’s panfish or in our list case, pond trout. The Beetle spin is essentially a tiny spinnerbait with a tiny colorado blade to give off vibration and flash.
It also features a tiny little bug looking soft plastic body attached to a single hooked jig head and is excellent to cast with light tackle. Straight retrieve it, slow roll it, give it little pops and pauses and watch it get eaten.
Many companies have tried copying on the success of the Johnson beetle spin and failed, there is only one beetle spin and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Worden’s Rooster Tail
Here’s another famous lure that trout absolutely love, and like the beetle spin, it has been around since the 50’s. The rooster tail is a little bucktail presentation with a single willow blade and a fine buck tailed skirt typically made from squirrel tails or other similarly fine fur.
A small high quality treble hook ensures a great hooking percentage, and the number of colors these are available in is amazing, you are sure to find a color that will suit your needs in any weather or water clarity situation. This lure is responsible for an untold amount of giant trout and other species caught.
How to use these lures to catch pond trout
The first 3 lures presentations on this list are incredibly easy to use. Simply get a hook and a sinker and put on one or more imitations, you can even use a bobber if you would like, or you can use sinkers and keep it on the bottom, the choice is yours.
As for the beetle spin and the rooster tail, these can both be used in the same way, straight retrieves always are the most efficient way to fish them, you can vary your speed and that speed can also correlate the depth at which the lure runs.
To make things a little more interesting you can vary the speeds throughout a retrieve or add little snaps and pops or pauses to try to trigger a fish to strike it reactively, and sometimes this makes all the difference.
There are other presentations available that work great including live bait. Corn imitations can be used, and berkley even has a corn scent dough product on the market to enhance lures or to be molded around hooks.
Corn is another great option, especially for stocked trout. That’s right, regular old corn. Check out our guide to trout fishing with corn.
Small soft plastic minnows, and bugs like those created by companies such as Northland tackle with the mayfly larvae imitation or slurpie minnow imitating tubes. Imitation salmon eggs work excellent at times as well and are typically very cheap.
Even a simple single hook and sinker setup with live bait like nightcrawlers, maggots, waxies and wigglers or fish roe will also work well in catching pond trout.
For this type of fishing, ultra light rods spinning rods will work the best. Smaller 6 to 7 foot rods with a fast action and ultra light to light in power will give you the best casting ability and distance while casting ultra light lure presentations, giving you the best combinations of fighting ability, casting distance and accuracy. For much more on rods, check our article on Best Fishing Rods for Trout.
Monofilament or Fluorocarbon line will be the best choices for fishing trout in ponds. The line can be very light and anything from a 3 to 6 pound test line should suit all of your needs just fine. The thinner the better as trout have a tendency to be finicky and wont bite if they can see the line in some cases. Braid for this type of fishing is overkill, and as mentioned is extremely visible in the water.
Using the right line is essential. If you’re still undecided on which to use, see our guide on the Best Line for Trout Fishing.
Pond fishing for rainbow trout is a pretty simple affair and the fish are typically easy to catch due to their feeding habits and behavior. In most cases the simplest approach as with anything is usually the best approach.
The options listed here will without a doubt catch you trout from a pond and may even provide constant action if the conditions are right, so grab some smelling Gulp baits and a spinner and go have a blast.
The great part about this style of fishing is it’s easy for anyone including kids to go out and have a fun and easy time catching trout.
Now get out there and catch some fish!
Hello! My name is Tim and I’ve been fishing for over 30 years. I’ve learned a lot about fishing during that time and I love sharing that knowledge with others. I’m also a member of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). Thanks for checking out the site!