How to Catch Trout with Powerbait

August 6, 2012

How to catch Trout

Berkley Power Bait

Here is how you catch trout with power bait. One thing is for sure, PowerBait works. Mostly only on stocked trout. Native trout may not be so interested in powerbait but if your fishing at a lake with stockies prepare for some action! So which is the best type of Powerbait to catch trout? The reality is they all work. However some may work better than others depending on a few factors.
berkley power bait for trout
Fishing with powerbait is generally pretty easy, relaxing and can be consistently productive. The nice thing about fishing with powerbait for trout is that you can set your pole down and fish while your camping, hanging out with the kids or rigging your next pole…of course nothing beats a strike with a pole in hand.

Best time of day to fish with Powerbait

The best time of day to use powerbait is early morning and late in the evening. I would plan on being to the lake with powerbait in the water about an hour before sun up and plan on staying until around 9am or until the fish stop biting. If your fishing in the evening, just as the sun sets to an hour or two after dark are great hours to fish for trout with powerbait. You can always catch trout throughout the day however these hours always produce more trout when using powerbait.

The Best Powerbait for catching trout:

at least it’s what I always have in my tackle box

My two favorite powerbait flavors are Berkley Gulp Trout Dough in chartreuse green with the glitter flake and the Berkley Gulp Trout Dough – garlic scent. The glitter flecked garlic has caught more fish for me than any other power bait.  The chartreuse green is my next go to powerbait. Most all powerbait will work and there certainly are a lot of colors and scents to choose from.

Berkley Gulp Trout Dough - Natural Garlic Scent

Berkley Gulp Trout Dough - Natural Garlic Scent

gulp berkley power bait Chunky Chartreuse

Berkley Gulp Trout Dough - Chunky Chartreuse

berkley powerbait glitter trout bait

Berkley Powerbait Glitter Trout Bait - Red/white/blue

Berkley Powerbait Spring Green

Berkley Glitter Trout Bait - Spring Green

Berkley Powerbait turbo dough

Berkley Powerbait Turbo Trout Dough - Ranbow Color

berkley powerbait trout dough

Berkley Powerbait Turbo Dough - Florescent Orange

It’s a good idea to have a few color and flavor choices when fishing with powerbait. One reason is that trout will learn which colors produce a painful surprise. You may have great success with one color of powerbait then find that the next day the trout are biting on a completely different scent and color the next.  I always buy a two pole license which allows me to use different baits and rigs on two different fishing poles to see what fish are biting on. I like to sink one line and float the powerbait off the bottom while the other I will sink the powerbait below a bobber about 3 feet down. More on powerbait presentation below. If an hour goes by without a strike, I will reel in to check bait, change colors, possibly change leader lengths and cast a new scent/color out. If that doesn’t produce any results  it could be time to look for another fishing spot.

Now that you know a little about the powerbait, its time to look at fishing line and hooks.

On top of having a great sense of smell, trout also have great eyesight and you want to everything you can to not spook a suspecting trout from taking your powerbait. A lot of factors can come into play in regards to the “presentation” of your powerbait for example:

  1. The size of your hook
  2. The size of your fishing line
  3. The amount of powerbait on your hook
  4. The distance of the sinker or bobber to your hook
  5. The type of sinker used and more.

Best Fishing Line for Catching Trout with Powerbait:

The size of fishing line you choose can have an effect of the overall outcome of your powerbait fishing. I always try and go as light as possible on my fishing line. 4lb mono line usually works best. I haven’t seemed to notice any real difference between the uv color  fishing line or the low visibility green line.

berkley trilene xt low visibility green

Berkley Triline XT - 4lb test Low vis green

Either works great in both low visibility and high visibility waters. Another reason to go light is so that the trout doesn’t feel any weight resistance when he takes your powerbait. Powerbait floats so a lighter line will also help it do it’s job when floating the powerbait is the desired technique. I have always done well with the Berkley Trilene XT (extra tough) 4lb test. I have had good success with this line for a variety of fish. There are alot of fishing line options out there and we’ll get more into fishing line in another article. 4lb works great for trout especially when using still baits like powerbait. I wouldn’t go more than 6lb test if you are wanting to go heavier than 4lbs. Now that you have your line and your powerbait your going to need to make sure your using the right sized hooks.

What size hooks to use for Powerbait

The size of the hook that you use for powerbait can vary for different presentations. If you are trying to float the powerbait off of the bottom, you are going to want a lighter hook. The trick here is to use just enough powerbait to get the hook to float and to make sure that the hook is completely covered so as not to be seen by the trout. If however you are wanting to sink the powerbait from a bobber, you are going to want a heavier hook and use less powerbait. In any case you definitely want to make sure that the hook is not exposed.

Powerbait Presentation #1 – Floating Powerbait off the ground with a Treble Hook

how to fish with powerbait presentation

Float powerbait off the ground with a slip sinker and swivel. Use no bigger size than a#12 and make sure that the powerbait completely covers the hook. #18 size treble hooks work well because they are small and the powerbait will easily allow it to float.

 

This is probably the most effective way to fish with powerbait. The idea is that you sink the line and float the powerbait 12-24 inches above the ground where the fish are. Ideally your powerbait will be slightly above any obstructions such as rocks or seaweed. I wouldn’t use any larger sized treble hook than a size #12. Make sure your treble hooks do not have springs wrapped around them when using this approach. While the coils can help hold the powerbait in place, it can also weigh your powerbait down and cause it to sink.

egg sinkers cone sinkers slip sinkers

Different slip sinkers use sizes: 1/4 to 3/8 oz

This approach requires a sinker to get your line down to the fish. There are several types and sizes of sinkers available. For this presentation we are going to use either an egg sinker, a cone sinker or any other type of slipping sinker sizes: 1/4 oz to 3/8 oz. They key is here that your sinker isn’t so heavy that it easily gets hung up or that it causes too much force when you cast it out that the powerbait flies off your hook. You also want to make sure that it is heavy enough to get your line out and sink your powerbait. A quarter oz weight should do the trick.

Before you slide the sinker on to your line, cut a piece of line between 12 – 24 inches in length. This is going to be used as the leader in which to attach your hook and powerbait.  Set that aside for now and slide your sinker on to your line. Next tie your line to a barrel swivel in front of your sinker I would use size 10 to 14. Your sinker should slide back and forth on your line and stop at the barrel swivel.

how to catch trout with powerbait - sink powebait rig

Now take that 12-24 inch leader line that you set aside and attach it now to the swivel. This will be the line that the powerbait is connected to. The length of Mustad 3551 Treble Hookthe line determines how high it will float off the ground. Now tie a size 12-18 treble hook to the end of the line and it is ready for powerbait. Anything bigger than a size 12 treble hookand you will have to use alot of powerbait to get it to float and may be overkill. Once your hook is attached simply scoop out some powerbait with your finger and begin forming it around your hook. While this may be a bit messy, everything you touch afterwards will have the powerbait scent transferred to it and may just help your chances of catching some trout. As mentioned earlier, the main goal here is to make sure that your hook is complete hidden by the powerbait. You don’t want trout to see the danger right before swallowing the powerbait whole. Next you just need to make sure you are using enough powerbait to make the hook and line sink. The more line you have on your leader the more weight you will have pulling the hook down.

I always test my hook and powerbait by dropping it in the water a few feet in front of me to make sure the hook is floating. Once I confirm that it floats, it’s time to cast out our powerbait rig.

Quick Tip: One thing I always do before handling my tackle is to pick up a handful of dirt and rub it into my fingers so the trout don’t smell my scent and decide to skip my bait.

There are a couple of things to consider when casting out your trout powerbait rig. The main thing here is that you get it out far enough so that the fish aren’t spooked by your presence but not so far that your powebait flies off your hook upon impacting the water. Ive seen guys try and launch the powerbait as far as they could only to find they’ve been sitting there for the last hour with nothing on their hook.

Finally, reel in enough to tighten your line, set the rod down and wait. Make sure your line is nice and taught. You dont want your pole to be bent but just enough that when a fish hits it, your pole starts dancing immediately. It is easy to tell the difference between a fish on and the waves or wind.

Powerbait Presentation #2 – Sinking the Powerbait from a Bobber

how to catch trout with powerbait bobber

Sinking powerbait from a bobber. This method works great when the floor surface is not ideal for sinking powerbait.

 

This method is very simple to rig up and works wonders on freshly stocked trout. I have caught trout using this method when others spent hours the morning watching me reel them in. I like to use both this method and the slip sinker method at the same time to see weather the fish are biting high or low. When you start to see fish jumping this method usually works well. All you need is your pole, a bobber, a size 12-18 treble hook and your Powerbait. When it comes to the bobber

bass pro shops weighted balsa spring float

Bass Pro Shops Weighted Balsa Spring Float and Treble Hook with Spring

and this setup, I love the Bass Proshops Premium Balsa Weighted 6″ Spring Float for several reasons. 1 its a good size and has good weight for casting, 2 high visibility in most conditions and 3 it’s very easy to add to your line. Simply pull up the spring and wrap your line around the groove a few times, release the spring and your in business. You can also find similar floats/bobbers at Walmart made by Eagle Claw both weighted and non-weighted floats. If you are having trouble getting your bobber out far enough, you can always add a split shot sinker just below the float.

To get this trout fishing rig started, I tie my hook on first. When fishing from a bobber using powerbait, I like to use the treble hooks with the springs on them. This adds more weight and allows the powerbait to sink. It also holds the powerbait on the hook pretty well if you happen to launch your rig out. I still try and use no more powerbait on the hook than it takes to hide the barbs from the trout and my go to powerbait is the Berkley Gulp Trout Dough – Natural Garlic Scent . Keep in mind that your powerbait will diminish over time and start to expose the barbs of your hook. I like to check my bait every 40-60 minutes. If you don’t have the hooks with the springs you can use any treble hooks size 12-18. Just remember that the more powebait you use on the treble hook the more it will float. In this case you want it to sink. Once you have your powerbait on your treble hook dip it in the water to make sure it will sink after you cast it out. If it floats, remove some powerbait, if it sinks…get that rig in the water! I have never caught fish with my line on the beach.

Quick diagram showing off my photoshop skills of sinking powerbait off a bobber/float.

how to catch trout powerbait bobber

Sinking Powerbait off a Bobber/Float to catch Trout

Keep an eye on your bober. Fishing for trout with powerbait can be fast action or it can be slow. When using the bobber method most of the trout that I have caught have been when I wasn’t looking. I set up my rig, toss it out and get busy with other poles, cooking on the beach or just enjoying the scenery. The good thing about having a high visibility bobber is that you can quickly locate it ever few minutes with a quick glance. If you cant find it… FISH ON!

When fishing with a bobber there is a little maintenance to perform. You have a couple of things working for and against you at the same time. The wind and the tide. I like to take note of where the wind and waves are headed before casting out my line. You can count on your bobber headed that way too. This means if you have other poles in the water, kids playing around, boats on shore or any natural obstructions around you may want adjust your casting spot or distance. I have untangled many lines from a floating bobber setup than any other. The upside is that if your bobber is traveling, then so is your bait. You can fish more area this way. If you notice your bobber not moving with the waves/wind then it could be a good sign that your powerbait is sitting in some moss or seaweed and could be time to recast.

Be patient. I see alot of amateurs constantly reeling their line in if they don’t have a bite every 10 minutes. Once you do have a fish on and your bobber is no where to be found. Grab your reel and do quick check. Reel in so that the line is tight. If you have a fish on, you can feel the tugging and try and set the hook by giving a quick firm tug. Always keep the line tight. Don’t yank on it so hard the hook tears out of the fish, just a quick flick of the wrist in the opposite direction of where your line is. If it is directly in front of you lift your pole straight up and remember to keep the line tight.

If you don’t have a fish on and you feel no resistance. Go ahead and reel your bobber in and check your powerbait.

Quick Tip: When reeling in powerbait on a bobber to check the powerbait or re-cast… I always reel in slowly. I’ve caught trout while reeling in. The fish can see the movement in the water and it can trigger a strike.

Good luck and send me your photos using these techniques!

Reader Photos:

Thanks for the tips! My 3 year old caught this trout using your powerbait and bobber set up! He did all the work and is still talking about it.

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About Editor

A little about me, I have personally fished for over 20 years and have caught almost every rocky mountain fresh water game fish one way or another. The truth is there is always someone better out there reeling in trophy fish and I am always prodding for their deep dark secrets on how to do it. Check back and you'll definitely see something new on fishing and how to fish!

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3 Responses to “How to Catch Trout with Powerbait”

  1. MIke M Says:

    Sweet! This is what I was looking for. I’m excited to try fishing with some power bait this weekend… Great info! Keep it coming.

    Reply

  2. Editor Says:

    Thanks Mike! Good luck.

    Reply

  3. Melbourne Fishing Charter Says:

    Thanks for providing these details on your site.

    Reply

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