The Best Baits for Rainbow Trout – 6 Baits That Never Fail

Rainbow trout are probably one of the most sought-after game fish in North America. It’s very always important to choose the right kind of bait when targeting rainbow trout to increase your chances of catching them.

Rainbow trout mostly prefer artificial baits which come in an array of options with different purposes. So, it can be difficult to choose the bait that’s most suitable for your needs.

To help you choose the best bait for rainbow trout, here’s a compilation of the best trout bait products available on the market.

Bait Bait TypeMaterial
Berkley’s Natural Scent PowerBaitDough BaitNatural Ingredients with added flavors and scent attractants
Berkley’s Floating Mice TailsSoft BaitSoft plastic with added flavors and scent attractants
Berkley’s Honey WormsSoft BaitSoft plastic with added flavors and scent attractants
Yakima Bait Worden’s Original Rooster TailSpinner BaitMetal plated blades with UV coating
Blue Fox VibraxSpinner BaitBrass plated blades
Acme PhoebeSpoon BaitNon-corrosive metals

List of the Best Bait for Rainbow Trout in 2021

1. Best Overall – Berkley’s Natural Scent PowerBait

The top recommendation on our list is this dough power bait from Berkley’s. It’s known to outperform all other kinds of artificial rainbow trout baits.

The formula is made from natural ingredients which contain scent attractants and flavors to make it smell and taste just like live baits which will help you attract more rainbow trout.

It’s very easy to use as it can be molded and shaped to your liking. It also has floating properties and comes in multiple colors and flavors.


Berkley’s Natural Scent PowerBait is the best bait for you’re looking for an easy-to-rig dough bait that can suit all conditions and fishing techniques.

Scented baits are usually very effective, you can learn how to use scented baits for catching trout here.

2. Second Runner – Berkley’s Floating Mice Tails

This soft plastic bait from Berkley’s is excellent for catching rainbow trout. It’s easy to use and can be ideal for any rig.

Its design consists of two sections which are the egg and the tail. These sections come in two different colors to get the rainbow trout to strike at two different points.

The realistic ribbed tail also produces a good amount of vibration in the water to attract rainbow trout and get them to bite. It also has some floating properties.


Berkley’s Floating Mice Tails is the best bait for you if you’re looking for a realistic soft bait that can work with any rig.

3. Best On a Budget – Berkley’s Honey Worms Soft Bait

These Honey Worms are yet another excellent product from Berkley’s, especially if you’re on a budget.

They’re designed to mimic the insect larvae that trout feed on. They contain rainbow trout attracting scents and flavors to help give a more natural presentation.

They’re made from high-quality soft plastic and they come in various colors to suit different water conditions.


Berkley’s Honey Worms is the best bait for you if you’re looking for an effective soft bait that comes at an affordable price.

4. Yakima Bait Worden’s Original Rooster Tail

This Worden’s Original Rooster Tail bait from Yakima Bait works perfectly for rainbow trout fishing, whether you trolling or casting and retrieving.

The blade is designed with a pulsating hackle rooster tail which makes the lure appear bigger and creates sonic vibrations to attract more rainbow trout fish.

The lure is available in many color options and the blades are made from genuine silver, brass, or copper with UV coating to make them last a lot longer.


Yakima Bait Worden’s Original Rooster Tail is the best bait for you if you’re looking for a durable spinning bait that works for multiple fishing techniques

5. Blue Fox Vibrax

The Blue Fox Vibrax is one of the best spinnerbaits for rainbow trout fishing on the market.

This bait has an iridescent shine that attracts the attention of rainbow trout. It also creates a vibrating noise that triggers them to bite.

It’s designed with a free-turning brass gear that’s built into the bait to prevent any line twist. It’s available in different colors and the brass stamped blades can be silver-plated or copper plated.


The Blue Fox Vibrax is the best bait for you if you’re looking for a high-quality spinning bait with excellent flash and action to attract trout.

6. Acme Phoebe Spoon

The Acme Phoebe is one of the best spoon baits for rainbow trout fishing. It’s ideal for fishing in deep or shallow waters.

The design creates a three-dimensional illusion which makes it look like full-bodied baitfish. It also features a unique hydrodynamic curvature which gives it impressive casting abilities.

It’s made from high-quality non-corrosive metals and is available in two colors – silver and gold.


The Acme Phoebe is the best bait for you if you’re looking for a hydrodynamic spoon bait with high durability.

How to Choose the Best Bait for Rainbow Trout?

Generally, the best rainbow trout baits are the ones that look most natural to the fish. In order to choose the best bait for rainbow trout, you need to know what bait options you have and their properties.

Let’s take a look at the most popular bait options for rainbow trout:


Powerbait is probably the most popular choice with rainbow trout anglers. It has accounted for more rainbow trout catches than any other trout bait and it’s also effective for catching other trout species like brown and brook trout.

It’s basically a kind of dough made up of a unique formula that contains a distinctive fish-attracting scent that rainbow trout can’t resist. It comes in multiple colors and flavors so you would have a lot of options to choose from to suit different water conditions.

In order to rig power bait on a hook, you need to take a small amount of the power bait from the jar then roll it into a ball shape using the palms of your hands.

Make sure you have enough putty to cover the whole hook and that there are no seams or cracks in the power bait ball as these will allow water to enter the bait which can lead to working the bait off the hook a lot quicker

Next, you need to push the Powerbait ball halfway through your mainline above your hook then slide it down onto the hook. Once the power bait is covering the hook, press it gently with your fingers to ensure any seams or cracks are smoothed over completely.

Mice tails

Mice tails are a kind of soft plastic bait that mimics both salmon eggs and grub. This unusual-looking bait has been known to be extremely effective when it comes to caching rainbow trout.

The design of the bait provides movement in the water, making the bait come alive to trigger a response in rainbow trout and get them to bite. It also has the same floating properties as Powerbait.

Mice tail baits consist of two sections that come in two contrasting colors. The egg section of a Mice tail is usually one color while the tail section has a contrasting color. This helps provide two different strike points on the same bait.

There are two methods to rig a mice tail bait:

  • The first is by threading the hook in through the front of the egg section of the mouse tail and out through the bottom of the egg. That way the egg of the mouse tail would be sitting on the shank of the hook. This method allows the tail to move more freely and create more action in the water to attract rainbow trout.
  • The second method is by threading the hook through the tail section of the mouse tail. This method allows the egg to freely sit above the hook while leaving more of the hook point exposed

Honey Worms

Honey worms are also soft plastic. This life-like insect bait has grown in popularity among rainbow trout anglers. It is designed to give you a more natural bait presentation as it mimics insect larvae which rainbow trout are known to feed on.

They have a unique fish-attracting scent and flavor. They come in various colors so you can use them in different water conditions.

To rig a honey worm, you simply need to thread it onto the hook point from the back. You also need to make sure that the hook point exits the bait halfway down its body. This way half the bait would be hanging from the end of the hook which gives trout enough time to take the bait into their mouth.

Rooster Tails, Inline Spinners, and Spoons

Spoons and spinners may not directly imitate any specific kind of fish or forage, however, the vibrations and motions they produce are often effective in triggering a response in trout and getting them to bite.

Keep in mind that the size and shape of the lure will produce a different vibration wavelength, so it’s better to experiment with different models.

What You Need to Know About Rainbow Trout

rainbow trout to show what is the best baits for rainbow trout

To increase your chances of catching rainbow trout, you need to learn some basic facts about them.

Rainbow trout have a very unique look as they have distinctive silver and pink stripes on the side of their bodies, accompanied by lots of brown and black dots. They often grow to become 4 or 6 lbs.

Rainbow trout are also unique in the way that they behave. Unlike many fish species, they love cold water and tend to feed more when the temperature drops.

Rainbow trout are usually the most active during their feeding periods. They can also be easily spooked, especially when there’s a lot of movement. So, it’s better to wait patiently in one spot and wait for them to cruise by.

What Does Rainbow Trout Feed On?

Rainbow trout’s diets mostly consist of dragonfly nymphs, caddis fly nymphs, leeches, snails, smaller forage fish and, many other aquatic invertebrates which all reside in weeded or muddy areas.

Where to Find Rainbow Trout?

Rainbow trout live in streams, rivers, and lakes as they prefer clear, freshwater. They also prefer living in colder waters. So, when the water temperature gets too warm they will move to an area where the water temperature is cooler.

You should be able to find rainbow trout in areas where the water depth transitions from deep to shallow or in any area where their food resides. They will stay close to current breaks such as rocks and trees while waiting for their prey.

What Is the Best Time to Fish for Rainbow Trout?

The best time of the year to fish for rainbow trout would be during spring and fall. During this time, most rivers and lakes will be stocked as the water will be colder and the trout will be more active.

The best time of the day to fish for rainbow trout would be the early morning when the water temperature is cold. At this time the oxygen content in the water would be higher which will also make the rainbow trout more active and likely to bite.

As the sun moves higher in the sky in the afternoon making the weather warmer, the rainbow trout will retreat to deeper areas in the water. By the evening, they return to shallow water again to feed.

What Kind of Gear Does do You Need to Catch Rainbow Trout?

Rod and Reel

The preferred fishing rods to use when fishing for rainbow trout would be a medium power rod with fast action. It’s usually better to go for a lighter rod to enhance your casting accuracy. It is also recommended for the rod to be about 6-7 feet in length.

When it comes to fishing reels, it’s recommended to go for a spinning reel with a low line capacity and a good drag ratio that will work with most fishing techniques.

I have a guide on the best rods for trout fishing here, and another guide on the best reels for trout fishing here that are definitely worth your time as these recommendations can make a huge difference in your next fishing trip.

Mainline and Leader

When fishing for rainbow trout, it’s preferred to use a monofilament line with a 6 to 10-pound test as your mainline. You can also use a heavier braided line with a 4 to 6-pound line test.

It’s also recommended to add a fluorocarbon leader with 4 to 6-pound to avoid having the trout bite through your mainline.

You can check the best trout fishing lures here. You can also check the best hooks for trout fishing here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Fish for Rainbow Trout Using Live Bait?

Yes, you can fish for rainbow trout using live bait along with artificial lures. This approach is more effective as it combines the advantages for both. The best live baits to use when fishing for rainbow trout are mealworms, wax worms, spikes, and small live minnows, which can all be found at tackle shops. It’s preferred for live bait to be rigged on a small hook.

Can you fish for Rainbow Trout with Corn?

Yes, you can fish for rainbow trout with corn. That is because corn can effectively mimic the look of eggs of other fish which make up a large part of a trout diet. The bright yellow color of corn can also grab rainbow trout’s attention and get them to bite.

You can also fish for rainbow trout with Salmon eggs, and this has been very effective in my own experience. I have made a complete guide on catching trout with Salmon eggs here that you should definitely check out.

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