Using Shrimp for Trout Bait – How it actually Works

Shrimp species can be found almost everywhere around the world. They’re abundant throughout the year and they can withstand various temperatures. That’s why shrimp can be a great bait option for a wide variety of gamefish species including trout.

So, can you use shrimp as trout bait? You can use shrimp as trout bait because it produces a strong scent and natural action that’s very effective in grabbing the trout’s attention and getting them to bite. Shrimp are also easy to obtain, store, and if they’re rigged properly, they can survive a long time on the hook.

Continue reading to learn why trout like shrimp, how to obtain and store shrimp to use as bait, and how to properly rig shrimp for trout fishing.

Why Does Shrimp Work as Trout Bait?

shrimp bucket to show how to use shrimp for trout bait

Since trout have a preference for any kind of live bait, shrimp can be just as effective for trout fishing as minnows, shiners, and even worms

What makes shrimp so effective as live bait for trout is that they disperse a strong scent into that trout can easily detect. They also produce a strong action that will grab the trout’s attention and get them to bite at different depths and water conditions.

Shrimp are also favored by many anglers for many reasons. They’re easy to catch and keep alive. They’re also easy to rig on the hook and will remain alive on the hook long enough to draw the attention of the fish.

What Other Fish Species Can You Catch Using Shrimp Bait?

Shrimps are known to be a favorite meal of a wide variety of gamefish species

The species that you can catch using shrimp as bait include both largemouth and smallmouth bass, panfish, catfish, bluegills, and in some cases carp. I have a dedicated guide to using live bluegills in fishing here discussing the how, the why, and the legality of it, so make sure to check it out.

How to Catch Shrimps to Use as Bait?

In order to fish with live shrimp, you first need to learn how to catch them.

All you need to do to catch some live shrimps for your next fishing trip is make a simple trap using common household supplies.

You will need empty plastic bottles that are about 2-3 liters, twine or a small string, scissors, pliers, and about 15-20 feet of rope.

Here are the steps for putting the trap together:

  • Cut the bottle in half just below the bend at the mouth using the scissors. Make sure to cut in a straight line so that the edges are matching.
  • Reverse the mouth of the bottle then insert it back into the base of the bottle. Push down until the cut edges of the bottle line up.
  • Cut several holes around the cut edge of the bottle. Make sure you’re cutting through both layers of plastic and that the holes large enough to run the rope through them.
  • Run the rope through the holes and tie it off to secure the top of the bottle to the base.
  • Cut more small holes in the base of the bottle to allow the water to flow in and out. These holes need to be small so that that shrimp cannot get out through them.
  • Tie a long piece of rope through the holes in the base then tie its other end to something secure on the shore.
  • Add bait for the shrimp such as tuna or some fish food in the bottle and submerge it in the water where shrimp live.
  • Leave the trap a few hours or overnight then check back to see if you’ve caught any shrimps.

How to Keep Shrimp Alive to Use as Bait?

Now that you know how to catch shrimps, you need to learn how to store them to keep them alive for as long as possible. That is because live shrimp is more appealing as bait than dead or frozen shrimp.

Here are some tips you can follow to store your shrimps and keep them alive:

  • Keep the shrimps in a bucket filled with cold water after you catch them as it will have more oxygen than warm water. Make sure to cover the bucket to keep the shrimp away from direct sunlight.
  • If the water in the bucket starts getting warm, add ice in small amounts to cool it down. 
  • Try to avoid adding too much ice at once as this will cool the water too rapidly which might send the shrimp into shock and eventually kill them.
  • Keep the shrimp in a well-aerated environment. You can use a battery-powered aerator, a water circulator, or a live well to keep the water rich in oxygen.
  • If you’re going to keep your shrimps alive for longer than 24 hours, you will need to feed them regularly. You can feed them small pieces of bread or a pinch of fish food once every day.

Can You Fish for Trout with Dead Frozen Shrimps?

You can fish with dead frozen shrimps, however, they might not be as effective as live shrimps. That is because dead bait is generally not attractive to trout as it doesn’t produce the same strong scent or action that grabs their attention.

There are still some advantages to fishing with frozen shrimps. They’re cheap and easy to obtain as they can be found in any supermarket. They also come packaged which makes them easy to store in a portable refrigerator.

To increase your chance of catching trout using frozen shrimps, you need to adjust your fishing technique and rig the shrimps to appear alive to grab the trout’s attention.

Also, make sure the frozen shrimps are not looking withered or producing any off-putting scents that might drive trout away.

How to Rig Shrimps for Trout Fishing?

There are different methods to rig shrimp on your hook whether it’s alive or dead. Let’s break down some of the most commonly used methods.

Rigging Live Shrimps

You can hook the shrimp through the head in two different ways.

The first way is to insert the hook from underneath the shrimp’s head then push it out on the top while avoiding the vital organs. The second way is to insert the hook through the top of the shrimp’s head then push the point of the hook underneath the vital organs.

You can hook the shrimp through the hard part of the tail.

Insert the hook through the bottom of the tail and then push it out the top. This will allow shrimp to swim which will create a lot of good action in the water.

You can also take off the tail and insert the hook into the meat of the shrimp then push it out through the bottom of the shrimp’s shell. This will make the shrimp seem like it’s wounded and produces more of its scent in the water.

Rigging Dead Shrimps

To rig dead shrimps, you first need to peel the shell to make the bait a little softer. You also need to dismember the body to produce more scents.

Break off the head, feet, and tail fan then thread the rest of the body on your hook from the head end or the tail end.

Here is a simple video that shows how to hook shrimp the correct way:

Before you go, you should probably take a look at my guide for using powerbait for trout to get awesome results here.

Related Questions

Can You Use Artificial Shrimp Lures to Catch Trout?

You can use artificial shrimp lures to catch trout. There are many lures that are designed to imitate the natural scent and movement of shrimps which can be effective in grabbing the trout’s attention. These lures also come in different colors and sizes to suit fishing in different water conditions.

What Hook Is Best for Shrimp Bait?

The best hook for shrimp bait is a #1 or #2 hook. If you’re using a larger shrimp, you can use a 1/0 hook. Keep in mind that the hook size mainly depends on the size of the shrimp and that larger hooks might weigh the shrimp down and hinder their movement.

What Are the Best Water Conditions to Shrimp Bait?

Shrimp can be used in different water conditions and they can withstand various tortures. It’s often recommended to use shrimp in the same water body where you’ve caught as this will ensure that the fish will recognize it as bait. It’s also recommended to avoid using live shrimp when fishing in clear water

Is It Legal to Use Shrimp as Trout Bait?

It is legal to use shrimp as trout bait in many states. However, there might be some regulations for how and where exactly you can fish using shrimp. So, it’s very important that you check the regulations in your area and confirm with the local authorities before using shrimps to catch trout.

Helpful Resources 

How to hook shrimp

Why are trout difficult to catch?

Level Up your Trout Fishing

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