Top 5 Trout Fishing Gear Essentials

Trout Gear 4: Baits and Lures

Use a few of these fat nightcrawlers and the fish will be queuing up at the end of your line.
Use a few of these fat nightcrawlers and the fish will be queuing up at the end of your line.
© iStockphoto/Lawrence Sawyer

Fishing with artificial flies can be rewarding, but the learning curve is smaller with natural bait. Some anglers prefer to f­ind bait near the water they'll be fishing. A little searching can turn up aquatic larvae known as hellgrammites, grasshoppers, grubs, leeches and caddisfly cases. Even small salamanders can be effective. Other fishermen carry in their bait. Nightcrawlers, large earthworms that emerge from the ground at night, are still popular. Secured once with No. 10 to No. 14 regular shank bronze hooks, these worms will stay active and lively for several minutes underwater. Minnows and mealworms can also attract trout.

Prepackaged trout bait is another alternative. Several manufacturers sell bottled salmon eggs, corn pellets and "dough" products. One such product is Berkley PowerBait, which comes in various colors and flavors. Simply mold PowerBait onto your hook, and you're ready to go. You may need to attach a split shot -- a small lead pellet partially cut through its diameter-- approximately 12 inches (30 centimeters) above the hook to make sure you have enough weight to hold the bait down.

Finally, you can opt for an array of artificial lures. Spinners have metal blades that spin as you reel them through the water. They come plain or trimmed with feathers or bucktail. Spoons are concave metal lures that wobble and twist in the water, imitating the motion of baitfish. Plugs also imitate small baitfish. They're small, light lures, usually made from balsa wood or plastic.

After the right bait comes the right boot, another fishing essential for the serious angler.­