Top 5 Powerbait to catch stocked trout | COLOR & SCENT

There is no better bait to catch stocked trout than Powerbait. But when you got to a bait shop or look online you might get overwhelmed by the amount of options. They come in many different colors, scents, which should you choose?

Well there is no one best Powerbait – though there is one best all around (skip to #2 to find that one). Different Powerbaits are going to work better in different situations. 

But if you have all 5 of the Powerbait options below – you’ll be able to catch stocked trout no matter what condition you’re facing! So let’s get into each and why they work…

#1 Corn (Yellow)

best powerbait

This is probably one of the most popular options that you’ll find among Powerbait, and for good reason. It’s a color and scent that has stood the test of time.

Pros for Corn (Yellow)

The reason why is pretty simple. The majority of farm-raised trout eat some sort of corn-based meal throughout their life. Think about cows, chickens, or really any animal that is fed for growth by farmers. Corn is the easiest, cheapest, most sustainable source to feed them. Trout aren’t much different.

While they aren’t getting fed just corn kernels, they will be adjusted to the sight and smell of corn being their natural food source. So if you get trout raised for years in a hatchery introduced to a new body of water, corn is the first thing they’ll know to look for as food.

With that said, corn is the ideal powerbait to use for newly introduced trout. Depending on how trout react in your area, this means you should try corn powerbait at least for the first week or two after a stocking. And it can continue working all year long. Read here where I go more in depth about catching stocked trout right after planting. 

Corn powerbait also has a bright yellow color that is easy for trout to see in lower-light conditions. So use it early in the morning or late in the evening when trout fishing is at its best. Corn yellow is a great contrast that is easily visible for trout at this time.

Cons for Corn (Yellow)

There are some times you shouldn’t use corn yellow powerbait, though. If you’re fishing a heavily pressured area, or trout that have become adjusted to a new body after being stocked, you probably want to lean away from corn. They’ll be used to it and likely aware it’s a lure, not real food. Plus because it’s so popular, every fish will have seen it many times. 

It also doesn’t shine in very bright or very low-light conditions. So if you fish at night or in the middle of the day, you probably want to lean for other options.

#2 Rainbow with glitter

A new Powerbait option that is quickly gaining popularity among anglers is Rainbow with glitter. Like the name suggests, rainbow is probably the most colorful Powerbait option that you can find as it includes yellow, green, and orange in a swirl so that every piece you put on has all colors included.

Pros for Rainbow with glitter

The beauty of this is that if orange, yellow, or green are the ideal color – you have all of them in one bait. So you don’t have to try each and figure out which one the trout want that day. Just put on rainbow and know you’ll have the color they’re biting best in the mix.

Also, not every trout wants the same thing. While there is generally one best color – trout like any fish can be random. Maybe that one trout really wants orange even though it’s not the ‘ideal’ color for that scenario. You still have it in your bait for that one fish, even if yellow or green is actually the primary color you’re wanting to use.

Finally, conditions change quickly. Green or chartreuse (mentioned later) are probably the best high-light colors that you can use. They’re easily visible and contrast well for trout in direct sunlight. But as you get cloud cover, you want orange or yellow. If clouds come in and out, you don’t want to change baits every few minutes.

Rainbow can work in cloudy, windy, clear, sunny, whatever. So if it’s a day with a lot of weather changes – rainbow is probably your best sure bet to keep on all day and catch fish.

The final aspect that can make rainbow killer is if you add the glitter variation. Glitter shines and sparkles in the sun – which is when you should be using rainbow Powerbait anyways. And even if the sun isn’t shining, it doesn’t actually hurt to have glitter. So it’s just a little extra glimmer that can get trout to bite your bait versus other fisherman’s

Cons for Rainbow with glitter

Rainbow with glitter is not a perfect color though even if it is the best all around for my money. It is not the best for very low-light situations as the bright colors in it don’t contrast without light. So I wouldn’t use it fishing early mornings or late evenings – and definitely not at night.

Also, rainbow is usually a good color for trout that are hungry, aggressive, or at least willing to bite. If you’re having a really tough day where no one is catching anything – rainbow isn’t usually the color to have on. Trout will be looking for something more natural with a scent that entices them into biting more. 

So rainbow with glitter powerbait is a great all around solution that I would buy if i could only have one option. When trout are active, you can catch a limit with it in no time. But it’s likely never going to be the best option for any situation and you should have some other options up your sleeve in case it isn’t working or you face un-ideal conditions.

#3 Chartreuse

My favorite color to use around my local waters for Powerbait is likely chartreuse. 9 times out of 10 if I want to get a bite, I’ll be at least starting with chartreuse and trying different colors after if I can’t catch a trout.

Pros for Chartreuse

The reason for this is because I live in Virginia and fish stocked ponds that are not naturally spring fed. They have dirty, grassy bottoms for the most part and don’t have crystal clear water. Usually I’m fishing somewhere from stained to muddy water throughout the year.

Chartreuse really shines in these conditions because it contrasts well and is easily visible for trout looking for food. Anytime you’re fishing after a rain, in windy conditions, or anything that causes some stir in the water I would recommend going with chartreuse. It can be a game changer from catching nothing to getting a limit in a few hours.

You can optionally add glitter as well if you fish in a lot of sunny conditions or keep powerbait up higher in the water column where light bleeds through easier. This is less important to me because, as mentioned, I’m fishing dirty water. And light doesn’t shine through dirty water enough for glitter to become very effective. But it also shouldn’t really hurt either.

Cons for Chartreuse

The only time I would not use chartreuse is during the night, as you do need some light to provide contrast for trout to see it. It’s also not the best color for crystal clear conditions usually, but you can still catch trout with it. If rainbow with glitter is not your all-around option, chartreuse would be a good second place.

At least in my local waters though, chartreuse is becoming extremely popular and trout are becoming wary. Because it is not naturally colored or scented, when trout do become wise to it they will eventually stop biting. So it’s another color that works good when they’re active, but isn’t going to catch heavily pressured trout effectively.

#4 Garlic

We’ve covered the more popular options and I’ve mentioned a few times that they aren’t the best for highly pressured fisheries. Chances are if you’re looking for a better color, it’s because you aren’t catching trout currently. So maybe you need to try something a little different to catch those trout with tight lips. That’s where garlic comes in to play.

Pros for Garlic

Garlic scented baits are one of those things that catch every type of fish. Most of the additional scents that you’ll find for any type of fishing lure have a garlic option or a similar type of smell. Trout are no exception in that something about the addition of garlic can make them bite when nothing else will.

There is a lot of debate among fishermen as to why. Trout don’t eat anything naturally that has a garlicky scent. But there is still no doubt that when you put garlic scented lures in front of them they seem to be naturally attracted. Whether they are naturally drawn to the scent, or the scent is so strong it makes them curious enough to bite, or it just is the most effective at hiding human scent when working it on the hook – we don’t really know. We just know it works.

Garlic doesn’t have a very bright color that you would think is enticing to trout, either. But I actually believe the subtle white/beige color is part of what makes the garlic powerbait so effective. It’s not overpowering or obviously fake looking. It’s natural enough to not turn off a trout that is a little wary of what they may be biting.

So when I’m in a situation where trout aren’t biting well at all for anyone on the lake – I’m putting garlic on. It’s a little bit different and not many fishermen use it, so you’ll be differentiating yourself from all the other baits trout have seen for one. Then in addition, your bait will be more natural-looking and have a scent that draws them in and makes then want to bite. Even if they aren’t really that hungry.

Cons for Garlic

But that is the lone situation where I find garlic to be useful. The color is so natural and subtle it doesn’t draw trout in from a good distance. Trout primarily feed through sight, so you always do want to appeal to them with strong contrasting colors when possible. And garlic powerbait is anything but that.

If water is very muddy, they probably will never see it and just swim past unless they get extremely close. In low light, they probably won’t be able to see garlic powerbait at all. So try and only use it from mid-morning to mid-evening when there is enough light penetration to make it more easily visible.

I’ve even experimented with mixing garlic with chartreuse or more brightly colored baits to see if the combination gives a natural scent with the allure of a bright color to draw trout in. Thus far, it has seemed to be less successful than just start garlic powerbait. So I don’t recommend mixing them together.

#5 Salmon Egg (Peach)

When none of those powerbait options work – salmon peach is a great standard that I fall back to time and time again. I don’t see many fishermen using it and I’m frankly not sure why. I think it’s another great all around option that mixes great scent with a natural food source that is more easily visible than other options like garlic.

Pros for Salmon Egg

Let’s start with what salmon peach powerbait mimics – salmon eggs. Salmon eggs are like a delicacy for wild trout. So anything that mimics that is sure to get a lot of bites. Even stocked trout seem to have some natural, inherent draw towards salmon eggs. Powerbait also is naturally shaped to look somewhat similar to eggs, so it makes an easy replica that can get trout to bite.

But it’s not just that salmon egg powerbait mimics a natural food source, it also has a scent that hides human contact and naturally attracts trout as well. Again, smelling like salmon eggs, there is a pretty obvious attraction that trout have to the scent that you can tell when you start fishing with it regularly.

The color is more natural and subtle than rainbow with glitter, for example, but is a “peach” color that can still stand out in the right conditions. On a sunny day with mostly clear water, the peach color contrasts very well and can be seen from a good distance for most trout. So while it maybe doesn’t draw like chartreuse might, it’s good enough and has benefits because of it’s scent.

Put it all together – you have a solid powerbait option for trout. Especially when trout are in a not so active type of mood or a lot of fish have been pulled out from a stocking. Salmon peach excels here because it is more natural, has some scent, and mimics a natural food source so even the wise trout that have seen a lot of powerbait already will bite it.

Cons for Salmon Egg

It’s weaknesses are about the same as garlic – it isn’t super noticeable in non-ideal conditions. You aren’t going to catch a ton of trout on it at night or in low-light situations. Muddy water also isn’t ideal and you should opt for chartreuse instead. But when conditions are right, it will get bites. And even in un-ideal conditions I”ve been known to catch a few off it.

Now you know the 5 best types of powerbait for stocked trout AND when to use each. Remember, there is no one best option. So while you may use Garlic one day and catch a limit – don’t expect that you can go back and do the same a week later. Conditions will have changed, trout will have adjusted, and you may have to change up your bait colors. Use the guide above to pick one to start and don’t be afraid to try a bunch of different types to see which one works best that day. 

If you enjoyed this article please consider these as well which have tons of great information about catching stocked trout. And subscribe to the newsletter so you don’t miss the latest tips and tricks from Go Fishing Outdoors! We write about all kinds of freshwater fish, not just trout!

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