Does PowerBait Actually Work: Choosing Effective Trout Bait

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Rainbow Trout in the net.

PowerBait works well for trout. It’s colorful, scented, and floats. PowerBait looks similar to the pellets trout eat at hatcheries, so stocked trout tend to flock toward it. Most anglers prefer to use it in pressured waters for stocked fish. It’s versatile and effective in various situations.

There are days when nothing we throw at trout works. Live bait, lures, soft plastics, flies, and everything else produce nothing. As a fly and lure angler, I avoid baits like PowerBait, but there are days when nothing else works. 

Best PowerBait for Trout

If you show up to a trout stream with your spin rod and PowerBait, you’ll get some disapproving looks from the diehard fly anglers. Odds are, however, you’ll have the last laugh because you’ll catch more fish than them. Nothing says you can’t use it as long as the dough is allowed and within local regulations. 

PowerBait is a large piece of the Berkley brand and many other fishing companies. They’re most well-known for their dough baits but also have soft plastics that work well. However, the dough, nuggets, and eggs are the most common PowerBait used by trout anglers. 

PowerBait Dough

The PowerBait Dough comes in a multitude of colors. Some favorites include chartreuse, yellow, green, rainbow, peach, Tequila Lime, and white. You’ll grab a clump of dough from the jar, attach it to your hook, and toss it into the water. It’s that easy. 

The dough dissolves slowly and has a natural scent. You can cast numerous times with the same PowerBait before it dissolves. Most PowerBaits have a natural, worm, Aniseed, or garlic scent. While it’s not always fun to smell, it attracts fish. They can’t help but at least inspect the bait before they decide to bite it or not. 

It’s easy to use, and the combination of color and scent is everything you want. Have various colors and scents to choose from before you hit the water. 

PowerBait Trout Nuggets

If you’ve ever visited a fish hatchery during feeding time, you’ll notice thousands of little nuggets/pellets entering the water and sending the fish into a feeding frenzy. Hatcheries fill the pellets with numerous nutrients necessary for the fish to grow.

Berkeley created the PowerBait trout nuggets to replicate the food trout eat at their hatcheries. These nuggets work well if you’re fishing a recently stocked body of water. Attach a few to a treble hook, toss it near structure or cover, and wait for the fish to strike. 

They dissolve at a similar rate as the PowerBait Dough. The beauty of PowerBait is that it makes your life easy. You’ll succeed if you can attach it to your hook and check on it every few casts. 

Pay close attention to the stocking schedules at your local trout water, and show up with your pellets. The fish are ready to eat and flock towards something similar to what they eat within the hatchery. 

PowerBait Salmon/Trout Eggs

When the salmon and trout egg PowerBait hit the market, things changed. If you’ve spent any time observing trout feeding habits during a spawn, you notice how many trout sit downstream of Redds, waiting for eggs to drift towards them. They feast on eggs for the entirety of the spawn.

The eggs even work well when fishing in still water. Urban trout ponds, alpine lakes, and every other type of water are worth fishing with the PowerBait trout eggs. Grab a few eggs, and attach them to a treble hook to make them look like an egg sac. 

These eggs come in garlic, natural, worm, and Aniseed scents, so you can choose the exact type of bait you want. 

View of fishing equipment up close inside a Walmart superstore

Best PowerBait Color for Trout 

Once you have the type of PowerBait you want, you can select the exact color. There are several dozen popular PowerBait colors and combinations that tend to work well in different situations. Gain an understanding of the type of water you’ll be fishing before you choose the PowerBait color you’ll use. 


If I’m fishing PowerBait, I like to start with chartreuse. Anglers of all types understand how effective chartreuse baits are regardless of the fish species you’re targeting. No matter the conditions, you’ll catch trout with chartreuse PowerBait. It’s one of those safety nets that all of us anglers like to have when we aren’t sure what the fish want. 

I like the PowerBait with the glitter in it. It adds even more flash to my setup. 

Yellow Corn

Hatcheries also feed trout corn and corn-based pellets. So, recently stocked trout are used to eating yellow baits. A bit of this dough on the end of your hook sparks something in trout. 

When I was younger, I always started with the Yellow Corn PowerBait combination. It always caught trout regardless of the water conditions or time of year. 

For whatever reason, when the Yellow Corn PowerBait catches trout, it turns into a frenzy. Going through a half or full jar of yellow corn on a highly productive day is common. 

Pink and Red

Any bait you have that imitates trout or salmon eggs should be in your arsenal. The pink and red PowerBaits do a great job of imitating these eggs, and trout never turn them away. You can fish them at all times of year, but prioritize them when you’re fishing the spawn. 


The black and green PowerBait color combination is a natural-looking bait. Whether it’s imitating vegetation, worms, leeches, or insects, trout tend to flock toward it, especially when you’re fishing clear water. You can find it in the Aniseed scent, which works well. 

Hatchery Brown

As mentioned, the Hatchery PowerBait color is one of the more effective color choices. In clear water, stocked trout love it. It looks natural and doesn’t spook the trout. Any trout in the area, regardless of how spooky, have no problem hitting the Hatchery Brown Natural PowerBait. 

Remember, fish the Hatchery Brown color right after game and fish stock a lake or pond.

Rigging PowerBait

Rigging PowerBait is simple. I like to use 4-6 pound fluorocarbon or monofilament as my main line. If I have 6-pound test as my main line, I always attach a 2 to 4-pound test leader depending on where I’m fishing and the size of trout I’m targeting. 

Easy Rig

I’ll attach a split shot around 14 inches above my hook, and I’m ready to go. I think the majority of your success comes because of the size of your hook. I’ll use a size 12-14 hook that I usually use to tie my flies. 

The smaller the hook, the less PowerBait I use. You’ll find anglers who use a big glob of bait with heavy weights and catch fish. However, a smaller setup usually catches more fish while allowing me to land a trophy. 

Carolina Rig

If you want a different setup, you can use a sliding weight and a swivel, also known as a Carolina Rig. You’ll slide a bead and a bullet weight on your main line, and attach a swivel to the end. On the other side of the swivel, attach your leader. I like to use a 10 to 18-inch 4 to 6-pound leader, depending on how high I want my bait to sit. 

In a Carolina Rig, the weight sits on the bottom while your bait floats naturally above it. Trout tend to prefer this setup with PowerBait. 

River in South Dakota
River in South Dakota

How and When to Fish PowerBait

PowerBait fishing isn’t complicated. I like to use it when fishing in recently stocked lakes and ponds. Being a fly angler, I stay away from PowerBait when fishing for wild or natural trout in moving water. 

Once you rig your PowerBait, toss it near cover, structure, a drop-off, or feeding trout. Let it sit and wait for the fish to strike. You don’t have to use any particular type of retrieval method. As long as you locate where trout hold, you’ll catch them. 

I like to throw it near fallen logs, rock piles, weed lines, and edges of drop-offs. They’re easy to find in most lakes and ponds. 

Regarding time of day, I fish it during the prime feeding hours. Fish in the mornings and evenings, and you’ll have the most success. 

River in Arizona
River in Arizona

Frequently Asked Questions

Is PowerBait Better than Worms?

For trout, it’s hard to find better bait than worms. Their natural scent and movement are exactly what trout want. PowerBait is effective but not as effective as trout. 

What Fish Can I Catch With PowerBait? 

You can catch trout, bass, crappie, perch, and sunfish with PowerBait. It’s colorful and has numerous scents that attract all types of trout. 

How Good Does PowerBait Work?

It works very well when you’re fishing for stocked trout. Wild and native trout prefer flies and natural baits, but it still works for them. Spend most of your time using it on stocked trout. 

Does Trout PowerBait Float?

Yes, trout PowerBait floats. It’s one of its best attributes. 


PowerBait has a poor reputation in certain fishing circles, but there’s no doubt about its effectiveness. Like any trout fishing, presentation is the most important thing. Ensure you’re not using too much and casting it in places where trout sit. You’ll learn that it always catches fish and has a color and scent combination for every scenario. 

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