In most parts of the United States of America, our government stocks lakes with trout. All of the major species of trout are stocked with the most popular being the good old rainbow trout. So what is the best way to catch these fish, for those of us who don’t have access to a boat? We have to fish off of the shore, and that means either walking while casting a spinner or small lure or bank fishing with some kind of bait. Those are the choices for shore anglers, period.
For this article, I’m going to focus on my favorite and most effective method, which is still fishing with some sort of bait. In my world, ‘some sort of bait’ means either Powerbait or worms. These are the only two types of bait that I use when still fishing from shore, with Powerbait being my personal favorite. Powerbait is hard to beat for stocked trout. Stocked trout love the stuff. My fishing buddy and I used to joke that Powerbait must be made with the same ingredients as the food that’s fed to stocked trout in hatcheries, because the fish seem to be addicted to the stuff.
One of the advantages of Powerbait, other than the fact that stocked trout are addicted to it, is the fact that it floats. This means that if a small enough hook is used, your offering will float off of the bottom. Having your offering floating off of the bottom, is a key to being successful while still fishing from shore. Here is exactly how you want to rig your offering:
1. Cut a piece of line that’s as long as you would like your offering to float off of the bottom. I suggest twelve to twenty four inches. Tie a hook to this piece of line. If you know how, tie two hooks to this piece of line, thus creating a gang hook. A gang hook is simply two hooks tied in tandem. I suggest using a size ten hook and wouldn’t go any larger than size eight. Set this “leader” aside.
2. Now take the line coming from the end of your rod and slip an egg sinker onto the line. The sinker simply needs to be large enough to keep your line on the bottom when you tighten your line. For example, the more wind there is, the heavier your sinker will have to be.
3. Now tie a small swivel onto your line in front of the “free floating” egg sinker. I suggest size twelve, but you could go a bit larger if you wish. The swivel will now act as a “stop” to the sinker, thus not allowing the sinker to travel any further down the line.
4. Now tie the “leader” you made (step 1) to the other end of the swivel. At this point you’re ready to add enough Powerbait to the hook (or hooks if you have a gang hook) to cover the hook (s) entirely.
This is the rig that you want to use for trout fishing from shore, especially for stocked trout. You simply cast your baited rig out and let it sink, at which point you simply tighten your line slowly until the line is completely taught. Incidentally, it helps to have something to prop your rod on to keep everything motionless.
Now you wait for a trout to bite. The rod tip will start bouncing when a fish is biting at your offering. It usually doesn’t take too long for the trout to show interest. If nothing happens for forty five minutes to and hour, I would suggest changing the color of Powerbait. It sounds crazy, but many times the color makes a difference. Good luck and for God’s sake, have fun.