Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Trout Fishing with Synthetic Bait

Synthetic baits scented with fish attractants are very effective for catching trout. They are particularly effective on recently stocked hatchery trout that are used to feeding on pellet-shaped foods.

Bait Types

image of synthetic bait types

Synthetic bait comes in various shapes, colors, forms and scents. It can resemble items that trout might eat such as earthworms, fish eggs, corn or fish food pellets. It is also available in a moldable dough, which is particularly effective for trout. Floating baits are the most effective form as they float off the bottom and are readily visible to foraging trout.

Rigging Your Bait

A simple bottom rig is most effective for fishing synthetic baits in ponds. Although it can be used in streams, take care that the bait does not get snagged as the current drags it along the bottom.

  • Slide an egg or bullet weight (1/8 oz. is usually sufficient) onto the main line.
  • Tie a swivel to your main line.
  • Tie an 18" to 24" length of 4 lb. test leader, preferably fluorocarbon, to the swivel.
  • Tie a #6 or #8 egg or circle hook onto the leader.
  • Use enough synthetic bait to ensure that the hook floats off the bottom. Use multiple pieces of bait if necessary, or mold bait into a ball around the hook.

image of floating synthetic bait rig

Selecting a Rod and Reel

Use a light- to medium-action spin-casting or spinning rod. Push-button style spin-casting outfits are best suited for beginning anglers.

image of spin cast rod and reelimage of spinning rod and reel

How to Fish

Using a bottom rig is as simple as casting it out and waiting for a fish to hit the bait. Trout prefer outlets or other areas of moving water, but early in the season they often roam throughout a pond in search of food.

Make a cast and let your bait sit. BE PATIENT. If you don't get a hit in about 10 minutes, reel in your line, check your bait, and make another cast. If your line tightens up, you likely have a fish on. If you are using a circle hook, reel quickly until the hook sets in the fish's mouth. If you are using a standard hook, tighten your line and set the hook with a quick sweep of your rod.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Bureau of Fisheries
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233
    Send us an email
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to all NYS regions