Trout are not necessarily the most finicky eaters. They respond well to many live baits. Things like worms and salmon eggs are very appealing to trout. But they can also respond very well to homemade fishing bait. The most common kind of homemade trout bait is dough bait. Because of the flour you mix in, it very much resembles the dough for bread. It should be easy to form into balls that sit well on hooks.

If you ask 100 different anglers you’ll get 100 different recipes for bait. Any good fishermen should have their old standby. But if you haven’t developed one yet, there are plenty of options out there. Some are going to work better than others. Try out a few to see what works best for you. Like catfish, trout have some scents that they can’t resist. You can experiment with all of them.

Depending on where you live and fish, you’ll have more or less success. That said, all of these have had success in the past for many anglers. The best part is many of them are easily made from ingredients you’ll have at home.

Simple Dough Bait

  • ½ cup of flour
  • ½ cup of cornmeal
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • ¼ pound of processed cheese

Dough bait is effective for catching nearly any kind of fish. When it comes to trout, it doesn’t need to be very complicated. This simple bait recipe doesn’t have a lot to it. And it doesn’t need more.


  1. Start the process by melting the cheese in the microwave. Just long enough to get it melted.
  2. Add a little bit of water to the melted cheese and mix until it is emulsified.
  3. Add your dry ingredients.
  4. Mix thoroughly. Add more water if the mix is too dry, add more flour if it’s too thin.
  5. Form the dough into balls about the size of your thumb joint. If it holds the shape and stays smooth, it’s ready.
  6. Form the rest of the dough into balls and add to boiling for 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Remove from the boiling water and allow the dough balls to dry.
  8. The dough is ready to use, or could be stored in a sealed container or Ziploc bag in the freezer until ready.

Sardine Balls

  • 1 can of sardines in water
  • Enough flour to create a dough texture


  1. Make sure you have sardines packed in water. Some come packed in oil, which you don’t want. You also don’t want flavored sardines, unless you think it’s worth the risk. Sardines are very much like the bait fish that trout would go after normally.
  2. Empty the can of sardines into a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle with flour.
  4. Use a fork or a spoon to mash the mixture up. The sardines will come apart easily and provide moisture.
  5. Add flour until the mix reaches that doughy consistency you want.

Pellet Bait

  • 1 cup of trout feed pellets
  • Enough boiling water to moisten pellets


  1. Let the pellets sit until the water soaks in.
  2. If the pellets are still hard, add more water until you can mix it into a dough-like paste.
  3. Store the dough mix until ready for use.

This one may be a little harder to make than some of the others. Most of us don’t have trout pellets at home. You can buy these at some fish supply stores, however. They are the pellets that farm-raised trout are raised on. The smell in the water is something they will immediately recognize. That makes this an effective trout bait recipe.

Sweet Bait

  • 1 ½ cups of flour
  • 2 cups uncooked instant oatmeal
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 6 tbsp strawberry Jello powder
  • 3 ½ cups of water


  1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add maple syrup.
  3. Slowly add water and mix.
  4. Continue to add water and mix until you receive the desired consistency. You may not need all the water.

This one uses Jello for sugar and color. As we said, trout have a sweet tooth. This one really amps up the sweet to get their attention. You can put this on a hook alone, or on a fly for fly fishing.

Garlic Corn

  • 1 can of corn
  • Garlic powder


  1. Drain the can of corn.
  2. Empty corn into a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle liberally with garlic powder.

This simple recipe works amazingly well. Canned corn is a very effective trout bait. Garlic is also a very potent fish attractor. Mixing the two together works better than you might expect. Once the corn has been coated with garlic, just bait the hook. You’ll need to use several kernels. As homemade fish bait goes, this is as simple as it gets. It works as well or better than powerbait for many anglers.

Marshmallow Bait

  • 1 bag of mini marshmallows
  • Pro-Cure bait scents


  1. Empty quarter of a bag of mini marshmallows into a ziplock bag.
  2. Add several drops of Pro-Cure bait scents.
  3. Add color if you’d like as well.

This is another very simple recipe. Small marshmallows are extremely effective bait. Trout seem to really hit on sweet baits. When you add scent to it as well, it makes it even more effective. Pro-Cure makes a line of scents that work very well for catching fish. Try scents such as garlic, onion, or anise. Bait a few on your hook and go fishing as normal.

Corn Dough Bait

  • The juice from one large can of corn
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • 1 cup of flour


  1. Add the garlic powder to the flour and mix.
  2. Add a small amount of salt.
  3. Pour in the juice from the corn. You want to keep it about even with the flour so 1 cup.
  4. Mix until you have a dough consistency.

This trout bait recipe is good for places where fishing with corn is not allowed, but you still want to get the same effect. There are some places where corn is prohibited for fishing. For instance, Rhode Island prohibits corn as bait. Many other states forbid it as chum.

Oatmeal Bait

  • 1 cup of flour
  • ⅓ cup cornmeal
  • ⅓ cup of oats
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder


  1. Add dry ingredients to a bowl.
  2. Add water and mix until desired dough consistency is reached.
  3. Roll into small balls like dumplings.
  4. Add to boiling water until outside of balls become tough, about 2 minutes.

This is a good bait if you find other dough baits are not quite as sturdy as you’d like. The oatmeal really adds thickness here. Pop a ball on a treble hook and give it a try.

Cinnamon Honey Bait

  • 1 pack of store-bought pizza dough or home made simple dough
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon


  1. Warm dough for 10-20 seconds in the microwave.
  2. Spread honey on warmed dough.
  3. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  4. Knead dough thoroughly to mix.
  5. Add honey, flour, and cinnamon as needed to maintain consistency.

Roll the dough into balls and store as you would store other dough baits. This has had mixed reviews from anglers. Some claim it works better than power bait. Others have stated it offers poor results. The only way to know for sure is to try it out.

Deli Bait

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • ⅓ cup shredded cheese
  • 1 single serve package of instant oatmeal
  • 2-3 slices of deli meat like pastrami or turkey
  • 1/2 single serving packet of water flavoring
  • 1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • Enough water to reach desired consistency


  1. Add garlic powder to flour and mix thoroughly.
  2. Mix in shredded cheese.
  3. Open the package of oatmeal and mix it in.
  4. Dice up the sliced lunch meat and add to the mixture.
  5. Pour in half the packet of water flavouring. This will add some sugar and colouring to the mix.
  6. Mix in the vegetable oil.
  7. Add water and mix. This should be a thick, batter-like consistency.
  8. Microwave for 5 to 10 seconds to soften the cheese.
  9. Pour the mixture into a bag and add 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
  10. Add a teaspoon of sea salt.
  11. Freeze the mixture and use it from frozen.

This bait recipe is clearly very strange. Some anglers have claimed to have had great success with this unusual mix. The variety of scents and flavors is good for attracting trout.

Things to Remember

Trout respond to many kinds of baits. When it comes to live bait or power bait, you have a great variety of choices. Everything from nightcrawlers to minnows to crayfish can attract your fish. That’s also why there is such a wide variety of homemade fishing baits. They have diverse tastes.

Trout have a great sense of smell. That’s why more potent ingredients are included in most of these recipes. Especially garlic. You can experiment with different ingredients to alter the scent. Aside from garlic, things like anise are very popular.

Remember to always check local rules and regulations before fishing. You never want to fish with something that is forbidden in your area. Try some of the cheaper recipes to see what works best for you. And you can always experiment with color and flavoring until you find a bait that works.