How To Fish For Trout With PowerBait: A Beginner’s Guide

  • Author: Craig "Howie"
  • Date: May 2, 2023

How To Fish For Trout With PowerBait
Trout fishing is an exciting activity for anglers and one effective bait is PowerBait. Berkley PowerBait is a type of artificial dough bait, that the scent is designed to attract trout and other fish.

When used correctly, PowerBait can help you catch more trout and increase your chances of having a successful fishing trip.

However, fishing with PowerBait requires a little know-how. So in this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to fish for trout with PowerBait.

We will cover everything from setting up the rig, to selecting the right equipment and fishing tips and tricks for maximizing your catch.

This information will also work for fishing live baits, and other artificial baits like the Berkley Gulp Alive range.

Rainbow trout caught with Powerait


How To Fish Powerbait And Set Up The Rigs

Here we will go over the ways you can rig up the bait with float, sinker, etc.  The basic rigs are:

1. Float
2. Running Sinker
3. Paternoster Rig
4. Unweighted Rig

Below we will go into the set-ups in more details and with illustrations.


1. Float

Fishing float rig for Powerbait

The advantage is that it gets the bait high in the water and away from snags. This is a very effective technique for trout. Especially fished near or above weed beds and other structures like submerged timer.
This article has several ways to set up a fishing float for more details, click on – How To Set Up A Fishing Rod With A Float

Also this article might be helpful – Float Fishing Tips

Some drawbacks of the float is that for land based angling the wind should be behind your back, coming offshore. Otherwise the float will drift back to shore.

For the main fishing line you can use either mono (monofilament) line, braid or fluorocarbon line.

Fishing a float with Powerait


Braid will float, which is an advantage for a float rig, but can be a hassle for the beginner fisherman or fisher lady.

If the main line is mono or fluorocarbon, it should be greased with a Mucilin silicone (or Vaseline) to help the line float. Otherwise the main line, leading to your float will sink and pull the float back in. One negative of fluorocarbon is that it sinks easier than mono.

Float rig with PowerBait

The leader could be either, mono or fluorocarbon fishing line.


2. Running Sinker

Running sinker rig for PowerBait

The sinker can help cast the bait out further, depending on weight of the sinker. You can also cast into the wind.

The advantages of a running sinker set-up is the fish can take the hook and ideally they won’t feel the weight of the line and sinker and spit it the hook out. The fishing line should slide through the sinker, hence its name of a running sinker.

With this rig listed you use a main line, sinker, swivel, leader and hook.

The leader can be mono (monofilament) line or fluorocarbon fishing line.

A main fishing line could either, mono, fluorocarbon or braid fishing line.

For the beginner angler we recommend using monofilament line, as it is cheap and less tangles then braid.

Tip – Have several sizes of sinkers for different conditions. Such as if it is calm water and the fish are in close, you only need a small sinker. If it is rough, and windy, you might use a heavier sinker to cast into the wind and hold your bait in position.

There are many types of sinker weights design, but just keep it simple and go with a bean sinker or ball sinker.


3. Paternoster Rig

Paternoster rig for fishing PowerBait

The Paternoster rig uses a sinker on the end of the line. This rig can be useful for still fishing deep, but it can get the bait of the bottom away from snags and weeds with a floating bait.

For areas with a lot of weed and snags, the paternoster rig is probably a better option than the running sinker set-up.

You can also run two hooks / baits of the one rig. Tie the second hook off from the tag end of the original leader, on the swivel.


4. Unweighted Rig

Unweighted fishing rig for PowerBait

This is an effective technique, which is good for tumbling down the PowerBait along a trout stream with the current.

You can use a swivel to connect the main line to the leader, or ditch the swivel and just use a line to line knot. You could also have no separate leader and just use the main line.

For timid trout, an unweighted rig is also ideal for fishing vertically from a boat, but you need some split shot weight to get the bait down.

This is also a good method for calm clear water, or when there is a lot of fishing pressure. As it has less fishing components for the fish to see.


Tips for Catching More Trout with PowerBait

Split shot

Different types of PowerBait can float, depending on the weight of your hook and how much bait you use. So you might need some split shot to weigh it down.

Place the split shot around 2 to 7 inches from the hook on the fishing line.

Fishing with a float and using split shot

If you are using a sinker weight, you won’t need split shot. Floating PowerBait can be an advantage that the bait floats a little bit off the bottom to avoid the snags or weeds.

Tip – Use some fishing pliers (like the Jarvis Walker Bent Nose Fishing Pliers) to crimp the split shot on. But be careful you don’t crimp it too tight, or it can damage or cut the line.


What Poundage Line?

Line size may not seem like a big deal, but it can make all the difference when fishing for trout. Trout have a keen eyesight and can easily detect a heavier thicker line. Use a 4-6 pound test monofilament leader, or fluorocarbon leader for best results.

I like 6 pounds for the leader, but for very snag prone areas, or night time fishing with a chance of hooking big trophy size trout, I will go to 8 pound test.

For angler fishing small streams or ponds, 4 lb. line might be a better option.


What Size Hook For PowerBait?

PowerBait on hook

A size #8, #10 to #12 hook is ideal for trout fishing with PowerBait. (A size #8 is larger than a size #12 hook.)

For very small trout and panfish, some anglers might even use a size #14, or even a smaller hook.

If you are constantly getting the bait stripped off the hook by fish, down size and go with a smaller hook.

Some anglers use a treble hook as well to try and maximize their hook up rate.

If you are catching a lot of small fish, use a barbless hook if you plan on releasing the fish.

Make sure your hook is sharp and in good condition.


How To Put PowerBait On the Hook

Here are some steps to bait your hook with PowerBait dough:

  • Step 1: Pinch off a small piece of PowerBait, about the size of a pea or bigger.
  • Step 2: Roll it into a ball and flatten it slightly.
  • Step 3: Insert the hook into the center of the PowerBait ball.
  • Step 4: Mold the Powerbait around the hook so that it covers the entire hook. But leave the very tip of the hook out.
  • Step 5: Make sure the hook is securely embedded in the PowerBait so that it won’t fall off when casting.

It’s important to use just enough PowerBait to cover the hook. Too much PowerBait can cause the hook to be hidden and less effective, while too little PowerBait can cause the hook to be exposed and less attractive to trout.


What Is Powerbait?

PowerBait is a type of synthetic dough fishing bait that was developed by the company Berkley. It is designed to mimic the scent and texture of natural bait, making it more attractive to fish.

To use PowerBait, anglers typically mold a small amount of the bait into a ball or egg shape and attach it to a hook. The bait can be fished using a variety of techniques, including with a float rig, or a sinking rig set up.


Types of PowerBait

Powerbait and Gulp Alive Floating Salmon Eggs.

PowerBait comes in a variety of colors and scents, including cheese, original scent, garlic, and salmon egg.

PowerBait is also available in different types, including scent dough, nuggets, and egg form in liquid.

Overall, don’t get too caught up (pun not intended) in which is the best Powerbait type, scent or color, if the fish are on the bite, they will all catch fish.



Fishing Tips

Allow PowerBait time to disperse its scent and attract nearby fish. If you haven’t had a bite in around 15 to 20 minutes, it might pay to adjust your depth of your rigs.

I like having one rod with a float, working the bait high in the water column. The other rod has a sinker on it, working the bottom. This covers what depth the fish might be feeding at. (Unless it is a very deep lake.)

Tip – If you are getting bites on the float rig, and none on the bottom rig, switch both rods to a float. Likewise if you are getting bites on the sinker rig and none on the float, switch both rods to a sinker rig.

If the fish are jumping up out of the water, chasing insects or smelting (chasing baitfish) then the floating set-up would be a better choice as you know the fish are feeding high up close to the surface.

You might be interested in – Why Do Bass Jump Out of the Water?

If you have experimented with different depths and haven’t had any bites in another 15 – 20 minutes, it might pay to move a bit further on and cover new ground.

Remember to fish around structure / cover like, weed beds, submerged timber, rock walls, channels, piers, points, etc.

If you want your PowerBait to float, use 2 or more pieces like the Berkley Gulp Alive Floating Salmon Eggs on a lighter hook.

You can also mix PowerBait with other baits like corn, bread, meal worms, or worms. If you are getting low on Powerbait, use one bit or Powerbait and one or two piece of sweet corn kernels.

For artificial baits that keep coming off the hook (and it is not fish taking it, or the bait is getting dragged through weeds and coming off) try a different type. Such as if the dough type texture is a bit runny, use some nuggets or eggs. The temperature or if water gets into the container can make the dough type baits too soft to stay on the hook.

For dirty water fishing, use more PowerBait to increase the size of the baits silhouette to make it easier to see for fish, but more importantly it will give off more scent and hopefully be easier to find.

Refresh the bait. What I like about the Berkley Gulp Alive Floating Salmon Eggs in liquid is, if you fish the PowerBait for 20 minutes or so and you haven’t got a bite, I take it off the hook and put it back into the liquid to refresh it for another time. I get out a new piece of PowerBait out and put that on the hook.

When you wind your line in, lift your rod tip high to avoid any snags. Wind slowly if you are using a float so the PowerBait doesn’t come off. You might also catch a fish winding in as well.


What Is The Best Color Powerbait?

There have been a few videos on the best color to use fishing, but in the video they just do a few tests. To get some real accurate data about the best color, you really have to do thousands of test, which isn’t practical. So probably take the videos conclusions with a grain of salt.

Remember the available light penetrating the water and the water clarity will affect the color of the bait underwater anyway. What color you see at the surface, will be vastly different 3 yards deep down. Little known in murky water.

For my unscientific pick on color, I like the yellowish chartreuse Powerbait color as it will stand out well in clear water and also a little bit in murky water.  Remember the one main and big advantage is the smell of the bait.


Can You Buy PowerBait At Walmart?

Yes, you can buy Powerbait and other fishing gear at Walmart.


Can You Catch Brown Trout With PowerBait?

Yes, you can catch brown trout with it. It does seem to work better with rainbow trout though.

PowerBait is especially effective for catching stocked hatchery trout, which are often less wary and more likely to take artificial bait than wild trout.


Fishing Location

Choosing the right location is key when fishing for trout with PowerBait. Look for areas with cooler water temperatures and good oxygen levels, such as deep pools, riffles, and runs.

Trout also tend to congregate near underwater structures, such as rocks and logs, weed beds, so keep an eye out for these as well.

Remember to check local regulations and obtain any necessary permits before fishing.


What Is Best Time To Fish For Trout With PowerBait?

The time of day can greatly affect your success when fishing for trout with PowerBait. Early morning and late evening tend to be the best times, as trout are more active during cooler temperatures. However, don’t overlook midday fishing, as trout may still be feeding. Also, keep an eye on the weather forecast, as overcast and rainy days can also be productive.

Night time is often overlooked by anglers, (who doesn’t love their sleep) but it is probably the best fishing time. Bigger trout will often feed at night and also come into bays and closer to shore feeding.

Overall, the best fishing time is when you can go fishing. There is no sense waiting for a rare blue moon, with a south east light wind, with a rising barometer on the 3rd weekend…well you get the picture. There is no perfect time, some days will be more productive than others, just fish.


What Are The Positives of Fishing Powerbait?

It is convenient.

I remember gathering bait with my father, I think sometimes we would spend more time collecting live bait then actually fishing. So a big advantage of PowerBait is that you just buy if from the fishing tackle shop, not digging for worms, or netting baitfish.

It could be argued as a cheap bait, compared to buying or time spent getting live bait.

Some people would rather bait up a hook with PowerBait, rather than worms wriggling about.

It is reusable.

It works.


Negatives Of PowerBait

Some types fall off hook easy. For sneaky trout and panfish, they can easily take it off without the angler knowing.

It smells bad to humans, although this is probably a positive for the fish!

While PowerBait is very effective, live bait like worms, maggots, meal worms, frogs, grubs, mudeyes (dragonfly larvae) crawfish and baitfish are excellent for trout and generally better than artificial baits.

It can be expensive if you are constantly losing it off the hook.

PowerBait storage

The liquid form Berkley Gulp Alive containers will leak. Tip – place the container in two snap lock bags or a Tupperware container. As nothing is worse than the liquid smell that has leaked inside your fishing tackle bag on a hot day.


Fishing Rod For Artificial Baits

The right fishing rod is important when fishing with PowerBait.

A 6-8 foot rod is ideal for trout fishing. Consider a rod with a sensitive tip to help you detect bites. A longer rod is more of an advantage for land based angling when casting for distance. In the boat, the rod length doesn’t matter as much.

Daiwa, Abu Garcia, Penn, Okuma, G. Loomis, Shimano, etc. are some rod and fishing manufacturers worth checking out.


Casting Your Line

Once you have your PowerBait rig set up and ready to go, it’s time to cast your line. Here are a few tips to help you cast your line effectively:

  • Hold the rod with both hands and grip it firmly.
  • Point the rod towards the spot where you want to cast your line.
  • Slowly raise the rod tip to about shoulder height behind you.
  • Using a smooth motion, bring the rod tip forward and release the line.
  • Allow the bait to sink to the desired depth before reeling in.

It’s important to remember that the weight of the bait (and sinker or float) will affect how far you can cast your line. If you’re having trouble casting your line far enough, try using a lighter weight line, heavier sinker and / or adjusting your casting technique.

Make sure the PowerBait is securely attached to the hook so it doesn’t fall off when casting.

Finally, be patient and take your time when casting your line. Rushing your cast can lead to tangles or other issues that can make fishing more difficult.




PowerBait original scent for trout fishing

Overall, fishing for trout with PowerBait can be a rewarding experience with some knowledge and tips. By choosing the right rig for your location and presenting your bait properly, you can increase your chances of catching more trout.

Remember to always follow local regulations and practice responsible fishing techniques. Be patient and keep your line tight to feel for any nibbles or bites. Happy fishing!


You might also be interested in this article – Where Is The Best Bass Fishing in Florida? 20 Top Spots to Reel in a Big Catch