Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just starting out, you’re probably always on the lookout for more effective bait options. As you’re already aware, finding the right bait for the type of fish you’re trying to catch is crucial. It could mean the difference between a bad day on the water and leaving with a stringer full of fish.
One particular bait option that has been gaining popularity among trout anglers recently is shrimp. Unfortunately, for many fishers keen on separating the facts from the myths, useful information on this subject is hard to find. So, do trout like shrimp?
In this comprehensive guide, we explore everything you need to know about using shrimp as trout bait. Read on to discover the types of shrimp that make the best trout bait, how to hook a shrimp, and much more.
Does Shrimp Make Effective for Trout Bait?
While they may not be the main natural food item for most fish, shrimp are a great bait option for various types of freshwater fish including trout. Other types of fish that love freshwater shrimp include bass, catfish, and panfish.
In case you’re having a tough time deciding which type of shrimp to use, any deli style or salad shrimp you can find at your local grocery store should do the trick. Plus, it’s incredibly inexpensive and easy to use.
Which Types of Trout Are Attracted to Shrimp?
Trout can be grouped into two varieties namely stocked trout and wild trout. Because they are first raised in hatcheries before being released, stocked trout are eager biters. Feeding on human-made food which has scents and additives tends to lower their sense of smell.
On the other hand, wild trout can easily distinguish between different types of bait thanks to their keen sense of smell. As such, stocked trout are more likely to be attracted to shrimp compared to wild trout.
Also, because they tend to be more gullible than their wild counterparts, stocked trout are friendlier to entry-level anglers struggling to get a catch.
How to Use Shrimp as Trout Bait
To successfully use shrimp as trout bait, you first need the right terminal tackle set up. Terminal tackle refers to the items that are attached at the end of your fishing line.
While it’s vital to keep the terminal tackle as simple as possible, it also has to suit the size of trout you’re aiming for as well as your chosen bait. Here’s a brief summary of what you need:
- A Single Size Four Hook: This is the ideal hook size as it will hold your shrimp and hook the fish most effectively. Also, trout tend to swallow smaller hooks making it difficult for anglers who prefer to catch release. Proper baiting technique is just as crucial as hook size. To ensure your bait stays on the hook for as long as possible, thread the shrimp from head to tail rather than piercing across a body part.
- Weights: These can range from sliding weights of up to 1/4 oz small split shots. You need to include weights on your fishing line for two key reasons. For starters, the right weights will allow you to bring your bait (shrimp) to your desired fishing depth. At the same time, you would be unable to cast out your bait without adding weights to your tackle. Consequently, the appropriate weight is determined by your required casting distance and fishing depth.
- Small Floats: These can either be bubble floats or a stick/pencil. The essential role of a float is to signal whenever a fish bites. Your float must therefore be small enough to allow the trout to pull it under once they strike the shrimp. That being said, the more experienced fishers will be familiar with the dilemma surrounding floats.
On one hand, very small floats are a pain to cast a great distance. On the other hand, larger floats are less efficient indicators of bites. A fair amount of experimentation is necessary before you can find the right balance between casting distance and sensitivity.
As a general rule of thumb, go for long skinny floats whenever you’re fishing on calm waters. Conversely, round floats are harder to pull down due to their large surface area making them more balanced during windy conditions.
- A small spool of test line (4lb)
- Swivels (size 10 or 12)
How Does Shrimp Compare to Other Bait Items?
Depending on the body of water, shrimp can be just as effective at catching trout as other bait options like crayfish, minnows, and even worms.
For some varieties of trout such as the Spotted Sea Trout, shrimp form a staple part of the diets of medium-sized fish. As the spotted/speckled sea trout approach adulthood, their diet changes from plankton to mysids and shrimp. For these saltwater trout, shrimp are a particularly attractive bait item.
However, if you’re planning to fish in a freshwater fishery but don’t like using dead bait, there’s another alternative. Rather than buying deli/salad shrimp at a grocery store, you could catch your own live bait right where you’re fishing. To catch your own live freshwater shrimp, check out some of the affordable and easy-to-use bait traps available on Amazon.
A shrimp bait trap is a worthwhile investment in the long run for the following reasons:
- It makes catching freshwater shrimp incredibly easy.
- The caught shrimp hold well in an aerated bucket or live-well.
- Live freshwater shrimp can stay alive on the hook for a considerable amount of time. This maximizes the chances of enticing a strike from any curious trout.
What Are the Best Water Conditions to Use Fresh Water Shrimp?
Although shrimp can be used in a broad range of water conditions, the following recommendations could potentially make your life easier:
- Don’t use live shrimp when fishing in very clear water. However, when fishing with dead shrimp, the water clarity doesn’t really matter.
- Only use shrimp you’ve caught in the same water body you’re fishing on to ensure the trout can recognize the bait.
Shrimp are a great bait option for trout fishing. However, as with any other bait item, you need all the information you can get before you can see consistent results.