Trout fishing in the early season can be challenging, especially in areas where natural food such as dragonflies, mayflies, or locusts may not have hatched. This can make it tough for the anglers to catch any trout unless they use bait.
Fortunately, corn is one of the most effective types of bait if you don’t have any natural nymph at hand. A lot of seasoned fishermen prefer using corn as bait for two reasons, corn kernels stay on the hook better than other soft baits, and corn meal is the main ingredient in fish food served to trout that are raised in hatcheries.
Also, corn is inexpensive compared to artificial flies and salmon fish eggs (a common bait choice).
Do Trout Like Canned or Artificial Corn?
Using sweet corn kernels may seem like an odd idea but it works like a charm. Some people say that the smell and taste of corn is very attractive to the trout, while some theorize that the bright yellow hue of corn is what pulls the trout in.
And it makes sense, when the water is crystal clear, the vibrant yellow corn kernels are very easy to spot, catching the attention of trout.
Make sure you use a smaller hook for trout fishing when using corn kernels as bait. Kernels are pretty small so they will simply never stay on the larger hooks. We recommend using a lightweight sinker and a bobber combination to suspend the corn kernel two feet under the surface of the water.
A study published in the Game And Fish Magazine concluded that canned, whole-kernel corn makes a much better trout bait than the fresh corn. Some fishermen think this is due to the fact that fish pellets are basically made of fine-ground grains including corn.
Even though fish pellet cans don’t always specify all the types of grains used in the list of ingredients, corn is almost always the top ingredient in most animal and fish foods. This might explain why corn makes such a salient trout bait, especially in early days of the season.
In order to use the corn kernels effectively, make sure you completely cover the hook with the bait. It may require 2 or 3 corn kernels, depending on the size of the hook. Since corn kernels have a bit of a negative buoyancy, you’ll only need to make one or two split shots to maintain the right depth.
If you think the river or stream currents are fast, you may need to add more weight to maintain the proper depth.
An interesting note here is that if you don’t have real sweet corn on hand, you can use artificial corn kernel just as effectively. With artificial corn, you don’t even have to worry about it spoiling or going bad, making it possible to stay on the hook longer. Artificial corn kernels come in two forms – floating and sinking.
Another advantage of artificial corn is crayfish tend to leave it alone; which is a wonder since crayfish love real sweet corn. In other words, artificial corn gives you all the benefits of the real thing minus any negatives! Trout love both canned and artificial corn.
Which Varieties of Corn Work The Best?
Corn kernels come in a wide range of varieties, some make a better bait than others. Below, we have reviewed several types of corn for bait so you can figure out which will best suit your fishing style.
Shoe Peg Corn
Most fishermen lover the shoe peg corn since it stays on the hook nicely and is also ideal for kokanee. One can of this corn will last you a long time since you’ll only need a couple of kernels to cover the entire hook.
Dry Feed Corn
If you’re goal is to find the cheapest available corn, go with the dry feed corn. It needs to be soaked or boiled in water first before you can use it as bait. It is also way less aromatic than fresh, sweet corns so consider adding scents or flavorings of your own to better reel in your target.
Dyed And Cured Corn
Frozen, canned, or plain corn is not bad in catching fish but it’s not as effective as using dye-cured corn. You can find cured and dyed corn at any tackle shop or you can even make your own.
Best Way to Catch Trout With Corn
First things first: use a clinch knot to tie a size 10 or 8 hook directly to the end of your fishing line.
Then take a corn kernel and pierce it on the tip of the hook. You can use 2 or 3 kernels to cover the point of the barb and hook.
Next, add 2 or 3 split shot sinkers to the line about six inches above the hook. This will ensure that your kernel bait stays well under the water’s surface. If you are fishing in an area with fast current, you can add more weight to hold the bait in place.
Now cast your bait to eddies and pools, particularly behind structures like dead trees on the water or half-submerged rocks. Trout are known to hide behind the rocks, in hopes for a meal to float by.
Make sure you keep the line taut by reeling in the slack. Trout strike very quickly and can drop the bait even quicker if they feel the hook before you’ve set the barb.
Also, remember that trout dislike bright light so the best time to catch them is early in the morning and late in the evening. You will have more luck catching trout when the light is less intense because that’s when they come closer to the water’s surface to feed.
Here is a great video with some nice trout getting caught!
If, for some reason, you decide to release the fish once you’ve caught it, make sure to do so gently. If you don’t want to keep the fish, we recommend not handling or touching it at all (if possible). Most fish survive if released properly.
Alternative Baits to Corn
Gulp Floating Salmon Bait
The majority of tackle boxes use gulp eggs since they work incredibly well. And why won’t they? A team of Berkeley scientists specifically engineered gulp eggs to be irresistible to fish.
We’d like to mention that some fishermen refuse to even touch this stuff because, well, it’s almost like cheating. But if you decide to use gulp eggs, make sure you get them in red, pink, yellow, and orange. On some days, fish seem to be attracted to a specific color while on other days, they don’t show any preference.
Trout love snacking on crayfish – something you can use for your benefit. Hook your crawdad through the crayfish and release it. For better results, injure the fish a little with needle nose pliers. A size two or four bait-holder hook works perfectly.
We recommend floating your crawdad with a big lump of powerbait. It may not look natural but it will give you positive results.
If you’re looking for an efficient lunker bait, look no further than nightcrawlers! These earthworms are one of the most popular types of fishing bait – and they work nicely. Let’s focus on how to rig your worm perfectly.
First, you need to buy a worm threader and some crawlers. Put the threader through the worm and then put the hook in the end of a threading needle. Then pull the nightcrawler around over the hook and up the line.
Now, to make sure your super straight worm floats up off the bottom, you can do walk down either of these two routes:
- Inject some bait oil into your worm. The oil will leak out the worm and make it float, creating a very attractive scent trail for the fish
- Blow some air into the work with a worm blower.
Is it just us or the first option sounds way cooler?
One of the most classic rigs is a salmon egg hook under a bobber. You’ll find that salmon eggs have a great natural drift in the current, which the trout love, since they are neutrally buoyant.
You can also use salmon eggs to add flair to your other rigs, for example, tipping a treble hook on a lure or combining it with your nightcrawler (as explained above). If you’re looking for something that will stay in your box for a long time, go with salmon eggs.
Let us start off by saying that minnows are not legal bait everywhere. If they are legal in your area, then read on to find out how you can use them to catch trout.
You can use a minnow trap and throw in some dried dog food in there. We recommend using a bait-holder through the lips; it effectively traps and freezes the minnows so you can use them whenever you like.
Once they are thawed out for your fishing purposes, you can inject them with bait oil. You can also tip the hook with a salmon egg before dangling it under a bobber.
Many anglers find minnows to be incredibly successful when catching trout. Consider threading the leader through minnow with the help of a needle and then tying a treble hook on the back side. You can pull this ultimate minnow lure behind flashers in your kayak or a dodger for great results.
Is it Against The Law to Fish With Corn?
No, it’s not, unless you live on Rhode Island. Using corn as bait is perfectly legal everywhere, except Rhode Island which specifically prohibits using corn to catch fish.
However, even though almost all states allow corn as fish bait, luring fish by chumming with corn is not always legal. Every state has definitive laws that regulate the locations where some baits are prohibited and thetype of bait allowed. As a fisherman (or woman!), it’s your responsibility to know and follow these rules.
Most states have pretty straightforward policies when it comes to using corn as bait. If you live in a state which doesn’t really mention corn for baiting purposes, make sure you check out the definitions of bait types as well as the list of “illegal fishing methods”.
Simply check online or call the local fishing department to understand the rules before you set out to fish.
Does Corn Bait Harm The Fish?
If we had a dollar for every time someone asked us this question, we’d be sipping piña coladas in Bora Bora right now.
This is a popular misconception that corn damages the digestive tract of the fish or that fish die after consuming corn. There is little to no evidence to support this theory; in fact, the 2019 Utah Fishing Guidebook clearly states that corn has absolutely no harmful effects on fish.
But if you are using corn for catching and then releasing the fish, think again. Fish, including trout, easily swallow the corn-baited hook, and if you try to remove the hook from the fish’s gut, it will most probably kill it.
If it is legal to fish in your region, consider keeping the fish you’ve caught. But if you really just want to catch and release them, use artificial lures and barbless hooks only.
Chumming With Corn: Is It harmful For The Environment?
If you don’t know what chumming is, it’s a technique where you scatter large amounts of bait in the water around the area where you’re fishing.
Many fishermen have reported that chumming with corn attracts more fish to their fishing spot but make sure chumming is legal in your state. Chumming with corn may be legal in many states but it’s not recommended since it leaves an unappealing mess in the water which can take weeks to biodegrade.
Not to mention uneaten corn kernels that are left behind from the “chumming” will attract other animals. Corn may not harm fish but it can be a dangerous food source for several other types of animals.
So, try to avoid chumming with corn especially in rivers and streams. Consider focusing your efforts on finding the best underwater topography and structure where fish generally hang or hide out.
So will trout eat corn? Not only will they eat it, they love it. It’s a great alternative to the more expensive trout baits on the market.