Rainbow trout are one of the most stocked fish globally. This makes it an easy task to find a stocked pond or lake near you.
Trout is the fifth most popular game fish in the United States, so it will come as no surprise to learn that most fishermen landed their first fish from a trout pond.
Now you might think that a stocked pond is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
To catch trout in a pond, you not only have to outsmart the fish, but you also have to outsmart the other anglers.
We’ve got a few choice tips and insights that will hopefully guide you to success in catching trout from a pond.
Freshly Stocked Trout Not Biting
Freshly stocked trout that have just left the hatchery take some time to adjust to their new surroundings. Consider it kind of like a culture shock.
These trout have grown up in a place where they have been fed the same food every day, had the perfect water temperature, and they have been protected from predators.
Now imagine they’ve been tossed into frigid waters with no food and have other bigger fish trying to eat them.
This can take a toll on the fish, and it might take them a while to find their bearings.
I’ve witnessed stocked trout ignore every bait thrown in front of them when it was their due feeding time, but once the pellets went in, they were like a shoal of piranhas.
However, there are a few tips and tricks that will aid you in your success.
How To Catch Rainbow Trout In a Pond
Where to fish in a pond
When you arrive at the pond, the first thing you should do is give it a quick scout to find the perfect location.
If the pond has been freshly stocked, it’s likely that most of the fish didn’t move too far from the stocking location.
Stocked trout are said to be given medicines to keep them calm when they are planted in a new body of water so that they are not stressed and get used to their new ecosystem.
So if a trout is just stocked, it will spend most of its time in the immediate vicinity where it entered the water for the first two days.
Once they have settled in, they will seek out other areas that offer food, protection, and comfort.
Things like logs or fallen trees offer protection from predators and are a good place for them to find smaller fish to feed on.
Overhanging trees provide shelter from the sun and are a steady source of falling bugs from above.
Smaller incoming streams are a great source of oxygenated water.
The weather will also play a big part in where the fish will be. In the hatchery, they were always at a comfortable 55F.
They will move into shallow water in colder weather and out into deeper pools in warmer weather.
What Is The Best Bait For Trout In a Pond
Stocked trout are not very familiar with the food they have available to them in their new surroundings. What trout rig you use will depend on how long the pond has been stocked.
Powerbait Nuggets: For a freshly stocked pond, powerbait will likely be the most successful. Most hatcheries feed trout brown-colored pellets, so a good idea is to try to match that. I recommend the Berkely Trout Nuggets.
Spoons: Spoons are great for stillwater. Something like the Acme Kastmaster works great and has caught many trout over the years.
Spinners: A smaller Panther Martin or Mepps is a great way to stir a reaction out of a fussy trout. Color choice depends on the day, but a black and yellow is always a solid color. Smaller sizes are better for a pond and will still land some big trout.
Salmon Eggs: These are great to fish of the bottom or under a float. I find these work best when the Powerbait stops working. Although, they can be a bit difficult to keep on a hook.
Minnows: If you’re going after larger trout, minnows are a solid option. A large trout’s diet is made up of mainly smaller fish.
Worms: Worms have been used as bait for a variety of fish for centuries. They are easy to come across and are affordable if not free. However, sometimes you will be bugged by less desirable fish.
Corn: This is a secret ingredient for slaying stocked trout. Some say the reason stocked trout love it so much is because the fish pellets they are fed in the hatchery are made up of cornmeal.
Outsmart Other Anglers-Not The Fish
The biggest challenge in catching trout in a pond is competing with other anglers. Depending on where you’re fishing will determine how best to fish.
Sometimes it’s enough to go out early in the morning before other anglers start to show up.
However, even though many trout are caught soon after stocking, there is plenty still there for the taking.
These survivors will quickly adapt characteristics of wild trout.
Target the trout that have been in the water longer. Everyone is there throwing the same baits and fishing the same areas trying to get a stocked trout.
A good idea is to treat them like wild trout, these fish quickly wise up, and if you treat them like freshly planted fish, you won’t have much luck.
Look for areas that are not so easily accessed or that don’t see heavy fishing pressure.
Keep a low profile, don’t stomp up the bank. Be mindful of your shadow, and don’t plop a lure on their head.
Follow these tips, and you’re sure to be landing trout from the pond.
Catching rainbow trout in a pond is not difficult. It is actually easier than trying to catch them in a river or a stream.
The key thing to remember about pond fishing is to think like the fish, not the crowds that are fishing them. Don’t be afraid to try something different.
These trout are just learning to be wild and are willing to try many different things to get a meal.