How to Hook Trout

by Thomas Ganio
A fisherman netting a hooked trout.

A fisherman netting a hooked trout.

Anglers often use ultralight to light rods and reels, along with light fishing line, weights and tiny hooks when fishing for trout. Some anglers cast spinners for trout instead of live bait. Even with such light artificial equipment, anglers find it difficult to hook a trout as the structure of a trout's mouth makes it difficult to lodge a hook within the fish. Success ultimately depends on how the bait sits on your hook and how the line is set up. Therefore, if you improperly bait your hook with "live bait" such as worms, minnows and dough baits, a trout can escape from your hook.


  1. Select a light-action spinning reel and rod. Spool the fishing reel with 6 lb. test monofilament line. Rods between 3 and 5 feet long are fine choices when fishing in a small stream. Otherwise, the use of a 6-foot rod is a solid choice.

  2. Tie a small No. 12 hook to your fishing line with a snell knot.

  3. Select a whole nightcrawler and proceed to stick the hook's barb through half of the worm.

  4. Run the hook through the head or tail of the nightcrawler. The head of the nightcrawler can be difficult to locate, so choose either end to insert your hook. The hook must exit in the middle of the worm.

  5. Wrap the worm around the hook, threading the hook through the worm's body. Leave the tip of the hook barely exposed to increase the chances that the hook lodges in a trout's mouth when it bites, according to the Fishing State Pennsylvanian website.

  6. Squeeze a split-shot weight on the line 6 to 8 inches above the hook if the extra weight is necessary to cast the hook into the water. Do not attach the weight if you can cast without it.


  1. Tie a No. 2, 4 or 6 hook to your fishing line for a minnow 2 to 5 inches long, using a snell knot.

  2. Push the barb of the hook underneath the edge of the skin next to the gills of the minnow. Run the hook through the minnow's body and out the other side. This method is best when casting or trolling the surface with a minnow.

  3. Insert the point of your hook into the minnow's tail, then turn the hook so that the barb comes out of its tail. When cast, this technique makes a minnow swim perpendicular from the surface to the bottom.

  4. Place your hook above the lateral line and right below the fleshy portion near the dorsal area of the minnow to allow the minnow to float freely within the water.

Dough Bait

  1. Put about 1/2 inch of PowerBait in your hand and roll it into a small ball with your fingers.

  2. Run your hook through the center of the PowerBait ensuring the bait covers the hook; dip it into the water so it will gel onto the hook.

  3. Wrap the strip bait with elastic or mesh to ensure it does not fall off the hook when cast or while in the water.

  4. Interlace your hook through the dough material and cast the bait into the water.

Items you will need

  • Nightcrawlers
  • Minnows
  • PowerBait
  • Hooks, No. 2, 4, 6 or 12
  • Test line, 4 lb.
  • Fishing rod, 6-foot
  • Elastic or mesh covering


  • Nylon meshing is available at most hardware stores.

About the Author

Thomas Ganio began writing in 2006 for the "Northern Virginia Daily," a community newspaper in Richmond, Va. As a freelance writer, he has also contributed to "The Maryland Springs Gazette" and the Parks and Recreation Department of Richmond County, Md. Ganio holds a Bachelor of Arts in social science and English from James Madison University.

Photo Credits

  • Stephen Schauer/Photodisc/Getty Images