How to Use Corn As Trout Bait

How to Use Corn As Trout Bait

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Early season trout fishing can be a challenge, especially in regions where natural food such as nymphs may not have hatched. This can thwart the fly fisherman's finest efforts, but switching to bait might restore the angler's good fortune. Canned corn is an effective bait, partly because corn meal is a principal ingredient in the fish food served to trout raised in hatcheries, but also because kernels of corn stay on the hook better than other soft baits. Corn is cheap, too, compared to salmon eggs and artificial flies.

Items you will need

  • Rod and reel spooled with 6-lb. fishing line

  • Hooks, size 8 to 10

  • Canned corn

  • Split-shot sinkers

Tie a size 8 or 10 hook directly to the end of the fishing line, using a clinch knot. See Resources for an illustration of the clinch knot.

Pierce a kernel of corn on the tip of the hook. Two to three kernels can be added to cover the point of the hook and barb, if necessary.

Add two or three split-shot sinkers to the line about 6 inches above the hook to keep the bait under water. More weight may be added if necessary to hold the bait in a specific spot along fast moving streams.

Cast the bait to pools and eddies, especially behind half-submerged rocks and structure such as dead trees on the water. Trout frequent quiet pools and hide downstream behind rocks, waiting for a meal to float by.

Reel in the slack so the line is taut. Trout strike quickly and may drop the bait just as fast if they can feel the hook before the barb is set.


  • Check local regulations before fishing with any type of natural bait. On some waters, anglers may only fish for trout with artificial baits and lures.
  • In localities where bait is permitted, barbed hooks may not be legal. Carry barbless hooks as a backup.


  • Fresh corn sliced off the cob is not effective as trout bait, according to "Game and Fish Magazine." Canned corn is both softer and sweeter, and may give off a stronger scent in the water to attract the fish.
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