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Fishing for trout in a pond was Finn’s first experience fishing. Ponds allow the owner of the land to control what kind of fish they stock, and provide a captive audience for fishermen in the area. Many ponds are stocked with common types of freshwater trout regularly, which makes it easy for novice fishermen to get in on the fun. If you’re looking to buy a new trout fishing setup, be sure to check out our trout rod and trout reel buying guides.
We’ll first cover the basics: what types of trout live in ponds, where to find them, etc. Then we’ll focus on the best trout lure options for different conditions. After this article, you’ll be more than ready to catch your share of trout out of your local pond!
In A Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
Best Spinning Trout Lures for Ponds
Best Swimbait Trout Lures for Ponds
Best Spoon Trout Lures for Ponds
Best Jigging Trout Lure for Ponds
Best Artificial Bait for Trout in Ponds
What Kind of Trout Live in Ponds?
Rainbow Trout are the most common freshwater trout in North America, and often the most common type of trout in your local pond. They can be identified by looking for a pink stripe on their sides, accompanied by brown and black dots that run to their belly.
Rainbow trout often grow to 2 or 4 lbs in ponds but can grow larger if they’re fed well. They prefer clear, cold water and enjoy eating various insects and small aquatic life.
Because of their resilience/ability to eat many types of insects, rainbow trout are one of the highest volume stocked fish. Many state wildlife organizations breed and stock rainbow trout to help fill their ponds with more fish for people to catch.
Curious where your state stocks rainbow trout? Many states have an online directory (Here’s California’s) you can check.
Brook trout also enjoy living in ponds, and can often be found in wild or more remote areas. While technically not a trout (they’re a type of char), their size is very similar to trout. Brook trout are often found in alpine ponds and higher elevation locations.
Authors Note: They often only grow to be a couple of pounds but are still a ton of fun to catch. Brook trout eat all they same insects, nymphs, and critters rainbow trout enjoy eating.
Brown trout are another common species of trout that live in ponds. They actually aren’t native to North America – they were introduced in 1883 and enjoy living in deeper ponds with more room to swim.
Brown trout often grow to be larger than rainbow trout, sometimes up to 15 lbs in big ponds. Brown trout have a varied diet but often eat the same prey as brook and rainbow trout in ponds.
If you’re interested in a more detailed article on trout, check out our how to fish for trout write-up.
What’s the Best Trout Lures for Ponds?
Alright, so what’s the best type of lure to use for trout in ponds? There are actually many options that work well. Artificial lures, artificial bait, and natural bait can all catch trout in ponds. Keep reading to learn which works best for different situations.
It’s also worth noting that if you’re fishing in a pond that’s stocked with fish/has an owner who fishes there frequently, take their advice on what to use as bait over ours!
There are several types of artificial lures that work especially well in ponds. Spinners, spoons, and other types of lures are meant to imitate what trout eat (often smaller fish and insects).
It’s also worth mentioning that after you tie your lure onto your line, try covering it with a masking scented oil. These can be anise-smelling or baitfish flavored.
Authors Note: This helps convince the trout that your bait is natural and hides any weird smells you have given it while touching the lure. Fish have a surprisingly strong sense of smell!
If you have a boat, there are a few additional options you can try.
Jigging close to the bottom of the pond can be more productive for larger trout. Once you’ve found a deeper part of the pond you think trout might like, try using a small Buzz Bomb or letting your spinner sink a few feet off the bottom. Pull your rod up in 3 to 4-foot strokes to give the bait a smooth jigging action.
Crankbaits like a Rapala floating crankbait will work well, especially if there are minnows present in the pond, but even without them, such as stocked ponds with hatchery raised fish, the instinctual drive will kick in an hatchery raised fish will still strike them.
The same is true with spinners as it is with crankbaits.
Artificial bait can also work very well for trout in ponds. The owner of the pond probably has a favorite artificial bait to use (marshmallows tend to be a common choice), but if not try using PowerBait. Using a bobber and hook with the trout-flavored Powerbait can be especially effective.
Secure your bait to the hook and tie a bobber 2 to 3 feet higher up on the line. Cast the bait where you think the trout are, then let it drift overtop them. For trout in deeper water, you can ditch the bobber for a split-shot weight (the same distance up the line).
This will sink your bait down to where the trout are hiding. Just be aware of any underwater structure or rocks your bait could catch on.
Most trout that you find in a pond were hatched and raised in a fishery, and as a result were feed pellets for food.
This why pond trout can be effectively caught on bait that might not work the best in a body of water with wild trout, which always hunted prey for food.
This is one reason why artificial bait like powerbait is on this list, and is also one of the reasons it works so well in pond settings.
Live lures can also work well for trout in ponds. Nightcrawlers, nymphs, and other insects all work great if other options aren’t producing bites. Scout out the pond earlier in the day and take notes on the types of insects in the area. If you can, try to catch some you can later use as lures.
When attaching your live bait to the hook, be sure to hook it enough that it doesn’t fall off easily. You can use the same bobber or weighted setups we detailed above for live lures as well. Just be sure to check your bait periodically to make sure it hasn’t fallen off.
Best Trout Lures for Ponds Depending on Season
While the above lures and techniques can work year-round, your general strategy on fishing for trout in ponds should change depending on what season it is.
The best time of year to fish for trout in ponds depends on the elevation/ambient temperature of the body of water they live in.
On average, the best time to fish for trout is in the transition months of April and May and September and October. These months the water is colder and the trout are more active. Try using more active fishing techniques and lures such as spinning lures and spoons.
In the summer and winter, trout are more sedentary and tend to hang out in the deeper parts of the pond they live in.
As mentioned before, this is because the deeper parts have the water temperatures that they like. Since they’re not as active in these months, it makes more sense to get close where they’re hiding then use passive bait. Powerbait, worms, and small fish all work great for the types of fishing.
In the winter if you are fishing through the ice, the spoons on this list are also very effective against trout when used via vertical jigging.
When vertically jigged, these lures imitate a wounded or stressed baitfish, and will do very well in a pond setting.
Authors Note: Try to avoid fishing in the middle of the day, and focus on fishing early in the morning and later in the evening. This is when the water temperature is most ideal for trout, and they’ll be more likely to bite.
It’s also worth noting that the best time to fish for trout in ponds that are stocked is right after they’ve been stocked (obviously). This might take some of the fun out of it, but fishing can definitely be a numbers game.
This strategy works especially well when teaching an amateur fisherman how to fish.
Recently stocked fish are also dumb, and have never experienced getting hooked, this means that they are more prone to take a lure, but after spending time in a fished pond they will start the wise up to what is legitimate and what isn’t.
Fishing for trout in ponds can be a blast if you know what you’re doing. After reading this article, you now know what the best trout lures for ponds are. Whether you like to fish actively with artificial lures or passively with live bait, we’ve got you covered. Help someone catch their first trout in a pond? Share the details with us in the comments below! And if you’re ready to upgrade to fishing for lake trout, check out our guide on that too!