5 Most Effective Powerbait Rigs For Multiple Methods

My Powerbait rigs are great for trout like this nice brown trout but they will also work for steelhead, salmon, bass, carp, and catfish. and probably other bait eating species.
My Powerbait rigs are great for trout like this nice brown trout, but they will also work for steelhead, salmon, bass, carp, catfish, and probably any other bait eating species.

These are my most effective Powerbait rigs that have been tested and proven to work with many different Powerbaits. I’ll show you the Powerbait rig and setups I use when I’m guiding and fishing rivers and lakes for trout, steelhead, salmon, as well as just about all other fish.

As a guide, I’ve had plenty of opportunity to experiment with many rigs, and also learn the best bait rigs from other guides, and I’ll be honest with you, for some reason the Powerbait setups that top guides use are often different from what is being recommended online by your average angler and their blog.

I’ll even teach you things about common Powerbait setups that hold anglers back from catching fish, and they don’t even know it. If you are using those same rigs, you are missing fish too.

The Power Baits To Use

Most anglers want to know how to rig the Powerbait dough which is fine, just let me emphasize that there are other great Powerbaits that are possibly better. It all depends on the fish and on the conditions.

These are all Powerbaits that I use.

  • Berkley PowerBait Magnum Power Eggs
  • Berkley PowerBait Magnum Garlic Power Eggs
  • Berkley PowerBait Power Wigglers
  • Berkley PowerBait Floating Trout Bait Dough
  • Berkley PowerBait Natural Scent Glitter Floating Trout Bait Dough
  • Berkley PowerBait Power Honey Worm
  • Berkley Trout Worm: My most effective Berkley product

For more on fishing these baits and which ones are my most effective, check out these articles:

All of these should be rigged onto the hook with a couple of things in mind.

The Best Hook For Powerbait Setups And The Best Hook Size

These are good hook for your Float Fishing Leader
A good hook penetrates well and holds the fish well during the fight. Some hooks do this better. These are just some of the hooks that I use.

There are two critical parts to all of these rigs: the hook and the leader.

The reason these are critical is because these are the parts of the Powerbait rig that the trout see.

Part of the reason many anglers struggle to catch fish is a bad hook, the wrong hook size, or a leader line that is so thick the fish can see it from the other side of the lake.

Fishing guides are meticulous about the hooks they use because they want their client to catch as many trout as possible. Good hooks penetrate well on the hookset, and keep the fish securely hooked during the fight.

If bait holder hooks were the best hook for bait, all the guides and top anglers would use them, however, they don’t, and that says something.

Most guides and I use short shank wide gap hooks, like the Raven Specimen hook or a Gamaktsu Octopus hook. These are the types of hooks the top guides are using.

Bait and hook size
This bait is way too small for this hook which could result in the fish seeing the hook and refusing to eat the bait. Match the hook to the size of the bait.

The hook size will depend on the bait size! I match the hook up to the size of the bait.

A hook that is too big stands out like a sore thumb. Sure, a small hook is less likely to be seen by the trout, but a hook that is too small does not penetrate and hold onto the fish well.

Rigging Powerbait On Hook

It’s one thing to have a great hook, but if it’s rigged incorrectly it will be less effective.

Unfortunately, many of the Powerbait fishing rigs I’ve seen promoted online are rigged wrong and they limit hookups.

How to put a bait on a hook
This is where I put the bait on a hook to be sure most of the hook is covered but also to be sure the hook gap is wide enough, and the hook point is not covered.

You must not cover the hook point. And you must not fill in the hook gap!!

Often, the fish will hook themselves if the hook gap stays open and the hook point is exposed, which can double the amount of fish landed.

Leader Size For Powerbait Setups

I’m talking about the pound test of the leader, not the length. You can see the basic lengths for each rig in the diagrams below.

I use different leaders for different sized fish and for different river conditions.

One thing I will stress is that not all brands rate their leaders properly. This can prevent you from catching fish. For this reason, I always buy my leader line by the line diameter, not the pound test rating the company claims.

These are the basic guidelines for leader sizing. Use these guidelines for the Powerbait rig setups below.

  • Trout Leader: 2 to 6-pound: 0.004 in to 0.007
  • Steelhead and Bass or large trout: 6 to 10-pound, ideal is 8-pound 0.008
  • Salmon: 10 to 14 pounds.

Pound Test



.003in (.08mm)


.004in (.10mm)


.005in (.12mm)


.0055in (.13mm)


.007in (.18mm)


.008in (.20mm)


.009in (.22mm)


.010in (.25mm)

About My Powerbait Rig Setup

I treat power bait like any other bait that I use. Therefore, these rigs can be used for spawn bags, worms, minnows, or whatever bait that I want. These rigs are proven to be very effective and are used by other guides and countless experienced anglers.

Tweak them as you need for the conditions and size of fish in your area, but these are exactly how I rig them when I’m guiding and when I’m fishing for fun.

Float Fishing Rig For Powerbait

Steelhead Leader Formula
My Steelhead Leader Formula when using 2 baits. You could also omit the middle bait.

Float fishing in rivers and in lakes is probably my most effective method for catching fish.

In lakes and rivers, I use the exact same setup, but the only difference is in the lake I use a slip float, especially if it’s deeper than my rod is long, so over 7 feet.

In rivers, I much prefer longer rods of 10 to 12 feet so I will use a fixed float from any water under 12 feet deep.

My most effective Salmon Leader for Float fishing with one or two baits at a time
Shallow water float fishing leader
This is a shallow water float fishing leader that I would use in water less than 24 inches deep. The optional split shot may not be needed since the water is so shallow.

The Drift Fishing Rig For Powerbait

The drift fishing method is what I use when fishing big rivers with heavy currents or deeper water. I’ve used this for trout, steelhead, salmon, carp, bass, and catfish.

Improved Drift Fishing Rig For Steelhead
This improved drift fishing steelhead rig is more stealthy and abrasion-resistant because there is an added length of fluorocarbon leader. This removed the thicker and more visible mainline from the strike zone and fish’s view.
Steelhead drift fishing leader setup
This is a typical drift fishing leader setup for steelhead and can be used on almost any river. With this setup, the mainline goes further down, and the weight slides on the mainline or is attached to the mainline.

Bottom Bouncing Powerbait Setup

The bottom bouncing method is similar to the drift fishing method except I use it in smaller and shallow sections of rivers. It excels in shallow riffles, runs, small pools, and in pocket water.

An advanced steelhead bottom bouncing rig
Traditional Bottom Bouncing Rig for steelhead beads
This is a traditional bottom-bouncing bead rig.

Bottom Fishing Powerbait Rigging

This is a still-water method used in lakes, ponds, and reservoirs for trout, salmon, steelhead, bass, carp, and catfish.

The bottom fishing rig for trout fishing at night or during the day.
Trout can be roaming at night so still fishing can be a good option. This bottom fishing rig for trout fishing at night or during the day is good.
The steelhead plunking rig when using baits
This is a common steelhead plunking rig that works well for baits. Adjust line sizes based on desired depth, and the size of the steelhead in your area.

Bobber Doggin Powerbait Setup

Bobber doggin rig
This is a standard bobber Doggin Rig for Steelhead, Salmon, And Trout

Bobber Doggin is a somewhat new method of bobber fish in rivers that is slowly becoming popular.

Anglers are using this method for just about every type of bait-eating fish that reside in currents.

Tight Lines,


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