Trout Fishing With Corn: A Guides Opinion On Corn As Bait

Trout fishing with corn can potentially catch large brown trout like this but often there are far better baits.

Let me begin by stating that I have extensive experience as an angler and guide in trout fishing, which includes experience using corn as bait for trout in various conditions and for both wild and stocked trout.

In this article, I will share my honest opinions about trout fishing with corn with my real-life experience and comparisons of fishing with corn for trout versus other baits. I will also provide some valuable insights to help you catch more trout with corn and other baits.

So, is corn really as good as they say it is? Is corn going to help you catch more trout? Should you use corn for trout fishing? And, lastly, do top guides use corn for trout fishing?

These are questions you should be asking yourself and are questions I will answer in this article. Read to the very end of this article before you decide to go trout fishing with corn.

Corn As Bait For Trout?

Fishing for trout with corn is best done in faster water.
Fishing for trout with corn is best done in faster water.

Corn that you eat can be used as bait for stocked trout and wild trout and some anglers use it when fishing for trout.

Corn can become even more effective for trout when combined with other attractants or scents.

Is Corn Effective For Trout Fishing?

Andrew with a fast water brown trout
My fishing buddy Andrew with a fast water brown trout.

Trout, despite their reputation for being intelligent, are opportunistic feeders and will often strike at various baits and other objects that are not actually edible. Corn is no exception to this.

The faster the water, the faster the trout need to make a split decision and grab things, therefore in faster water, corn may be effective.

While other articles may praise the effectiveness of corn as a trout bait, it’s important to remember that at times, trout will put almost anything in their mouths, and this is the real reason why corn works for trout.

But does this mean that trout fishing with corn is good? In fact, I will tell you honestly that trout fishing with corn is a bad idea, and even though trout will eat corn you should not use it for the reasons mentioned below.

Preferred Corn for River Trout

When targeting rainbow trout in trout ponds or rivers, corn is a bait option for many anglers. Its bright yellow color attracts trout resulting in some trout being caught on corn.

Some anglers prefer fresh corn, some prefer frozen or canned corn, and some swear by creamed corn. Honestly, in my experience, it’s all the same to the trout.

Essential Tackle and Setup for Trout Fishing with Corn

An angler using the right tackle which makes trout fishing easier.
Using the right tackle makes trout fishing easier.

If you are going to use corn as trout bait, you’re going to need to be using the right setup and the right gear to maximize the effectiveness of corn:

  1. Rod and reel: For lake fishing and what is known as bottom fishing, a 7-foot spinning rod is standard, while a longer rod of 10 to 12 feet is more suitable for river fishing. Choose a spinning or baitcasting reel that matches your rod and is easy to cast with a lightweight line.
  2. Main line: Opt for a 4 to 6-pound fishing line. If you already have a heavier line spooled on your reel, use a lighter fluorocarbon leader to prevent trout from detecting the line.
  3. Weight: For bottom fishing, seasoned trout anglers often utilize a sliding sinker or an egg-shaped weight in sizes of ¼ or ½ ounce. A sliding weight prevents trout from sensing it, increasing the chances of a successful hookset. When fishing with corn under a float, use multiple small split shot weights spread out on the leader.
  4. Swivel: Attach a size 10 barrel swivel or a clasp swivel to your main line once the sinker is slid on.
  5. Leader: It is important to use a low-visibility fluorocarbon leader with a 2 to 4-pound test. The leader should be lighter than your main line, ranging from 12 to 30 inches. In weedy areas, lengthen the leader to 3-4 feet to keep the bait above the weeds and visible to passing trout.

Best Hook For Corn

This pictures shows the placement of the bait on a short shank wide gape hook
This picture shows the placement of where the bait should go on a short shank wide gap hook. If your bait will not fit within the green area it’s probably too big for this size of hook.

One of the things that cause anglers to struggle to catch trout with any bait is the wrong hook.

This is understandable since many websites and even store employees at big box fishing stores recommend using bait-holder hooks.

Please understand this, anyone that recommends a bait-holder hook for trout is not an expert! Top trout guides are very picky about their hooks because they want their clients to hook and land as many trout as possible. Top guides DO NOT use bait-holder hooks!! You shouldn’t either.

Choosing the right hook is crucial for successful trout fishing. Using the wrong type of hook, or the wrong size of hook, or improperly baiting it, can significantly impact your chances of catching fish.

Some hooks will hook and penetrate better on the hook set, some are even better for self hooking the trout, some hooks hold the trout on better, and some do all of these thing well, and these are the hooks that I recommend and use and so should you.

Avoid using treble hooks, as they can cause unnecessary harm to fish and are challenging to remove. Instead, opt for high-quality hooks with high hooking and holding percentages, such as Raven Specimen Hook or Gamakatsu Octopus hooks in sizes 10 to 12.

This video shows trout grabbing baits and not getting hooked which happens when using the wrong hook.

The Basics of Corn Fishing For Trout

An angler fishing a small stream for trout

Corn is probably most effective when fishing for stocked hatchery trout. The most common method is to put 1 or 2 pieces of corn onto your hook and then use a float to suspend the corn just off the bottom or use a bottom fishing rig.

These methods work well when fishing from a stationary position, such as the shore, dock, or boat.

Casting and Hooking with Corn

For the bottom rig, after casting, allow the bait to sink to the bottom. Keep a small amount of slack line to give the trout some leeway before feeling the pressure. This can increase your chances of successfully hooking the fish.

When the trout pulls enough line to bend your rod, execute a firm hook-set.

When bobber fishing or also known as float fishing for trout, use a slip float for very deep water, deeper than your rod is long, and for river fishing, I prefer a fixed float.

Despite what others say, do not use red and white round bobbers. Or any round bobber!! You won’t EVER see a good guide using them, so you should not use them either. Instead, use pencil style or thin-style float like the Raven FM float.

Locating Trout with Corn

If you’re not having success in a particular spot, try changing your casting distance or location. Start with a far cast and, if you don’t get any bites within 5 minutes, reel in about 20 feet and let the bait settle again.

If you still don’t find biting fish, consider moving to a different location or trying a different bait.

Advanced Tips and Techniques

Here are some additional tips and techniques to enhance your trout fishing experience with corn:

  1. Bait your hook effectively: Push the hook through it, ensuring the hook’s point is exposed. An exposed hook point helps ensure a proper hookset when the trout bites.
  2. Minimize line visibility: Trout have keen eyesight and can detect fishing lines, especially heavier ones. To increase your chances of success, use a fluorocarbon leader of around 4 pounds, which is less visible underwater.
  3. Consider weather conditions: Trout tend to feed more actively during overcast weather and during early morning or late evening. Fishing during these times can improve your success rates.
  4. Fish at the right depth: Trout typically swim about 1 to 3 feet off the bottom. Set your bait at this depth to increase your chances of attracting trout. Using a floating bead to keep the corn off the bottom and suspended at the desired depth.

Is Corn Harmful to Fish?

Corn is considered harmless to both fish and humans. Corn is safe for trout and is considered a nutritious food source for fish, making it a popular ingredient in fish feed. Many fish feed manufacturers opt for corn as an affordable substitute for fish meal. Its cost-effectiveness and availability make it a preferred choice for raising fish.

Comparing Corn and Other Baits

This is where I set myself aside from most other articles and all those so called-experts recommending trout fishing with corn.

While corn is a popular bait for trout fishing it is actually a very poor bait for trout and should not be used by anyone that actually wants to catch the most trout possible. Anyone that tells you corn is a good bait for trout is an uneducated basic angler and not an expert.

The reason corn works is that trout are not very intelligent. Trout see the corn, but they don’t know what it is so they put it in their mouths to sample it, and often, they spit it out quickly.

Trout also do this with chunks of sticks, bits of bark, seaweed, pebbles, bits of grass, or anything that resembles food and might fit in their mouths, but that doesn’t make any of that a good bait either.

I’ve caught trout on marshmallows, bubble gum, candy like gummy bears, Powerbait, bits of plastic, and even a piece of styrofoam that I ripped off a coffee cup to prove to a client that trout are dumb as dirt and they will eat just about anything that will fit in their mouth.

You are far better off using high-percentage baits that are proven to be effective for even picky fish and for wiser cautious big wild trout. Good baits like worms, minnows, leeches, and grubs will entice more trout to bite, and equally important is they entice trout to hold on which gives you the best chance of landing that trout.

I can’t say that corn even comes close to being as effective for trout.

So, is corn really as good as they say it is? The real answer is No! Not even close.

Is corn going to help you catch more trout? Although you can catch trout on corn, there are far better baits that will help you catch far more trout.

Should you use corn for trout fishing? If you want to make it tougher for yourself or when no other bait is available to you, then sure, use corn. Otherwise, it makes zero sense to use a less effective bait so you should not use corn for bait.

Do Trout Guides Use Corn To Catch Trout?

Good trout guides DO NOT use corn as bait, NEVER EVER!! Trout fishing with corn would limit their client’s ability to catch the maximum amount of trout possible which goes against what top trout guides want for their customers.

If a trout guide pulls out corn on your trout trip, he doesn’t like you!! I’m serious… Or he simply sucks as a guide!! In which case you need to find a better guide.

Final Thoughts On Using Trout Fishing With Corn

As a guide, my priority is to use baits that are proven to be highly effective in catching fish and providing my clients with the best chance of catching fish, and unfortunately, corn is not a bait that can do this. This is why trout fishing with corn is a bad idea.

If you have a question, comment, or some advice about trout fishing with corn, let me know in the comments section below.

Tight Lines


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  1. AMEN!! Well said Graham!

    I guide and fish on the White River in Arkansas where a large percentage of guides and “guides” use corn as bait. My clients ask all the time how I know when to use corn and my answer is simple: I don’t use it!

    As a tackle manufacturer (XFactor Tackle) and a guide, the idea of using corn as bait is so ridiculous I honestly don’t even know where to start sometimes. Do I need to also keep a can opener under my seat? Absurd!

    Thank you for putting it in writing and setting the record straight =)