Trout Fishing With Marshmallows: A Guides Perspective

A large rainbow trout that can be caught when trout fishing with marshmallows
Large rainbow trout like this one that my client is holding can be caught using marshmallows. But that doesn’t mean you should. (or should you?)

As a trout guide and a trout angler for over 36 years, I have extensive experience testing out many baits, which includes determining the effectiveness of trout fishing with marshmallows as bait in various conditions and for both wild and stocked trout.

I will share my honest opinions about marshmallows as bait for trout, and comparisons of marshmallows versus other trout baits.

I will also provide some valuable insights to help you catch more trout with marshmallows and other baits.

Quick Answer:

Trout can be caught on marshmallows, but only if they are trimmed to look like a fish egg and in colors that attract the fish. However, based on my experience, marshmallows only work in certain types of water such as faster currents.

There are many other baits that work much better in still water and in currents so I rarely use or recommend marshmallows.

Marshmallows as Bait for Trout

Large brown trout can be caught when trout fishing with marshmallows.
The author with a large brown trout, which can be caught on many baits, including marshmallows. But not any marshmallow, and you need to fish them properly.

Marshmallows, commonly used as a tasty treat, can also be utilized as bait for both stocked and wild trout.

Some anglers incorporate additional attractants or scents to enhance their effectiveness.

Effectiveness of Marshmallows for Trout Fishing

Large brook trout can be caught when trout fishing with marshmallows.
Large brook trout can be caught with marshmallows.

Trout, despite their intelligence, are opportunistic feeders, often striking at various baits and other non-edible objects. Marshmallows are no exception to this behavior.

While some articles may emphasize the effectiveness of marshmallows as trout bait, it’s important to understand that trout are inclined to sample various items, including marshmallows, out of curiosity rather than actual preference.

Preferred Marshmallow Options for Trout

When targeting rainbow trout in ponds or rivers, anglers often consider using marshmallows as bait due to their bright colors, which attracts trout. While some anglers have their preferences of color, most use the small marshmallows often used for baking.

Essential Tackle and Setup

When trout fishing with marshmallows it is best to use them in faster currents.
When trout fishing with marshmallows it is best to use them in faster currents where the trout have less time to inspect the bait.

To maximize the effectiveness of marshmallows as trout bait, it’s crucial to utilize the appropriate tackle and setup.

Here are some recommendations:

  1. Rod and reel: For lake fishing or bottom fishing, a 7-foot rod is standard, while a longer rod (10 to 12 feet) is more suitable for river fishing. Choose a spinning or baitcasting reel that matches your rod and allows for easy casting with a lightweight line.
  2. Main line: Opt for a 4 to 6-pound line. If you have a heavier line spooled on your reel, consider using a lighter fluorocarbon leader to minimize line detection by trout.
  3. Weight: When bottom fishing, experienced trout anglers often employ a sliding sinker or egg-shaped weight in sizes of ¼ or ½ ounce. This type of weight prevents trout from sensing it, increasing the chances of a successful hookset. When using marshmallows under a float, spread multiple small split shot weights along the leader.
  4. Swivel: Attach a size 10 barrel swivel or clasp swivel to your main line once the sinker is slid on.
  5. Leader: It is essential to use a low-visibility fluorocarbon leader with a 2 to 4-pound test. The leader should be lighter than your main line and range from 12 to 30 inches. In weedy areas, consider lengthening the leader to 3-4 feet to keep the bait above the weeds and visible to passing trout.

Choosing The Right Hook For Marshmallows

How to put a bait on a hook
An example of where you want to put your bait on a hook is 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.

Selecting the appropriate hook is vital to achieving success in trout fishing. Underwater video and years of experience has proven that a bad hook will hook fewer fish.

Unfortunately, many anglers struggle due to the common misconception of using bait-holder hooks. It is important to note that anyone recommending bait-holder hooks for trout lacks expertise in the field.

Esteemed trout guides prioritize their client’s success, and thus, they avoid using bait-holder hooks and instead use better hooks.

Following their lead, it is advisable for anglers to steer clear of bait-holder hooks as well.

The right hook choice holds immense significance when targeting trout. Factors such as hook type, size, and proper baiting technique greatly influence your chances of landing fish.

Certain hooks excel in hook penetration during the hook set, are better for self-hooking trout, and are better at keeping the trout securely hooked. Opting for hooks that excel in all these aspects is essential for maximizing your chances of success.

As an experienced angler and guide, I recommend using hooks that demonstrate proficiency across these critical factors.

By selecting appropriate hooks that guide use such as Raven Specimen Hooks or Gamakatsu Octopus hooks in sizes 6 to 10, you enhance your potential for catching trout on any bait, including marshmallows.

Also, avoid using treble hooks, as they can harm fish you might want to release since they are difficult to remove when hooked deep. Instead, opt for high-quality single hooks with high hooking and holding percentages.

Hook Size For Marshmallows

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.
Good Hook Size For this bait
This bait is a good size for this hook and the hook gap is wide enough to hook a fish.

It is critical to use the appropriate hook size for the size of the Marshmallow you are using. A hook that is too big will stand out like a sore thumb and the trout may refuse the bait.

A hook that is too small may not penetrate well on the hookset and may not hold as well during the fight.

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.

It is also very important to ensure that the hook point is fully exposed and not covered as this can drastically lower your hooking percentage.

It is also important that the hook gap is open enough for a solid hooking of the trout.

Mastering The Technique Of Marshmallow Fishing For Trout

Marshmallows are particularly effective when fishing for stocked hatchery trout. The most common method involves placing 1 or 2 pieces of marshmallows onto your hook and suspending them just off the bottom using a float or employing a bottom fishing rig.

These techniques work well when fishing from stationary positions, such as the shore, dock, or boat.

I will use multiple colors of Marshmallows and I will also trim the Marshmallow to the desired size based on what I think will work best to catch the trout based on the conditions.

As an example, in higher or murkier water I will use a larger and brighter colored marshmallow.

In low clear water, I will trim the marshmallow so it’s smaller than a green pea, approximately 6mm to 8mm wide, or the size of a salmon egg. This is how I catch 95% of my trout at any time when using Marshmallow.

Pro Tip: The key is to make the marshmallow look like a fish egg. Even using fish egg colors like peach, orange, pink, yellow, and white is preferred.

Best Methods For Catching Trout With Marshmallows

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.

When using a bottom rig, cast your line and allow the bait to sink to the bottom. Maintain a small amount of slack line to give the trout some leeway before feeling the pressure, increasing your chances of a successful hookset.

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

Float Fishing Rig
This is my standard float fishing rig for a single bait.

When employing bobber fishing (also known as float fishing), use a slip float for deep water exceeding the length of your rod.

For river fishing, a fixed float is preferable. Avoid using round bobbers and opt for pencil-style or thin-style floats, such as the Raven FM float, which are favored by experienced guides.

Be sure to check out my Trout Fishing Rigs, where I show you the five most effective trout leader setups.

If you are fishing in rivers, be sure to check out my article on how to cover a spot on a river effectively.

Advanced Tips And Techniques

To further enhance your trout fishing experience with marshmallows, consider the following tips:

  1. Bait your hook effectively: Ensure the hook is pushed through the marshmallow, exposing the hook’s point. An exposed hook point increases the chances of a proper hookset when the trout bites.
  2. Minimize line visibility: Trout have keen eyesight and can detect fishing lines, particularly heavier ones. To increase your success rates, 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, early mornings, or late evenings. Fishing during these times can improve your chances of success.
  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. Utilize a floating bead to keep the marshmallows off the bottom and suspended at the desired depth.
  5. Add Scent: Anglers are adding scents like commercial scents or stuff like garlic oils which might attract more trout.

The Safety Of Marshmallows For Fish:

Marshmallows are considered harmless to both fish and humans. The cost-effectiveness and availability of marshmallows contribute to their popularity as a trout bait.

Comparing Marshmallows And Other Trout Baits

Rainbow trout baits
There are all kinds of baits for torut that work, some natural, and some artificail. The key with any bait is to present it well.

In this section, I offer a unique perspective that distinguishes me from other articles and self-proclaimed experts who advocate catching trout on marshmallows.

While marshmallows may have gained popularity as trout bait, and yes, trout will eat marshmallows for various reasons, marshmallows often falls short in effectiveness compared to other baits.

Understanding Trout Behavior And Marshmallows

Trout are known to sample various items that are not actually edible, such as sticks, bark, seaweed, pebbles, and other non-edible objects resembling food. Marshmallows are no exception.

I’ve caught trout on corn, 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. But that doesnt mean any of these things are actually good baits or should be used.

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.

Although trout may initially take a bait like a marshmallow, they often spit it out quickly, indicating a lack of genuine interest.

For this reason, not many guides are using marshmallows as bait for trout. Instead they will use a bait that trout will grab and hold onto.

Exploring High-Percentage Baits For Optimal Results

The Worm Is A Great Trout Bait
The worm is a great trout bait but only if it’s the right size and it’s presented well.

To maximize your chances of success, it is advisable to utilize baits that have a proven track record of effectiveness, baits that trout will grab and hold onto, even with selective fish and larger, more cautious wild trout that can be picky at times.

Baits like worms, minnows, leeches, salmon eggs and trout eggs, and grubs have demonstrated higher success rates and consistency in enticing trout to bite and then hold onto the bait improving the likelihood of landing the trout.

Marshmallows As Subpar Options For Trout Fishing

Marshmallows are only a mediocre alternative for trout fishing. Although some anglers swear by them because they catch fish on them, it’s impossible to say that a fish they caught on a marshmallow would not have also eaten a more effective bait like a spawn bag or a worm.

It’s also difficult to determine if an angler using marshmallows is catching 100% of the fish in the spot, or only 5% of the fish in the spot, and if they were to use a more proven bait such as spawn or worms, or insects instead, that they could have caught a lot more trout.

Should You Use Marshmallows For Trout Fishing?

I believe marshmallows could be an additional bait worth trying when other better proven baits are not working, but I would never recommend them as a first choice bait.

Do Trout Guides Use Marshmallows?

I would say that the majority of top trout guides would choose not to use marshmallows as bait, except as a last resort.

Their primary goal is to ensure their clients have the best possible chance of catching a significant number of trout and therefore they would most likely use superior trout baits.

If you have any questions, comments, or advice regarding catching trout with Marshmallows, I encourage you to share them in the comments section below.

Tight Lines,


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