Do Trout Eat Crayfish? Tips & Tricks for Trout Baiting

Since trout are such robust eaters, trout fishing is a pleasant pastime during summer. It’s all about the satisfaction of luring trout with bait and then into your net. However, getting trout to bite the hook at the end of the line isn’t a piece of cake. The right bait will do half the work for you.

The struggle of picking out the best among all lures and baits for trout is real. We know that crayfish is a good live bait for bass and catfish. It could be for trout too but do trout eat crayfish?

Yes, trout love to eat crayfish. Especially brown, mackinaw, and rainbow trout. This is why fishermen deem crayfish as a very effective bait in trout fishing. However, some might not like using live bait. So, a similarly efficient alternative is imitating crayfish behavior with artificial lures.

That being the case, simply putting crayfish on the fishing rod won’t do. There is a lot more than that in terms of trout fishing. You need to know whether or not trout eat local crayfish in the wild and why. Or where, when, and how you can use crayfish as bait to fish for trout.

It may sound complicated! But there’s no need to worry, we have you covered. Just give us a wee bit of your time and jump right in-

What Are The Food Sources of Trout?

Trout like to prey on their food as they are quite aggressive fish. They like insects and animals that move around a lot. Moreover, being bright and colorful is more preferable for them.

To be more specific, trout like to eat crustaceans, like crayfish or shrimp. Their spontaneity is very attractive as prey and why they love to hunt down crayfish.

Apart from crustaceans, trout prefer nymphs, insects, planktons, etc. as their food source. As for nymphs, they prey on mayfly nymphs, stoneflies, etc. Mayfly nymphs are one of their favorite choices for their food source.

Moreover, they eat crickets, grasshoppers, worms, etc. Larvae and fish eggs are a part of their diet too. Big trout also feed on small fish, like minnows, and mammals. Larger trout prey on small trout too if they are in the vicinity. Nymphs and larvae are their primary food sources because of their availability.

What Crustaceans Do Trout Love?

Crustaceans are aquatic invertebrates with a hard and segmented outer body but a softer inner body. Their meat or flesh is usually chewy.

You can easily identify them with their legs that have at least 4 segments. Some common examples would be crayfish, shrimp, lobster, crab, etc.

They are a tempting target as prey due to their excessive movement and vitality.

But as a fisherman, you won’t see them feeding on them too often. That is because their natural habitats are quite different. They are not local to each other. Then again, there are some streams or rivers with clear water where both can be found.

Trout also like to eat crabs and shrimp. Apart from that, scuds and sowbugs are also part of the diet for trout.

Which Trout Usually Feed on Crayfish?

Although most trout like feeding on crayfish, some are more likely to eat them. This tendency varies because of the difference in aggressiveness among trout.

Crayfish move spontaneously and quickly which triggers the aggressiveness in trout. The more aggressive the trout is, the more it is likely to hunt for crayfish.

This is why using crayfish as bait has varying success rates among different trout. Here are some of the most common trout that eat crayfish-

Brown Trout

Brown trout are most likely to eat crayfish. Many times fishermen find crayfish in their stomachs. This is because brown trout are the most aggressive of the bunch. So you can very easily and effectively fish brown trout using crayfish as bait.

Mackinaw Trout

Mackinaw trout is the second most likely to eat crayfish. They are also among the aggressive types of trout. Using crayfish to fish mackinaw trout is common practice among fishermen. And most often, they return with plenty of mackinaws.

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout don’t naturally eat crayfish, but they are suckers for crustaceans. Their aggressive nature is on par with that of brown trout. So you can fish for rainbow trout with crayfish as bait. If you do, you are likely to come out successful.

How to Use a Crayfish as a Trout Lure?

How to Use a Crayfish as a Trout Lure

Using crayfish as lures is a norm among fishermen when fishing for bass or catfish. You can use crayfish to efficiently fish trout too. But you’d need to be aware of the hooking technique, timing, or place to fish for trout.

But that won’t be an issue because we’ve described how to use crayfish as trout bait here.

How to Hook The Crayfish?

It’s important to know the right technique for hooking your crayfish. You certainly don’t want your crayfish to die when attaching them to the hook. The main attractive point of crayfish is their movement. They need to be able to dig under the water and move around to lure trout.

 Hook your crayfish from the bottom to the upper side. This will allow them to crawl with the hook attached. Don’t pierce their abdomens, rather pierce the upper part of their tails. This will prevent the crayfish from dying.

Imitating Crayfish Lure

You might think that imitating crayfish with lures can’t be as effective as using live crayfish. However, it’s surprising how you can redeem the same results if you do it right.  Trout eat crayfish because of their movement pattern. So if you can imitate the behavior of crayfish with artificial lures, you’re good to go!

 This method should be no big deal for trout anglers. Since anglers can work with different types of lures in the river or lake. It involves a lot of bottom bouncing to imitate the movement of crayfish.

 To recreate the movements of crayfish, you should bounce the lure on the surface of the ground. Rather than pulling the lure horizontally, this is more effective.

What Lures To Use?

Not all types of lures can be used to imitate crayfish. There are a few specific lures that you can use to fish for trout. Even matching the color and size of crayfish is important. Make sure to choose fly patterns close to the pattern of crayfish.

We’ve mentioned some of the common lures used for imitating Crayfish.

Fly Lure With Wiggle Disk

Fly fishing is nothing out of the ordinary. You can use fly fishing to fish trout while imitating a crayfish. Using a fly is quite snag-proof in trout fishing to ensure you don’t lose it. This is because you’ll have to bounce the lures on the surface of the ground. This usually tends to cause snagging.

 Choose a fly close to the color of crayfish. It could be brownish red or bluebottle in color. The size should also match that of a crayfish. It should be around 2.5-3 inches. Finally, attach a wiggle disk to your fly before you fish for trout.

Dark Trigger Spoon Lure

You can use trigger spoon lures to bait trout as well. Choose one that is of a darker color. However, trigger spoon lures are very snag-prone. So you might face some difficulties in the process. Be very careful when pulling on the line so that you don’t lose many lures.

Mag Lip Lure

Mag lip lures are usually most preferred by fishermen in trout fishing. This is not as snag-prone nor as snag-proof as trigger spoons or flies.

Use a 2.5 or 3.0 mag lip lure for imitating. They come in various patterns, so you can choose the one close to that of crayfish. Or you could try to match only the color as close to a crayfish as you can find.

When to Do The Fishing?

Trout are seasonal fishes and they mainly come around in the middle of summer. That, or in early fall or around just before summer. So keep that in mind when fishing for trout.

Also, trout are usually feeding during low light periods. So you should try fishing early in the morning, or just before dusk. This will amplify your success rate in trout fishing by a lot.

Where to Do The Fishing?

You can fish in a stream, lake or river. However, you should opt for rocky areas. Let your crayfish hit the rocks and the ground under the water. This will tempt the trout even more.

Trout like it when crayfish dig underground and prey on them at that exact moment.

There’s a catch, trout and crayfish are usually not available in the same localities. But that doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up on such an effective bait. You can imitate a crayfish using artificial lures and that will also be a successful venture.

Fishing In A River Or Lake

If you’re fishing in a river or lake, and the ground is beyond reach, just let your lure float. The similar color and size of the lure will imitate that of a crayfish. Moreover,  the tides will add natural movement to the lure, attracting trout.

However, reeling in your trout after it has caught the bait can be tricky. The trout might start to act up when on the surface of the water. Dip the tip of your fishing rod underwater to make it go under the surface of the water. This will help you to reel it in easier. Once trout inch closer and into the net range, gently get them into your net.

Fishing In A Stream

If you’re fishing in a stream, go for rocky areas.  Dip your lure where you think trout are and gently drag the lure from time to time. Bounce the lure on the bottom of the water so that it simulates a crayfish digging. This will tempt trout and they will go in for the hunt for sure.

 As soon as the trout catches the bait, try to reel them in without bumping into many obstacles. You’ll have to do this pretty quickly. Since the water is shallow with a lot of rocks, the trout may flee easily.

Extra Tips to Fish for Trout

Fishing is never too easy, and a few tricks might just save the day. With that thought, here are some of the tips that will come in handy. Use them when you think they apply to you.

Chumming The Water

If chumming the water is legal where you’re fishing, this might be effective to attract trout. You can chum the water using a few things out of their natural diet. Such as larvae, nymphs, fish eggs, worms, or insects.

 Also, keep your crayfish as a lure among the chums. This way the trout are more likely to fall for it and take the bait.

Fishing During Rainfall

Heavy rainfall is an optimal time to fish for trout. Due to the heavy rainfall, the water level increases drastically. Moreover, the disturbance in the water current makes the water dark. This causes the larger trout to go into feeding.

 So you might want to fish for trout with crayfish when the water level is high during rainfall.

Fishing After Rainy Season

After a long period of rainfall, fishes start to go on a binge feeding season. On an impulse, big trout traverse the shallow waters. They are also much easier to lure because they’re hyperactive during this period.

 Since they recently came out of cover, finding out their location is also easier. You can try open water that has undercut banks, logs, or other covers near them. Prioritize areas with rocks and you are much likely to return successfully.

Use Natural Bait

Trout are aggressive predators that prey on terrestrial and aquatic animals. They don’t hesitate to eat their own kin if given the chance. So your best bet to fish for trout is to use live, natural bait. It could be crayfish, small fishes, or insects and worms.

Dough Bait Tips

If you don’t like live baits, you can use dough baits. Use those that come in loud colors that mimic the seasonal food for trout. That way, you can trigger their aggression much more easily.

Stocked trout go crazy for PowerBait because of their scent. Rainbow trout anglers would know how much rainbow trout love Berkley PowerBait. If you plan on using dough baits, you should definitely opt for PowerBait at least once.

With these know-hows, getting your hands on big trout is no big deal. You just have to play your cards right. Being patient is one of the most important factors for fishing in general. That goes more for trout fishing. So keep that in mind when you’re at it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Answer: Yes, crayfish are good trout bait. Trout love to eat crayfish if given the chance. They can be attractive lures for trout.

Answer: Yes, brook trout eat crayfish. Brook trout feed on insects, planktons, and also crustaceans. And crayfish is a common crustacean that is included in the diet of brook trout.

Answer: Stocked trout like anything corn scented or flavored. Wild trout like aquatic and terrestrial insects. Mostly the ones that spend their whole life cycle underwater.

Answer: For stocked trout, try fresh corn at the end of the lure. However, natural lures are the best for trout. This includes worms, crayfish, baitfish, etc.

Final Words

We hope you are still not asking, do trout eat crayfish? The answer is obvious, trout love crayfish! They will hunt down any crayfish in its neighborhood.

We hope in this article you got to know all about trout fishing with crayfish. Wishing you a very successful venture out fishing for trout.

Until next time, see you!

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