How to Catch Rainbow Trout in a Stocked Pond

Rainbow trout is an extremely popular stocked fish that can be found in many fishing ponds. Rainbows are a fun fish to catch, and they are pretty tasty too. If you’re fishing rainbow trout in a stocked pond, read these tips to help you catch more fish.

Where to Fish

In ponds, trout tend to swim around in search of food. However, they usually stay near cover to hide from predators, so they never swim too far from cover. Look for them near:

  • Aquatic vegetation such as grassy or weedy areas
  • Around rocks, logs, stumps, or other structure
  • Fallen trees or other submerged structure
  • Near inlets where streams flow into ponds (this brings oxygenated water and food supply which rainbow love).
  • They also prefer deeper, cooler waters. Especially in the hot summer months.

Best Time to Fish

The best time to catch trout in ponds is early in the day. Trout don’t really like to feed in bright sunlight, so getting there around dawn is a great time to catch them. When the sun starts to go down they will be more actively feeding again. Cloudy days that provide the pond water protection from the sun also tend to be good for catching rainbows.

Best Tackle

Pond trout tend to be smaller than the rainbow you will catch in rivers and lakes. So you can get away with lighter gear. Here are a few general guidelines on tackle for pond trout:

  • Light or Ultralight Spinning Rod – You don’t need anything super heavy for a rainbow, so a basic spinning combo works fine. Usually, a rod around 6 feet will be perfect since most ponds don’t require a huge casting distance.
  • Monofilament or Fluorocarbon Fishing Line – Trout do tend to have good eyesight, so lighter lines will work best. Right around 4-6 pound test is ideal.
  • Bobbers (Bright colored or red/white are fine)
  • Bait Hooks – a size #6 or #8 bait hook will work

Best Bait

There are a wide variety of different kinds of baits and lures that can work well for pond fishing. Live bait, artificial bait, and lures can all work. Here are a few of the best choices that you should consider bringing with you:

  • Worms
  • Powerbait
  • Power Eggs
  • Spoons
  • Spinners

For more bait ideas check out our ultimate guide to fishing rainbow trout.

Pond Trout Rigging

There are a few different rigs that will work well for pond fishing.

Powerbait Rig

A basic powerbait rig can be deadly for catching rainbow. Here’s what you will need:

  • Bullet weight
  • Bead
  • Hook

The rig is really simple to set up:

  1. Thread your fishing line through the bullet weight.
  2. Thread the line through the bead, and then loop the line around to place it through the same side of the bead a second time.
  3. Let about 12 to 18 inches of line through the end of your bead and tie on your hook.

Powerbait Rig Diagram

After your rig is set up you can put your powerbait on the hook and get to fishing. It works great for pond trout, but the double looped bead isn’t the strongest, so far larger trout you may need a different setup.

Slip Float Rig

The split float rig is another classic that works great if you’re using live bait. You can use it with a worm or baitfish and set your depth to exactly where the trout are. Learn how to set up a slip float rig for trout.

Slip Bobber Rig Diagram


There are a number of strategies that work well for catching trout. The best technique will depend on where they are feeding at in the water column.

If the trout are feeding near the surface:

  • The slip float rig. This rig is ideal when trout are swimming around searching for food. You will want to use this rig to keep your bait suspended so the cruising trout can strike your bait.
  • Spinners or spoons lures also tend to work well when the trout are swimming near the surface. A simple cast and retrieve method works well in this situation. Cast your lure and let it sink for a little bit before beginning your retrieve. You can vary the speed of your retrieve to experiment with what works.

If the trout are feeding closer to the bottom:

  • The powerbait rig works great when the trout are in deeper sections of the pond. Just make sure to keep your bait above the weeds by adjusting the weight or your leader.
  • You can also use the slip float rig and adjust the length to get closer to the bottom


Fishing ponds for rainbow can be extremely productive if you follow the guidelines outlined in this resource. Fish for them near cover with light gear and a proper rig and it will seem almost too easy.