Berkley Powerbait Worms and Mice Tails for Trout Fishing

It’s one thing when one of us is using a particular bait, color, or scent to dial in on Mr. Trout.  Lately, me and my fishing buddies are all using Power Worms (PW) and Mice Tails to catch Mr. Trout with greater success than our old standbys.  It didn’t happen overnight, but over a decade.

I used to believe that inflated nightcrawlers or powerbait (PB) dough couldn’t be out fished by Power Worms or Mice Tails.  It wasn’t logical that a natural wiggling inflated nightcrawler wouldn’t be more enticing to Mr. Trout. pb It didn’t make sense that if Mr. Trout wanted PB then the dough version would put out more scent by dissolving and have better squishy mouth feel than the plastic PW.  Besides, we got bites on our old standby’s so why change?  Well, because now we catch more with the Power Worms and Mice Tails (Power Worm with a Power Egg attached).

The trick is nothing new: color, presentation, and scent.  They are all important and make a difference between no bites, nibbles, or a huge bite.  So, of course I have every color in Mice Tails, Power Worms, plus scents.  If I’m not getting bites, then the first thing I do is to change colors just like if you were using PB.Powerworms

Favorites at the moment are Mice Tails over Power Worms.  Go to colors are Orange, Pink, White, and Green.  I’ve been switching scents with anything garlic (Pro-Cure, Smelly Jelly in liquid, etc.) as first choice and then other standard trout scents.  If I had to pick one it would be Smelly Jelly Garlic in liquid.  It doesn’t add color to the bait, isn’t as gooey to over power the PB embedded scent, and it’s less messy.

Presentation is similar to the PB setup.  I gravitate to 1/4 oz from 1/8 oz sliding egg sinkers during summer when fishing from shore as the fish are generally in deeper colder water.  Also, It’s important to use a thin (Owner brand) #10 hook as I’ve noticed that IMG_1191Mice Tails and Power Worms take on water and won’t float after prolonged water exposure with heavier hooks.

I have also switched from a traditional worm hook setup to a wacky style rig with the hook simply put in the middle without attempting to hide the hook.  This seems to provide more bites and hookups.  My thoughts are that the bait curls up just like you see making those two floating ends wiggle enticingly and provide a smaller less intimidating profile for more bites.  Also, the smaller profile increases the odds the hook will be in the mouth (unlike the half eaten worm scenario), and the exposed hook significantly improves hookups.  Hope this helps any of you out there if you haven’t given Mice Tails and Power Worms a worthy effort as it may become a stable in your bag of tricks.  If not, no worries it only took me ten years to figure out what I’ve been missing.  Good luck and have fun.




Posted in Berkley Powerbait worm, Trout, Trout Bait, Trout Fishing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Crowley Lake – June 2013

I spend more time fishing than writing, but I wanted to provide a quick update on Lake Crowley as things are different this year.  The lake’s water level is down 20 feet and it has changed the fishing dynamics from previous years.

There weren’t as many people fishing as in past years and the boats were moving all over the lake by mid-morning.   Normally, many boats would be clustered in McGee Bay all day long.  I only saw one boat land a fish while on the lake in the first hour of fishing which is highly unusual.

We got to the lake around 7:00 am and I went over to my spot at Chalk Cliffs.  No boats were there, but I’ve been lucky there without any of the fishing congestion at McGee. After not getting a bite in 20 minutes, I moved over to popular area by McGee where all the other boats were clustered.

Most of the boats were clustered there, but I didn’t see anyone catching anything.  Within 30 minutes I went over to Alligator Point.   We caught our first trout within 15 minutes using rainbow PB.  The second trout took about 10 minutes, then the third around 15 minutes.  I switched to inflated night crawlers and the fishing picked up with multiple hookups and we caught our limits within the hour.

No one was really fishing Alligator Point and it was quite nice.    My spot is when you come up to the Alligator’s neck where the beach ends.  We anchored the boat around 40 yards out from shore.  I cast out 20 yards towards the Alligator’s imaginary eye.

When I cast out further I noticed the bait would hit bottom as a normal cast would.  When I cast shorter, the bait hit bottom, then pulled out another 10 feet of line.  I knew then, I was in the drop off of the ledge and that’s where the trout were feeding.

Hope this helps you if your lucky enough to be fishing at Crowley.



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Corona Lake Fishing Report – November 2011

I thought I’d give you glimpse of an e-mail report between us fishermen that happen all the time.  In any strategic battle – information is key.   Here’s a real data stream from my long time fishing friend who is scouting out the trout battle field for the upcoming season…… Thank you Cedric!

“So I got the email yesterday that they stocked.  Once I got there I found out that they had planted more fish than they were posting. Last week they said they had planted trout. What they didn’t say was they had also stocked some Tailwalkers last week and that wasn’t posted. I found that out from one of the local float tube tubes fishing by me.

So with the wife gone for the weekend I was under no rush to get out early so I took the no pressure approach. Left around 6:00, got there a little before 7:00. 4 cars in front of me.

Went to the tackle shop…no line. Got some new bait and my boat and I was ready to go. It was nice and peaceful out on the water and that was worth it in itself. I expected it to be more crowded. The side by the damn was wall to wall cars but the south side had some openings. And the boat population wasn’t that big either.

So I went to some of the spots I remembered with Dennis. Camped out with the bugs figuring the fish had to be there. Tossed out the finder and the fish were traveling. Just not biting. So after 2.5 hours in one spot (Planned to leave at 12:00), I decided to troll and find a new spot. Nothing on the troll side but ended up over where a lot of floaties were and a couple bass boats. Fished toward the shore then changed outwards.

First cast at approx 10:15 to the deeper side. Line starts moving, so I do the no bale and be patient. When it started to go out more, i hooked it and started my 3 minute battle. This sucker was putting up a good fight but I had to be careful because I had just changed over to a 2lb leader. Finally tired it out (so I thought) and go it close to the boat. Reached down for my net. It pulled more line. Reeled it back in to the end of the 3 foot leader, put the net down under the fish. Had the fish in the net, the line snapped and the fish jumped out of the net and swam away. Not sure if it was a Tailwalker but this was not a fin clipped trout. I would say minimum 6lbs. It was thick. I was thinking of D’s comment on Friday about the catch and eat lunch scenario and I think I jinxed myself because I was looking at that fish and thinking lunch.

Still kicking myself in the butt. Oh Well…that’s fishing. Passed by SARL on the way back and it was spotty.  I’m guessing maybe 20 cars. So I know they can’t wait for the weather change.”

Fishing, November….It’s On
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Velveeta Cheese for Bait. Weapon of Choice?

It’s rare when I don’t pack some Velveeta when I go trout fishing.  Why?  It’s one of my weapons of choice against Mr. Trout.  There have been times when Velveeta has outfished everything else in my tackle box.  

I was introduced to Velveeta by my bigtime fisherman uncle who took me decades ago to Corona Lake.  I setup my rig for bait and was digging through my tackle box for bait when he told me, “Put that shit away.  Use this”.  He grinned and handed me a chunk of Velveeta.  WTF? I know what I’m doing.  End of story, we had limit in a couple of hours.  I was like fricken eh!  fricken Velveeta eh!  fricken limit eh!

My fishing buddies used to laugh at me when I used Velveeta.  But, I’ve caught my share of trout at SARL and in the Sierras on it.  No laughing anymore.  They just watch and I love it when I hook up and say, “Fricken Velveeta!”.

The key to using Velveeta is to keep as cold as possible.  As a matter of fact I throw in the freezer in the morning while I get ready and pack it on top of frozen water bottles in the ice chest.

You want to use a generous piece (more chuckles from Ced and Big D) about half the size of a chicken McNugget.  Shape it round, then insert a size 18 (16 for larger trout) treble head first into the cheese.  Then grab your leader a foot up from the hook and tug it until the hook is barely through the cheese.  Barely, because during the cast the hook will move up further towards the middle of the cheese ball.  Gently squeeze the cheese ball to seal where the leader cut into the side of the cheese ball.  Now, cast it smoothly in a high arch (like a worm) to prevent the cheese from flying off.  I keep my leader 20″ – 24″ in length.

You’ll notice that Velveeta turns white in the water and sort of looks like a natural cluster of salmon eggs (turns white in water).  It also milks like salmon egg sacks do.  I believe there’s an instinctive click in the trout’s brain that says, “Caviar!”.  Hope you have good luck with Velveeta and when you hook up – don’t forget to say to your fishing buddies, “Fricken Velveeta!”.

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Thinking about making your own Powerbait or Trout Bait?

I’ve made my own bait concoctions over the years as it’s sort of like making the next better mousetrap.  Why should it be so hard?  It’s just fish food and you can look up all kinds of recipes online.  Here’s my experience and thoughts about homemade trout bait.

For my ingredients I’ve tried Pillsbury biscuit dough, cocktail shrimp, fried bread, marshmallow, hot dogs, turkey, fish, butter, lard, cheese, cheese spreads, cooked flour dough, and anchovies.  Yup, you can ask my fishing friends as they still make fun of me to this day.  But, rightfully so as I have yet to catch anything with my latest concoctions.  I truly believe it’s just not having the right bait at the right time.  So, if you have the inkling to try to make the ‘bomb’ bait give it a shot.  It doesn’t take much time and it’s fun.

The easiest bait base is to use refrigerated biscuit dough as it saves a lot of time and it’s inexpensive.  You can thicken it up with a bit more flour or sugar.  Next, I will split my basic dough into a several tiny containers (I like KFC small sides containers) so I can have different colors or scents.   In each container I mix in my flavor choice (my last was freshwater ground fish flakes, ground dry cat food, cheese, and ground shrimp).   After this you can add food coloring.  Finally, you can finish it off with art glitter as an option.

So if you’re thinking about making your own trout bait you should give it a try.  After all, non-commercial trout baits such as marshmallow combos and velveeta cheese have caught me trout when everyone else is getting skunked.  You just never know.

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Trout Fishing – Deep or Shallow?

Using fish finders and by sight I have been able to clearly see at what depth the trout are to be found in lakes.  From shore we use Cedric’s portable unit that has a castable transducer that enables us to visualize what depth the trout are at and how far out we need to cast. We have also used side scan portable units on rental boats as well.

Fish finders are totally worth having as it can really make a difference in knowing if you are fishing in productive waters.  Plus, with the 3 dimensional unit you can see the slope of the bottom to identify pathways along which the schools of trout are most likely to swim thru.

Here’s my thoughts about what depth I’ve seen trout at based on deep and shallow lakes.  Higher elevation deep lakes such as Lake Crowley are very much different compared to a lake in the city such as Corona or SARL (Santa Ana Rivers Lake).

Deeper Lakes 
  • Found most trout between 12′ to 25′  of water
  • Rarely found trout below 35′ of water
  • In the Spring, the trout can found in shallow water 5′ to 10′ deep along the shores
  • During mid-day the Trout can often be found in 12′ of water in weed beds or 25′ of water with no weed beds
  • When the lake is churning (due to temperature change the lake bottom layer rises to the surface and ‘churns’) fish become scattered across depths
  • As the summer temperatures hit their peak, trout will often cruise below the thermocline (where the cold water and warmer water meet – often 18’+ deep)
  • Trout often will cruise along deep and shallow underwater current lines often associated with inlets and outlets.
Shallow Lakes (less than 20′ deep)
  • Found most trout between 5′ to 12′ of water
  • Trout are often at inlet and outlet flows
  • Seek water further away from shore when the Sun is high
  • Trout are often close to shore in 4′ to 5′ of water in the early morning

Mr. Trout has a preference of what depth he likes to hang out at depending on the water temperature, surface temperature, underwater structure, and exposure to the Sun. The perfect bait or lure doesn’t have much value unless it’s being used where the trout are located.  Even without a fish finder I will first follow my fishing thoughts and later change it up a bit if I get no action.  Probably start even thinking about using some WD40.  lol.

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Looking Inside the Trout’s Stomach

Yup, I’m a curious but practical trout fisherman.  So, I used to frequently dissect trout stomachs to find out what they are feeding on.  Remember when you took biology and thought it was a waste of time?

After looking at a few hundred of trout stomachs over the years the contents always seems to be one or more of the following in order of frequency:

  • Algae
  • Brown stuff (newly planted – trout chow)
  • Powerbait
  • Very tiny insects
  • Small snails
  • Rocks
  • Tiny sticks
  • Small fish
  • Salmon eggs (bait)
What I find of most value is the color of powerbait that the trout are feeding on.  Without a doubt I would say it’s almost always rainbow and green colored powerbait.  As many people including myself often fish with worms, I oddly don’t recall ever finding worms in any of the fish I caught.   The vast majority of trout in California lakes and steams are planted, raised on trout chow, and then caught in a relatively short timeframe.  I believe this is why most of the trout I’ve caught have similar stomach contents.  But…..
There are exceptions to this with many of the non-rainbow species that are generally not planted such as Brown, Brook, and Golden Trout.  Also, at higher elevation lakes there are holdover trout and fingerlings which are planted while the fishing season is closed.
It’s the opposite of Rainbows in that I don’t often find any powerbait in the stomach’s of these other trout.  They feed as native fish living on insects (subsurface and surface), tiny crustaceans, and smaller fish. When fishing in these waters or targeting non-rainbows you generally need to use artificial lures that mimic bait fish or insects (flies/tiny jigs). For bait fishing I prefer to use worms, salmon eggs, and crickets (rarely – they stink).
See?  That biology class wasn’t a total waste of time.  
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Powerbait Setup for Trout

Pictured below is the basic Powerbait (PB) fishing setup that I normally start with. Most of the time I just put just enough powerbait to cover the treble hook in a ball shape.  I’ll get more into PB shapes and tweaks in future post.

Normally, I start with Rainbow PB with glitter and then next I’ll try Chartreuse (Green). Those two colors are responsible for 70% of the trout I’ve caught.  Other go to colors for me are Lemon and Lime Twist.   Also, I often will put on a small Jet Puffed marshmallow or Velvetta cheese as sometimes they are the ticket and will outfish PB.

If I’m still not getting many or no bites, I’ll start adjusting the length of the leader. Sometimes the trout will only hit on a 6″ leader and other times will only bite on a 20″ leader.  Leader length is very important which is why I change it up.   I swear Mr. Trout can be more finicky than a kid or spoiled cat.

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Trout – Do they have a preference for water temperature or oxygenated water?

As the summer approaches I’m always thinking about how the warmer temperatures will affect trout fishing.  Rainbow trout are active in water temperatures around 59 degrees and like highly oxygenated water.  But what happens as the water becomes warmer as day/night temperatures rise?  In Southern California the shallow lakes cannot support trout because the water temperature is too warm.  Here’s some trout info on temps and oxygen:

  • Mortality temperature is 75+ degrees for trout
  • Trout farms recommend having dissolved oxygen (DO) higher than 5-7 mg/l
  • Mortality DO is less than 2 mg/l
  • Water will maintain DO above 8 mg/l at 75 degrees
  • DO at 75 is above 8 mg/l
Yeah, my friend the Ichthyologist, Big D will find the scientific studies interesting. But I believed trout always sought out highly oxygenated water during the summer.  I learned that warm water can hold more than enough of oxygen for them.  So, I dug some more and found a link (below) for an interesting study where they monitored trout behavior in a confined natural pool.  The pool had areas with cool water with little oxygen (2 mg/l) from underground aquifers or warm (70+ degree) highly oxygenated water near the surface.  

  • During the day, the trout grouped around the cool water aquifer that had borderline mortally low oxygen levels
  • During the night, the trout spread out a little to warmer water with higher oxygen levels
So, Mr. Trout is temperature sensitive above all.  No wonder it’s hard to catch trout in the warm summer months.  But it explains why I’ve had great trout fishing in the evening and or cold mornings, while it’s totally dead in the heat of the day.    I’m going play like Mr. Trout as the weather gets hot in summer.  Fish during the early morning and evening.  Then go to a nice cool spot during the heat of the day (that serves beer).  Like I’ve always thought – Mr. Trout is pretty smart.
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SARL Fishing Report – April 23, 2011

I got to Santa Ana Rivers Lake at 5 am to wait for the lake to open at 6 am.   Met Big D over at La Palma Point which is located on the back right hand corner of the lake where the water truck filling pipe is located.  

Power Mouse

Big D was already setting up his rods when I got to the spot.  I set up two poles up with my homemade powermouse using green powerbait and 1/2″ of a trout powerworm.  I cast one pole short out to 15′ and the other further out to 30′.

The short cast rig had a short 10″ leader with a tiny 1/16 oz sliding barrel sinker and size 18 treble hook.  Within an hour I had landed two trout on this setup.

Cedric and I started casting spinning lures as the bait bite went dead, but we could see trout occasionally jumping 10′ to 15′ from shore.  I started with a 502 Gold Super Duper, then switched to a Blade Runner.  Finally dropped down in size to a tiny rainbow Rooster Tail and caught my third trout.  After trying a few standard lures I find it helpful to switch to a smaller lure size for finicky trout.

The bite totally died down after 10:00 and we didn’t get any action for the rest of the day except for our Bolognese over thin spaghetti for lunch.  Then later I fried up a few pounds of chicken wings for us with a different types of Louisiana hot sauces.

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