Let’s look at the live bait for sale themselves and how to fish them with spinning tackle in a stream. To begin with it is hard to beat common garden worms – not needing to be live bait for sale. Thread these smaller red worms on to a size #10 to #14 bait holder hook. The clearer the water and/or the smaller the trout – the tinier the hook. Use a pinch of shot or toss the worm weightless, if conditions permit.
If you are working a stream known for big trout, then consider switching to a larger offering such as a nightcrawler. Like red worms, these can be fished whole, with or without a weight.
Some trouters prefer to cut the nightcrawler in half sections which eliminates the possibility of a smaller fish striking “short” and getting only the end of the bait. With ‘crawlers, scale up to a #16 to #10 hook.
Another option is to inject the nightcrawler with air and fish it totally on the surface without any weight. This has an effect similar to a small water snake drifting temptingly along. Quite often this tactic can be dynamite on lunker brown trout.
Both red worms and crawlers are excellent early season bait choices, especially when the streams, rivers and creeks are high and roily with dirty water. Both baits will take their share of quality fish, particularly because they can be fished deeper, and nearer the bottom where the bigger fish stay.
Grasshoppers and crickets make excellent baits for stream fishing. They too can be fished either weightless or with a minimal amount of weight. Hook size is dictated by the insect itself, but usually a size #6 to #10 bait holder will suffice.
As for prepared baits, it pays to buy a firm, premium grade jar of salmon eggs. These fish best on a gold salmon egg hook in sizes ranging from #10 to #16. Use either one or two eggs together – sometimes one way works better than the other, so experiment a little here. Salmon eggs can be gently tossed without any weight or with only a small amount.
Prepared cheese baits or just plain Velveeta Cheese can also produce in streams. Depending upon the current, terrain, and depth fished, a variety of hooks should be utilized.
Baits can be molded onto either onto either a gold salmon egg hook or a longer-shanked bronze bait holder. A small #14 to #18 gold or bronze treble hook is best for securing the cheese, but will obviously get snagged more easily. Consider saving the treble hooks for the deeper, quiet pools.