Mastering Mammoth Lakes Trout Fishing: The Ultimate Bait Guide

Mammoth Lakes is a paradise for trout anglers who want to enjoy the scenic beauty and abundant fishing opportunities of the Eastern Sierra. With its pristine waters and diverse trout species, this destination attracts fishing enthusiasts from all around. The area is home to several lakes and streams that are stocked with rainbow, brown, and brook trout throughout the year. 

But what’s the best bait for trout in Mammoth Lakes? The answer depends on several factors, such as the type of trout, the season, the water conditions, and the angler’s preference. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, read on for some great tips on the best baits for successful trout fishing in Mammoth Lakes, brought to you by the mountain sports experts at ASO Mammoth, your one-stop shop for all the equipment you need to enjoy the Mammoth Lakes area, from fishing gear to hiking equipment and Mammoth ski rental.


PowerBait has stood the test of time and remains a staple in every angler’s tackle box. Its doughy texture and potent scent make it highly appealing to trout. At Mammoth Lakes, where stocked rainbow trout are abundant, PowerBait in vibrant colors like chartreuse and rainbow can be incredibly effective. The bait’s ability to float above the lake bed, combined with its alluring scent, can tempt even the most cautious trout. PowerBait is effective for all types of trout, but especially for stocked trout, which are more accustomed to artificial feed than wild trout.

Nightcrawlers & Mealworms

When it comes to mimicking the trout’s natural prey, nothing beats live bait. Nightcrawlers and mealworms are readily available and mimic the aquatic insects and worms that trout feed on. These baits can be used with various techniques, such as bottom fishing or suspending under a bobber, depending on the trout’s feeding depth.

Spinners & Spoon Lures

For anglers who prefer the thrill of active fishing, spinners and spoon lures are excellent choices. Their flashy, reflective surfaces mimic small fish, making them irresistible to predatory trout. Casting and retrieving these lures can mimic the erratic movements of injured prey, triggering aggressive strikes from hungry trout, especially brown trout known for their aggressive nature.

Flies & Streamers

Fly fishing is an art form, and Mammoth Lakes offers some incredible opportunities for this technique. Matching the hatch—imitating the insects currently hatching on the water—is crucial. Dry flies like Adams and Elk Hair Caddis can be fantastic during hatches, while streamers like Woolly Buggers can entice larger trout with their lifelike swimming motions.

Artificial Grubs & Worms

Artificial baits like soft plastic grubs and worms can be rigged on jig heads to imitate aquatic creatures. These baits work well for trout that are actively searching for prey near the lake bottom. Their realistic movement and texture make them appealing to both stocked and wild trout.


Crankbaits are excellent for covering larger areas of water and triggering aggressive strikes. The wobbling and diving motions of these lures can attract curious trout from a distance. Opt for colors that mimic local baitfish, and vary your retrieval speed to find the most effective technique.

Garlic-Infused Baits

Trout have a keen sense of smell, and garlic happens to be a scent that they find particularly enticing. Many bait manufacturers produce garlic-infused PowerBait and other baits. This added scent can make a significant difference, especially when fishing in heavily stocked lakes where trout might have seen it all.

Tips for Choosing the Right Bait

Trout fishing in Mammoth Lakes can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience if you use the right bait for the right situation. Whether you prefer natural or artificial baits, there’s something for everyone in this area. The key is taking into account your target species, the season, and the water conditions as well as your personal preference. Follow these tips when you’re choosing your bait:

  • Match the bait to the type of trout – Different types of trout have different preferences and behaviors that can affect their response to different baits. For example, rainbow trout tend to feed more on insects and fish eggs than brown trout, which tend to feed more on minnows and worms. Brook trout tend to feed more on the surface than other species. 
  • Match the bait to the season – Different seasons can also affect the availability and activity of different baits. For example, worms and insects are more abundant and active in spring and summer than in fall and winter. Fish eggs are more available and attractive in fall and winter than in spring and summer. Minnows are more active and vulnerable in spring and fall than in summer and winter. 
  • Match the bait to the water conditions – Different water conditions can also affect the visibility and effectiveness of different baits. For example, bright-colored baits are more visible and attractive in clear water than in murky water. Scented baits are more effective in murky water than in clear water. Natural baits are more realistic and appealing in slow-moving water than in fast-moving water. Artificial baits are more versatile and adaptable in fast-moving water than in slow-moving water. 
  • Experiment with different baits – Sometimes, the best way to find out what works best is to try different baits until you find one that works. Trout can be unpredictable and moody at times, so what works one day may not work the next day. Having a variety of baits at your disposal can help you adapt to changing situations and preferences of trout.

Mammoth Lakes offers a diverse range of trout fishing experiences, and the right bait can make all the difference. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, the best bait often depends on the trout species, prevailing conditions, and your personal angling style. Whether you opt for the classic PowerBait, the elegance of fly fishing, or the excitement of using lures, Mammoth Lakes holds the promise of unforgettable fishing adventures. So gear up, experiment with different baits, and get ready to reel in trophy-worthy trout against the backdrop of Mammoth Lakes’ breathtaking beauty. Happy fishing!

If you’re on your way to gorgeous Mammoth Lakes to do some trout fishing, don’t forget to stop in and see the friendly folks at ASO Mammoth. Whether they need fishing equipment, hiking gear, or top-quality ski rentals, Mammoth visitors will find everything they need at our shop. Drop by on your way to the lakes or give us a call at 760-965-3444.