DIY: How to Make Dough Balls for Trout Fishing? [Easy Steps]

How to Make Dough Balls for Trout Fishing

Every angler knows that natural baits are excellent, however, sometimes fish react better to home-made baits.

Boilies made for carp may be the best-known bait of this kind, however, other fish species can be caught with similar ones, and trout is one of them. These baits are called dough balls.

So, how to make dough balls for trout fishing?

You will need to use a few ingredients, like flour, oatmeal, garlic, eggs, cheese, food coloring, fish flakes, and similar. All the tools you need to make this are available in almost any kitchen.

The best thing about trout dough balls is the fact that you can customize the ingredients to get the best possible mixture for your local fishing spot (pond or a river).

As a beginner, you can play with different ingredients and their ratios. It is cheap, easy, and a great way to get to know the local trout feeding habits.

Here I will tell you more about it, and share a simple recipe for beginners.



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What is Trout Dough Bait?

Trout dough bait is a home-made bait, usually produced by using different kinds of flour, and other ingredients, like food coloring, garlic or fish flakes, to boost up the scent, taste, and bait visibility.

When you prepare it, it resembles bread dough, and it is easily formed into balls. Balls can be made in different sizes, to fit the fish size in the area.

This bait can easily be used by less experienced anglers because it can easily be mounted on a hook (different hook sizes).

When fishing for wild trout, this bait may not be the best option, however, it works wonders for stocked ponds. Those fish are used to man-made food, and will gladly consume dough balls.

Except for basic ingredients, you can add cheese, dog or cat food to add some flavor, and slightly change the texture (similar ingredients are also used for best catfish baits).

Of course, you will notice that some recipes work better than others in a specific area, and that is why every angler has a different version of it.

How to Make Dough Balls for Trout Fishing - DIY

What Will I Need to Make Dough Balls for Trout Fishing? [Ingredients]

So, I already mention all the ingredients, and here I will explain why are they needed. Of course, not every recipe needs all of these ingredients, and you can make it with less.

FLOUR – every dough needs flour, and it is used for dough structure. When mixed with liquids, such as water, wheat flour proteins interact and form elastic structure. Different kinds of flours have different protein content, and the end result will be different, and the dough will have different strength.

CORNMEAL – It does not contain gluten like flour, and therefore gives the dough denser texture. It is also used in some foods used in trout hatcheries, so they are used to the flavor.

FOOD COLORING – trout live in clear water and visibility is not a problem. However, if you want, you can add different colors to mimic trouts natural bait.

GARLIC – strong scent will spread far away from the bait and attract fish from the distance. Carp also like it!

CHEESE – Anglers mostly use cream cheese, and if you are doing so, you can use less water in your recipe, because it will add a bit of moisture. Trout, especially rainbow, like the taste of it, and it makes the dough creamy and easy to manipulate. Fat in cheese helps to disperse scent.

DOG/CAT FOOD or FISH FLAKES – this food has a really strong and meaty scent, and it is added as a flavor booster.

EGGS – eggs can be used as a binding agent. When thermally processed, eggs coagulate and bind the ingredients. It is also used for additional moisture, so if you are using eggs, use less water.

SUGAR – added for extra flavor.

WATER – water is there to connect dry ingredients, and the water quantity controls the dough density.

And when it comes to tools, you will need a few cups, a bowl, a pot, and a stove.

How to Make Dough Balls for Trout Fishing? [Easy Steps]

Now you know all the ingredients, so here is a simple explanation how to make dough balls for trout fishing.

This is the most basic recipe:

STEP #1: You will need one cup of flour, one cup of oatmeal, half a cup of cream cheese, and one cup of sugar. Put the dry ingredients (you can add a teaspoon of garlic powder if you want) into a bowl. Stir them to mix them well.

STEP #2: Add cheese.

STEP #3: Take a cup of water and start adding gradually while mixing the dough. Add little by little and knead the dough like you would for bread. When the consistency is right, knead it a bit more to get the nice structure, without dry parts.

STEP #4: Leave the dough to rest a few minutes. In the meanwhile, boil a pot of water. Take small pieces of dough, and farm balls of desired size.

STEP #5: Put them into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes.

STEP #6: Take them out, and let them cool down and air dry.

Depending on a cheese and flour you are using, you may need more or less water, or any other ingredient. If the dough is falling apart while cooking, you can try to add eggs into the recipe.

Store it in a bowl with a lid, at room temperature, and use within a few days. This bait is ideal for weekend fishing.

So, that's it! Your's dough balls for trout fishing are finished!

How to Make Dough Balls for Trout Fishing - Dry

Can I Make Homemade Trout Bait with Dog Food?

The recipe above can be observed as the base for other, more complicated versions.

When it comes to dog food, some anglers even use pieces of dry dog food alone. However, to make it more efficient, you can incorporate it into dough balls.

The simplest way to do so is to add a small amount of crushed dog biscuits into basic ingredients. But, it will cause the dough to fall apart more easily, so you will have to add an egg or two, depending on a quantity, to prevent it from falling apart when cooked.

The same goes for cat food. But… Some anglers have luck with dog/cat food, ad others don’t. This is influenced by the local trout and fishing conditions, and the dog/cat food too. It depends on a brand, and as far as I can tell, cheap dog food brands work the best because they contain oatmeal as one of the ingredients. Cat food may not be the best option.

Some anglers like to use wet dog food, and add flour and other ingredients to form dough balls, but it is messy, and not so easy because it contains chunks of meat. You can blend it, and then use with flour, but that is too much work for something that does not outperform simple recipes.

Can I Make Homemade Trout Bait with Fish Food?

Fish flakes are much easier to use than dog or cat food.

Simply add it to the basic recipe I mentioned before, and you can add as much or as little as you want, to get the right flavor.

If added in normal quantities (of course, you won’t add more fish flakes than flour), it shouldn’t affect the dough consistency too much, and forming and boiling balls will be done with ease.

As I already mentioned, you can play with different ingredients to get something that works for you.

How to Use Dough Balls [Bait] for Trout Fishing?

Using dough balls for trout fishing is easy.

But there is one thing to keep in mind, Trout live in clear waters, and can see when something is out of the ordinary. Use small hooks, size 10-6, and thin, invisible lines.

To use trout dough balls, you can make a basic bobber setup, and you have to make sure that the dough ball doesn’t hit the bottom.

Trout dough balls can stay on the hook for a long time. If they are falling off, there is a chance you didn’t boil them long enough, or that your dough had too much moisture.

Short, 1-2 ft fluorocarbon leader line can be useful, because it is almost invisible. You can adjust this length depending on a situation.

And that’s it, there is nothing special to do, and even the most basic fishing skills are enough to use this DIY bait!


Learning how to make dough balls for trout fishing is not complicated. But, figuring out the best recipe for your specific needs can be a bit tricky.

Luckily, the ingredients are easily accessible and cheap, so you can try a few, and see what works the best. Trout dough balls are excellent to have in addition to some other baits too (like worms or corn), so that you can change them on the spot if necessary.

If you are not having any luck, try different trout dough balls, or a different fishing technique. Trout behavior changes during the year, so maybe you need to change your approach.

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