Best Bait for Lake Fishing in 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

By Richard | Fishing Lure Review

best bait for lake fishing
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To make the best out of your fishing trip, you must have the best baits in your tackle box.

This can be a bit difficult for novice anglers since they lack the knowledge of them.

Since there are so many options out there, we decided not only to review the best bait for lake fishing but also to provide you with a detailed buyer’s guide.

Here, we aim to help you understand the kind of baits you can choose when fishing in lakes.

Best Bait for Lake Fishing Comparison Chart

Berkley Powerbait Power Jerk Shad Fishing Bait

Yamamoto 9B-10-020 Senko

PLUSINNO Fishing Baits

Berkley Warpig Bait

Smartonly 275pcs Fishing Lure Set

Lake Fishing Bait Reviews

1. Berkley PowerBait Fresh Water Fishing Bait

Berkley is considered one of the premium fishing tackle brands in the world.

It is well-known for its high-quality and wide range of lures and baits among several other products.

Product Highlights

This fishing bait from Berkley is available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and styles.

There are more than 100 different colors that will perfectly match the environment you’re fishing in.

There are also various styles you can choose for the fish you plan to catch.

The sizes range from two inches to more than 12 inches.

Each of them has a life-like profile and a unique scent, and their movements imitate a real baitfish.

These are molded to dart and glide smoothly through the waters and are designed to be used in shallow and open waters.

What We Like

We liked that this bait is available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and types.

Each of them also emits a unique scent to entice bites.

What We Didn’t Like

We would have liked it more if there were more than two jig heads.

PROS

  • Life-like movement
  • Wide range of colors, sizes, and types
  • Comes with a unique scent

CONS

  • Limited jig heads

2. Yamamoto Senko Bait

Yamamoto is known for their high-end lures and baits that have proven to be highly effective for all anglers.

It sells its products only on online shopping sites.

Product Highlights

The Yamamoto Senko Bait is available in a wide range of colors and types, with more than 100 different options to choose from.

Its sizes range between two and seven inches.

While these baits may not look like much on the shelf or in its package, we have to admit that its action is truly remarkable.

As this bait falls on the slackline, the tail will wiggle back and forth without the angler putting any effort.

This bait also sinks very slowly, which is mainly because of its high salt content.

This slow fall, along with its tantalizing waving action, makes it tough for the fish to resist.

What We Like

We like that this bait does not sink as quickly and has a great back and forth action, which makes it enticing for the fish.

What We Didn’t Like

These baits are a bit more expensive than other options on the market. 

PROS

  • Vast color selection
  • Heavy finesse bait
  • Multiple sizes

CONS

  • Expensive

3. Plusinno Fishing Baits

Every angler, whether novice or experienced, has definitely heard of this brand, if not used it.

The lures and baits from Plusinno are known for how well they work and for the wide variety they offer.

Product Highlights

Each of the baits in this pack features 3D eyes, which make the fish believe that they are real.

In turn, this makes it ideal for freshwater and saltwater fishing.

It comes with seven different baits like topwater fishing frog lures, metal spinning lures, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, crankbaits, and more.

This is an excellent set of lures for a novice angler.

It contains most baits and lures needed for a beginner’s first fishing trip.

It also contains jig heads, barrel swivel, hooks, and more.

What We Like

We liked that this pack contains a wide range of baits and lures, along with jig heads, hooks, and barrel swivels.

What We Didn’t Like

We find that the quality of these lures and baits could have been better.

PROS

  • Delivers a great fishing experience
  • Wide range of lures and baits
  • Comes with everything needed to get started

CONS

  • Average quality

4. Berkley Bad Shad Fishing Bait

Our list wouldn’t be complete if we did not feature another fantastic Berkley product.

Indeed, this bait is phenomenal for lake fishing.

Product Highlights

Available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and types, this fishing bait from Berkley is a premium casting shad that has an irresistible side roll and tail wag.

This bait is ideal if you are looking for one that floats on top of the water.

It has a realistic-looking color and eyes.

Furthermore, it features two hooks at the bottom that securely hook on the fish once caught.

What We Like

We liked the full range of colors, sizes, and types that you can choose from and also how realistic-looking this bait is.

What We Didn’t Like

While fish do like this bait, it can be a bit hard to tune.

PROS

  • Realistic looking
  • Sharp hooks
  • Wide range of sizes, colors, and types

CONS

  • Hard to tune

5. Smartonly Fishing Lure Set

If you are interested in a whole fishing lure set instead of just a lure or bait, then we recommend checking out this fantastic 275-piece fishing lure set from Smartonly.

Product Highlights

Ideal for freshwater and saltwater, this fishing lure set from Smartonly is an ideal set for a novice angler who lacks the knowledge of lures and baits.

It features everything needed to have a productive fishing trip.

The 275-piece lure set comes in a wide range of life-like colors and with detailed patterns.

These patterns simulate baitfish.

Also, the steel ball-bearing rattle offers an aggressive presentation that gives you a competitive advantage.

All these pieces come in a plastic box that keeps everything perfectly organized.

What We Like

We like that the 275 pieces in this set feature a wide range of lure and baits that are essential for every new angler.

What We Didn’t Like

Some of the items are cheaply made and do not function very well.

PROS

  • Comes in a plastic box
  • Ideal for saltwater and freshwater
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Average quality

Buyer’s Guide

We are sure that the reviews of these baits have piqued some interest in you.

With that said, some of you may be new anglers and may need to understand more about baits for lake fishing.

It is a known fact that your fishing success will pretty much depend on the presentation of your bait.

While the fish may ignore a sloppy bait presentation, there are those feeding frenzy days for them wherein how your bait appears at the line’s end will prove to be critical to catch the fish.

Different lakes tend to house different fishes, and they all have their bait and imitation preference.

This can be confusing for most anglers, but having a basic idea of what each kind of fish prefers can help a lot.

Hence, we decided to offer you a buyer’s guide that talks about the top species in lakes and the baits that would work the best to catch them.

When it comes to bait fishing, the first concoctions and creatures that come to our minds are fish eggs, earthworms, minnows, bait balls, crickets, leeches, grasshoppers, grubs, and more.

Each of these different types of bait will attract different species of fish.

Almost every single one of them finds their way in a tackle store or online shopping sites in the form of a lure or replication that will emulate the real thing.

As anglers, our eyes always bulge out, looking at all these beautiful lure and bait designs, colors, sizes, and sparkles.

However, the first thing you have to consider must be the kind of fish you are looking to catch.

Some of them may prefer live bait while some get truly drawn to artificial lures.

Below, we examine some of the top favorite fishes of every angler in lakes: bass, trout, sunfish, catfish, and walleyes.

1. Baits for Trout

Experts claim that about 90% of the diet of a trout fish consists mainly of insects.

This is one of the reasons why all our anglers from the past created the fly rod and line.

For a trout, fish eggs or a big-sized juicy earthworm represents the same stomach lust as humans do for meat.

We recommend keeping both bait types (live baits as well as imitation baits) on you in your tackle box for this kind of fish.

If you are fly fishing, make sure to match the hatch.

Try to find imitations that will float on top of the water or morph from the bottom to the surface of the water.

A great fly reel is the Redington Behemoth Fly Reel.

This is a mid-range fly reel with an excellent drag system and design.

If you don’t know how to fly fish, then you can make use of some baits, like crickets and grasshoppers with spinning gears.

When looking for baits, you can try to find a slightly weighted bobber that is torpedo-shaped.

Spinners and spoons also tend to imitate a minnow quite well.

It is also important to note that the size of the trout you are looking for will directly impact the size of the bait or the imitation.

With bigger trout or even fishes in general, you will need to make use of a larger bait or lure.

That said, exceptions do exist.

For example, bigger fishes tend to dwell deeper compared to the smaller ones.

Keeping this in mind, always remember how deep your prey typically dwell.

Based on that, you will be able to decide what type of bait can do a great job at that particular depth when catching trout.

2. Baits for Bass

Bass is known to be gourmands compared to the simpler trout.

For example, largemouth bass will tackle even baits that are about half its size, such as frogs, mice.

They would even go for birds and baby waterfowl when they get a chance.

That said, these fishes most often tend to look out for salamanders, minnows, waterdogs, swimmers like crayfish and eels, and earthworms.

Again, the depth of the lake will determine the kind of baits or imitations you will have to choose.

Largemouth bass tends to live in slow-moving lakes, while smallmouth bass typically resides in lakes with faster streams.

Plastic worms that come in a wide range of colors and combinations of colors along with sparkles can be used.

They can either be used to float on top of the water or placed behind a torpedo-shaped sinker at the hook eye that will dive slowly to the bottom.

Some bass anglers will also inflate the plastic worms to keep them floating right on the top.

As a general rule, plastic worms that are used in the lake should not be more than 20 feet deep, but, like always, there are exceptions.

A floating minnow imitation, like the ubiquitous Rapala and rebels, will typically depict an injured or crippled minnow that is ripe for the taking.

You can adjust the action on these types of lures by making use of small pliers to the lure’s eye on which the line is attached to.

Make sure to try out different angles or bends to see whether it livens the appeal and action.

Poppers are also considered to be an ideal choice when it comes to top-water bass fishing.

These typically consist of buoyant or cork plastic as the body with feathers and/or rubber legs attached to them; this pairs best with a fly rod.

When fishing for bass in deep lakes, you can try making use of spoons, jigs, or even spinner-baits, which is a combination of the spinner along with a squid-like rubber skirt.

Jigs are also a good choice because they come in different weights.

Make sure you are matching the weight of all the lures to the current and depth of the lake.

When fishing in areas with a lot of weeds, which is a prime spot for the bass, or near the bottom, make sure you use lures that come with flexible hook guards.

The hooks will also have to drag with the barb facing upward to minimize the snags.

3. Baits for Walleyes

Also known as the pike-perch, walleyes don’t tend to fight like some of the bass or trout.

However, they are known to outdistance most fish at the dinner table, which is why they’re so popular.

Just like bass, this fish also enjoys eating a lot.

You can toss just about the same kind of baits that you would throw at bass, like the most-desired earthworms, spoons, jigs, spinners, and minnows.

Some of these, however, tend to be ideal only when the water is docile enough that it can attain good action and detect the hit.

While this fish is known to seek an ideal water temperature that ranges between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, they mostly like it best when these temperatures are more at the bottom of the lake.

The same is true around the points or on shelves, where most baits tend to stack up.

Using a slow troll along with a spinner and a harness with two-hook for large worms or nightcrawlers just off the bottom along with the right temperature will work fairly well to catch this fish.

You will also find some of these harness rigs will come with a chain of small buoyant beads that keeps the hook just high enough so that it can avoid any bottom snags.

Jigs with soft-plastics are also considered to be a great choice to catch the walleye in lakes.

4. Baits for Sunfish

Crappies, yellow perch, bream, bluegills, pumpkin seeds, and its cousins the white perch and white bass are known to bite.

Live grubs, worms, jigs, small spinners, and the likes offer the best results to those who are looking to catch these tasty and spunky little fighters.

Be aware that these fish are known to be diehard schoolers, so if you do find one, you will likely find tons of them together.

Tiny jigs, along with several other smaller artificial baits fished with ultralight tackle, prove to be the most effective.

When these are concentrated in the shallows, especially at spawning time, wet flies or fly fishing with poppers may possibly be the best technique of them all.

Do not waste time experimenting unnecessarily when trying to catch this fish; only stick to baits that are known to work well.

5. Baits for Catfish

Catfish, whether it is the blue cats, channel cats, brown cats, or even mudcats, are known for their high sense of smell.

They prefer eating smaller fishes such as the bluegill, shad, and anything else in that particular size.

They are known to wait under logs and behind structures so that they can ambush them.

When it comes to baits, bait balls tend to be the best choice for these kinds of fishes.

These are typically a manufactured combination of syrupy foods, grains, and byproducts of foods, stinky minnows, fish eggs, and any foods that have a strong smell like shrimp balls, chicken parts, and other kinds of meat.

When it comes to artificial baits, the ones that work the best with catfish are the soft plastics, especially the ones that are scented.

There are several of these on the market.

Soft plastics are also known to work the best in lakes with clear waters, where these fishes do not just rely on their keen sense of taste and smell but also on their sight.

Make sure that you are swimming the baits with the current to get the best possible result when you use soft plastics. 

Lake Fishing Bait FAQs

1. What do you need to fish in a lake?

There are certain things and even tips you need to keep in mind before you head to fish in a lake. These include:

The Right Bait

Whether you are choosing live bait or artificial baits, make sure you get the right kind for the type of fish you plan to catch.

Be sure to refer to the buyer’s guide to know exactly the best baits for the most popular types of fishes.

In general, we recommend fishing jigs.

They tend to be the most versatile on the lakes and can catch most freshwater fish.

Monitor the Heat Index

Keep in mind that the hotter it is, the deeper you will have to fish.

This is mainly because fishes like cooler temperatures and retreat to deeper waters where it is much cooler than the outside temperature.

Dusk and dawns are ideal times because fish come closer to shallow water to feed.

Some fishes come shallower than the others.

Find Sunken Structures

Fishes like hanging near structures where they can feel safer from predators and also get the opportunity to catch other fishes.

Structures like branches, downed trees, and man-made habitats are ideal spots to find fishes.

Look for Weeds

Fishes like the northern pike and largemouth bass prefer swimming around a comfy weed bed to ambush their prey.

Locate these weed beds in the lake and use appropriate baits to lure them to bite the bait.

2. What can I use for fishing bait?

When it comes to fishing in lakes, you can make use of either artificial or natural fishing baits.

Some great natural freshwater fishing baits include minnows, worms, leeches, crickets, crayfish, and grasshoppers.

Freshwater bottom-feeders, such as carp and catfish, are attracted to cut-up baitfish and prepared baits like dough balls.

With artificial baits, there are hundreds of various types.

They all fall in one of the seven primary categories, which include poppers, spoons, crankbaits, plugs, jigs, flies, and spinners.

Make sure you are carrying the appropriate type with you for your trip.

3. Why is it illegal to fish with corn?

While certain states in the U.S. allow using corn as bait, they forbid the use of it in chumming.

Corn is known to be attractive to fishes, but they have the potential to cause quite a bit of damage to them, along with the environment, when it is used in excess.

The laws regarding using corn as bait can differ from one region to another.

Hence, we recommend checking with the local officials first.

4. What smells are fish attracted to?

Certain fishes are known to rely on their keen sense of smell more than the rest.

Salmon, catfish, and trout are some examples.

The kind of smell fish is attracted to is mostly dependent on the target.

However, in general, baits that are scented with the smell of salmon eggs are known to be the best bet.

Anglers fishing for bass use spray attractants laced with the smell of herring, earthworms, and shad.

On the other hand, anglers fishing for catfish prefer using the smell of shrimp or garlic.

5. Is it better to use live bait or lures?

There is no right or wrong answer here as both live and artificial baits and lures come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Furthermore, it honestly depends on several factors too, such as the water, the weather, the temperature, and the fish itself.

That said, if you are a new angler and want a more relaxed experience, we recommend using live baits or lures.

For the more experienced anglers who want to be actively involved, artificial baits and lures are a great choice, too.

Final Verdict

Baits are known to be effective in attracting and luring the fishes into the kill zone, but this can only happen when you have the best bait for lake fishing.

With the ones we have reviewed, you can rest assured that choosing any one of them will indeed lead to a productive fishing trip, regardless of whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler.

Among the five, our personal favorite is the Yamamoto Senko Bait.

While it may be a tad bit expensive than the rest, the bait has a superior quality, which makes it long-lasting and perform well in water.

Furthermore, they have a wide range of baits, which makes it perfect for any kind of fishing.

You can also check out our reviews of the best freshwater fishing reels that you can use with these baits.

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