Tips for hookset on trout?

So I went to Los Vaqueros today and could have done well if I could get a hookset on one of the freaking fish. Had 6 solid pole bending/drag pulling hits but landed a big fat zero. This was basically the second time I've ever been trout fishing (the first being over the Christmas break and my bro set everything up) and wondering if anyone can give me some pointers on what I'm doing wrong. I was able to get bites off of Powerbait coated with Pro Cure, but once the bites came, for some reason I either a) set the hook and pulled the doughball out of the fish's mouth/stomach, b) while reeling in about halfway in the doughball managed to find a way out of the fish's mouth/stomach, or c) by the time I set the hook the fish was long gone and I pulled in a bare treble hook.

I'm thinking it's one of these reasons -

a) Using too much PowerBait. I was using size 14 treble hooks, and I completely covered the hook/eye in dough so only the 2 or 4 lb leader was exposed. When setting the hook could all that dough be keeping the treble hook from penetrating into the fish? How much dough should I be using? Is it okay to leave some of the treble hook exposed?

b) Not setting the hook forceful enough. Having only fished for bass and being accustomed to strong hooksets, I get paranoid with 2-4lb test that I'm going to snap the line. Do I need a firm hookset after the trout has had a chance to play with the bait for a while or once they swallow the bait do they pretty much hook themselves and I just need to reel in gently?

c) Not letting the trout swallow the bait. This could be it but on at least three of the retrieves I was able to get the fish in about halfway before it got off, and all I reeled in was a doughball. One time a fish even swam in to about 5 feet from the shore and broke water before spitting it out. For trout once the bite comes, is it basically safe to just not touch the pole theoretically forever (i.e. once a trout eats the bait they're commited, where a bass might try to eat something, not like it, and spit it out.)

Any help or tips would be appreciated! Could have had a limit but instead wore a stripe ;(
Dont know about them hooking themselves.
I usually set the hook but I always use 6 lb line.
The rod I use us a light and ultra light so It absorbs the force If I over due it.
Hook size seems a little too small as well. ( I use 8's )
Usually I make my baits bait so you can see the treble wires. ( dont Know if this makes sense )
Try throwing some in line spinners my kids and I usually kill them.
If they are pulling drag just pull back on the rod sharply and start reeling him in. Everything u described seems fine to me
Half inflated night crawler with a power egg, regular bait holder hook 2ft leader. 80% of the time will hook themselves (Swallow it).. Only thing I would say when you see them tap it, pick up the rod open the bail and let them have it for 3-4 second the set.

Set'Em Good
Went back to Los Vaqueros this morning, landed 2 fish on the first 2 bites by 10am, stayed another 4 hours but only had one quick bite but it ran off with the dough before I could get it hooked. Problem appears I was too timid in setting the hook after the trout had committed. 2 out of 3 though, I'll take it, might go back every Saturday to get more practice. Also that place is pretty productive, walked back to Cowboy Cove both times - the shoreline from the Entrance to the Marina people are packed like freaking sardines.
That also cause the bite is quite hot there lately. Also the striper bite is going strong for bigger fish right now. Two big fish caught the same day of swim baits. BIG FISH TOO!