We had great luck with the set up you buy that you attach to your line, then it has two metal twisted things coming out from it, for two hooks at differant levels and then a place for a weight at the bottom. I'm not sure what they are called? (Guys?) but I found them for like 1.29 at Wal-Mart and .99cents at a small fishing store. Then we hooks nightcrawlers on both hooks. You could attach a bobber to it if you don't want it to sink all the way.
Sounds like a crappie rig to me. Sometimes they are also called an egg spreader rig. They can be very handy to have with minnows, crawlers or even power bait. I have used them often both under a bobber or fished off the bottom.
Nightcrawlers are definitely the best trout bait there is, especially for fish bigger than 10" stocker trout. I like to use small splitshot and rig it ABOVE a #6 baitholder hook with a half a nightcrawler on it. This is usually for rivers but has worked great in lakes too. Cast it out and slowly jig it back to you with pauses. Works better than just plain still fishing. In a river nothing beats drifting the worm but you need current for that.