How to Cure Minnows

How to Cure Minnows
Minnows are an effective fishing bait, but there's always the question of what to do with any leftovers. Instead of throwing the minnows into the water you have been fishing, you can cure them and use them for your next fishing trip. Cured minnows work just as well as fresh minnows, and you'll save yourself the hassle of buying fresh bait the next time you fish. You can store cured minnows in your refrigerator for one month or in your freezer for up to one year.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Measuring cup
  • Canning salt
  • Cooler and ice
  • Paper towels
  • Large bowl and cover
  • Refrigerator
  • Plastic bags
Step 1
Put your leftover minnows in a plastic bucket in the same water in which they were stored during the fishing trip. Place the bucket in a cooler, and put ice around the bucket to keep it cold. Turn the water in the bucket into a brining solution by adding 1/2 cup of canning salt for each 1/2 gallon of water in the bucket. Soak the minnows in the brining solution for one hour. Canning salt is available at large grocery stores in the baking and spice aisle.
Step 2
Remove the minnows from the bucket and place them on paper towels that will absorb the excess brining solution. Cover the minnows with another layer of paper towels and pat them gently to dry. Leave the brining solution in the bucket.
Step 3
Put 2 cups of canning salt in a large bowl. Add the minnows to the bowl one by one, rolling each of them in the canning salt until they are completely covered and then leaving them in the bowl. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate two to three hours for small minnows, or five to six hours for large minnows.
Step 4
Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and rinse the salted minnows with the brine water you used to soak them previously. Pat the minnows dry with paper towels. Lay them out on a sheet of dry paper towels and allow them to air dry for one hour.
Step 5
Package the cured minnows in plastic bags with sheets of paper towels between the minnow layers to absorb excess moisture.

Tips & Warnings

Cured minnows should feel firm to the touch and have a mirror-like shine to their scales.
Do not leave the minnows in the salt for too long or they will dry out too much.

Article Written By Elizabeth Grace

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Elizabeth Grace is a freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Pepperdine University, and has 15 years of experience developing marketing campaigns for universities and multinational corporations.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.