How to Fish During a Bait Ban

How to Fish During a Bait BanA bait ban is a restriction imposed on a lake, river, stream or other body of water that limits the type of bait used to attract and catch fish. If a lake, for example, is experiencing pressure from anglers catching numbers of a certain fish species, then wildlife or other agencies can ban live bait in an effort to slow the harvest of the fish and allow it to somewhat recover. Bait bans can elicit a range of emotions from some anglers; however, simply changing to artificial lures can comply with the ban and still allow for some good fishing.


Difficulty: Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Rod and matched reel (based on fish species)
  • Fishing line
  • Artificial lures (cranks, spinners, plastics and spoons)
Step 1
Evaluate the type of water in which you will be fishing with artificial lures. Determine if you will be fishing deep, shallow, in heavy cover or on top of the water. To help with this, observe the lake, river, stream or pond where you will be using artificial lures. Watch for fish movement, schooling and how fish feed during different parts of the day.
Step 2
Look at the live bait that is now banned. Search out artificial lures made of hard or soft plastic, wood or metal that imitates the live bait. Use brown or black 4 to 6 inch plastic worms, for example, to imitate night crawlers or earthworms. Be creative and search diligently, as there are typically several imitations of a natural bait available on the market.
Step 3
Try different colored artificial lures when fishing. An old rule of thumb is to use lures with silver when the water is clear and gold for churning or stained to muddy water color. Use white or bright green when fishing on a bright day and darker colors such as red and blue on dark or overcast days. Black is a good go-to color just about any time, and the deeper you go, the less color is actually visible to the fish.
Step 4
Change the size of your lure. Size can make a big difference especially when fish are seeing a lot of lures over and over again. If most anglers are throwing a 6-inch worm on a 3/0 hook, size things down and go with a 4-inch worm on a 1/0 hook. The size difference can be enough to entice a strike. Consider going up in size if the weather turns hot. Fish can get slow and lethargic when the water heats up, so a bigger lure presented slowly could be just the ticket.
Step 5
Change up the speed of your retrieve or how you fish an artificial lure. If you are fishing a spinner bait, for example, try slowing things down or even stop periodically during the retrieve and jerk the spinner bait. Many professional anglers seldom straight retrieve a lure. They mix up the retrieve to imitate a struggling bait fish.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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