How to Catch Shad for Live Bait in Minnesota

How to Catch Shad for Live Bait in Minnesota
Shad are a popular bait fish and minnow, often stocked by states' departments of fisheries intentionally as a feed for the larger sport species. There are some shad big enough to catch via a traditional rod and reel, but they are not a practical live bait. Minnesota has many lakes and rivers where shad are stocked for the largemouth bass and crappie. Catching your own supply of the small feeder shad allows you to bypass the expense of buying live bait, as well as give you a few extra hours fishing.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Dip net
  • Waders
  • Fishing license
  • Bucket with lake water where fishing for shad
Step 1
Look for long stretches of sandy shoals or beaches at the lake you will be fishing in Minnesota. Go out with the dip net and the bucket in the mid-afternoon, when the sun is high and the water in the shallows will be warm. Look for silver flashes in the water, or areas that appear to be moving en masse. These are schools of shad.
Step 2
Extend the dip net out, trying to keep from casting a shadow onto or over the schooling shad. Try to position yourself so you do not cast a shadow, nor have a shadow coming off the dip net while you reach out over the schooling shad. Extend the dip net out, and quickly drop into the water over the shad. With a quick scooping motion, scoop under where the shad are and quickly bring the dip net out of the water.
Step 3
Bring the net up to where you can inspect your catch. Turn the net, with the caught shad, into the bucket with the lake water and repeat this process until you have the quantity of shad you need.
Step 4
Use the shad quickly and do not count on keeping the caught shad for more than a day unless you have a filter and tank at your home. Shad are considered a "dirty fish" as they produce large amounts of feces and the water they live in, such as the bucket, will quickly get filthy. Use your shad during the day you catch them.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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