How do I Buy Minnows for Bait Fishing?

How do I Buy Minnows for Bait Fishing?
Minnows are small silvery fish--typically no longer than 3 inches--that can be fished in fresh and salt water sources. You can angle for a variety of fish using minnows. Rather than catch minnows at a local pond or lake using a net, purchase locally from a dealer.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bucket
  • Aerator
  • Bubbler
Step 1
Purchase frozen or live minnows from a local feed or grain store. Other options include bait dealers, fish farmer markets and commercial fish hatcheries. Discounts for bulk purchases may be available.
Step 2
Observe the condition of the fish. As a general rule of thumb, the livelier a minnow appears in the water, the greater a chance you will have for a strike. When a minnow is thriving, it will exhibit a high level of activity in the water, so look for minnows that swim or dart across the water frequently vs. minnows that appear lethargic or struggle to swim.
Step 3
Choose minnows in relation to the type of fish you want to catch. Choose 1- to 2-inch fathead minnows when fishing for small bass and a 3-inch fathead minnows when fishing for large game fish. Shiners typically grow to two or three inches and are ideal for catfish and bluegill. Choose chub--which can grow up to 10 inches--when angling for large game fish.
Step 4
Take seasonal changes into consideration. Minnows are typically smaller in size during the spring season and bigger during the fall---this is attributed to their natural growth cycle.
Step 5
House the minnows in a bait bucket. Size the bait bucket based on the number of minnows that you purchase.

Tips & Warnings

Fathead minnows, shiners and chubs are most commonly used for bait. Stocked as a forage fish in fisheries, fathead minnows work well when fishing for bluegill, bass and catfish.
Be sure to check your minnows for injury before purchasing.
Discard or trade injured minnows for healthier ones.

Article Written By Charlie Gaston

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.

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