Freshwater Fishing Bait

Always inspect regional fishing guidelines to make sure the fishing bait you choose is legal for the lake you’re fishing. Numerous lakes do not allow the use of rough fish minnows as bait since rough fish can take over a lake and starve-out the game fish.

Compare the cost of losing one worm to losing a lure and you’ll see that fishing with live bait can be cheaper than fishing with lures; and if you find your own live bait, you can save even more money.

To find out more on what baits to use for your target fish, inspect the Freshwater Fish Species section.


Freshwater Fishing BaitUsing fish cut into pieces attracts fish in a different method than entire, live fishing bait or lures. Fish that are drawn in to aroma are more likely to hit on cut bait. You can use any captured fish, including bait fish, to make cut bait. For best outcomes, scale the fish but leave the skin on. Catfish and carp bite on cut fishing bait.

Lots of types of saltwater fish like sea trout, bluefish and sailfish are attracted to cut bait. Go to the Saltwater Fishing section to find out more on saltwater fishing bait.


Freshwater Fishing BaitLeeches are outstanding live fishing bait for freshwater walleye and northern pike, and are easily offered from bait stores. Leeches need to be hooked through the sucker in the tail. Leeches have suckers at both ends. However the tail sucker disk is bigger than the head disk.

There is a simple general rule when using leeches as live fishing bait. Do not fish them faster than they can naturally swim. The attraction is the swimming motion.

Advice for Leeches
If you’re putting leeches in your live well, provide at least one hour to adjust to the new temperature. So they can extend and swim naturally. Leeches are durable and will last a long period of time. You can keep them fresh in a fridge for numerous days.


Freshwater Fishing BaitThe fancy name is ready fishing bait. They’re commercially made, come in a can and are labeled for details fish, such as trout, pan fish, catfish and carp. Form the things all the method around the hook, including the barb or use it on a treble hook with a bait holder attachment.

You can also make your own dough balls. Try the dish below.


A delicious treat for catfish and carp:

  • Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup yellow cornmeal and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl.
  • Take a 1-quart container of water and pour just enough of it into the mix to make a heavy dough.
  • Roll the dough into balls about 1/2- inch to 1-inch in size.
  • Mix the remainder of the water with 1 cup of molasses and put it into a pan.
  • Add a flavoring agent, such as garlic, licorice, anise or strawberry gelatin.
  • Put the pan on the stove and bring the molasses, water and flavoring to a boil.
  • When the mixture is boiling, drop in the dough balls, however don’t overcrowd them.
  • Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Cool prior to utilizing.


Suitable for pan fish, sunfish and trout, grubs and meal worms are used often as live fishing bait and are easily available from tackle and bait stores. Use them singly or in multiples.

You can also collect grubs from the soil and from the swelled and warped leaves of trees, plants and vegetables.


Essentially, minnows are baby fish and a good all-around freshwater fishing bait. Minnows are easily available from bait and take on stores or you can capture your very own if it’s legal in your area. Minnows can be found in various sizes. Use bigger ‘black eyes’ for bass and pike fishing.

For cast and obtain, trolling and drifting, hook the minnow vertically through both lips or through the tail.

For still fishing with a bobber, hook the minnow through the back just above the dorsal fin. Take care not to damage the spinal cord. The key is to keep the fish carrying on its own.

Techniques and Tips for Minnows

For really good action, hook the minnow upside down on a light jig. It will have a hard time to regain an upright position

Shop minnows in a minnow bucket using the exact same water from which they were purchased or caught, and make sure not to crowd them.


Ants, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets and caterpillars are perfect to use as live fishing bait for catching pan fish, sunfish and trout. Brown trout are especially drawn in to ants presented on a fly. Smallmouths and large trout prefer immature variations of mayflies, stoneflies, caddis, hellgrammites and dobsonfly larvae.

Techniques and Tips for Insects
You can buy pests or capture your own. Ants can be gathered from a nest and big pests can be captured with a web. Hey, get the entire household involved.


If clams or mussels are belonging to your area, they make a great live bait to capture the native fish.

To keep them fresh, gather the mussels and clams from shallow waters before or while you fish. Break the shell open, eliminated the clam or mussel and allow the bait to solidify a little in the sun so it remains on the hook. Connect mussels on to the hook with thread, taking care not to pull too tight.


For smallmouth bass, use crayfish whole and alive, hooked through the tail. For pan fish use the tail meat or meat from the big pincers. For catfish, bullheads and carp, use dead crawdads threaded on a hook.

Crayfish can be bought from bait stores or recorded by using a window screen or great mesh web in the water. Stir the water to go after the crayfish into the web. Store in moist rags, wet moss or a bait pail.

Cut Fishing Bait for Trolling

Use the thin belly area and cut long v-shaped strips to mimic a fish or eel. Include a pectoral or pelvic fin on the bait to increase the attractiveness to the fish. If essential, scale the fish strip however thread the hook through the skin to help keep the bait intact.

Prepared Fishing Baits

For catfish, carp and crappies, you can buy a paste-like mixture of dough, blood, cheese and other proteins or make your very own. Mold the stuff all the method around the hook, consisting of the barb. Or use it on a treble hook with a bait holder accessory.

Freshwater Worms

Worms are a great bait for almost all freshwater fishing. You can discover enough worms for fishing from a couple of shovels of dirt in your garden or from a shaded, damp area. Worms can likewise be acquired in fishing take on shops and bait stores. For walleyes and bass, use earthworms or night spiders.

For pan fish, sunfish and trout, use smaller sized manure worms. You can discover them in cattle and horse pastures.

Advice for Worms

To prevent smaller sized fish from munching the worm without biting down on the hook, you can use just a piece of the worm. If you have little worms, thread the hook through the side of the worm at numerous places along its body. For bait-stealing fish such as sunfish, thread the worm on the hook until the hook is completely covered.

Catfish Stinkbait

  • Fill a container with pieces of a forage fish like shad.
  • Cover the jar with the lid, however leave the cover loose so gases will escape.
  • Put the jar in direct sunlight for a day or two.
  • Trust us, when you open the jar, you’ll understand if your catfish stinkbait is ready.

Eels are especially excellent used whole when trolling for striped bass. Merely hook them through the eyes or lips or cut the eel into chunks. Eel is difficult bait, so you can use it for trolling and bottom fishing.


Salmon or trout eggs are among the most efficient baits when targeting fish like salmon, steelhead and trout. When generating fish are active in the streams, rivers, shorelines or harbors they will typically disregard any other baits and lures that you try to throw at them. An egg spawn sack (typically a small pouch of cheesecloth with clusters of eggs) or cured skein (cluster of cured eggs) can be attached to your hook and can either be left to drift easily or weighted with a small sinker to obtain the bait deeper. Cured fish roe can be discovered at many bait and tackle stores or with a bit more effort, you can make it yourself.

To learn more about different types of freshwater fishing draws visit our next area.