WORMS – Worms include large species, often called
earthworms or night crawlers, and small, frisky manure worms.
Earthworms and night crawlers are found in any lawn
and can be easily gathered after a rain or found under boards
or rocks. Smaller manure worms are found around farms. Large worms are good baits for walleyes
and bass, while small worms are good whole or in pieces for panfish, sunfish, and trout.
CRAYFISH – Crayfish are a main food source for fish such as smallmouth bass,
largemouth bass, walleye and large trout. They can be bought from bait
stores or captured by using a window screen or fine mesh net in the water.
Stir the water to chase the crayfish into the net. Store in moist
rags, damp sphagnum moss or a bait bucket.
MINNOWS AND BAITFISH – Many types of minnows and baitfish are available from bait
stores. These can range from small minnows to large shiners for bass
and pike fishing. Capture minnows by using minnow traps or
mesh minnow screens/nets. Use bait such as bread crumbs to
attract the minnows to a trap and check the trap daily.
For a minnow net or screen suspended from a rope, use
crumbs to attract the minnows and raise the net
frequently to capture the prey. Vertical minnow nets
can be pulled through the water to capture minnows
and sometimes crayfish. Store minnows in a minnow bucket using
the same water from which they were bought or captured and use them as soon as possible.
Minnow buckets are special buckets with an internal perforated container designed to hold minnow
and allow retrieval of them through a snap lid.
LEECHES – Leeches are almost always bought from bait stores and are ideal for walleye, sauger and
other deep water fish. Store the leaches in a bucket similar to those used for minnows. Leeches are
hardy and will last a long time.
BASIC FRESHWATER BAITS
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Basic Freshwater Baits
There are many different baits available to make it easy for everyone to get in on the
fun of freshwater fishing. These include commercial baits bought fr