Three tips for freshwater minnows

Freshwater minnows are one of the most popular baits used by anglers all over the globe. So what makes this little baitfish such a popular choice among fishermen? It’s the fact that this particular baitfish is the favorite of most fish species. Even if it’s not the first choice for some species, it still makes a tasty meal that would be difficult to pass up.
Another thing that makes this baitfish so popular is that they are such resilient creatures. They can survive and multiply in even the most difficult conditions where other creatures would begin to die out. They’re easy to find so many anglers choose to catch them to use as bait before each fishing trip instead of buying them. This in itself has a couple of advantages.
For example, using baitfish from the body of water where you plan to fish is always a good idea. The fish will be familiar with the scent of the bait and this helps to draw in more bites. Since most species of fish will be near a good food source, when you find a prime location for minnows you know that other fish are nearby. It’s also free, which is very appealing to many anglers. Here are three more tips for fishing with freshwater minnows that will enhance your fishing trip.
Tip One: How to Hook a Freshwater Minnow
The way you hook your freshwater minnow is very important and it’s done different ways for different techniques. When you use the right method, you’ll get more bites because it will allow them to move more naturally. It also makes it more difficult for some of the sneaky species to steal your bait away and it will prevent you from losing bait as often when casting. There are three main ways to hook a minnow correctly.
One way is to hook the minnow in the mouth. Place the hook through the lip by inserting the hook underneath the mouth right behind the lower lip and pushing it up and behind the top lip. Have the shaft facing forward and the tip facing up. Hook the minnow in the mouth when casting or trolling because it will be more secure.
The second way is to place the hook through the fleshy base at the tail. Have the head of the minnow in the palm of your hand when starting the hook. The tip end of the hook and the shaft should be facing toward the rear when done. Using this method allows the minnow to be more active but it’s easier to lose your bait when you hook them this way.
The third way is the put the hook in the back of the minnow. When doing this you need to place the hook in front of the dorsal fin but it must be low enough to avoid damaging the spine. Otherwise, the minnow won’t be able to move around in the water. This method is used when free lining and when bobber fishing.
Tip Two: Keep Your Scent off the Freshwater Minnows
This is something that new anglers don’t think too much about but most fish species use their sense of smell to hunt. When you handle the bait with your bare hands, it leaves your scent on it and this is strange to the fish. Whenever fish encounter anything odd and unfamiliar, it’s their natural instinct to avoid it. Therefore, they will avoid your bait and you could miss a lot of the bites that you would be getting otherwise. You can wear a pair of thin gloves or dip your hands in the water where you’re fishing before handling the freshwater minnows and this will help keep your scent off of them.
Tip Three: Keep Them Healthy
To get them most from fishing with minnows, you need to keep them healthy. Have some type of baitwell or cooler that will provide the minnows with fresh water and enough room to swim around to keep them alive throughout your fishing trip. There are some species that will strike at dead minnows but most of them prefer a healthy meal.
You can fish with freshwater minnows anywhere in all types of freshwater from the smallest pond to the largest river. They can also be used in any season with the same great results. Add this to the number of fish that consider this one of their favorite foods and it makes minnows one of the most versatile baitfish used today.
Fishing with freshwater minnows is easy and they can greatly increase the number of bites you get especially when you’re fishing during the spawning season. This is when the fish are hungry from the long winter and they’re ready for a tasty meal. Anglers have found them to be very effective when used in combination with jigs and when rigged. They may be a little messy to deal with but the results are worth it.


Dan Eggertsen is a fellow crappie fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on crappie fishing since 2004.

3 Responses to “Three tips for freshwater minnows”

  1. […] Three tips for freshwater minnows Freshwater minnows are one of the most popular baits used by anglers all over the globe. So what makes this little baitfish such a popular choice among fishermen? It’s the fact that this particular baitfish is the favorite of most fish species. Even if it’s not the first choice for some species, it still makes […] […]

  2. […] Three tips for freshwater minnows Freshwater minnows are one of the most popular baits used by anglers all over the globe. So what makes this little baitfish such a popular choice among fishermen? It’s the fact that this particular baitfish is the favorite of most fish species. Even if it’s not the first choice for some species, it still makes […] […]

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