5 Tips to know before you buy minnows

Minnows are a great type of bait to use for many forms of fishing. Yet if your minnows aren’t healthy then you are going to struggle with being able to really enjoy a day of fishing. Many people assume that buying minnows is the same no matter where you do it or how you do it but that is a common mistake that you want to avoid. These 5 tips should help you to keep things going well for you so that the minnows are an investment that secures a great day of fishing for you.

Bait Bucket

You need a good sized bait bucket that is designed for minnows. You want to get one that allows you to have enough for a full day of fishing easily. You also want to make sure that the minnows have room to move in the water and that they have enough oxygen. These techniques are going to keep them alive for a longer period of time and very healthy. Minnows that are dead or dying aren’t going to be effective as bait.

Your best bet is to find a bait bucket that has a built in aerator in it so that you don’t have to worry about issues with enough oxygen for the minnows. Those that have a secure lid are about $20 and that way you can get them to your fishing spot without spilling over should your vehicle hit a bump on the way out. Many people skip on buying an actual bait bucket though and they use some other container such as a Styrofoam cooler.

While this will save you the $20 investment, the problem is that the minnows won’t have the circulation of oxygen that they need in such a container. Therefore, it isn’t going to play out in your favor. Trust me when I say that I
have tried all of those cheap methods and found that they just don’t work.

You need to clean out the bait bucket too when you are done fishing. Don’t use soap or other chemicals in it because the residue can stay inside of the bucket and kill and future minnows that you put into it.

Buying your Minnows

Try to buy the minnows from a bait shop when you can. They tend to offer better quality than what you get from a regular retail store that carries all types of stuff and just happens to have bait as one of them. Sure, a bait shop will be a bit more expensive but minnows are so affordable that it won’t be a big hit in the pocketbook for you.

Many bait shops will give discounts to those that come in often for minnows or who buy large quantities of them. That may be a way for them to keep you coming back in and for you to stay within your budget for the bait. As you build up your rapport with the bait shop you can also ask about how well people are doing fishing too and where they are going. Such information will be a valuable resource for you so try to get what you can.


Do your very best to keep the temperature in the bucket of your minnows as consistent as you can. Don’t leave them out in the sunlight as that can cause the minnows to be under stress and they will soon die. Those that don’t die often become lethargic and that means they won’t work well as bait either.

You may have to experiment a bit to find out what the best overall temperature is for your minnows. One way to do that is to have two buckets of the bait and then to compare how they do under certain conditions throughout the day.

Remove Minnows that aren’t doing Well

Throughout the day you want to monitor how well your minnows are doing. You will want to remove those that aren’t doing well or that have died with a small strainer. That will leave more oxygen and room for your minnows that continue to thrive.

Don’t get Discouraged

From time to time you may have some issues with your minnows but do your best not to get discouraged. You want to keep them healthy and you want to use them when you can because they really do make some of the best bait offered. However, you should have a back up source of bait with you too just in case.

This is especially true if you are new to the use of minnows as bait. It takes time to become an expert with how to take care of them so ask questions, get advice from the bait shop, and pay attention to what is working and what isn’t.

As you tweak your efforts you will find that you are doing well with the minnows and taking home lots of fish!

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