How To Fish With A Minnow? Guide To Minnow Fishing

When it comes to fishing, it is considered better to use live bait, to catch your desired fish. One of the best live baits you can choose to use is a minnow.

How To Fish With A Minnow? Guide To Minnow Fishing

This is because minnows are easy to catch, and their movements will attract fish a lot better than a lot of artificial lures you buy. There is no denying that they can be a bit fiddly to put onto your hook, but that just takes practice.

Before you head out to catch some minnows to start fishing with. Read our guide on how to fish with a minnow. 

Best Tips On Catching A Fish Using Minnows

When it comes to fishing with minnows, you don’t need to think about the right lure color or size. This is because minnows are a very common food source for the majority of predatory fish.

Therefore, they can’t resist when they see a minnow in the water.

It is important to note that for the minnow to be effective, then it needs to still be quite lively and healthy. As a result, you need to keep a close eye on how you are storing your minnows. 

We have put together a couple of tips to keep in mind, when it comes to fishing using minnows. 

1: The most important thing to remember is that minnows can be really sensitive to changes in the water temperature. As a result, you want to keep them in a bucket that has a similar water temperature to the lake, they will be used in.

If you have brought your minnows, you need to also adjust the temperature of the water. This is to make sure you don’t shorten their lifespan or kill them. 

2: It is better to fish using minnows in waters that have a cooler temperature. This is because minnows don’t do very well when in warmer waters.

3: When you are keeping your minnows in a bucket, you need to replace the water as often as you can. This will ensure that the minnows will remain healthy and alive. 

4: When casting, you want to be really careful. Otherwise, if you cast too hard, the hard impact could actually kill your minnow. 

5: You need to be careful where you cast your minnows. It is known that live minnows will find and hide in small hideouts. The minnow then becomes useless as a bait, because your desired fish can’t get to them. 

6: To keep your minnows alive for much longer, you can feed them with goldfish food, which can be purchased from a local pet store. 

7: While the minnows are in the water, it is important to keep the water oxygenated. To provide the ideal water conditions for your minnows, you may want to purchase a battery-operated portable aerator.

However, you want this device to be quiet as well, otherwise the loud noises could have a negative effect on your minnows. 

Do You Need To Use A Bobber When Using Minnows?

The majority of anglers believe that you need to use a bobber when you are casting with a minnow. There is no denying that using a bobber is one of the easiest ways, it doesn’t mean you are limited to using a bobber. 

It is essential that you use a bobber when you are fishing in shallow waters with a minnow. To practice this, you need a bobber, bobber stopper, a minnow, hook, and a split shot.

The reason bobbers stoppers are used is to control how deep your minnow or bait goes in the water. Ideally, you want your minnow to be around 45 cm away from your float of choice.

Speaking of floats, it should be easy to cast with, to avoid injuring the minnow. 

However, you can fish without using a bobber. Instead, you need to attach your minnow onto the end of your hook. Then add a sinker around 45 cm up the fishing line.

You want to make sure that you use an appropriate sinker. Otherwise, the minnow will attempt to swim away, even though they are weaker and small they can still influence the sinker. 

We would recommend using this technique when you are fishing in deeper waters. Generally, this technique will work better if you use a device that shows you the underwater structures or a fish finder.

This is so you can know how deep you need to do and where you need to be casting to. 

Finally, you could use the free line technique. This is where you just use a hook and your fishing line. However, this may sound easy, but it isn’t a suitable option for beginners.

If you are new to fishing using live minnows, then you should stick with the bobber technique. 

How Can You Hook A Minnow For Fishing?

It takes a bit of practice to be able to hook a minnow correctly. However, after a few attempts, you will master this skill in no time. 

You need to be careful when you are handling live bait, to make sure that you don’t hurt it. Then, when you try to hook the minnow, it will either die quickly because of injuries or try to run away. As a result, there are 3 ways to try and hook a minnow.

Lip Hook

Hooking your live minnow through its lip is one of the easiest methods for a beginner. Then you can cast the minnow a couple of times, they will still be able to move. Yet with this method they won’t stay alive for very long. 

You need to aim to pierce both the upper and bottom lip with your hook. 

Dorsal Hook

When you attach the dorsal fin to the hook, you need to hook it from the back to the front of the fin, but be careful not to go too deep. This will allow the minnow to still be able to move and live for a lot longer. 

If you do pierce the hook too deep, then you could kill the minnow through its spine. Yet, if you are too gentle and shallow, then the minnow could fall off while you are casting. The dorsal hook method is more suitable for experienced anglers.

Mouth-Gill Hook

The mouth gill hook is the hardest out of all 3 of these hooking methods. However, it also holds the minnow the best, yet the minnow dies a lot quicker. A great method to be used by experienced anglers on fast waters. 

The hook will go through the mouth of the minnow and should end up behind its gills. This is tricky to do on smaller minnows. 

The Best Way You Can Catch Minnows

The Best Way You Can Catch Minnows

You can easily buy minnows from a tackle shop, but you can also catch your own as well. By catching your own, they are much fresher and cost you nothing. It is really easy to catch minnows, only if you know where you can find them. 

The easiest way to catch minnows is by purchasing a trap. Minnow traps will have a cylinder-like shape that has an opening at the top and bottom. This is so the fish can enter easily, but they can escape. 

You will find minnows hanging around areas like rocks and tree roots, as they are great places for them to hide in. To attract minnows, you can use bread, insects or pet food as your bait.

However, remember to add some bait into the trap as well. If you find minnows in a strong current, make sure the opening to the trap is upstream, as that is the direction minnows will head for. 

Although, ideally, you want to put your trap in shallow water, near the minnows hiding places. Then you can leave the trap for a couple of hours, once you come back it should be full of minnows.

Catching minnows is really easy and everyone can do it. However, it is important to release smaller minnow, to help keep the minnow population healthy. 

How Long Will Your Minnows Live?

As we have mentioned above, you need to keep your minnows at the optimal water conditions. Thus, their lifespan will depend on the oxygen levels and temperature of the water. 

As long as you have given them the correct conditions, and are feeding them often, they may live for 24 hours. Although, if you make a real effort, they can live for possibly 72 hours.

However, to keep them alive for this amount you will need to store the minnows in smaller batches in multiple buckets, clean the water regularly and use an aerator. 

However, it isn’t easy to maintain the desired conditions, especially the temperature of the water. If you are fishing on a warm day, then you will struggle to keep the minnows in water that is cold enough for them.

Thus, if you want energetic and live minnows every day, it’s best to trap new ones daily. 

Will Fish Bite A Dead Minnow?

Fish will still bite dead minnows. However, you will have more luck if the minnow is alive. Therefore, if your minnow dies in your bucket, you can still use it, but as it won’t naturally move, it can be more difficult to attract a fish.

Yet, if the fish are feeding aggressively, this may not be an issue. 

In addition to this, live minnows have a particular kind of scent that predatory fish can sense. With that being said, if the minnow has only just died, then this scent could attract various predatory fish too. 

If a minnow died quite a while ago, and started to decompose, then it won’t be much use to you. This is because predatory fish are known to be more likely to eat live bait, and the smell of dead bait isn’t very attractive.

Some fish, such as catfish, enjoy smelly bait, but they will avoid the smell of rotting fish. 

What Kind Of Fish Will Eat Minnows?

Minnows are a natural and common food source for numerous fish. The majority of these fish will gladly eat a minnow, which is what makes them the ideal live bait. 

  • Bass – Both large and smallmouth bass and spotted bass love to eat minnows.
  • Crappie – To hook a crappie, you want to hook a minnow through the lips. 
  • Chain Pickerel – Pickerel love to feed on minnows, during the colder months. 
  • Trout – Various species of trout enjoy minnows. When river fishing, let the minnow drift alongside the current. It is best to hook a minnow through the mouth and gill in these stronger currents. 
  • Bluegill and Yellow Perch – Both of these species love to eat minnows. However, minnows are better for the larger bluegill and yellow perch. 
  • Pike – Pike are very aggressive fish, so you will need to hook the minnow in their dorsal fin.
  • Catfish – Catfish love live baits, including minnows. Minnows are small bait, so it is best to try and aim to catch medium-sized catfish. Minnows are best to be used in the spring to fall, when catfish aren’t in the deepest parts of the water.

Are Artificial Minnow Lures Good To Fish With?

You don’t always have to use live minnows, artificial minnows have their own advantages too. The main advantage is that artificial minnows can be used multiple times.

In the long run, artificial minnow lures are cheaper, as they can be used again and again. The majority of your tackle shops will be able to find artificial minnow lures that you can purchase. 

Alongside that, you only need to keep the artificial lure in your tackle box. It doesn’t require you to feed them or change the water. Thus, they have much easier care requirements. 

However, live bait has a natural scent that artificial lures don’t have. Although lures don’t require any complicated hooking methods, they do produce a particular movement. 

Working an artificial lure may appear quite simple, but if there are lots of obstacles, working the lure can become more difficult.

Therefore, you will have to complete lots of practice on working the lure to make it look natural, so that it will not put off an unsuspecting fish. 

Both live minnows and artificial lures have their own pros and cons. However, how successfully they work is down to you, and how you use them. This includes where you cast the lures and minnows.

It is important to remember, that once your desired fish does bite your minnow, you want to set the hook as quickly as you can. 

Otherwise, there is a chance that the fish will swallow the minnow, and this will make removing the hook a much more difficult task. Especially, if you want to release the fish back into the water. 

Final Thoughts

If you are thinking about fishing using live bait, you should think about using minnows. This is because minnows are a popular and common food source for a lot of species of fish.

Minnows are a really versatile bait to use, but you do need to learn how to handle them properly.

By following all the tips we have suggested, you will be able to keep your freshly caught minnows alive for longer. While also learning how to hook your fresh minnow correctly, so that your minnow will stay alive and attract your desired fish.

We hope you have found this article useful and now have a better understanding on how to fish using minnows. This was our guide to fishing with minnows. 

Tommy Bull
Latest posts by Tommy Bull (see all)