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Using trapped minnows as lure?

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#1 Betta132

  • NANFA Guest
  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 20 August 2015 - 01:32 PM

I recently read about a trick some people use to attract predatory fish. They catch a couple handfuls of minnows, then put them in either a bottle full of holes or something mesh. The idea is to let any predators around see, smell, and hear the minnows, without actually letting them eat any. They end up slinking around the minnow cage hoping for food, and if someone tosses a minnow lure over by the cage, the predators are likely to bite.

This seems like it would work reasonably well. Is it legal in Texas? I can't find anything about it in the handbook. 


I've also heard of a thing where someone puts something like a dead squirrel into a mesh bag and hangs it in a tree over the water for awhile. Maggots ensue, and occasionally fall into the water. Fish learn about it, and if you toss a maggot on a hook under it, they'll snag that too. Does anyone know if that's illegal? I'm guessing that might best be done on private land, since most parks probably don't want anyone hanging dead squirrels in trees.

#2 Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips
  • NANFA Member
  • Allegheny River Drainage, Southwest PA

Posted 14 November 2015 - 01:56 PM

I'd think that using the trapped minnows would be legal, though not so sure about the squirrel :). I haven't directly used trapped minnows as bait but when fishing in Lake Erie in open water, I always keep an eye out for large, pelagic emerald shiner schools and whenever I spot any, I cast a spoon in to the mass and normally on the first or second cast I hook up with a white bass. When I fish from my pier I use the same tactic as well, only then the shiners are much more cincentrated because of a large cove so I'll catch a white bass every cast for an hour or so (normally 20-50 in a two hour period) and then once the school moves, the action will just shut down. So that type of tactic of using forage movement to your advantage definitely works and if you can confine the minnows or shiners to under your boat that would work even better I theorize.
Sean Phillips - Pine Creek Watershed - Allegheny River Drainage

#3 Mrfipp

  • NANFA Guest
  • Runaway Bay, Texas

Posted 18 November 2015 - 06:41 PM

Since minnows are a non game fish, having a minnow trap out while you fish or over the course of a day or two would not be illegal. You do need to have a fishing license and the correct information on the trap (name, date, etc) in order to comply with trapping laws for fish. Also there are trap type and size requirements.

In all honesty, most game wardens will tell you if you can do what you want if you give them a call about gray areas in legal requirements, so if you think it might be illegal, just call a game warden and ask. Our local warden appreciates a heads up if you're spotlighting pigs for example, just so he doesnt have to come check you out if someone calls in a report of spotlighting.

The probability of the squirrel thing seems unlikely, just because bugs fall into water often, so an occasional maggot wouldnt be incredibly abnormal. Plus your fishing spot would smell bad and have even more flies than normal.

If you have private land, a better option would be a deer feeder or fish feeder tossing fish pellets in the water at set intervals. Pretty common on livestock tanks stocked with catfish, so I'm sure there's youtube videos on diy options.

I do have access to creeks on private land, and honestly the surest bet I've found to catch fish in the creek is live grasshoppers. Lures of course work, but require more careful presentation.

That's my $.02
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