How to Hook a Minnow (The Right Way) 5 Easy Steps!

Most people’s first foray into this beautiful world is live bait fishing. You increase your chances of catching a fish by using natural food sources that the target fish eats.

Minnows are small fish that can be used as baits. Anglers can use them to increase their catch. Many people want to know how to hook a minnow and use it as bait because they are a typical pick as a lure for species including crappie, brown trout, bluegill, and bass.

These small fish make good bait. Their quick twirling will draw a large number of fish to the bait. Nevertheless, their inherent slickness, blended with their wiggling, can make them extremely difficult to catch.

When hooked correctly, minnows can make your fishing trip worthwhile. By the end of this post, you will understand how to hook a minnow for any form of fishing.

Ways of hooking a minnow

In the tail

The first way to hook a tiny fish is to do it on its rear. You should not go too far ahead of the tail, but that is fine if your hook has enough material to stay tight. Ensure you move through the lateral line on the fish’s side, not the tail’s underside.

Maintain the live bait moving as naturally as possible, or the fish you are after will find out your trick.

One lip

Insert a hook into one of the fish’s lips. It is recommended that you do it on the bottom lip because the top will injure the fish’s nose. This is an excellent choice for live bait, and it has several advantages. The baitfish will move naturally, and the hook will be at the head, making hooksets simple.

The eyeball

Hooking a minnow through the eye socket is required for this procedure. The hook is inserted directly beneath the eye, through the socket, and out the mouth. Because the ocular side is firm, you do it this way. Live bait, on the other hand, cannot be used in this manner.

Because it is strong, and dead bait loses part of its strength in the skin, bones, and flesh, you will want to do this. This also allows you to place the hook in front of the first-to-be-eaten fish. If you only want to use part of a minnow, this is also a possibility.

In the lips

Thread the hook through both lips and out the apex, starting from below the mouth. As a result, the fish will behave abnormally and get highly agitated. This is excellent for both presentations and hooks. Because a fish will consume the bait head first, this is the case.

As a consequence, you should set the hook as soon as you get a bite. Take a few seconds before setting the hook if you get a bite on the hook through the tail or the rear. One disadvantage of this hooking technique is that the lips are closed. The fish is unable to breathe when its lips are closed.

To allow the water to pass over their gills, they must open their lips. If you employ this method, we can expect your fish to last a shorter time. You will catch fish most of the time if you fish with a live minnow in the appropriate area at the right time.

The gills

Attaching a hook to its gills is identical to hooking it to the eyeball socket. It does not matter which side you escape from, as long as the gills are not damaged. This hooking method can be used on both living and lifeless baitfish.

It is a straightforward task that requires no real skill; almost anyone can do it if they take their time. You will need that very thin out, as well as a bit of patience, but it is doable. As soon as the fish nibble on your bait, you will be able to catch them.

Triple hook

Previous minnow hook versions are combined in the triple hookset system. Start by putting the hook into the minnow’s mouth and then out the gill. After that, the hook is passed through the rear and finally through the tail. Surprisingly, you can do this with a live minnow, provided you have a delicate hook with a small eyelet.

If you are going to utilize a dead minnow, this is a good idea. If you do this to a live minnow, it will stop functioning normally and not assist you. Your bait will hold on much better if you use a dead minnow.

Advice on Tackle and Rigs

  • Select the right hook. It is critical to select the proper hook. When it comes to hooking a minnow, the hook size varies. You must select a hook size based on the size of your minnow.
  • Tie directly. Snap swivels are helpful for quickly changing hooks and lures. They do, however, add weight to the minnow, preventing it from swimming freely. Set up a 3-way swivel or a barrel swivel ahead of the hook with some space. With either of those swivels, a dipsey sinker or a split sinker can be used.
  • Use a thinner line. In bodies of water with clear water, use a thinner line.

How to Hook Like a Pro

Minnows are an excellent bait. Their fast wriggling will attract a lot of fish to your hook. However, their intrinsic slickness, combined with their squirming, can render them incredibly difficult to catch. This is how you do it:

  • Cast the minnows lightly into the water once they are hooked. If you are not careful, they will be killed by the impact of the water’s surface. It works because it wiggles – makes sure it continues to do so.
  • If you do not want to cast repeatedly and prefer to leave your line in the water, hook through the tail. This allows the minnow to move around, making it ideal for drift fishing.
  • Hooking through the spine of the minnow is another effective method. This increases the minnow’s lifespan, making it far more effective as bait. When inserting the hook, make sure to avoid the spine itself. The minnow will be less appealing if it is paralyzed because it cannot move.
  • If you plan on casting multiple times, hook the minnow through its lips. Begin by hooking the lower lip, then the upper; the hook should be upright, and the minnow should be free to maneuver usually.

Tips for fishing minnows

Minnow fishing is difficult for anglers since they are small and require extra care and attention, not to mind that they are difficult to transport. Here are some essential things to keep in mind when fishing for minnows.

Make sure that the water is free of contaminants

This is true not just for minnow fishing but also for catching other fish. It is your responsibility to ensure that the water is safe to drink. Suppose you are going to keep the minnows for a long time, filter and refill the water in your bucket. As soon as the water becomes hazy, replace it.

Use Mobile Aerators

Aerators are known to increase the amount of oxygen in the bucket, which can help minnows live longer lives. Batteries power these aerators, but some are also equipped with adapters. Because you can manage the amount of oxygen, you might want to consider employing aerators. Look for an aerator that runs smoothly and silently when buying for one.

Maintain a cool temperature

Minnows prefer cold water. It would help if you kept the temperature calm for them to thrive. You must ensure that the temperature does not exceed that of the water in the location where they were caught. Because chilly water contains more oxygen than warm water. Keep them out of direct sunlight as well. Use plenty of ice. You should, however, exercise caution. Minnows can be shocked if there is too much ice in the water.

The best kinds of live minnows

You must select the best minnow for the job at hand in the same way that you would select the best lure for different applications. There are several types of minnows. Depending on the game fish you are after, adjust your minnow selection to match what’s in the water.


If you have the opportunity to fish with chubs, take advantage of it. These are popular with walleye and pike. They can grow up to 12 inches in length, but smaller ones are preferable for walleye. Chub are a popular bait, but they are not always as common as other baitfish.


Suckers are excellent for walleye, muskie, and northern pike. Smaller suckers are best for walleye or pike, while more giant suckers are best for trophy muskie. These hardy minnows can survive a day on the ice in a well-ventilated bait bucket. Most bait shops sell suckers ranging in length from 4 to 12 inches. Get a variety of sizes to suit the mood of the fish.


Tullibee, also known as cisco, is a cousin of the larger whitefish, favored by sizeable predatory gamefish. For monster lake trout, trophy muskie, and pike, dead tullibee on a quick-strike rig is like candy. They are available frozen at grocery stores and bait shops. Some anglers catch tullibee on their own to use as dead bait.


The fathead minnow is by far the most prevalent baitfish. Fatheads are found all over the world and are the most common forage for most gamefish. They rarely grow larger than 3 inches and are an excellent bait for crappie, perch, and walleye. Fatheads are widely available, and can survive in less-than-ideal water conditions, and are effective for catching fish.


For ice anglers, the Golden or Common Shiner is an excellent minnow choice. Many ice anglers use shiners for trophy walleye on tip-ups, ranging from 2 to 4 inches. Shiners can also be used to catch largemouth bass beneath the ice. These minnows are not the toughest, but they are cheap and work well dead or alive.

Benefits and drawbacks of fishing with minnows


  • Fishing with live minnows is a relatively simple skill to master, and the best part is that the minnow will do the majority of the work of luring the fish into biting your lure by swimming around on your line.
  • You will always have fresh minnows on hand; they are free, and catching minnows can be a rewarding experience.


  • Using live minnows as bait is also not always the most practical solution. Transporting minnows, for example, can be difficult because you must keep them in freshwater or risk having them die before you can even get them on your hook.


You are well on your way to becoming a better angler now that you have learned a few of the most common techniques for hooking a minnow. Small techniques like this go a long way toward improving your angler skills and your chances of catching fish.

If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to capture and use these small fish as bait in no time. Believe me when I tell you that putting in the work will pay off because they are among the best natural baits available. Expect better catches, and you will almost certainly be rewarded with a great catch.

Read also:

Leave a Comment