Essential Tips on How to Keep Minnows Alive

Essential Tips on How to Keep Minnows Alive

Minnows are one of the best all round baits that anglers prefer to use when catching fish during their fishing sprees. This is because once you rig your line with a minnow; you will most likely catch every type of fish that you might think of. Most of the time after fishing there are remainders of minnows which I am so sure no angler would want to see going to waste.

I have heard many anglers asking for some tips to help them keep minnows alive for a longer period so that they can use them in their next fishing spree. By following the simple tips that I have listed below, you can keep your minnows alive and ready for use for a couple of days.


How To Keep Minnows Alive

Making A Decision On Acquiring Minnows

Purchasing minnows is an important decision to make since in conditions which are not optimal, they do not live for a long period of time. A minnow can die in less than 24 hours if the conditions are not suitable for its survival. In terms of time, you should purchase them at a time close to when you intend to go fishing.

Minnows Fish

Different types of minnows have varying lifespans. Some of them can live up to seven years.

Get A Suitable Container Where You Can Place The Minnow

There are several containers which have been specifically made for keeping minnows. These specialty containers used for keeping minnows have a variety of features, and one of the features is that they can float on water and have aerator attachments.

They are found in stores with fishing equipment or sporting goods stores.

Engel Coolers Live Bait Cooler/Dry Box with Air Pump.

Engel Coolers Live Bait Cooler/Dry Box with Air Pump. Via:

Other anglers choose to use foam bucket camping coolers which are available in most grocery stores or disposable insulated containers.

Get The Container Ready For The Minnow

Because minnows need a cool temperature to survive, fill the container meant for the minnows with distilled water before buying the minnows. The water should be cool.

The reason why I advise you to use distilled water is that tap water has chemicals which can kill the minnows. The most suitable container to keep your minnows in is one which maintains a constant temperature which will help to keep the minnows alive.

Acclimating Minnows To The Bait Container

To make the minnows adjust to the distilled water and its temperature, pour some of the water into the plastic bag which the minnows are in.

Place the plastic bag with the minnows in your bait bucket to allow them to adjust to the temperature conditions of the water in your bait bucket. Keep the plastic bag shut and let it stay in that condition for about fifteen minutes.

Allow the minnows into your holding container after approximately fifteen minutes. They should adapt quickly to the new condition due to the acclimation period they went through.

How To Keep Minnows Alive In The Bait Container.

Avoid overcrowding the minnows in your bait container. There should be about only six dozen minnows of about three-quarters of an inch to one-inch length in a container of about eight quarts.

Overcrowding of the bait container will cause depletion of oxygen at a faster rate and creation of too much heat which will compromise on the survival conditions of the minnows hence causing them to die fast.

Frabill Insulated Aerated Minnow Bucket Foam Lined with Aerator, 8-Quart

Minnow Bucket Foam Lined with Aerator. Via:

Minnows survive better in water with cool temperature. Having the bait container in a bright area will cause the water to warm up. It is advisable to place the container in a closet or the basement or any area where the temperatures are cool.

To avoid getting the minnows suffocated, put an aerator in the bait container especially when you intend to keep the minnows for a day or two and when you don’t intend to relocate the minnows to another bait container.

It helps to increase the lifespan of the minnows by sustaining their survival conditions. Bait containers which are sold commercially have an inbuilt aeration system which oxygenates the water with compressed oxygen or via agitation try this one.

To keep the amount of oxygen constant, you can add hydrogen peroxide which assists in oxygen formation in water to replace that which has already been consumed by the fish.

This is a controversial method since it is termed to be unsafe for the minnows since the chemical can quickly kill the fish. There are other safer and surer alternative methods such as adding distilled water to the minnow’s water, aerating, and changing water frequently.

Maintain the cool temperature of the water, to a temperature less than 60 degrees Celsius. This can be done by placing ice cubes in a jar in the bait container. The reason why you should not place the ice cubes directly into the water is that they may contain bits of chemicals such as chlorine which will kill the minnows.

How To Keep Minnows Alive While Fishing

Fish are drawn to the minnow bait mostly due to the movement of the live bait. Place the container at a position where it is in the water but the water from the water body does not get inside and the minnows do not get into the water body.

You can also have a bait container that allows water exchange between the bait container and the water body to allow the fish to adjust accordingly. This also helps to oxygenate the water in the bait container which keeps the minnows alive.

Attach the minnow to the hook. The decision on how to place the hook is made by selecting one that will keep the minnow alive and allows the bait to move in water so that it can attract the fish.

  • You can hook it through the mouth by pushing it through the bottom lip then up through the nostrils.
  • By hooking it through the back, you allow it to be in a better position to move in the water, and it turns out to be the most effective way to hook a minnow to catch fish in the easiest way.
Minnows hooked on mouth

Minnows hooked on mouth

Replace the minnows once they die in the water. The fact that they are not moving makes them a less attractive and appealing bait.


I hope that you have enjoyed and learnt a lot on how to keep minnows alive from this article. Having these tips will guarantee that you will not lose your minnows and you will instead have them safe for another fishing spree. You can know what do minnows eat to catch it more easy in the nature then keeping them as bait for later fishing trip.

Minnow on hand

Minnow on hand

If by any chance you have any suggestions or comments on something that I might have missed, you can freely let us know.

Share the article with other anglers who may need to know some tips on how to keep minnows alive.

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Louella Trump

Hi there, I’m Louella Trump, an adventurous young lady who loves exploring our beautiful nature by traveling and fishing. I write so as to share my passion and experiences with fellow readers who enjoy fishing and traveling as one of their recreational activities. My primary objective in sharing my experiences while traveling and fishing is to basically inspire any like-minded person out there to stop at nothing and leave no stone unturned in ensuring that they explore their passion as much as they can.

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