What Do Minnows Eat? More Facts More Easy To Catch Minnows

What Are The Foods That Minnows Eat

What Are Minnows?

Minnows are effective baits and lures, but they can be quite tricky and challenging to fish and to use as baits. This article explains what do minnows eat and the different techniques to catch them and use minnows as lures.

Minnows as what people would describe as small fish are freshwater fish. They come from the carp family Cyprinidae. Some of the minnows that we know include chubs, dace and shiners. Unlike other fishes, minnows do not grow too big. In fact, adults can only grow about 17 in. long. They live in streams, ponds and lakes.


In the spawning season, there are male minnows that would build the nest. Most minnows are small so they are widely used as bait in order to catch bigger fish. Some prefer to use them as baits but most anglers find it difficult. In using minnows, it helps to know where to find them and what makes them effective baits. So, what do minnows eat?

Different Kinds of Minnows

All over the world, there are different kinds of minnows which include the following:


True minnows

True minnows

Small fishes that come from the subfamily Leuciscinae.


Blunt Nose Minnows

Blunt Nose Minnows

It is used as a bait fish among anglers in North America, in particular, Ohio.


Common Shiner. Via: https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/

Common Shiner. Via https://nature.mdc.mo.gov/

Widely used as bait fish and exclusive in the stream.


 Common Emerald Shiner

Common Emerald Shiner

They are abundant in Lake Erie and in the Great Lakes.

What Do Minnows Eat?

In general, minnows would eat insects like decaying organisms, small crustaceans, algae, dragonfly nymphs and even the larvae and eggs of fishes. There are even minnows that would eat their eggs and larvae. Young minnows and adult minnows differ regarding the food they eat.

What Do Minnows Eat

What Do Minnows Eat

Young Minnows Diet

For instance, young minnows would eat planktons. Plankton has microorganisms; they have animals that cannot be easily identified without using a microscope. Known as the one-celled organism, protest, is subdivided into the following: zooplankton, ciliates, and flagellates. Aside from the one-celled organism, there are also multicellular organisms known as zooplanktons.

They are comprised of copepods and cladocerans and rotifers. Young minnows including California roach, emerald shiner, golden shiner, lake chub and speckled dace. There are other young minnows like spot tail shiner, brassy minnow, hitch and common shiner who would eat algae.

Adult Minnows

On the other hand, adult minnows have a different diet. They prefer to animals like worms and snails. Adult minnows like eating terrestrial and aquatic insects. Minnows do not have real teeth, but to digest what the food they would crush the food against a hardened plate located in their throat using their pharyngeal teeth. Other minnow species feed on clams and aquatic plants.

How to Fish Minnows

Minnows are always available to trout. When you use it the right way, you can productive fish and use it as bait. Minnows are considered to be effective baits. But anglers would not use minnows simply because they are fragile and also involved.

On top of that, it is not easy to handle and to transport minnows. But if you are going to use minnows, you can apply specific fishing/rigging techniques so you can have the better catch this spring season. 

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When going for minnows, you need to use a matched tackle. The best choices would be light rods because they have slower actions which make them flexible compared to fast rods which are only flexible at the tip part.

When you use the former, it enables you to cast the rod easily without ripping the hook. By having small hooks and lighter lines, minnows can swim freely which makes you techniques much more effective and efficient. This in a way gives a natural presentation.

Minnows are quite difficult to transport, and it is also equally challenging to keep them alive. That is why it is important to replace water in the bucket to give them steady temperature that will allow them to leave.

When it comes to bait a minnow, here are the different ways to hook minnows:

  • Hook the minnow on its lower and upper lip. Doing this enables the fish to swim freely.
  • You can also hook it at the back or the front (dorsal fin).
  • Another way to do it is to thread a line from the mouth and out the anal vent using a needle.

For a more detailed instruction, you can watch this video :


Fishing minnows can be quite challenging. But if you can catch them and use them lures or baits, you can actually use them for better catches. When fishing minnows, you should focus on deep areas. Minnows move freely and naturally in slow-moving water.

Although minnows do not appeal to many anglers, it is still considered to be one of the best live baits. Given the right rigging and hooking techniques, it is just a matter of time that you get to learn the ways to use minnows as effective baits when fishing.

If you still have question, leave us a comment. We would love to hear from you!

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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