Best Fishing Bait for Lakes

Best Fishing Bait for Lakes

Good natural freshwater fishing bait for lakes consists of worms and other insects, including different fish species, leeches, minnows, and other bait fish. Freshwater fish feed on various ingredients, including prepared bait such as dough to lure the fish into biting.

Before getting deep into this topic, always follow all local fishing regulations. Make sure your bait is fresh and legal for fishing on the lakes you fish. For details regarding freshwater bait, lure selection, time of the year, and season for each species, be sure to visit your local DNR or Fish and Wildlife Department. We are happy to offer simple methods below to get you more fish on live bait when fishing lakes.

Top 6 Live Baits for freshwater fishing

Let’s get it started; the following lists some of our most popular style types for live freshwater fishing bait. Although artificial lures catch plenty of fish, almost all fishermen start and enjoy using real natural stuff. Some bail out on freshwater fishing lures because live bait is relatively easy, but they can’t argue how well it works. Based on the other species, there are several different approaches for success when bait fishing.

1 -Crickets and Grasshoppers are Top Live Baits for Pan fish

Bait fish for freshwater fishing

Crickets are great freshwater fishing bait that is very successful. They serve well when fishing for bluegill and other pan fish species in most cases. Gray cockles are used in some parts of the country in the industry and sold in bait stores. Marjory of anglers says crickets catch the larger bluegills and the most fish. When fishing with crickets, you typically feel shallow waters or the lake’s edge utilizing a vessel or walking the shoreline.

Another great bait is the grasshopper, seldom found in bait shops but very productive if you can find them. All these baits can be easily hooked to resemble a distressed animal in the water and become plentiful prey for pan fish. The grasshopper in some regions may even produce other species, like trout in the streams, if they like it!

2- Freshwater fishing with nightcrawlers and worms

Often, Walleye anglers are prepared with a nightcrawlers package, using a special harness to entice the toothy critters. Depending on the season, body of water, you can use many versions to present the bait to Walleye. Many times they want a minimal but natural swimming look. No matter the presentation you choose, they should be designed for a great presentation and look natural. There are many fish in the lakes to be caught with worms along the lake’s bottom.

At other times of the year, anglers use large-sized worms rigged with multiple hooks to hold bait and catch more fish. They can be combined with specific baits and lures used again, mainly in shallow waters. The baits are easily rigged on the hook and generally attract fish from the worm juice that flows directly into the water.

live fishing bait for freshwater fishing

3- Minnows are another Excellent Freshwater Fishing Bait

Live minnows score 3rd and 1st among freshwater crappie anglers. Fishermen seeking to capture trophy crappie and bass will employ the minnow method. Some think minnow traps the fish by having enough freshwater bait in the water to catch an adequate number of fish. However, by using a smaller live bait, species like smallmouth bass, Walleye, and even bigger trout, among others, will bite. In most lakes around the country, small to medium-sized minnows are good at fishing crappie, bluegills, and trout.

Hook it vertically through one lip or in the tail. Make the fish swim naturally, do not hook the spine, which will damage your bait from swimming naturally, and move freely under the water. Minnows are often raised in farms for marketing purposes and can easily be purchased at tackle shops across America and stored in water containers using a small aerator system.

live freshwater fishing bait - minnows big fish eat

4 – Crayfish

It’s best to have the crayfish on the body firmly attached with a most effective tailhook. Pan fishing should only use the tails of the larger pincers in pan fish. Fishing for catfish bullhead and flathead using dead fish that are threaded around hooks works best.

Crayfish are sold in freshwater bait shops or gathered onshore edges, riverbanks under submerged rocks, and other structures. They are easily captured with a small mesh net or crawfish traps. Crayfish are most active at night, especially in warmer waters or during the summer months. Therefore, many anglers set out to catch crawfish at dusk to collect them in the morning.

With various names, crayfish, crawdads, crawfish, or mudbugs, they are one of the most lethal bass, catfish, and big-trout baits you can fish with on your line. Crawfish is one of the baits not legal in all states and sometimes can not be transported from one fishery to the next. Always consult local authorities to be sure to check your local laws.

Crayfish the right freshwater fishing bait

5- Leeches are productive Live Baits for Walleye Fishing

Leeches can be found all over the country. Great Walleye baits and are particularly fond of these lakes. To fish a leech, use a standard worm rig, and also very effective is the Carolina rig. When fishing a leech, it works best below the lake’s surface. Some structures to target are a drain line, rock slope, or the bottom of a rocky bluff. Leeches do not like hot or warm water, so not as popular in southern states.

Leeches also are more effective in clear or cleaner water; they do not like dirty water. Leeches can live in a refrigerator; you need to change the water at least twice every day, at least two days a week. Leeches can be bought in tackle and bait stores or even online, but be sure to check your regional for availability. As with minnows and shiners, keeping leeches in aerated containers is the best use.


6- Anglers Ice Fishing uses Grubs and Maggots with Live Bait

freshwater fishing for largemouth bass

In the fishing world in certain regions, anglers commonly use grubs and maggot species to catch fish. Fortunately, these unexpected meals fool most species trapped below the ice. Those most frequent food worms are waxworms, readily available online. With these types of baits, the angler is always more affected when jigged the baits for a reaction strike.

Waxworms are recognized as very popular bait worldwide and are particularly favored for trout fishing. But maggots are not only for trout; they work on many fish species such as Carp, Chub, and even Catfish. In addition, in some regions, it is effective for panfish.

Most maggots can stay hydrated in their environment but do not like to get too hot or too cold.

Additional Freshwater Bait for lakes

Freshwater Fisheries occur on waterways, such as rivers and lakes. If you recognize the desired species, you will find the best fresh and dry fishing baits for you. It can be challenging for fishermen to select specialized bait species such as worms. Here are some additional very successful options?


These very overlooked animals are other creatures willing to sacrifice their lives just for you to have a good catch. Really, frogs, what is more, natural than a frog? Maybe it’s weird that frogs are such great baits, especially when presented properly to the fish. Frogs are universal and suitable for catching smallmouth and largemouth bass.

Many anglers have found success using frogs in shallow areas around the lily pad’s tops when fishing the frog. To attach this frog to your hook, you can hook then conventionally through its lips. But more effectively, it seems to connect the frog through one of its back legs. The leg, for most anglers, is a more effective way that allows the frog to move freely—ultimately making it more attractive to fish stalking your prey.

Cautious to handle frogs as little as possible and casting mutable times will cause them to be too stressed out. To keep your frogs over time, feed them crickets, flies, worms, and other bugs, to keep them healthy for your big fishing day on the lake.

Natural bait for freshwater to catch freshwater fish

Cut Fishing Bait

Using fish cut at individual-sized pieces attracts fish differently from the freshwater fish baits that have been mentioned before. When fishing for species like fragrances, cut bait will help them get excited. Using other captured fish to produce a fish cut bait is possible. And there are many artificial replica style baits sold in tackle shops and online that are effective.

Dough Balls

It’s nicknamed for self-prepared fishing bait. This freshwater bait is sometimes made commercially and has labels describing it. Generally always a mix of ground fish, catfish, and others. They are easily used by simply molding them around your hook. These types of baits can be achieved by creating doughball yourself with the right recipe; it’s easy and affordable. 


An eel is often used whole and popular bait to hunt striped bass. Just hooking it up through the eye socket or mouth seems to be most productive. Other anglers slice up the eel in pieces and are very effective that way. Eels are durable bait that allows fishing on the bottom, around rocks, or even in the current.

What is the best Smallmouth Bass Bait on Lakes?

Baby fish for freshwater fishing baits

Gobies on the Great Lakes and other areas are typical food for smallmouth bass. It’s common to find gobies around structures and rocks. No surprise to smallmouth bass anglers, as they are often caught on rocky structures as well. As with gobies, the best fishing spots for smallmouth bass are near a submerged rock, rip rap, rocky islands, and gravel points. This is not a coincidence. A live sucker minnow, a legal bait to use in most areas, mimics a goby exceptionally well, making it a productive live bait for smallmouth bass. As the diet changes, Smallmouth bass, in particular, love crayfish; it is a very high percentage of their diet in late fall due to high protein content.

In Collusion

Fishermen know that angling is never a guarantee. Even if you have perfect conditions and the ideal freshwater bait, the fish can not bite daily. However, fishing is about having fun and experience, and the chase is part of it. Switching up your routine with a different freshwater bait will keep it exciting, but in doing so, remember to have fun!

North Florida Crappie Fishing Charters with Local Experts

North Florida Crappie Fishing Charters with Local Experts

North Florida Crappie Fishing

Are you a freshwater fisherman that loves the outdoors? If you also enjoy a fresh catch to cook up, crappie or speck fishing might be the perfect activity for you. North Florida crappie fishing is a great way to experience the beautiful fisheries of Florida. During select times of the year, you can have a blast catching numbers of crappie with a variety of different methods.

December is a fantastic time of year to go fishing in Florida. Cooler weather and beautiful mornings make for a great day on the water. You never know what you will see when exploring out on one of the many fisheries up North.

Best North Florida Crappie Fishing Destinations:

North Florida Fishing - Rodman Reservoir Stumps
The two best fisheries for crappie fishing in Florida are the Rodman Reservoir and Lake Santa Fe. If you are looking to strictly go crappie fishing, Lake Santa Fe is your best bet. When looking to experience one of the most unique fisheries in Florida for both crappie and largemouth bass, the Rodman Reservoir is your best bet.

Lake Santa Fe is quite unique. As you arrive at the meeting location, step out under a canopy of trees inside this small park. You will meander through a canal toward the entrance to the lake. Once you enter Lake Santa Fe, the open water consumes you. Left and right, you can witness big beautiful homes that make for a perfect touch.

Now, the Rodman Reservoir is by far one of my favorite fisheries to explore. There is just something about it. It is one destination that will explode your sensory receptors. This overwhelming rush makes the Rodman Reservoir an irresistible fishing experience for 2019 and 2020. Whether it is for crappie or trophy largemouth bass, plan on an adventure that you will never forget.

It is truly hard to put words to what it is like to explore the Rodman Reservoir. During this select period of time, the reservoir is in a drawdown phase. Rodman Reservoir drawdown fishing is just simply remarkable.

When you arrive at the boat ramp, feast your eyes on a gorgeous sunrise. Low light makes for an ambiance like no other. Once you step aboard, sit back and enjoy what you are about to experience.

Rodman Reservoir Crappie Fishing with Captain Ken Walker

Fishing with Dad

“One of the best parts about the Rodman Reservoir is that you can catch an abundance of different species in one fishing trip. I love being a guide because every cast, you just don’t know what the angler aboard is going to set the hook into. North Florida Fishing - Capt Ken

During this first fishing trip, I had the pleasure of fishing with my dad. We were scouting new waters on the Rodman Reservoir and found some great fish. The sunrise was breathtaking, making this a wonderful time with my dad.

On this fishing trip, we caught 14 largemouth bass weighing up to 6 pounds. As well, we found several schools of crappie landing a big one weighing in at 1 pound 13 ounces. Also, the action did not stop there. I caught a 4.5-foot alligator gar that added some excitement.

I love fishing with my Dad and I am looking forward to our next adventure. Always searching for his next trophy largemouth bass” – Capt Ken Walker

Fishing with Chuck Decker

“All of a sudden, the Reservoir went off. I had an awesome day of fishing with Chuck Decker. Chuck is a local native that loves to get out on the water with me on occasion. Crappie fishing was on his mind and they sure showed up for us today.

It is always nice to spend a day on the water with someone that you can fish with. Chuck and I caught over 50 crappies on this fishing trip. The best part was that 15 of them were over 2 pounds. The top two fish weighed in at 2 pounds 14 ounces and 2 pounds 9 ounces.

Catching crappie in Florida is not easy. You have to locate the structure and pods of bait in order to find the fish. The best methods to catch crappie or speck on this fishing trip were jigs and minnows. Both can really draw up some great fish.

Chuck really enjoyed this fishing trip. I am looking forward to our next adventure on the water!” – Captain Ken Walker

Lake Santa Fe Crappie Fishing with Captain David Lang

Another beautiful location to explore Crappie fishing is Lake Santa Fe. This fishery is located in Melrose, FL and is quite remote. Its remoteness makes for a very interesting fishing experience. During this time of year, you can catch both crappie and largemouth bass. Crappie fishing gets really strong throughout the winter months.

“Crappie fishing is something that I have recently started to focus more attention too. There is something about setting out 12 rods loaded with minnows waiting to see what is going to happen. Utilizing technology you can almost anticipate the strike.

BAM! Just like that, one of my Mr. Crappie rods was down. Shortly after that, another one went down too.
North Florida Crappie Fishing Charters
I had the pleasure of fishing with Capt Joe, who is on our team here at Bass Online. While he was traveling from South Florida, he wanted to get out crappie fishing after a bass fishing trip on the Rodman Reservoir.

As a result, Capt Joe and Capt Ken both came out to explore what Lake Santa Fe had to offer. We were able to experience almost every corner of Lake Santa Fe.

The use of my spider rigs and Humminbird gave allowed us to cover water quickly. All trip long we steadily caught crappie. After catching over 15 crappies in a short period of time and only keeping about 7, we called it a day.

Unfortunately, Capt Joe was getting in the car and heading home so he could not harvest the fish. We donated the fish to local fishing at the boat ramp dock with their kids. Everyone enjoys some specks and crappie for a nice meal!

It was a lot of fun fishing with Captain Joe and Ken! Looking forward to getting back out on the water soon!” – Captain David Lang

Come Visit Gainesville and Catch Yours Today

Whether it is for crappie or Florida largemouth bass, North Florida is the place to visit. It is a true freshwater fishing paradise for all your needs. Each adventure and fishing trip you embark on will leave a lasting imprint.

Our local experts work hard at showing you a fantastic time on the water. Take advantage of their time and ask them questions on how to become a better angler and what techniques you can apply back home. Years of experience can help you dial in tactics to help you have success wherever you enjoy fish.

We hope to have the opportunity to fish with you on your next North Florida vacation. See you on the water next time while Rodman Reservoir Fishing or on Lake Santa Fe!

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North Florida Panfish Fishing on the St Johns River System

North Florida Panfish Fishing on the St Johns River System

North Florida Panfish Fishing

North Florida is an excellent location and destination to travel. If you are looking to adventure in old Florida, there is nothing like the St. Johns River region. Florida Fishing in this beautiful area is also abundant. Generally the bass fishing is phenomenal but this season it shut off. North Florida Panfish Fishing has picked up and you can catch some of the tastiest treats.

a href=”/tag/capt-steve-niemoeller/”>Captain Steve Nieomeller is a professional and is highly knowledgeable of this incredible waterway. Pete and Will were traveling to Florida and wanted to get out on the water. Pete was traveling from Texas to meet up with his friend Will. Will just moved to the Villages and wanted to land some Crappie and Copperhead breams. The St. Johns River. was the best place to get the job done.

South Moon Fish Camp was our meeting location in the quiet town of Astor, Florida. If you are looking for Old Florida with a New Vibe, visiting West Volusia would be an excellent option. Pete and Will have fished this area in years past but haven’t had much luck.

Sometimes the best thing to do to experience an area more in-depth is to hire a local expert. Captain Steve was one of the best and knows these waters very well. Unfortunately, weather and conditions can always play an integral factor. On this fishing charter, the wind was blowing. Luckily there are many places that you can hide and get out of the wind.

All pan fish love to live under the mats, especially crappie or speck. Copperhead bream also have the same effect. It is awesome to be able to catch multiple species like this in one trip. Pete and Will were having an amazing time catching them up.

The method of fishing is like ice fishing. You have to make a hole in the Hiason Mat and jig or drop your bait through it. Allowing it to either sit or work up and down, will promote the best bite. Pete and Will caught several quality crappie and bream. You cannot beat putting over 15 in the boat. It was a highly productive day on the water.

Captain Steve is looking forward to fishing with Pete and Will again in the future. They will be back for more of this incredible fishing action on the St Johns River. We will let them know when the bite is even better. Our goal is to always let the customer have the best time possible.

For all your Florida fishing needs, whether fresh or salt water, contact us here at Bass Online and we will get you hooked up for on an adventure of a lifetime!

If you enjoyed this post with Captain Steve Niemoeller about North Florida Panfish Fishing, you might also enjoy this fishing report from the same area.

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Captain Steve Niemoeller is a full-time Professional fishing guide and Licensed Master Captain. Primarily servicing the fresh water lakes of the St Johns River, Lake George, and Lake Monroe. He also guides on Harris Chain and Lake Toho. He also has great success on Ponce Inlet and Mosquito Lagoon in saltwater catching Redfish and other species. Learn more at
Central Florida Fishing

Crappie Speck Fishing in North Florida on the St Johns River

Crappie Speck Fishing in North Florida on the St Johns River

Crappie Speck Fishing

One of the many benefits of Florida Fishing is the ability to fish its variety of species. Crappie Speck Fishing is not only an awesome experience but also a very tasty one. Come see what you can hook into here in North Florida next time visiting.

I had the pleasure of fishing with John, a friend, and a repeat of mine. We went out exploring the St Johns River in North Florida. It hasn’t been the same especially with all the cold fronts that have hit it this season.

We went after the crappie and speck with two distinct methods. One was with artificial baits and the other was with live minnows. The minnows were not producing the best bite. Jigging for the fish with artificial jigs was the most productive method.

John caught 12 crappie speck in his quick trip out on the water. The window to find them on beds is rapidly closing especially up here. We had a great day catching them up though and I am always looking forward to fishing with John again in the future.

For everyone else out there, for all your Florida Fishing needs, contact us here at Bass Online and we will be glad to help!

Come Catch Yours Today with Captain Steve Nieomeller on the St. Johns River.

If you enjoyed this post with Captain Steve Niemoeller, you might also enjoy this fishing report from the same area.

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Captain Steve Niemoeller is a full-time Professional fishing guide and Licensed Master Captain. Primarily servicing the freshwater lakes of the St Johns River, Lake George, and Lake Monroe. He also guides on Harris Chain and Lake Toho. He also has great success on Ponce Inlet and Mosquito Lagoon in saltwater catching Redfish and other species.

Lake Toho Crappie Fishing in Central Florida

Lake Toho Crappie Fishing in Central Florida

Lake Toho Crappie Fishing

Lake Toho is a very versatile lake that can help promote excellent fishing. When traveling to Central Florida, experience Lake Toho Crappie Fishing in Kissimmee.

I had the pleasure of fishing with Patrick traveling from Lake Mary and his father Bishop from Houston, Texas. They wanted to come to catch
Crappie or Speck this fall on Lake Toho. Specks are great at eating and they love to catch them. We had multiple days out on the water. Both days were filled with action and they had a blast catching them up. Florida Fishing is the perfect time to bond with your father or any family member.

Patrick and Bishop caught 18 crappies and 6 bass on their first day. On their second day, they caught 14 crappies and 1 bass. Minnows under a cork were the most successful method for these trips. It is essential to focus on key structures when fishing for crappie. The bite was about 4 feet off the bottom.

Both trips were short but filled with action. We experience great weather and they are looking forward to the next time out with us. It surely was a great two days on the water. For everyone else out there for all your fresh and saltwater fishing needs, contact Bass Online today and we will be glad to help!

More About Capt Steve

Come Catch Yours with Captain Steve Niemoeller on Lake Toho fishing guides. If you enjoyed this post with Captain Steve, you might also enjoy this fishing report from the same area.

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Discover More Orlando Bass Fishing.

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Captain Steve Niemoeller is a full-time Professional fishing guide and Licensed Master Captain. Primarily servicing the freshwater lakes of the St Johns River, Lake George, and Lake Monroe. He also guides on Harris Chain and Lake Toho. He also has great success on Ponce Inlet and Mosquito Lagoon in saltwater catching Redfish and other species.

Great Friends Enjoy a Multiple Species Fishing Trip

Great Friends Enjoy a Multiple Species Fishing Trip

Multiple Species Fishing Trip

Orlando can offer many freshwater fishing adventures that are perfect for friends or family. A Multiple Species Fishing Trip is a must experience when traveling to the state of Florida.

I had the pleasure of fishing with Patrick Lingon and his father Bishop Hilliard. They want to explore what Lake Toho Bass Fishing had to offer them.

We targeted two species on this trip, Speck or Crappie, and Largemouth Bass. The speck are starting to get into the outside grass lines and under the pads. As the temperature continues to cool down, they will begin to group up in schools.

Florida Fishing has been incredible this time of year. Patrick and Bishop caught a good number of specks with ones up to 12 inches long. They also managed to catch over 25 quality largemouth bass.

It is that time of year where the bass are also starting to group up on the outer Hydrilla lines and some on the edges of the Kissimmee grass near the boat paths.

We had a great time out on the water and I am looking forward to fishing with Patrick and Bishop again in the future!

Please don’t hesitate to book your trip today; we are only one click away here at Bass Online. I look forward to fishing with you!

Come Catch Yours with Captain Brent Nelson on Lake Toho.

If you enjoyed this post with Captain Brent Nelson, you might also enjoy this fishing report from the same area.

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