Top Freshwater Baits: Best Bait for Freshwater Fishing

When we were kids and would go fishing I knew this to be true nothing was off the table when it came to bait It was that little boy in us all that certain fish love certain live baits and the more messy ugly and smelly the bait was the more it was desirable to whatever fish you were catching that day. What are the top Best Baits for Freshwater Fishing?

Worms or Nightcrawlers are the kings of freshwater fishing bait there are many live baits worthy of using like leeches, minnows, crayfish, crickets, & grasshoppers for bottom feeders like catfish & carp, there are corn, hot dogs & homemade prepared baits called dough balls In my book, Worms Are Best!

Many kids spent the night before trout season or a largemouth bass fishing trip spraying their backyard and waiting for plump nightcrawlers or worms to poke their heads up through the lawn. I was one of them.


Best Baits for Freshwater Fishing


Are you looking for the most effective baits for freshwater fishing? Natural baits such as worms leeches, minnows, crayfish, crickets, and grasshoppers have proven to be reliable choices. Bottom feeders like catfish and carp in freshwater settings are typically drawn to cut fishing baits (pieces of bait fish) and specially prepared baits dubbed ‘dough balls.

Did you know that many foods found in your kitchen make surprisingly good fishing baits? This is particularly true for species such as catfish and carp. Staples such as chicken and chicken skins, hot dogs, corn, dough (used for baking pastries or bread), bread and biscuits, bagels, and chic peas are just a few examples. Even dry animal chows (think rabbit feed pellets) are good bait options. Here at MyWaterEarth&Sky, we’re committed to equipping you with the knowledge to make your fishing adventures successful, one cast at a time.


How Do You Attract Freshwater Fish


It’s not surprising that fish can be attracted to a variety of scents. Human saliva, for instance, is one scent that seems to attract fish. It’s not just human smells that can lure in fish, other items such as cheese, coffee, and garlic can be effective too, particularly when used in freshwater fishing. Alternatively, fish are believed to be attracted to the natural oils in humans. This is something to consider when deciding on what bait to use for your next fishing trip.

It’s also worthwhile noting that fish can be lured in by other fish’s scents. What makes more sense than attracting a fish with the scent of a food source it already recognizes? For this reason, it’s beneficial to use fish-infused bait where possible.

Another similar factor to consider is alcohol, believed in some circles to be a worthwhile attractant for fish. Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that while sunscreen and bug spray are useful for the angler’s comfort, they also tend to pique the interest of some fish species.

While there are many scents that attract fish, there are also several that will send them swimming in the opposite direction. Primarily amongst these would be petroleum distillates. On a boat, these might include diesel and unleaded gas, as well as motor oil, reel oil, and marine grease. Before handling your lines or lures, it’s critical that you wash your hands thoroughly if you’ve had any contact with these substances. In my fishing experiences, almost all fish fresh or saltwater are scared off by petroleum products.

Essentially, a successful freshwater fishing trip requires more than just consideration of scents. Bait presentation, weather conditions, fishing techniques, and even the time of year can all affect the success of a catch.

After all, fish use their heightened senses for much more than just locating food. It’s important to present lures that not only look and feel good, but ones that smell good, as this can help avoid repelling the fish you’re hoping to catch. If you follow these rules, you; ‘ll likely be more successful in your fishing endeavors.

Take, for instance, catfish: Not only can they detect scents and vibrations in muddy water, but your chances of a successful catch increase significantly when fishing in clear water. In clear water conditions, there is a wider selection of lures available to attract fish. It’s best to use lures that not only appeal to catfish visually like artificial frogs or shad but also include an element of scent or sound. When fishing clear water and using properly scented lures, you can have greater success with your catch.


  • Human Saliva. Human saliva seems to be a fish attractant. …
  • Anything Fish. Fish definitely will be attracted to the fish scent, which makes a lot of sense. …
  • Cheese. …
  • Coffee. …
  • Garlic. …
  • Alcohol. …
  • Human Natural Oils. …
  • Sunscreen And Bug Spray.


Best Freshwater Live Bait for Freshwater Fishing


Some of the top picks for freshwater baits among anglers include: Most freshwater fish species find worms irresistible as they’re an easy meal. They’re widely available, either in your local bait shop or on online platforms like Amazon. While there’s a variety of worms to choose from, nightcrawlers and red worms are foolproof choices for enticing any freshwater species.

Live baits, including minnows, worms, frogs, shad, chubs, grasshoppers, and cicadas, are proven to be highly effective. Fish such as catfish respond well to decidedly less appealing baits like fish guts, shrimp, chicken liver, mussels, and stinkbait. Surprisingly, everyday grocery items like bacon, hotdogs, and cheese also work as bait.

Chicken liver is known as the prime choice for catfish bait, especially when fishing in deeper waters. Keep in mind to rebait your rigs frequently, as livers stay fresh only for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Asian carp, despite their notoriety as an invasive species in U.S. waterways, can be used effectively as catfish bait. However, do note that many states have banned their use due to their widespread proliferation.

Crawfish, though often overlooked, are potent catfish baits, whether used dead or alive. For a live crawfish, attach it through the base of its tail or remove the head and string it on the hook. If using it dead, consider adding weight for a bit of spin.
Nightcrawlers, or earthworms, are especially popular due to their easy availability. Many fish species, including catfish, are known to hit them all day.

Stink baits are popular choices for catching catfish although they must be handled with care. Catfish have a heightened sense of smell, particularly those residing in deep channels.
Shrimp, conveniently found in any grocery store, are among the catfish’s preferred meals. They are easy to hook and less messy, perfect when fishing for catfish with kids. A variety of fish are on the lookout for a shrimp dinner, ensuring a busy and exciting time fishing.


When is the Best time to Go Saltwater Fishing?

The best time to go saltwater fishing is typically:

  • At dawn or dusk
  • When the wind is favorable
  • When the weather is favorable
  • When tidal movements are favorable
  • Especially when the barometric pressure is dropping
  • Before a front moves in
  • When there is some cloud cover
  • After Referencing a Solunar Calander …………………………………………………………. Read more


When is the Best Time to Go Fishing?

The best time to go fishing is either early morning or late evening when all fish are active
Within an hour of sunrise
Within an hour after sunset
Between a new Moon and a Full Moon
Two to four hours just before a front arrives
During cloudy weather conditions
When the wind is down
When the water is calm  .………………………………………………………………………………….. Read more


Anglers Top Freshwater Bait


Looking for the ideal freshwater fishing bait? Well, look no further. At MyWaterEarth&Sky, we agree that minnows qualify as excellent choices for freshwater bait. Various fish like trout, pike, striped bass, and the sought-after walleyes would happily snack on minnows. What’s great about minnows is their availability. You can either catch them on your own, buy them from your local tackle store, or purchase them online in preserved condition.

It’s essential to use minnows that are the right size for your target fish. You wouldn’t want to scare them off, would you? Another remarkable freshwater bait you can consider is leeches. Leeches can commonly attract fish like the elusive walleye or panfish. Doesn’t that sound like a good catch? Interesting fact, fish are drawn to the leeches’ swimming motion. It’s a sight to behold once they stretch out and swim naturally, all adjusted to the water temperature.

Let’s not forget the insects. Freshwater fish, like trout or sunfish, find ants, beetles, grasshoppers, mealworms, and crickets irresistible. Using insects as bait during the spring could yield some surprising catches. Quite adventurous, wouldn’t you say?

Last but not least on our list of top freshwater bait picks, how about considering hot dogs? Yes, hot dogs, you heard that right. So, what are you waiting for? Get your tackle box ready and let’s get fishing!

Some of the best freshwater fishing bait include:

  • worms
  • leeches
  • minnows
  • crayfish
  • crickets
  • grasshoppers
  • marshmallow

Best Lures Freshwater Fishing: Catfish-Bass-Fishing


When it comes to freshwater fishing, an artificial plastic or rubber worm tops the list as being amongst the most universally effective and efficient lures. A versatile tool in any angler’s box, a soft plastic worm can be used for slow-presentation fishing. It can be crawled along the floor or swum through grass, making it an easy-to-use bait for anglers of varying skill levels.

One question anglers have wrestled with since the dawn of fishing is choosing the right lure. Nowadays, with the wealth of knowledge we have acquired, it’s easier to identify the best freshwater lures and how they are to be utilized. Determining the best freshwater bait, however, can still pose a challenge due to the plethora of choices available.

Imitation lures such as soft bait plastic worms blur the lines between artificial and real, that is, they not only look but also feel and sometimes smell just like real worms making them the optimal bait choice minus the hassle of digging.

Catfish are generally regarded as apex predators. Species from flathead to blue are renowned for their aggressive pursuit of live, wriggling baits. Catfish’s bodies being wholly covered with olfactory sensors make them apt at detecting highly pungent artificial baits, quite successfully.

Prior to your catfish-catching summertime adventures, it’s advisable to do some research on the most productive baits for catching catfish in your locale. Below, we provide an eclectic list of the top-rated catfish baits popular with anglers nationwide.

When it comes to topwater lures, many argue there are none more effective than <strong>Buzzbait Lures and Baits</strong>. Their quick-acting ability and skill to cover a large water area greatly enhance your chances of finding your next big catch.


Recent Posts at MyWaterEarth&Sky


The topic of freshwater fishing has recently captured the attention of many enthusiastic anglers. In a series of recent posts on MyWaterEarth&Sky’s blog, we have scoured the best advice, tips, and methods for enhancing your freshwater fishing experience. One subject that continually intrigues anglers worldwide is finding the top bait for freshwater species. Our research has led us to interesting discoveries, such as the preference for live bait like shad or artificial lures among bass anglers.

In your quest for the best bait, remember that one size does not fit all. Some species like the smallmouth bass and yellow perch are drawn more to artificial lures, while others like catfish might prefer dead bait. Our recent posts also point out that lakes, particularly in regions like Astor, Florida, along Johns River, have their specific quirks. These factors greatly influence the type of bait you should be using.

A store dedicated to providing superior fishing gear, like the Meateater Store, is a treasure trove for anglers. They offer a diverse range of hooks suited for every freshwater species. Our recent posts highlight that a part of fishing freshwater includes understanding the local aquatic ecosystem. Insects and bread may seem simple but are highly effective bait options in the right context.

Different boating tips are also shared, which could significantly impact your freshwater fishing trips. For example, the most commonly fished species, such as bass and walleye, can be highly elusive and prefer to hang out near submerged structures on lakes. Knowing where and when to cast your line from your boat can make a world of difference.

We have also gathered a list of our anglers’ top freshwater bait and lure choices. From bass to catfish, these options have been reported as successful across diverse fishing freshwater scenarios. Additionally, our advice goes beyond just bait and fishing tips. We strive to provide comprehensive guidance, right from choosing the best gear to cleaning and cooking your catch. After all, the joy of fishing is more than just the thrill of the catch; it is about fully immersing yourself in the great outdoors and interacting with nature in its most authentic form.

We at MyWaterEarth&Sky invite you to dive into our recent posts to enrich your knowledge and enjoyment of fishing freshwater. Whether it’s the serene waters of a local lake or the bustling waters of Johns River in Astor, Florida, we believe that every freshwater fishing experience is unique and offers opportunities for learning and growth. So, grab your fishing gear, hook up your favorite bait, and let’s make the most of the great outdoor sport that is freshwater fishing.



So there you have it, an overview of the top freshwater baits that are tried and tested by anglers worldwide. By diversifying your bait selection, you can adapt to various fish behaviors and increase your chances of a successful catch. Whether it’s live bait or artificial lures, each has its own unique appeal to freshwater fish. Exploring MyWaterEarthSky; can provide more insights and valuable resources to elevate your fishing experience. Every angler has their favorite bait, but remember, the best bait is the one that works for you.



What is the Best Bait for Saltwater Fishing?

Some bait is common to the waters where predatory live or travel & some bait has universal appeal. Saltwater fishing bait falls into one of three different categories:

  • Live bait- shrimp, eel, pinfish
  • Dead bait-clam, shellfish, squid
  • Cut bait-bunker, clam.………………………………………………………… more


JimGalloway Author/Editor

References: Best Fishing Baits for Lakes



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