minnow trapLive bait, like nightcrawlers, crawfish, and shiners is a great way to attract fish. Today’s economy, however, with its increased fuel and bait costs, makes it difficult for many anglers to afford the same amount of live bait that they were previously used to buying. If shiners are your go-to bait, today we’ll take a look at some ways you can collect your own so you don’t have to buy them.

Many anglers actually prefer wild-caught shiners over ones purchased in a bait shop. Wild shiners make better bait than the store-bought variety that’s raised in tanks because they react differently to the presence of bass, and they have to be quick to survive. There are two common methods of catching them: minnow traps or nets.

Placing minnow traps along the shoreline of a small lake or pond will yield good results. You can also put a waterproof light in the trap and set it out overnight. Shiners will be attracted by the light. It seems every angler has their own “best” bait for minnow traps, including crushed dog food, rolled up bread, or cotton seed meal tied up in an old short piece of panty hose. If you want to be thorough, and have enough traps, you can try different baits in each one to see what attracts more.

With a casting net, you can anchor in an area where shiners congregate and find an opening between weed beds. Then, toss your bait—crushed dog food, bread heels, etc—and wait a few minutes until you see feeding activity. Then, when the feeding starts, throw your net over the shiners to bring in a haul. You might need to try several spots, but often times anglers catch enough shiners for a day of fishing with one throw.

If you use shiners often to catch fish, then the tips outlined today should help you continue to do so without straining your wallet. Saving a bit of money here and there is a great way to enjoy fishing without worrying about your bank account. By catching your own shiners, you can save a ton of money over time.