How To Fish With Minnow (3 Common Methods For Beginners)

Minnow refers to tiny freshwater fish that anglers use as bait to attract fish. Often, most people are more familiar with artificial fishing lures than live minnows. However, as the minnow appeals to a massive type of fish, many anglers start questioning: “How to fish with minnow?”.

Although there are dozens of ways, this article will provide the 3 most common techniques that beginners can try. Significantly, these methods are more practical for keeping the minnow alive and ensure its movement freely under the water.

Essentially, the three most common techniques that you can use for fishing with a minnow are through their lips, back, and tails.

How To Fish With A Minnow

  • Fishing a minnow through the lips

The simplest way to hook a minnow is through its lips. Just simply insert the hook through both lips of a minnow. It avoids killing the minnow right away and allows the minnow to move freely underwater. The lip-hook method is highly effective because fishes often attack the bait’s head first; that’s where you put the hook. 

However, the downfall of this method is that it doesn’t keep the minnow alive for too long because its mouth is closed, and it is not able to intake water and breathe. Therefore, it’s vital to constantly check the minnow and replace it with the live ones.

  • Fishing a minnow through the back

The other easy-peasy way to hook a minnow is through its back. This method is also known as the dorsal hook. Try this by pushing the hook through the minnow’s back, slightly behind its dorsal fin. Make sure not to pierce the minnow’s spine; otherwise, you will paralyze it. 

The result is, your minnow starts shaking on both sides, and its commotion will trigger the fish. With this method, your minnow is likely to survive longer than the lip-hook technique. 

  • Fishing a minnow through the tails

The last common method for hooking a minnow is through its tails. Start directly by inserting the hook through the end of the minnow’s tail without any bobber. It allows the minnow to move around naturally underwater and cause commotion for fish to entice a bite.

The only downside of this method is that you have to wait for an extra second before setting the hook since the fish will hit the head first.



  • How to choose the right hook?

Depending on the size of your minnows, you can choose the best go-to choice for your fishing adventure. But a good rule of thumb is to use a thin wire hook so that you don’t kill your minnows. 

It is recommended that you follow this guide:

  • Go with a small size 4-6 hook when your minnow’s size is under 3 inches (about 7 cm).
  • Choose a medium or large size as 2 or 1/0 for a minnow above 5 inches (12.7 cm).
  • Where to get minnows?

Some bait shops provide a wide range of minnows for your choices, and you can easily choose some for your fishing trip. In some cases, you might want to catch them yourself. Luckily, you can find minnows in most freshwater areas. You can try to set a simple minnow trap with some bait such as bread, in there to lure minnows. 

  • Can I use dead minnows when fishing?

Yes, of course. Although it isn’t as effective as live minnows, you can use it instead to capture fish. Just make sure that you incorporate other techniques to make your minnows look fresh and stir.

  • How long does a minnow survive?

It depends on several factors, such as the environment, the water’s temperature, quality, and other external factors. But it is ideal for your minnows to live long enough for you to catch some fish.

  • Can I use a bobber for fishing minnow?

Yes, indeed, you can. A bobber is beneficial since it allows you to keep the minnow at your desired position. It is also a valuable indicator for you to know when the fish bites your bait.

However, in some cases, bobbers can fail your fishing because they can be affected by the wind, thus causing your minnow to flow the opposite.


After reading the article, I hope you have a thorough grasp of the 3 most basic techniques of how to fish with a minnow. Next time, when mastering those techniques, you can try some more advanced ways to leverage your fishing experience. Keep practicing, and you’ll soon be a professional!

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