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      the great live bait debate

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bestdamnangler
member (17)member
 
08/03/2011 06:14PM
So I am going to be going out for my first time into the BWCA in a couple weeks and have been reading up on all the suggestions for fishing lures etc.

The one thing I keep coming across is that some people swear by leeches or crawlers, and some swear by artificial lures or baits.

I am just curious what everyone's thoughts are on the matter.
Should I go out and buy a leech locker and buy a couple dozen and fish those religiously? Or should I stock up a small tackle box with a few lures of different sizes and colors?

Thanks for the input!
 
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Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(11196)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
08/03/2011 06:36PM
I have great luck with just a hook, leech, split shot and slip bobber. You can catch fish with spinners, rapalas, and other artificial but not as fast in my opinion.
mc2mens
distinguished member(3164)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2011 06:57PM
There is no debate. Live bait catches more fish. It reminds me of a trip prolly 7 years ago. My brother and I were slaying the walleyes and smallies on Basswood. These two guys paddle by us and see that we're catching them left and right. They hadn't had a bite all day. They asked us what we were fishing with. We said "leeches". They replied, "leeches, huh"? We knew there wasn't a leech in that canoe. We had such a laugh after they were out of earshot.

Depending on how many days you're going in, you may want to take more than 2 dozen. We usually buy about 2 lbs of leeches for 4 guys/4 days of fishing. Bring lures too, because there are times when they may outfish live bait. I like the topwater lures in the evening and troll with raps while on the move. You'll also want lures to fish weed patches for norton - raps, mepps and lazy ike are my favs for this.
dowhatyoulike
Guest Paddler
 
08/03/2011 07:23PM
Depends on what your objective is. If you are planning on fishing long enough to catch enough to eat and then quitting, then artificial lures will be plenty good enough. If you still haven't matured past the adolescent jigging and catching fish all day, then you better plan on live bait. To each their own.
Savage Voyageur
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08/03/2011 07:35PM
We took three lbs of jumbo/large leeches for 8 guys and six days of fishing. We had ten leeches left at the end of the trip. We boated over 100 eyes. I don't think we could have done this with artificials.
08/03/2011 08:24PM
quote dowhatyoulike: "Depends on what your objective is. If you are planning on fishing long enough to catch enough to eat and then quitting, then artificial lures will be plenty good enough. If you still haven't matured past the adolescent jigging and catching fish all day, then you better plan on live bait. To each their own."

and some just troll.
dowhatyoulike
Guest Paddler
 
08/03/2011 09:01PM
quote GSP: "quote dowhatyoulike: "Depends on what your objective is. If you are planning on fishing long enough to catch enough to eat and then quitting, then artificial lures will be plenty good enough. If you still haven't matured past the adolescent jigging and catching fish all day, then you better plan on live bait. To each their own."


and some just troll."


True enough, that can be successful. There is usually something that will bite.
mc2mens
distinguished member(3164)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2011 09:48PM
quote dowhatyoulike: "If you still haven't matured past the adolescent jigging and catching fish all day"

Nice...I thought the objective was to catch fish.
mc2mens
distinguished member(3164)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2011 09:57PM
quote GSP: "quote dowhatyoulike: "Depends on what your objective is. If you are planning on fishing long enough to catch enough to eat and then quitting, then artificial lures will be plenty good enough. If you still haven't matured past the adolescent jigging and catching fish all day, then you better plan on live bait. To each their own."


and some just troll."


haha
08/03/2011 10:19PM
No correct way to fish. Bait works great wither your fishing or deer hunting;) Bring it all and let the fish tell you whats working that day.
BearBrown
distinguished member(1328)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/03/2011 11:03PM
If you really are after walleyes, I would suggest bringing live bait along. The other species of fish in the bwca can be caught effectively with artificial baits.

I've never brought live bait along to the bwca, but would consider it if I planned on getting after some eyes.
bestdamnangler
member (17)member
 
08/03/2011 11:51PM
I've always had horrible luck with walleyes and so I was thinking about going after smallies and northerns and if a walleye decides to bite all the better.
bassmaster
distinguished member(753)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/04/2011 07:56AM
Leeches.....there is no debate:)
bassnut
distinguished member(1414)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/04/2011 09:01AM
I don't understand "the great debate". It boils down to "Do you have the confidence in you ability to make your lure look alive(edible) to a predator". I do. It is a comfort level, an experience level, not a maturity level.
When going to the Bdub, people want to catch fish. You should fish at your comfort level, live or artificial bait. I still fish 75-100 days a year(should have stock in Gene Larew and Big Hammer!), and have confidence in my abilities to catch fish in most situations. But the average fisherman fishes, what, 5-20 days a year? He(she) wants to catch fish, just like I do. If live bait is what it tales, go for it. The TGO method catches fish under virtually all conditions, just not very mobile. I sorta like to be on the move, searching for active areas.
My method is to troll, trying to find active schools, activity level, "patterning the fish", then drift or anchor and cast to them. Live bait guys can do the same thing, and they do.
Outfitter's help a lot by pinpointing traditional active areas, and casual fisherman should take keen interest in those areas. Great places to soak a leech or minnow, just find the right depth(outfitter may tell you).
QueticoMike
distinguished member(2333)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/04/2011 10:22AM
Fishing with lures is just more fun and not as boring as watching a float or waiting for a tug on the line. We call live bait fishing " cheating " :-). I cheat sometimes in the early spring or late fall because fish are moving slower and I don't like jigging very much, or maybe I should say I don't like getting snagged and tying on new jigs all of the time. To each their own, just get out there and fish!
chris77mcgrath
distinguished member (102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/04/2011 02:17PM
I like the challenge of artificial, a fish can eat a leech or a worm any day of the week, when they eat plastic, wood, feathers and metal it's more rewarding for me? I've seen people kill on live bait and on artificial, it's whatever you prefer. In my experience though live bait is easier for kids, less casting, less hook danger, easier to understand. My son is 4, he already asks "Dad you cast a lot and don't use real worms?" When he's ready, I'll turn him on to soft plastics and using artificial lures. Once you make that finial investment artificial is hard to get away from, sure you can lose a lure, but I've caught 100's of fish on lures. Hard to do on a single leech. I do know this though...walleyes love a live leech.
The Great Outdoors
distinguished member(5014)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/05/2011 07:03AM
quote QueticoMike: "Fishing with lures is just more fun and not as boring as watching a float or waiting for a tug on the line. We call live bait fishing " cheating " :-). I cheat sometimes in the early spring or late fall because fish are moving slower and I don't like jigging very much, or maybe I should say I don't like getting snagged and tying on new jigs all of the time. To each their own, just get out there and fish!"
Let me get this straight, you can fish with an artificial lure containing 6 to 9 hooks (a treble counts as three) painted up to look exactly like a minnow, but those that fish with a single hook with a leech/minnow/ or piece of crawler are "cheating?"
Hmmmmm. :)
And as far as the dowhatyoulike guest paddler comments of "maturing past the adolescent phase of fishing all day......," well he/she must have caught 2 fish one day, and achieved all pro status in their mind:)
Basspro69
distinguished member(13922)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
08/05/2011 07:41AM
When I go up to the Gunflint or Ely I always bring leeches,I always catch far more Smallmouth, Lake Trout, Northern Pike on lures, but when it comes to walleyes its 50/50. If walleyes are active I catch more on lures, when they arent active I catch way more on leeches. I prefer to use lures to catch fish, but catching them on live bait makes me happy also, its just smart to have both along to increase your chances of catching fish.
The Great Outdoors
distinguished member(5014)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/05/2011 07:49AM
Basspro69,
I've heard a rumor from a very reliable source that you're good at catching a cold, not so good at catching fish!! :)
QueticoMike
distinguished member(2333)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/05/2011 08:31AM
quote The Great Outdoors: "quote QueticoMike: "Fishing with lures is just more fun and not as boring as watching a float or waiting for a tug on the line. We call live bait fishing " cheating " :-). I cheat sometimes in the early spring or late fall because fish are moving slower and I don't like jigging very much, or maybe I should say I don't like getting snagged and tying on new jigs all of the time. To each their own, just get out there and fish!"
Let me get this straight, you can fish with an artificial lure containing 6 to 9 hooks (a treble counts as three) painted up to look exactly like a minnow, but those that fish with a single hook with a leech/minnow/ or piece of crawler are "cheating?"
Hmmmmm. :)
And as far as the dowhatyoulike guest paddler comments of "maturing past the adolescent phase of fishing all day......," well he/she must have caught 2 fish one day, and achieved all pro status in their mind:)"

I only have one hook in my Strike King Zulu :) I will be picking up some leeches from you Labor Day weekend. When my arm gets tired from casting and reeling in all of those fish on my lures I will have to take it easy and watch a slip float for awhile and cheat :) Plus it is easier to catch walleye this way........a man has to eat.
Highway61
senior member (66)senior membersenior member
 
08/05/2011 09:23AM
My opinion is that there are just some times it's near impossible to catch fish without live bait. I much prefer artificials for the activity, the more aggressive bite, the not having to change bait as often. And for not having to worry about keeping any bait alive and fresh.

But it is a nice weapon to have because IMO there are times when nothing is as effective as a live, fresh leech or shiner or crawler.
08/05/2011 10:35AM
Agreed with mc2mens - there is no debate. Live bait is the way to go. However, you asked which one to take. There is no debate there either. Take both. You can catch fish with either and sometimes one works better than the other depending on many variable - Mainly the fish.

Not quite sure what Qmike is talking about...Cheating? It takes a hell of a lot more to catch 'eyes with live bait than it does to catch any old fish (even an 'eye) with a crank bait or other fake crap. I agree with him that sometimes it is funner casting cranks than it is dragging a leech or jigging a shinner and so on. But to catch the 'eyes, you need live bait. Anyone can cast a lure, reel it in and catch something (northerns). Not everyone can drop leeches, crawlers and minnows to the bottom and get walleyes. That's why there are a lot of panfish and northern fishermen out there...they can't catch the walleye's.

I don't want to sound completely biased. I fish with a lot of lures. Troll for the 'eyes in July/Aug when they move into the weeds. Cast and troll for northerns, and other stuff. I'm not anti-crank...
QueticoMike
distinguished member(2333)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/05/2011 12:23PM
quote fitgers1: "Agreed with mc2mens - there is no debate. Live bait is the way to go. However, you asked which one to take. There is no debate there either. Take both. You can catch fish with either and sometimes one works better than the other depending on many variable - Mainly the fish.


Not quite sure what Qmike is talking about...Cheating? It takes a hell of a lot more to catch 'eyes with live bait than it does to catch any old fish (even an 'eye) with a crank bait or other fake crap. I agree with him that sometimes it is funner casting cranks than it is dragging a leech or jigging a shinner and so on. But to catch the 'eyes, you need live bait. Anyone can cast a lure, reel it in and catch something (northerns). Not everyone can drop leeches, crawlers and minnows to the bottom and get walleyes. That's why there are a lot of panfish and northern fishermen out there...they can't catch the walleye's.


I don't want to sound completely biased. I fish with a lot of lures. Troll for the 'eyes in July/Aug when they move into the weeds. Cast and troll for northerns, and other stuff. I'm not anti-crank...
"


I am just kidding around when I call it cheating. My biggest walleyes have come on lures, but I have caught more with live bait I think. I have out fished live bait users sitting in the same boat throwing a zulu. It really doesn't matter to me how you enjoy catching fish as long as you are out there and trying to catch fish. Good luck to all of the fisherman, whether you be a live baiter or a lure caster. On my next trip I will be both since I am going to the BW. I don't get to fish live bait much anymore up there because I typically go to Quetico. Fish onward my brothers and sisters! :)
schweady
distinguished member(5695)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/05/2011 12:42PM
Rapala and Mepps outfished the leeches on our trip to Agnes earlier this week.

I had all walleye on the only two Rapalas I used all week, my bowman had all northern on the one Mepps he used the whole trip. The guys fishing in the other canoe gave up on their leeches after only a couple northern in a day and a half. After switching to artificial they wound up with a nice combination of walleye and smallmouth.

Go figure.
08/05/2011 01:00PM
Careful Schweady. Your telling on yourself. Agnes Lake is in Quetico Park right? Do I need to write anymore? I just wish I was half as good as half of the fishermen and ladies on this site! After reading this thread and a couple of other current threads I am going to my den closet to get my Lacrosse Burlys out so me feet stay clean. I'm with TGO on this one. Oh yeah, I'm 6'-5", six pack abs and drive a Maserati.
paddlemonster44
member (13)member
 
08/05/2011 01:10PM
What is the best way to transport leaches when in the Bdub?
schweady
distinguished member(5695)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
08/05/2011 01:29PM
BnD, Lake Agnes is in the BWCA, north of Nina Moose.

paddlemonster, have TGO oxygen bag a pound of leeches inside your Leech King.

It was just the facts, BnD. I don't see where the chest puffing came in.
walleye_hunter
distinguished member(1625)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/05/2011 01:45PM
I think some of BnD's comments were in reference to the recent stories about 100's of fish per day or dozens of trophies per day, etc. Maybe some of them are true but I definitely take them with a grain of salt as well.
arctic
distinguished member(3560)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/05/2011 01:47PM
I think if you are targeting walleyes, especially in the BWCA, you would do best fishing leaches. Walleyes are really the only gamefish in the canoe country where live bait is a very, very good idea.

North of the border, where fishing pressure is a lot less, lures work very well too for walleyes. Besides, you can't use live bait up there anyway.

I do almost all of my angling for lake trout and never use live bait. No need at all.

Same for smallmouth and pike.
08/05/2011 02:48PM
quote QueticoMike: "quote fitgers1: "Agreed with mc2mens - there is no debate. Live bait is the way to go. However, you asked which one to take. There is no debate there either. Take both. You can catch fish with either and sometimes one works better than the other depending on many variable - Mainly the fish.



Not quite sure what Qmike is talking about...Cheating? It takes a hell of a lot more to catch 'eyes with live bait than it does to catch any old fish (even an 'eye) with a crank bait or other fake crap. I agree with him that sometimes it is funner casting cranks than it is dragging a leech or jigging a shinner and so on. But to catch the 'eyes, you need live bait. Anyone can cast a lure, reel it in and catch something (northerns). Not everyone can drop leeches, crawlers and minnows to the bottom and get walleyes. That's why there are a lot of panfish and northern fishermen out there...they can't catch the walleye's.



I don't want to sound completely biased. I fish with a lot of lures. Troll for the 'eyes in July/Aug when they move into the weeds. Cast and troll for northerns, and other stuff. I'm not anti-crank...
"



I am just kidding around when I call it cheating. My biggest walleyes have come on lures, but I have caught more with live bait I think. I have out fished live bait users sitting in the same boat throwing a zulu. It really doesn't matter to me how you enjoy catching fish as long as you are out there and trying to catch fish. Good luck to all of the fisherman, whether you be a live baiter or a lure caster. On my next trip I will be both since I am going to the BW. I don't get to fish live bait much anymore up there because I typically go to Quetico. Fish onward my brothers and sisters! :)"



No worries. Everyone has little nicknames for things right? Especially for things others do that we don't? I figured it was just joking. Just had to throw some back. lol. jk. Or am I? Anyway you are very correct. Doesn't matter how you fish as long as you fish! Buy a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and I can stop fishing and eat all the fish he catches.
ps My favorite lure is a Shad Rap. Don't tell anyone, I bought two Mepps spinners yesterday.



Basspro69
distinguished member(13922)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
08/05/2011 07:02PM
quote The Great Outdoors: "Basspro69,
I've heard a rumor from a very reliable source that you're good at catching a cold, not so good at catching fish!! :)"
LMAO, that made me smile :-)
bestdarnangler
Guest Paddler
 
08/15/2011 07:50PM
quote bestdamnangler: "So I am going to be going out for my first time into the BWCA in a couple weeks and have been reading up on all the suggestions for fishing lures etc.

The one thing I keep coming across is that some people swear by leeches or crawlers, and some swear by artificial lures or baits.

I am just curious what everyone's thoughts are on the matter.
Should I go out and buy a leech locker and buy a couple dozen and fish those religiously? Or should I stock up a small tackle box with a few lures of different sizes and colors?

Thanks for the input!"


If you enjoy having to carry things in your hands over the portage, then take leeches. Bait shop owners will love you and you will make them richer. Nothing like supporting the local economy.
lundojam
distinguished member(2032)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/15/2011 08:49PM
BDA-
It's not either/or, in my opinion. It's both/and. Bring live bait, and let the fish decide. If you are planning fish meals, a little live bait adds some insurance in my mind. When they are biting real good, they'll bite on anything. When they are totally shut down, theya re totally shut down. When they are somewhere in between, which is usually, the trick is to get them to go any way you can. This often means live bait.
ZaraSp00k
distinguished member(1122)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/15/2011 09:23PM
quote GSP:


and some just troll."


good one, but I think it went over some peoples head
bwcalife
member (7)member
 
08/16/2011 11:02AM
Hey Mac,
I'm bringing my son and his friend to Basswood 8/21, near Basswood Falls and planning on doing some walleye fishing. Any advice on lake depth, minnows versus leaches, locations??? Any help would be great. I have fished the motorized area of the lake every spring for a number of years, but never the non-motorized area near Basswood Falls.
mc2mens
distinguished member(3164)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/16/2011 11:29PM
quote bwcalife: "Hey Mac,
I'm bringing my son and his friend to Basswood 8/21, near Basswood Falls and planning on doing some walleye fishing. Any advice on lake depth, minnows versus leaches, locations??? Any help would be great. I have fished the motorized area of the lake every spring for a number of years, but never the non-motorized area near Basswood Falls."


You talkin to me?

The only fish we caught near Basswood Falls were smallies, and lots of them. There are some channels between Pipestone Bay and where Pipestone and Jackfish come together that hold walleyes. This time of year I like to bottom bounce for walleyes. Get yourself some lindy rigs and leeches. Drift the channels and off points. Let the weight bounce off the bottom of the lake and feel for walleye hits.
keithcatfish
distinguished member (232)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/17/2011 09:09AM
I always take both. Nothing even comes close to live bait when the fish are not in an agressive mood. However, if the fish are actively feeding, and especially if they are feeding on larger minnows, artificial baits will often outfish live bait. My observation is based on 30 years of fishing for just about everything that swims all over the U.S.

I'm a striped bass guide in Tennessee and 90% of the time I fish with big live baits. However there are always 2 rods at the ready equipped with jerkbaits or topwater baits for when I see fish chasing baitfish.
bwcalife
member (7)member
 
08/17/2011 09:14AM
Thanks Mac! I appreciate the advice on the Lindy/ leech rigs. I have fished Lewis Narrows all the way around into Jackfish Bay as well as the channel going into the no motor. Primarily in the Spring and we used large rainbows, the bigger the better for Walleyes. We tryed the same bait one fall a couple of years ago and had less success. I'm anxious to use leeches and maybe some night crawlers. Any good campsites from the start of the no-motor channel to the falls? Thanks for your help!!!!
mc2mens
distinguished member(3164)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/17/2011 06:34PM
quote bwcalife: "Thanks Mac! I appreciate the advice on the Lindy/ leech rigs. I have fished Lewis Narrows all the way around into Jackfish Bay as well as the channel going into the no motor. Primarily in the Spring and we used large rainbows, the bigger the better for Walleyes. We tryed the same bait one fall a couple of years ago and had less success. I'm anxious to use leeches and maybe some night crawlers. Any good campsites from the start of the no-motor channel to the falls? Thanks for your help!!!!"

Leeches are the ticket dude. Tough as nails. Crawlers not so tough. I haven't camped at any of the campsites past the no-motor zone on Basswood. You might check the campsite reviews here on this website. Click on entry points and toggle your way to the area you're looking for on the maps. The red dots are campsites. Some have reviews, some don't.
togue
distinguished member(739)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/24/2011 07:13PM
Really You should have both and know how to use both.

I like twisters and cranks as search baits. When you find the structure and fish, the live bait can pay off big. Keep a couple rods one set up with an artificial and one set for live bait. You can alternate between live and artificial quickly this way.

I would have to say on trips without live bait we've done quite well, but if you can carry live bait I'd bring it.
 
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