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senior member (82)senior membersenior member
08/26/2023 08:08PM  
Heading in soon and will be stopping at the outfitter the evening before my entry date. Was planning to pick up bait and keep it overnight for an early morning entry the next day. I’ve never tried it, but was wondering if leeches and minnows would be ok in the oxygen bag in a cooler through the night and into the next morning? I’ve usually gotten bait in the morning before heading in and kept them in the bag until hitting camp. Anyone tried this with good results?
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08/26/2023 09:33PM  
Not sure on minnows, they may be more sensitive. Leeches would be fine, keeping them cool would be extra helpful. The only problem is, leeches are really hard to come by in Minnesota this year. Most bait shops in the Twin Cities area are out of them for the season, not sure about up north though. If you're camping at a lake the night before, you could toss them in a minnow bucket and get them in the water, but I'm guessing you're doing a bunk house or something.

Best of luck on your trip.

08/27/2023 05:59AM  
GopherAdventure: Most bait shops ... are out of them for the season..."

That was my thought, too late in the year. Also, not so effective in the late season.
senior member (82)senior membersenior member
08/27/2023 08:11AM  
Thank you for the replies. VNO has said they have some. I figured they will be less effective this late, but they're so easy to bring I figured I'd take some in. I have usually had about the same results with them as with crawlers this time of year, which I will be bringing as well, but much more experienced keeping them alive overnight without problems.
08/28/2023 01:03PM  
minnows , i would have a aerator system with. leeches-worms in a cooler.
distinguished member (371)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
08/31/2023 02:13PM  
Have them pump extra air in the bag your minnows will be fine.
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(14414)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
08/31/2023 10:13PM  
Leeches will probably be hard to find because the trappers have stopped trapping them. For minnows keep them in the bag in a big cooler with an ice pack on the bottom. Then buy one of those battery powered air pumps to keep air in for them. Should be fine if you keep them cool and give them fresh air.
09/02/2023 04:30PM  
senior member (82)senior membersenior member
09/11/2023 07:11PM  
Just got back, thanks all for the tips everyone!

We went with crawlers and leeches, and both worked great. It hit ~90 our first day out, but had a cooler with ice packs for the crawlers and kept the leeches in the bag until camp. Didn't have any casualties. We ended up, coincidence or not, catching all of our biggest walleye on leeches.

We didn't feel like making our first trip with minnows with the temps forecasted at the start of our trip.

I think the closest we got to losing any bait was not checking the temp control in our motel fridge the night before we went in. It was cranked all the way up (or down, depending on how you look at it) and we had a 1-2" layer of ice in our leech bag, and the crawlers somehow managed to avoid freezing by huddling together, but most of their bedding was hard as a rock. A couple water bottles in there froze solid. Since it didn't kill any of them, I like to think the extra cold helped on that first hot day.
09/12/2023 01:39PM  
On your next trip , frozen minnows can be almost as effective as live. i do a lot of bottom fishing from camp with dead sucker minnows, with much success , especially in the spring. or just a chunk of meat under a float or on a jig. freeze your minnows and layer in a small cooler with more water freeze again, will last awhile.
member (28)member
01/30/2024 02:40PM  
This is an excellent idea. I don't know that I have fished dead minnows under a bobber intentionally.
distinguished member (162)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
01/30/2024 05:54PM  
Salted minnows work as well. Last time in a bait shop sold me their dead minnows and salted them in a ziploc bag dirt cheap. lasted all week if you keep them out of the sun. Worked well on a jig or just rigged on a hook with a slit shot.
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