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Catching your own minnows in Lake Erie

Old 01-06-2019, 02:27 PM
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Default Catching your own minnows in Lake Erie

Does anyone ever try to catch your shiners in Lake Erie? I was talking to an old timer that I fish with and he never purchased shiners until he got to old to get them himself. He used a Coleman style lantern tied to the end of an oar to extend it over the water 4', tie on a 3' square umbrella net and just wait for the minnows to come up. I know the problems with the minnow guys being unable to get shiners the past few years so it may be a waste of time trying to get my own.

A guy in my marina told me that I could get all of the shiners I wanted right in the marina.....I haven't caught a single one so he is probably still laughing at me. I bought 4 of the cage style minnow cages, baited them with bread, dog food, and cat food. I have tried putting them off of my dock, out in East Harbor, and other places in the marina and all I have caught was a couple of small gobies and bluegill. Has anyone had success with one of these cage style minnow traps? If so please tell me how you did it, what did you use for bait, where did you put it, etc?

If anyone has any experience with getting minnows at night using a light can you please share with me how you did it? I bought a floating LED light to shine down into the water but I have never tried using it. I haven't tried using it at my dock at night though, I figured if I couldn't catch a single minnow with the 4 minnow cages I wasn't going to get any with the light either.

Is it even worth the effort or just buy whatever the bait stores have?
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Old 01-06-2019, 03:01 PM
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Buy them from your local brick and mortar store. Keep the economy going!

Plus I think that you are using the wrong food! Cat & dog food! Lol! Try fish food! Lol!

I have no idea what to tell you... Good luck!
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:39 PM
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Dip net or cast net. Night time is good. That's the only way. Minnow traps don't work for the Emeralds. (Youtube is your friend Russ)
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:43 PM
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Another thing... If you salt them, don't use iodized salt. You won't catch a thing. Guys at our club do a lot of things to preserve them. Splash them with alcohol then freezing them, mix them with equal parts of oatmeal and freeze... Salting and freezing seems to be the favored way in our neck of the woods.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Strypes View Post
Buy them from your local brick and mortar store. Keep the economy going!

Plus I think that you are using the wrong food! Cat & dog food! Lol! Try fish food! Lol!

This was what all of the sources online said to use so I tried using all 3 of them at different times.

I have no idea what to tell you... Good luck!
Originally Posted by Classic25 View Post
Dip net or cast net. Night time is good. That's the only way. Minnow traps don't work for the Emeralds. (Youtube is your friend Russ)
Thanks for the suggestion to check out You Tube, where do you think I looked before I even bought the minnow traps? There wasn't anything specific about catching LE shiners but there was several videos showing catching minnows in the minnow traps. Some of the guys used dog food, cat food, and bread so I tried all 3 of them individually.

Yes I know to use net but how do you get them to come to you? I have never tried to throw a cast net so I didn't consider this an option knowing how difficult it is. I have fished numerous times for tarpon in the Florida Keys and they all cast net for pilchards or mullet. These guys that do it every day still have a tough time especially if there is much wind.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:10 PM
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In the Michigan end of the lake, the shiners are seasonal. Springtime being the best, from what I've seen. You can clean up in the evening with an umbrella style net. I know guys that will put the eggs from walleye they've cleaned into the traps, and it seems to do well for them.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:24 PM
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Try searching for Emerald Shiners Russ. No such thing as Lake Erie Shiners. Erie is home to the Emerald Shiner, Golden Shiner, Mimic Shiner, Sand Shiner, Spotfin, and Spotial Shiner.
Go to your marina after dark and toss the net in the lighted areas they're congregating. Later is better than just after dark. At least that's how we get them.
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Old 01-08-2019, 10:06 AM
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Try using fried chicken bones or skin for bait. No idea why but is is by far the best bait for minnows and any other small bait fish in tidal creeks of Atlantic.
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Old 01-10-2019, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Classic25 View Post
Try searching for Emerald Shiners Russ. No such thing as Lake Erie Shiners. Erie is home to the Emerald Shiner, Golden Shiner, Mimic Shiner, Sand Shiner, Spotfin, and Spotial Shiner.
Go to your marina after dark and toss the net in the lighted areas they're congregating. Later is better than just after dark. At least that's how we get them.
I should have said catching Shiners in Lake Erie not Lake Erie Shiners. I knew they were named Emerald Shiners but I wanted to be specific to getting them in LE. I never heard of some of the other species you mentioned.

Originally Posted by muskrattown View Post
Try using fried chicken bones or skin for bait. No idea why but is is by far the best bait for minnows and any other small bait fish in tidal creeks of Atlantic.
Well this is something I would have never tried but I will give it a try this year, thanks for the suggestion.
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Old 01-10-2019, 07:14 PM
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I second the chicken we use plain chicken necks.
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Old 01-10-2019, 08:33 PM
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It’s hit and miss, and sometimes they hang out in different areas of the marina, or not at all. We’ve never used bait here in Lorain, but do use a lighted area of the marina after dark. A drag net and a buddy to work the other side has always been th most productive. Just walk two docks and drag the area in between.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Delduck View Post
I second the chicken we use plain chicken necks.
Just to clarify, I am talking Fried chicken scraps not raw. Even the difference between baked and fried seems to make a difference.
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Old 01-12-2019, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by muskrattown View Post
Just to clarify, I am talking Fried chicken scraps not raw. Even the difference between baked and fried seems to make a difference.
what about the breading? is their a preference? Have you ever tried shake n bake?
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Old 01-14-2019, 03:16 PM
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Clear night time sky and the full moon brings them up too.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by C Dave View Post
Clear night time sky and the full moon brings them up too.
Than why can't the minnow guys get minnows during a full moon?
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by RussH View Post
Than why can't the minnow guys get minnows during a full moon?
also it scatters them in the lake
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:37 AM
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A few years ago in early spring we overnighted at the Casino. We come back to the boat to find our drunk buddies on our boat with the green transom lights lighting up half the marina wall with thousands of shiners behind the boat. These morons were dip netting them and had our 30 gallon baitwell stuffed full of them. Odd part is that not a single one of us fish in fresh water. We chalked it up to drunken boredom.
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Old 01-24-2019, 05:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Donzichick View Post
A few years ago in early spring we overnighted at the Casino. We come back to the boat to find our drunk buddies on our boat with the green transom lights lighting up half the marina wall with thousands of shiners behind the boat. These morons were dip netting them and had our 30 gallon baitwell stuffed full of them. Odd part is that not a single one of us fish in fresh water. We chalked it up to drunken boredom.
Hmmm when are you going to be on Kelley's Island again with the drunks? I will be sure to bring my own dip net!
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:01 PM
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memorial day weekend probably !
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:02 PM
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They were fascinated by the led light in the baitwell
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