Why not catch your own bait?

If do much fishing in Northwestern Ontario, you probably like to catch walleye because they are very plentiful across the region and they are great to eat.
And if you fish for walleye, you probably use live bait because minnows, nightcrawlers, and leeches are proven fish-catchers.
While it’s convenient to hit the local bait shop to get live bait for your fishing trip, if you have some time this summer, catching your own bait actually is pretty easy.
Most of the small beaver ponds and lakes that don’t freeze solid over our long winter will hold minnows that anglers can trap.
Simply fill a minnow trap with pieces of bread and throw it out from the bank. Leave the trap overnight and then check it the next morning. If a pond is good, you should have enough minnows to go fishing with.
The best ponds usually have some water flowing through them, but it’s all about experimenting to find a good spot.
Nightcrawlers are easy to catch, too. I can’t explain what it takes for a grassy lawn to be a good one for nightcrawlers, but some are much better than others.
Find a good one and you can head out in the evening just after dark following a rain, or even a couple hours of running a sprinkler, and you can fill a bucket with all the nightcrawlers you want.
Take a flashlight and sneak along, quickly grabbing at nightcrawlers that are above the ground. Be warned, however, that they are quick. Try to grab them as close to their earth hole as possible so you don’t rip them in half.
Walleyes, look out!
Leeches, which can be found in most small lakes and larger beaver ponds, are a little tougher to catch because you need to get in a canoe and get your traps set away from the bank typically.
The proven way of catching leeches is to use folded-up pieces of sheet metal with some sort of strong-tasting meat like liver stuffed inside. The traps usually are about 30 cm by 30 cm, with quarter-inch wide openings for leeches to get in.
Traps should be placed in the deeper part of the pond under a float. Floats can be made with 30-cm pieces of a colourful swimming noodle, which you then can wrap your line around when the trap is not in use.
Finally, it’s important to check your traps first thing in the morning because leeches hide out on the dark lake bottom once the light gets bright.
This is where the work part really comes in. The people I know who are good at catching leeches leave the house at 4:30 a.m. to get to their traps before the sun rises.
Just remember, there are a few regulations anglers should know about when it comes to catching live bait. Anglers cannot have in their possession more than 120 minnows or more than 120 leeches.
As well, anglers only can use one minnow trap at a time and it cannot be greater than 51 cm long or 30 cm wide. Anglers only can use one leech trap at a time, which must be less than 45 cm in any dimension and clearly marked with the licence-holder’s name.
If you like to be outdoors, trapping bait can be fun–and save you a few bucks this coming season.

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