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dcraven

leech trapping

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A note from my 11 year old son...

If any of you have trapped leeches - what are your favorite techniques? Cans with holes? Bags? Bait? Pics would be appreciated if you have them.

C2

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Sorry, no pics as I have long tossed any traps I had. I use to use coffee cans with nail holes punched in the bottom end (from the outside) so there was a sharp edge on the inside so they didn't want to get back out. Sorry but I can't remember the exact size nail. It's smaller than a guy would think as they can sneak through a very small hole. I drilled a hole in the side and put a rope in and tied a not for a rope/leash to throw it out and retrieve. The plastic top end of metal coffee can was obviously used to take off to put bait in and take leeches out. I used free beef scraps I could get and cheaper than dirt beef liver, out of date meats I could get from groc store, etc. My best spots were spring fed little ponds in the woods. Usually so small they didn't have any fish or anything in them. Of course spring fed grounds are usually pretty spongy and hard to walk/access so it was waders every time. If it's easy to get there someone would have probably been doing it there already ;-) The other key for me was to make sure to clean your traps before it got light out in the morning. If you wait until after light it's amazing how many of those little buggers sneak out. If you are by some good trapping grounds it's a lot of fun, and can be profitable as well.

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thanks for the advice, how do you sourt your leeches and what kind do you look for? I will try it out. When do you start tossing out tour traps?

C2

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When I use to trap- I'd start scouting/setting a week or two after ice out in hopes to have plenty to sell to bait shops prior to opener. Sorting is a whole other story and pain in the ***. But that's the difference between having leeches for you and a couple friends and trying to make a couple bucks. There's a ton of money in gas driving around, early mornings, freshwater tanks to keep them in and then sorting. I use to use 3 different size mesh screens with wood frames largest on top to smallest on bottom. The smallest 'panfish' leeches would make their way all the way to the bottom and the biggest would stay up on top. Many of them get 'stuck' in the mesh and after you scoop out and sort the loose ones in each sized area I just had to let the screens soak in the water and the leeches would make their way out of the mesh in due time. Don't force them and the won't get damaged. I'm sure there's some fancy commercial way of doing it but this won't cost you much money anyway.

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so just 3 different types of mesh? that seems easy. do you need an areator and a cooler or somthing or do you just put them in a bucket with water. i will sourt them out and then go sell them if that makes a difference. what kind of leeches do you look for if i am planning to sell them or most of them. if you solled them how much money did you get?

C2

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Sorry to make it sound easy- because it's not. Everything about it is a pain in the *** and isn't worth it at all unless you are really going into it 100%. This was in WI pre 1998 so I'm sure that in this land of 10,000 laws and licenses you will need plenty of them to do it legally in regards to water transfer, bait dealers license, giving up your first born, only trapping on tuesdays of leap years, etc- to sell them legally to a bait shop and I have no idea what the going rate is now a days besides it's a LOT more money than it was then. Heck, I use to only get like .65 cents a dozen for cralwers and I had to provide bedding and packaging! Look at what they go for now a days. I'd have been one rich high school kid if I got what they got now. But then again I was driving around harvesting bait for a $1 per gallon of gas too. ;-)

You have to have fresh cold water and good bubblers just like for minnows. They come out of ICE cold spring water for a reason- because they like cold water. Get it too warm and they'll all go grey and limp and die just like minnows. Put your traps in the wrong ponds with warmer water and get nothing but blood suckers and no leeches. Bait shops won't give you the time of day after you try selling them blood suckers on accident. ;-) They also demand a good job on the bait being size sorted well. If you don't do it, they'll just buy from some one who does.

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