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Iceboy

How to make my minnows last the whole winter...

28 posts in this topic

Hi all - does anyone have any tips/suggestions regarding keeping minnows alive the whole winter? I hate throwing money down the hole at the end of a fishing trip, and have had decent luck keeping minnows alive in my bucket with frequent water changes (either on the lake or with filtered water). But inevitably they start dying and I am "fishing" 2-3 dead ones out a day.

Does anyone keep them in an aquarium? Or use one of the oxygenators or aerators? If so, do you have good luck? Seems like I could find a cheap aquarium on [YouNeedAuthorization] and keep it out in the garage where it's just above freezing usually, but just not sure how well that would work...

thanks!

dan

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I purchased a standard AC outlet aerator that I put in a 5 gallon bucket in the garage. I change the water every other day with the cold temps and it seems to keep them happy. I keep bullheads and suckers over the summer using a few buckets that I keep in the basement.

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Cabelas also sells minnow/bait well things on their site. There super over priced but if you dont want to put together an aerator and a bucket or too it might be for you.

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I use a couple 110v aerators at home and 12v or D cell battery operated ones in the fish houses. Changing water often helps a lot too. Also don't overcrowd.

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I have tried keeping minnows in my 180 gallon fish tank at home.

They simply don't make it.

I think it is the water temp that gets them.

They have plenty of filtration, aeration, and food.

A good 80 to 90 percent don't make it more than a week.

The ones that make it past a week do survive for months though.

Sucker minnows have a much easier time in the tank.

Only about 1 percent of those die out.

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my dad used to keep them in the basement and keep them in really cold water. every once in a while he'd drop a pinch of goldfish food in there. they seemed to last a really long time

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i did it last year and like merkman said they will last about 1 week or 2 ....it worked ok for me because i fish about ever other day one but you do need to keep them cool the colder the better ..... go to a bat shop and feal there water

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Last winter I had a couple dozen minnows that I kept in my fridge in a foam minnow bucket that lasted for over two weeks. I just changed the water every couple days and they seemed fine. If I would have fed them I could have probably kept them alive even longer.

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as long as i keep them cold they lasted forever, im gonna try something different this yea, keep a bait bucket in my house in the water and see if they live longer or not

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I just built a rig with an old cooler and an aquarium pump. I plan to keep it out in the garage (detached and not heated) and hope the cooler and the bubbles keep it from freezing.

Last year I could keep them alive for a quite a while just keeping them out in the garage in the minnow bucket but come late Jan and Feb the bucket would freeze solid if I left it out there for a couple days.

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Temp is a big thing for minnows. Keep them as cold as possible. At our store, we keep them at around 48 degrees. The second thing is something that may be out of your control. Minnows give off ammonia. If the ammonia concentration gets too high, it will basically suffocate them. Keeping the temperature low helps keep their metabolism lower so they don't give off as much ammonia.

Lastly, don't crowd them, especially in warmer water. We get by with crowding them because they generally don't last more than a day in our tanks before they become fish bait.

We have had reports of people keeping their minnows alive for a few weeks in a bucket and either outside or in the beer fridge. (Spouses don't always like live bait next to their food. smile )

Hope that helps.

Joe

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I used a small aquarium heater and aerator last winter and it did a pretty good job keeping my minnow cooler from freezing over. I was able to keep decent supply of minnows on hand. Definitely reduced the number of trips to the bait shop.

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5 gallon bucket and a good bubbler in the basement. They wont last all winetr but I can keep 4 doz minnows long enough to use them all.

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Use the Gulp minnows grin

ok ok ok I had my fun, but not to be a downer, didnt the DNR pass something this last year that said you couldnt take minnows off a lake, even if you didnt take them from said lake, I think it had something to do with the water that you would add from the lake and the tiny water flea and or the Bass virus and other possible non native species transfer...?

I know it says in the DNR thing that you should toss your crawlers in the garbage can at the landing.

I know that its tossing money out and all, but for the majority out there I think it would be a good rule of thumb, most of them dont know what lake has what non-native species in it. So I guess its Know the lake your on.

Shawn

just found it, semi right, page 60 of the MNDNR Regs, how do you guys read this, and am I just worrying too much?

"It is unlawful to:

• transport aquatic plants, ruffe, round goby, zebra mussels, or other

prohibited invasive species on public roads;

transport infested water (including in livewells and bait containers)

(pages 62-63);

• launch a watercraft with aquatic plants, zebra mussels, or prohibited

invasive species attached; and

• harvest bait (minnows, frogs, crayfish or other wild animals) from

infested waters (pages 62-63).

Exception: Harvest for personal use is permitted in waters infested solely with

Eurasian watermilfoil. Harvested bait must ONLY be used in the water from which it

is harvested. Bait may only be harvested using a cylindrical minnow trap not exceeding

16 inches in diameter and 32 inches in length (pages 68-69).

Prohibited Invasive Species: bighead carp, Eurasian watermilfoil,

round goby, ruffe, zebra mussel, new zealand mud snail, and spiny

water flea. Additional species can be found at www.dnr.state.

mn.us/invasives or by calling the DNR information line.

Remove visible plants and animals from your boat,

trailer, and other boating equipment before leaving the

water access.

STOP AqUATIC HITCHHIKERS!

Dispose of unwanted bait in the trash. Never release

live bait.

Drain water from your boat, motor, livewell, and

bait containers before leaving the water access. To keep

unused bait at spiny water flea- or zebra mussel-infested

waters, drain and replace with tap or spring water.

Drain water

Spray, rinse, or dry boats and recreational equipment from bait

before transporting to another water body. Spray/rinse buckets.

with high pressure and/or hot tap water (above 120˚F) or

dry at least five days."

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We have a rule in my house. You are not allowed to bring minnows into the basement.

I have left them down there and forgot about them. That smelled great.

I have broken the rule no less than three times since that.

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We have a rule in my house. You are not allowed to bring minnows into the basement.

I have left them down there and forgot about them. That smelled great.

I have broken the rule no less than three times since that.

Oh yeah, did that and the wife was less than thrilled!

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If I dont finish using them after about a week, I let them go back to their home down the hole. All in hope that they will get eatin and make the the next Walleye I catch even bigger.

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-keep them in as big of container as you can.

-keep the water as consistently cold as you can.

-change the water every three days

-treat water with a dechlorinator after change

-use an ammonia neutralizing product like Amquel frequently to reduce ammonia and nitrates (toxic to fish)

-get a cheap hang on the back filter with lots of floss and carbon chips

-aerate the snot out of them

-dont worry about feeding

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If I dont finish using them after about a week, I let them go back to their home down the hole. All in hope that they will get eatin and make the the next Walleye I catch even bigger.

whoa dude! I hope you are not serious.... This is highly unlawful. Please consult your MNDNR regs. Minnows are known carriers of all types of INVASIVE diseases, fungi, parasites. This IMO is a far worse offense than an overlimit or multiple lines violation....

If you do this, stop it.

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I try to limit the amout of time my hands are in the water with my minnows. I use my minnow net (until it freezes lol and after that I really try to rinse the sweat and other junk from my hands prior to putting them in the bucket. Other than that I keep my minnows pretty cold and they stay lively for long periods of time.

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I have been able to keep minnows for three weeks to a month even shiners which I have had troubele keeping in the past. I use a bucket and put it in the refrigerator with a battery operated bubbler. I also use a product I bought which is in a white bottle with an orange label- not sure if I can say what it is but I have some for regular minnows and some different stuff for shiners. It works awesome and conditions the water and removes chlorine, stimulates a natural slime coat, removes heavy metals,reduces funguses and bacterias, and adds electrolytes. As long as I change the water every four or five days and add a little of the powder they seem to do well. It is a Sure life product called better bait for the regular minnows and finer shiner obviously for the shiners. If I am unable to tell them on here shoot me an email if your interested and I can let you know through that. bstoltz1620@yahoo.com

MN Angler

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I bought a 20 gallon tank with hood and filter for $15 off of Craig's List a couple of years ago. I can keep minnows alive for a while. I use them over a week to a month so haven't kept them past a month cause of use, but I'm sure they would las. I do a 20% water change every week.

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Quote:
• transport infested water (including in livewells and bait containers)

(pages 62-63);

So, as long as you don't put in any new water from the lake you should be fine.

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Originally Posted By: s2h
If I dont finish using them after about a week, I let them go back to their home down the hole. All in hope that they will get eatin and make the the next Walleye I catch even bigger.

whoa dude! I hope you are not serious.... This is highly unlawful. Please consult your MNDNR regs. Minnows are known carriers of all types of INVASIVE diseases, fungi, parasites. This IMO is a far worse offense than an overlimit or multiple lines violation....

If you do this, stop it.

eek I can't believe you guys are dumping unused bait in the lake. shocked Please read the regs.

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