Bait Tips: How to Keep Your Bait Fish Alive and Healthy

You're out on the boat, ready to drop your line in the water and snag a big one when you realize you need bait. Or worse, your live bait fish are dead. If only you had some tips on keeping your bait fish alive and healthy! We've all been there. 

Well, never fear. We're here to share some of my best bait tips with you so that you can avoid this bait blunder in the future. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your bait fish will stay alive and kicking (literally) all day long. Let's get started!

how to keep live bait alive

Why keep the bait alive?

Having live bait is invaluable to any fishing expedition. It can often help you catch bigger and more valuable catches. Plus, live bait will stay on your hook longer than dead bait, giving you a greater opportunity to snag that big one on your fishing trip! Live bait has a better chance of attracting the fish's attention.

How do I keep my bait alive?

Baitfish are an important part of fishing. They help attract larger fish to your line and increase your chances of catching a fish. However, bait fish are also delicate creatures that need to be cared for properly to stay alive and healthy. Here are some tips on how to do just that:

Handle with care

When handling your bait, always be gentle and avoid squeezing or overhandling them. This can kill the fish faster than anything else.

Ensure adequate oxygen

Make sure to properly aerate the water in which you keep your bait using an air pump or bubbler. This will ensure a healthy amount of oxygen for the fish.

Keep the water temperature comfortable

Like all other species, baitfish need to be kept in a comfortable water temperature to survive. To ensure this, use an aquarium thermometer to monitor the temperature and ensure it stays within the desired range of 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Change the water frequently

To keep the freshwater clean and oxygenated, you must frequently change the water in your bait tank or bucket. We recommend doing this at least once a day.

If you follow these tips, you will be keeping bait healthy. You'll have a much better chance of catching the big one with live bait! So remember to keep these bait tips in mind when you're out on your next fishing expedition.

keeping bait fish alive

What not to do

Knowing what not to do when caring for your bait fish is just as important. Here are some things that you should avoid doing:

Do not overcrowd

Overcrowding the fish can cause issues such as fewer oxygen levels and increased stress. Be sure to provide enough space for each fish.

Do not use harsh chemicals or cleaners

Using harsh chemicals, such as bleach or any other type of cleaner, can be very dangerous to the health of your bait fish. Avoid using any cleaning products that are not specifically designed for use with aquariums and fish tanks.

Do not overfeed

Feeding too much can cause water pollution, which can lead to a decrease in oxygen levels. Follow your fish food package instructions and only feed as much as recommended.

With the right care and attention, you'll be able to make sure that you have live bait when you're out fishing.

What do I do with the dead baits?

Unfortunately, sometimes bait fish will die despite your best efforts. If this happens, dispose of the dead bait properly by burying it in a deep hole away from water sources. This will help prevent pollution and the spread of diseases.

how to keep bait alive

Where can I buy live bait?

There are a few options when looking for bait shops. You can always try to catch your bait if you're near a body of water. This can be a fun activity in and of itself, and you'll have the added bonus of knowing that your bait is fresh.

However, only some have the time or patience to go fishing for bait; in that case, you can always buy it from a store. Most tackle shops will sell live bait, and you can also find it at some grocery stores or pet stores. Make sure that wherever you buy it from has high-quality bait that's well-cared for!

Frequently asked questions

Q: What kind of fish are best for bait?

A: The type of fish that is best for bait will depend on the type of fishing you are doing. Generally, minnows and night crawlers work well as they can attract various species.

Q: How long can I keep my bait alive? Gotcha

A: This depends on the type of bait and how well it is cared for. If properly aerated, fed, and kept in comfortable temperatures, your bait fish should stay alive anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Q: Does the bait feel pain?

A: Most scientific research indicates that bait fish do feel pain. It is important to be mindful of this and handle them with care to ensure their well-being.


Live baits are an essential part of fishing. Still, they're also delicate creatures that need proper care to stay alive and healthy. Following these simple tips ensures that your baitfish will be around for more than a day. Thanks for reading!