If you are getting started with fresh water fishing, here is some great information to lead the way.

Fresh water fishing is fishing in lakes, rivers and streams that have minute quantities of dissolved salts as opposed to the oceans which contain a great deal of salt. Lakes, rivers and streams get their water from precipitation or melting ice and snow.

Like the ocean, there are hundreds of fresh water fish species to fish. But the most popular are bass, catfish, pickerel, pike sunfish, trout, salmon, muskellunge, sturgeon and walleye.
Fresh water equipment: Basic equipment includes a fishing rod and reel, fishing line between 4 and 10 pound-test, a variety of sinkers, a variety of hooks (sizes 6 to 10), floats, bait and in most locations, a fishing permit or license.

There are a wide variety of both live and artificial baits that work well for fresh water fishing.

Bait: Live bait works well for fresh water fishing. Fresh water fish feed on a variety of prey, including earthworms, insects, insect larvae, frogs, minnows, chub, shad, crayfish and small fish species such as smelt. Freshwater fishing bait such as earthworms, crayfish, frogs, minnows, chubs and shads can be caught in its natural habitat. Look around piers and in shallow water. Freshwater bait can also be purchased from your local bait and tackle shop.

Artificial bait, as the name tells us, is manmade. It includes plastic worms, insects, flies, small jigs, lures, spoons, streamers, flies, spinners and more. Artificial bait can be purchased at fishing tackle and bait shops, mass retailers or online. Some anglers prefer to buy the supplies for these types of baits and create their own.

There are a wide variety of prepared baits that you can use for freshwater fishing. These include kernel corn, bread balls, cheese balls, egg bags, liver, cereal balls, chicken entrails.

All fishermen try to figure out what will turn a fish on enough to strike. It's part science, part art. To get you started, here is just a short list of some freshwater fish and the bait that attracts them.

Catfish - feeds primarily at night in big rivers and streams.

earthworms, chicken entrails, liver, frogs, hotdogs, tadpoles, crayfish and most lures. At times you can even catch them on shiny hooks that have no bait.

Bass - bait preferences will be different depending on whether it is a small mouth bass or large mouth bass.

earthworms, artificial worms, insects, insect larvae, frogs, minnows, Mepps, crayfish, spoons, spinners, jigs, streamers and spinners.

Pickerel - small in size, but very scrappy.

earthworms, insects, insect larvae, minnows, jigs, crayfish, spoons and Mepps, spinners, artificial worms, frogs, spinners and streamers.

Pike - voracious appetite, very predatory fish.

earthworms, frogs, shad, all types of small fish species, minnows, crayfish, chub, spinners, spoons and egg sacs.

Sunfish - includes: Crappie, Redbreast Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, Rock Bass, Roanoke Bass, Flier, Warmouth, and Green Sunfish.

bread balls, kernel corn, as well as small, earthworms, insects and insect larvae, shiny lures.

Trout -Look for them next to the main current where rapid moving water meets slower moving water.

earthworms, insects, insect larvae, kernel corn, flies, egg sacs, crayfish and minnows.

Salmon - Your key to success in catching salmon? Casting location. They're moving - so you have to get your lures out in front.

spinners, flies, spoons, egg sacs, shrimp and large plugs.

Muskellunge - You'll have a better chance to land one if you keep your bait active and moving.

small fish species, frogs, jigs, Mepps, spinners, minnows, plastic trailers and rapalas.

Sturgeon - a bottom feeder.

frogs, freshwater clams, lamprey, eels, smelt, salmon eggs, shrimp, egg sacs, yarn flies, shad, brightly colored and silver lures.

Walleye - primarily a night feeder.

shad, frogs, spinners, real or artificial minnows, worms, maggots, spoons, jigs, plugs and small fish species.

As you can see, there are innumerable choices when it comes to fresh water lures and bait. Don't let yourself get too confused. Ask an experienced angler to give you some tips. This can be a family member, a friend, a fresh water fishing guide, instructor or a staff member of your local bait and tackle shop. If you do this, keep in mind that everyone has favorites, and over time you will find yours.


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