How To Hook A Minnow? Enjoy The Visuals

Today’s topic is – How to hook a minnow! Minnows are the most effective baitfish. But, how you hook a minnow is what determines the success of getting a bite.

Yes, when hooked correctly, minnows can make your fishing expedition worthwhile. Successful fishers and anglers often use live minnows to catch fish every cast.

In this article, we are going to share our extensive step by step procedures on how to hook a minnow!

So, let’s get started!

Enjoy the visuals…How to Hook A Minnow?

How to Hook a Minnow

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How to Hook a Minnow

Minnows are any type of small fish used as baitfish. Fishers use them to catch numerous species, such as bluegill, walleye, bass, trout, etc. But, as surefire as live minnows are, if you hook them incorrectly, the odds of catching fish will be slim to none!

Hooking the minnow, so that it doesn’t spook fish, but appears natural, requires the correct technique. Many anglers do not like the idea of using minnows as artificial baits are now the standard. The underlying challenges and techniques also dissuade many from using minnows.

But, applying the correct technique and with the correct way of hooking, you will definitely succeed.

The step-by-step instructions discussed below for hooking a minnow make sure you have a successful catch.

Steps For Hooking a Minnow

  • Bait/Lure
  • Hook on Minnow’s Lips
  • Hook on Minnow’s Back
  • Hook a Minnow through Its Tail

01. Bait/Lure

Bait/Lure: How to hook a minnow

In order to use a minnow as bait for long enough, you need to be extra careful when hooking. The lifespan of minnows is already very short.

So, you can’t afford to make a wrong move.  Apply the following techniques the next time you use a live minnow on your fishing hook.

02. Hook On Minnow’s Lips

Hook on Minnow’s Lips

Hook a minnow through its lips when casting and retrieving.

Hooking on the lips makes the minnow appear natural and allows it to swim freely.

This process involves hooking through the minnow’s upper and lower lips.

Below are other tips that could come in handy.

  • When hooking through the minnow’s lips, string the hook through the lower lip first, then the upper lip. This way, the minnow is able to swim upright.
  • For live-bait rigs, you may want to switch to a drop shot or a sliding weight rig. Hooking a minnow through its lips can also be done on a jig head.
  • However, hooking this way doesn’t flow into the minnow’s mouth, so its gills don’t function, resulting in its death. Check and replace minnows when this happens.

03. Hook On Minnow’s Back

Hook on Minnow’s Back

Thread the hook through the minnow’s back, behind its dorsal fin. Hooking a minnow this way allows it to swim more naturally and freely.

Rigs that include a sinker require this hook under it to make sure it remains under water.

Besides, when rigged under a bobber about 18 inches, this technique keeps the minnow from going too far.

  • Hooking through the back keeps the minnow alive longer than hooking through the lips. A point to note is that do not hook through the spine, as it will paralyze the fish.
  • This technique is the go-to method for using minnows when ice fishing.

04. Hook a Minnow Through It’s Tail

Hook a Minnow through Its Tail

This method doesn’t require any weight or bobber, so it allows maximum freedom for the minnow to swim.

Threading hook through the tail keeps the minnow alive for a long time.

Minnows are basically small fish, so it’s better to use the underweight line without weight or bobber.

  • When targeting a specific location, it’s best to keep the line underweighted. Besides, if you fish near a boat dock, keep the line underweighted as well.
  • When hooking through the tail, you may also use a very light sinker on the line.

Tips for Tackle and Rigs

Hidden tips from honest fishers are shared below:

  • Choose the Right Hook
  • Tie Directly
  • Use Thinner Line

01. Choose the right hook: Choosing the right hook is very important. When it comes to hooking a minnow, the size of the hook varies. Depending on the size of your minnow, you have to choose hook size.

So, how do you find the right hook size when fishing minnows?

Check out the following guide:
  • For minnows smaller than 3 inches (7.5 cm), use a size 4 or size 6 hook.
  • For minnows bigger than 4 inches, use a large hook size, such as size 2, 1/0, or even 2/0.

02. Tie directly: Snap swivels are a good thing for changing hooks and lures quickly. But, they carry extra weight, which prevents the minnow from swimming freely. Rig either a 3-way swivel or a barrel swivel while keeping some distance ahead of the hook. A dipsey sinker or a split sinker can be used with either of those swivels.

03. Use thinner line: Use a thinner line in water bodies that contain clear water. For example, lines shouldn’t exceed 6 to 8-pound test where there is clear water.

You Can See the Tutorial: Different Ways to Hook Minnows

Tips for Fishing Minnows

Fishing minnows aren’t free from drawbacks. The overbearing drawback is that minnows are small. And, they require extra care to keep them alive long enough. Besides, transporting them is also challenging. Below are the important things you need to keep in mind when fishing minnows.

  • Keep a Cool Temperature: Minnows best thrive in cool water. Plus, they can’t cope up with a sudden change in temperature. So, maintain a balanced temperature both in the water, as well as in the bucket.
  • Keep the Water Clean: Clean and replace water in the minnow bucket after some time. Bucket water may get cloudy, so replace the water immediately.
  • Use an Aerator: Water in the minnow bucket requires fresh oxygen. The fresh oxygen keeps minnows alive longer. The aerators run on batteries, but make sure you buy a quiet one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do you attract minnows?

Ans: Use baits, such as bread crumbs, algae, mushrooms, plant or animal matter to attract freshwater minnows. Saltwater minnows prefer shrimp.

Q: What kind of fish do you catch with minnows?

Ans: Minnows are a baitfish used to catch bass, trout, bluegill, crappie, and northern pike in general. Fishers refer to any small baitfish as a minnow.

Q: What can you feed minnows to keep them alive?

Ans: Minnows can feed on goldfish flakes. You can feed minnows tropical fish flake as well. If minnows don’t eat the flake food, mix flake with brine shrimp.


We hope after reading this article, you have a clear idea of how to hook a minnow.

Hooking a minnow requires some simple rigging and fishing techniques. The purpose of this article is to introduce you to those techniques.

We discussed what to do when your desired fish isn’t biting. Plus, an infographic and hidden tips from honest fishers shared toward the end will make your fishing expedition a success.