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Fishing Bait Chart

Recommended Fish Baits and Lures for Popular Gamefish

When it comes to fish baits and lures, there are hundreds of choices. The bait or lure you select will have a big impact your success on your success catching your target gamefish species. The fishing bait chart below provides a list of the most common baits and lures used to hook and catch a given gamefish species. Lure that will catch a majority of fish and should be found in every tacklebox include jigs, crankbaits, spoons, jerkbaits and soft plastic baits.

Gamefish Species Recommended Baits and Lures
Largemouth bass largemouth bass
Bait: shiners, minnows, shad, crawfish
Lures: jigs, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits, soft plastic worms, plastic frog baits, topwater frog lures, plastic crawfish, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, tube baits, stick baits, grubs, large streamers, poppers
Smallmouth bass smallmouth bass
Bait: crawfish, nightcrawlers, minnows, helgremites, leeches, insects
Lures: blaid baits, soft plastics, soft plastic worms, grubs, jigs, soft-plastic jerkbaits, mini crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwater lures, minnow lures, large streamers, poppers
Spotted bass spotted bass
Bait: crawfish, minnows, insects
Lures: tube baits, jigs, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, poppers, grubs, plastic worms, spoons, swimbaits, stickbaits, tubes, creature baits, topwater walkers, crankbaits, large streamers
Shoal bass   shoal bass
Bait: crawfish, minnows, insects
Lures: spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, small crankbaits, grubs, plastic crawfish, soft plastics, spoons
Striped bass striped bass
Bait: clams, cut bait, crabs, eels, spot, blood worms, sand worms, squid, bunker, mackerel
Lures: jigs, bucktail jigs, flies, plugs, hard baits, soft plastics, swimbaits, poppers, topwater lures, bunker spoons, umbrella rigs, large streamers
Hybrid striped bass hybrid striped bass
Bait: minnows, chicken liver, gizzard shad, alewife, herring (use small bait)
Lures: spoons, jigs, crankbaits, umbrella rig, topwater lures, large streamers, poppers
Redeye bass redeye bass
Bait: insects, minnows, crawfish, nightcrawlers, red worms
Lures: jigs, plugs, soft plastics, spinner baits, spoons, flies
Butterfly peacock bass Butterfly peacock bass
Bait: shiners, minnows
Lures: topwater plugs, jigs, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, minnow plugs, soft plastic jerkbaits, platstic tubes, propeller lures, bucktail jigs, large streamers, poppers
Channel catfish channel catfish
Bait: worms, shad, minnows, shrimp, hotdogs, cheese, stink bait (prefer dead bait)
Lures: jigs, crankbaits, spoons (less effective than baits)
Blue catfish blue catfish
Bait: shad, skipjack (alternative baits: drum, buffalo, perch, blue gill)
Lures: scented lures, shad crankbaits, fake worm lures, chatterbait, soft plastic crawfish lures
Flathead catfish flathead catfish
Bait: shiners, gold fish, bluegill, sunfish, crawfish, night crawlers (prefer live bait)
Lures: float tubes, scented soft baits
White catfish white catfish
Bait: minnows, worms, shrimp, chicken liver, menhaden, frogs, crayfish, grasshoppers, clam, nightcrawlers, bacon
Lures: crankbaits
Black bullhead black bullhead
Bait: worms, shad, minnows, shrimp, hotdogs, cheese, stink bait (prefer dead bait), bread, dough balls, cut bait, angle worms, nightcrawlers
Lures: jigs
Brown bullhead brown bullhead
Bait: bread, dough balls, cut bait, minnows, angle worms, nightcrawlers, leeches, live and dead minnows, pieces of chicken, beef, hotdogs
Lures: jigs
Yellow bullhead yellow bullhead
Bait: cut baits, bread, dough balls, minnows, angle worms, nightcrawlers
Lures: jigs, flies, bottom slip-sinkers
Rainbow Trout rainbow trout
Bait: cured fish roe, insects, Powerbait Trout Nuggets, worms, nymphs and minnows, kernel corn, salmon eggs
Lures: flies, jigs, spinners, spoons, plugs, streamers
Brown Trout brown trout
Bait: insects, earth worm, crickets, grasshoppers
Lures: flies, jigs, rapala stick bait, spinners, streamers, stick baits, streamers
Brook Trout brook trout
Bait: cured fish roe, insects, earthworms, mayflies, various fly larvae, wax worms, grasshoppers and crickets, minnows
Lures: spoons, jigs, flies, spinners, streamers
Cuttroat Trout cutthroat trout
Bait: insects, cured fish roe, salmon eggs, night crawlers, red wigglers, garden hackle
Lures: flies, jigs, spoons, Vibrax spinner, Kastmaster fishing lure, rooster tail lure, jerkbait, crank fishing lure, streamers
Golden Trout golden trout
Bait: saltwater live bait, cured fish roe, crickets, salmon eggs, mealy worms and nightcrawlers
Lures: flies, jigs, metal spoons, spinner baits
Bull Trout bull trout
Bait: saltwater live bait, cured fish roe, cut bait, night crawlers, red wigglers, garden hackle
Lures: flies, spoons, jigs, spinner baits, minnow imitating crankbaits,
Tiger Trout tiger trout
Bait: insects, cured fish roe, night crawlers
Lures: spinner baits, jigs, spoons, crankbait, Kastmasters, Triple Teasers, and Jake's Spin-a-lure. For flyfishers: leech, muddler, woolly bugger, and nymph patterns.
Lake Trout lake trout
Bait: cured fish roe, insects, night crawler, salmon eggs, large suckers, gold shiners
Lures: spoons, jigs, flies, big bucktail jig, soft paddle swimbait, trout tubes, bucktail jigs, jog heads, streamers
Steelhead steelhead
Bait: cured fish roe, saltwater live bait, insects, cutbait
Lures: spinner baits, plugs, spoons, brown, black, tan, and green nymph flies, jigs, plastic steelhead worms, bead, streamers
Black crappie black crappie
Bait: minnows, worms, insects
Lures: crappie jig, beetle with spinner, curly tail grub bait, flies
White crappie white crappie
Bait: minnows, worms, insects
Lures: crappie jig, beetle with spinner, curly tail grub bait, flies
Bluegill bluegill
Bait: insects, minnows, grubs, worms, night crawlers
Lures: flies, jigs, spinnerbaits, inline spinners, Carolina rigs, spoons
Green sunfish green sunfish
Bait: minnows, insects, bread, dough balls, worms, meal worm, crickets, night crawlers
Lures: jigs, flies, tiny spinners, spinnerbaits, jig-spinner combos, spoons
Longear sunfish longear sunfish
Bait: Nightcrawlers, red wigglers, meal worms, wax worms, crickets, horseflies
Lures: tiny spinners, marabou jigs, flies, and very tiny crankbaits
Pumpkinseed sunfish  pumpkinseed sunfish
Bait: minnows, insects, crickets, worms
Lures: flies, jigs, black or brown rubber spiders, small spinners
Redbreast sunfish redbreast sunfish
Bait: bread, dough balls, minnows, insects, worms, crickets, wax worms
Lures: flies, small jigs, small spinners, mini spoons, underspins, mini crankbait
Redear sunfish redear sunfish
Bait: bread, dough balls, insects, minnows, red worms, night crawlers
Lures: jigs, plastic trout worms, crankbait, flies
Rock bass rock bass
Bait: cut bait, insects, leeches, minnows, night crawlers, wax worms
Lures: plugs, spoons, flies, jigs, spinner bait, streamers
Spotted sunfish spotted sunfish
Bait: grass shrimp, worms, night crawlers, crickets, salmon eggs
Lures: small jigs, small spinners, mini spoons, mini crankbaits, underspins, flies
Tilapia tilapia
Bait: bread balls, peas, corn, earthworms
Lures: man-made lures that mimic small fish or invertebrates
Warmouth warmouth
Bait: minnows, insects, crickets, worms, small crayfish
Lures: flies, jigs, plugs, spoons, spinner baits, streamers
White bass white bass
Bait: minnows, worms
Lures: flies, spinner baits, floating jigs, lead-head jigsplugs, spoons, small silver colored spinners
Yellow bass yellow bass
Bait: insects, leeches, minnows, shad, crayfish, worms, night crawlers, red worms
Lures: flies, tube jigs, curly-tail jigs and split-tail jigs, spinnerbaits, plugs, spoons
Yellow perch yellow perch
Bait: insects, leeches, minnows, red worms, crickets, small crayfish or crayfish tails, and larval baits such as waxworms, mayfly larvae (“wigglers”) and maggots, or “spikes.”
Lures: flies, jigs, spinnerbaits, plugs, spoons, streamers
Atlantic salmon atlantic salmon
Bait: cured fish roe, cut bait, freshwater live bait, salmon eggs
Lures: flies, plugs, spinner baits, spoons, jigs, streamers
Chinook salmon chinook salmon
Bait: whiting, mackerel, minnows, scrub worms, mudeyes, and yabbies
Lures: soft plastic worms, flasher, hoochie rig, twinkle skirt, mooching rig, spoons, streamers
Chum salmon chum salmon
Bait: saltwater live bait, cut bait, cured fish roe, shrimp, prawns, salmon eggs
Lures: flies, spoons, purse seiners, gillnets, jigs, streamers
Coho salmon coho salmon
Bait: cut bait, freshwater live bait, small spawn sacs, salmon skein, waxworms, small pieces of shrimp, nightcrawlers or minnows
Lures: spinner baits, spoons, plugs, tube jigs, bobber, streamers
Kokanee salmon kokanee salmon
Bait: pink maggots, dyed-cured shrimp, squid, needlefish,
Lures: dyed-cured or sweet canned corn, jigs, Needlefish and Kastmaster spoons, Wedding Ring and Panther Martin spinners, and squid hoochies
Pink salmon pink salmon
Bait: saltwater live bait, cut bait, cured fish roe, salmon eggs, shrimp
Lures: spoons, plugs, flies, spinner baits, the spawn bag, the trout bead, the plastic worm, streamers
Sockeye salmon sockeye salmon
Bait: cured fish roe, cut bait, saltwater live bait, sand shrimp
Lures: flies, spoons, plugs, spinnerbaits, the spawn bag, the trout bead, the fly, and the plastic worm, jigs
Alligator gar alligator gar
Bait: cut bait, minnows, common carp, smallmouth buffalo, gizzard shad, scaled mullet
Lures: spoons, jigs
Bigmouth buffalo bigmouth buffalo
Bait: minnows, grasshoppers, crickets, worms, nightcrawlers
Lures: bread, dough balls, cutbait, flies, Twistertail Jigs, Inline Spinner Baits (Roostertails, Mepps, Bluefox), small flashy spoons.
Bowfin bowfin
Bait: leeches, minnows, nightcrawlers, minnows, salamanders, frogs, stinkbait
Lures: jigs, plugs, spoons, shiny spinner baits, large streamers, crawfish patterns, woolybuggers or any other large fly
Burbot burbot
Bait: insects, cured fish roe, whitefish, herring, squid, smelt
Lures: flasher jigs, flies, Fergie spoons, whitefish, herring, squid, smelt, glow lures
Chain pickerel chain pickerel
Bait: insects, leeches, minnows, Arkansas shiners, pond (golden) shiners, emerald shiners, chubs
Lures: jigs, plugs, spinner baits, soft plastics, spoons, large streamers
Common Carp common carp
Bait: nightcrawler, sweet corn, bread
Lures: flies, bread/dough balls, boilies, sweet corn
Dolly Varden dolly varden
Bait: cut bait, cured fish roe, saltwater live bait,
Lures: plugs, spinner baits, spoons, silver spinners, flies
Florida gar florida gar
Bait: minnows, carp, gizzard shad, smallmouth buffalo, and mullet
Freshwater drum freshwater drum
Bait: cut bait, insects, minnows, redworms, shad, crayfish
Lures: soft plastics, spoons, plugs, jigs, blade baits
Grass carp grass carp
Bait: cherry tomatoes, watermelon (the red and the rind), fresh cut grass, acorns, dog food, catfish food, bread dough, new oak leaves and green, kidney or lima beans, bagels
Lures: flies
Lake whitefish lake whitefish
Bait: insects, minnows, cured fish roe, maggots, mayflies, waxworms
Lures: flies, tear drop jigs, spoons, marabou jig, inline spinners, wireworms, bread/dough balls
Longnose gar longnose gar
Bait: shiners, minnow, perch
Lures: crankbait, cut bait, spinners, jigs, spoons, flies
Mountain whitefish mountain whitefish
Bait: insects, minnow, cured fish roe, worms, maggots
Lures: flies, jigs, spoons, bread/dough balls
Muskellunge muskellunge
Bait: White suckers, bucktails, minnow
Lures: jogs, plugs, spoons, spinner baits, bucktail, crankbait, large streamers
Northern pike northern pike
Bait: minnows, ciscos, suckers, alewives, shad, yellow perch, bluegill. *artificial lures known to work better
Lures: flies, plugs, spoons, spooner baits, inline spinners, large streamers
Paddlefish paddlefish
Bait: *caught using snagging method, live bait typiclly not used
Lures: snag hooks
Sauger sauger
Bait: minnow, leeches
Lures: Lindy jigs, wobbling crankbait, jigs, spinner baits, spoons, plugs, large streamers
Saugeye saugeye
Bait: minnows, nightcrawlers, leeches
Lures: spinners, spoons, jigs, flies, plugs,
Smallmouth buffalo smallmouth buffalo
Bait: grasshoppers, crickets, worms, nightcrawlers, mayflies, bloodworms, corn, balls of dough/bread,
Lures: sinkers
Spotted gar spotted gar
Bait: minnows, small bream, shiners, shad, sunfish
Lures: baitfish imitiation plug, bucktail, entanglement bait/rope lure
Sturgeon sturgeon
Bait: crawfish, fresh water clams, salmon eggs or carcasses, shad and other small fish, night crawlers, lamprey, smelt
Lures: *bottom feeder, artifical bait typicllly not used.
Tiger Muskellunge tiger muskellunge
Bait: white suckers,shiners, rainbow trout
Lures: paddle tail, rubber bait, crankbait, surface lure, bucktail, "downsize" bait, large streamers
Walleye walleye
Bait: minnows, leeches, worms, young lampreys
Lures: soft plastics, barbed jigs, crankbait, jerkbait, spinners, large streamers

Selecting the Right Bait and Lures

There is certainly no limit to the types of baits and lures that are available on the market today. Visit any fishing store and you'll be presented with a never ending selection of baits, lures and terminal tackle galore. If you're not careful, you'll spend more time preparing to go fishing than actually catching fish. Identifying the right bait is important, but it's easy to get caught up in the thick of thin very quickly if you don't know what you're looking for. Below we'll explore how to select the right bait or lure for the right fish, based on size and color, location, weather conditions and season.

1. Select a correct bait size and color

If you want to land that trophy catch it's imperative that you "match the hatch." Your bait or lure selection should match a fish's local prey. If your bait is larger than what a fish is accustomed to eating, or the color of your lure doesn't resemble a fish's traditional menu, your bait and lure may be ignored altogether. Try to keep your bait selection within the size range of local prey. Make sure your lures are a color that mimics a fish's natural prey. If you select the correct bait size and color, you'll see your catch rate climb.

2. Take into account weather conditions

Do you typically eat ice cream on a cold wet day or when it's warm and sunny? Fish don't eat icecream but their feeding patterns are impacted by weather conditions. A fish's feeding activity and bait preferences will be influenced by changes in temperature. You're likely to catch more fish on days prior to a cold front while fish are more active. Cloudy overcast days impact how well fish can see a bait or lure under the surface of the water. On cloudy days you may consider using lures that are darker. Alternatively, lighter colored baits are ideal for warmer, sunny days. When making your bait and lure selection, take into consideration to weather conditions.

3. Select the correct bait for where you're fishing

Where you decide to fish will greatly impact the type of bait or lure you use. For starters, saltwater fish tend to respond more favorably to live bait than artificial lures. On the other hand, freshwater fish will typically respond to either live bait or artificial lures. Another question you need to ask yourself is where your target fish feed? Do they feed at the top of the water column, mid-water column, or on the bottom. Bait and lure selection (and effectiveness) will depend greatly on where in the water column a fish feeds. If you're fishing on the water surface, you'll need to use a setup that keeps your bait on or near the surface. If you're fishing on the bottom of a lake, you'll need to use a setup that gets your bait down where your target fish are feeding.

4. Use a season appropriate bait or lure

Regardless of where you live or like to vacation, you can catch fish year round. However, fishing during the middle of the winter in Montana requires a slightly different approach to bait selection (and fishing) than fishing off the coast of Florida during the winter. Season impacts weather conditions and water temperature. If you're fishing in colder winter weather, you'll generally want a slower moving bait. If you're fishing in warmer spring or summer weather, try a faster moving bait, such as a good crankbait.

Disclaimer: Sportsman's Warehouse assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions of the information on this page. Although we strive to provide the most accurate information as we can the information contained in this page is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.