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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.


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



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



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



Bait: bread balls, peas, corn, earthworms

Lures: man-made lures that mimic small fish or invertebrates



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

Other Game Fish Species

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.



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



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



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



Bait: *caught using snagging method, live bait typiclly not used

Lures: snag hooks



Bait: minnow, leeches

Lures: Lindy jigs, wobbling crankbait, jigs, spinner baits, spoons, plugs, large streamers



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



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



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.