Keeping live bait at home

Discussion in 'MISSOURI RIVERS TALK' started by TheMadCatter, Jun 11, 2009.

  1. TheMadCatter

    TheMadCatter New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    missouri
    i get this question alot when i fish with new people, so i figured i would put something up about keeping your own live bait. i have 2 fish tanks setup for keeping live bait. one is for fish, it is a 30 gallon-tall aquarium. in it i keep gold fish, minnows, various perch, bullheads, etc. the other is a 15 gallon-long, for crawdads. you must keep crawdads seperate from your bait fish due to the fact that they will eat anything they can grab. trust me on this, i have seen one craw take down a 5 inch perch.
    now as far as feeding them is concerned.
    i feed my craws from a bag of frozen vegtables that i buy from walmart. very easy and cheap. the only words of caution i can give is to find a veggie mix that has NO carrots in it. carrots will eventually turn your water orange, thick, and sometimes toxic. an additional food source is my tank of fish. whenever i get a dead one or two i toss them into the craw tank and they make quick work of it. craws are hearty and very hard to kill....in my opion.
    for the bait fish tank, i use to cut up worms to feed these guys, however i have found an easier (less messy) way of feeding them. as the perch dont seem to take regular fish food, i use a pond flake that they eat up really fast. it is a product called "wardley pond flake food". a can of this will run about 5 bucks at walmart, and all the fish will eat it.
    now as far as the water goes, you want to make sure you use a chemical that will remove chlorine from tap water when ever you fill or add water to a tank. a successful way to help stabalize your water culture is to periodacly add river water to your mix. the river water actually contians various bacteria that river or lake fish need to maintian good health. it also helps aclimate any baitshop baitfish to the river water. i keep my ph balance in the 7.5 to 8.0 range (ph is the measurement of acidic or alkalie content in the water).
    it sounds like its alot of work, but i promise its very simple, and on days when the baitshop is out of your favorite live bait, you will be set to jet. if you have kids its also a great way to keep them busy. you just give them some worms, show them how to bait the hook (if they are old enough) and send them out to fill your tank. now dont let them get to many. to many fish in the tank can cause amonia levels to spike and the water WILL become toxic. the end result will be a lot of dead fish.

    good luck, be safe, any questions just ask.
     
  2. TheMadCatter

    TheMadCatter New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    missouri
    also, i forgot to mention that if you happen to get some bait fish that are to small for your needs you can grow them up relativly fast by adding extra oxygen (air bubblers) and moving up feeding them from once a day to 2 or 3 times. but only give them the amount of food they can consume in 5 min. or once again the water may become toxic.
     

  3. Welder

    Welder New Member

    Messages:
    4,834
    State:
    Missouri
    Hows that bullhead I gave ya doen?
     
  4. TheMadCatter

    TheMadCatter New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    missouri
    fat and happy. i caught a couple more in the crawdad trap and put them in there to keep him company. i was thinking of taken a couple of them down to the meramec to throw on some jugs. see if i can land a flat or something.
     
  5. ljensen

    ljensen New Member

    Messages:
    84
    State:
    mo
    I use 75 & 95 gallon oval stock tanks with undergravel filters and a bubbler this keeps bait alive for quite a while. Just don't put chubs and bullheads together the chubs get ate. If you wan't to keep chubs for a long period of time move them inside under an air conditioner vent they stay real cold and happy just keep a lid on em they jump like crazy. You do need to do 1/2 water changes every now and then to keep toxics down.
     
  6. KansasKatCatcher

    KansasKatCatcher Active Member

    Messages:
    461
    State:
    Kansas City, Ka
    Creek Chubs only jump out of the tank only if there stressed.Use to loose have of them in a 10gal tank.Now that I moved them to a 55gal decorated aquarium.Havnt lost one fish due to them jumping out.
     
  7. TheMadCatter

    TheMadCatter New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    missouri
    another good thing to use are the plastic storage bins you can get at walmart really cheap. they have lids that lock on, which is great for crawdads as they will escape if given the chance.

    if you moved up to a cheap pond filter you would probably be able to not have to change the water so frequently. i have had my tanks going for a couple years now, and i have never had to drain old water and add new. i use fish filters that are about 2 times the size of what i need, and it keeps them real clean, and produces a nice little current that keeps food moving to all water levels in the tank. all the air bubblers i use keep the water from going stale, and as i said before, increase the growth rate of the fish in the tank.
     
  8. ShotgunBill

    ShotgunBill New Member

    Messages:
    35
    State:
    Missouri
    I have been thinking of this myself, the places I have to get bait are really quick to flood and then as the river is rising everyone is on the water and I have no bait. I like live bait early in the year.:roll_eyes:
     
  9. Scaley Cat

    Scaley Cat Member

    Messages:
    213
    State:
    Missouri
    I made 2 bait tanks like Ace posted in the members library. I didnt add the air stones but it works great. I must figure out a filter system for it though so i can cut down on the water changes.
     
  10. Iowa_Josh

    Iowa_Josh New Member

    Messages:
    1,463
    State:
    Central Iowa
    Brandon, why are you messing with the ph? Is yours low? Your water supply should be somewhat close to the lakes and rivers around you, at least I would think so.

    People think they need to feed fish in an aquarium way too much. It creates a lot of pollutant that will give you fits.
     
  11. TheMadCatter

    TheMadCatter New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    missouri
    find a submersable fountain pump. pump the water through a hose straight up into a cut down 5gal bucket, about 12 inches tall (save the lid), and on the top of the hose install a diverter. the diverter could be a piece of lexan, and just install it over the top of the hose like an umbrella. the water discharged from the hose will hit the diverter, and cause it to slash back and out (like a fountian). MAKE SURE YOU START ON THE LOWEST SETTING OF THE PUMP AND WORK UP FROM THERE. you will need several holes drilled into the bottom of the bucket or run a few drain hoses from the bottom of the bucket into your "tank" (doing this will cut down on the sound of splashing water).
    now all you need to do is suround the hose, in the bucket with filter pads and sheets of activated carbon. which you can get any any petco/petsmart in the pond section.
    the water will now travel from your "tank", into the pump,up the hose, hit the diverter, ricochette off the diverter, fall back on the filter pads, the filter pads will clean it as it passes through, the water will fall back into the tank from the drain hoses, and the process will begin again. a tip would be to put the drain hoses to one side of the tank and the pump on the other, this will creat a current that will flow debris to the pump so they can be filtered out more effectivley. finally, put the lid over top of the bucket to keep light out, so the filter pads wont grow algae.

    hope it helps, i used to manage an aquriaum at a large pet store, and used to build cheap filters for my friends parents ponds. this is an easy filter to build, that will work very well at filtering, aswell as helping oxygenate the water further.
     
  12. TheMadCatter

    TheMadCatter New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    missouri
    for some reason my water is has a very high alkalie content.
     
  13. mjbarby

    mjbarby New Member

    Messages:
    49
    State:
    oklahoma
    my wife wants a backyard water garden. could this be used to "store" bait until needed? just a thought, what are the varibles one would need to consider when setting something like this up?
     
  14. Manny

    Manny New Member

    Messages:
    248
    State:
    Arnold, Mo
    I built about a 500 gallon pond in the backyard. I catch all the blugill I want and just throw them into it. When ever I need bait I go out and take the net and take a swipe thru it.

    Its also great when you catch fish and dont feel like cleaning it for a while. I have kept bass,flathead, channel, and blue in it for as long as a year. It about 32" deep at its deepest point. I run a 500 gal per hour pump for two waterfalls that keep it aerated.

    The other day I was netting a couple flathead out of it and noticed fry swimming around in it. I have no idea what kind of fish they are yet, as I have kept every kind of species in it. From crappie, bass, catfish etc.

    I dont feed them much or really ever. I do have crustations of some sort around all the cat tails and snails that got there somehow. I clean it about once every few months with about a half to 3/4 water changed with chemical to make the tapwater safe.

    My neighbor even seen a couple ducks in it once, plus I noticed blackbirds fishing for minnows in it near the waterfall.

    Pretty easy overall:big_smile:
     
  15. TheMadCatter

    TheMadCatter New Member

    Messages:
    539
    State:
    missouri
    you absolutley could, except in small ponds winter may kill some fish.
     
  16. GaryF

    GaryF New Member

    Messages:
    3,649
    State:
    O.P., KS
    One thing to be aware of is that the bigger ones will fail over time from the weight of the water. I've had 2 of the 35 gallon ones give out over the last 4 years. I now put two containers out, one inside the other, with the first one lined on the bottom with bricks to support the one that goes inside. If the inner container fails, the outer one will hold the water and save the bait... and more importantly save the pump from burning up from running dry.
     
  17. 320hotrod

    320hotrod New Member

    Messages:
    356
    State:
    KCMO
    I did like Manuel and built two connecting backyard ponds when my wife told me no more bait inside. It was the best thing I could have done, and really miss it since we moved. I had all sorts of sunfish and creek chubs (pigs ate a ton of food!) and goldfish. I could bring home dinner and not have to hurry up and clean'em by letting them rest for a while in the smaller pond. And while I did use a net every now and again, I had more fun with my two kids re-catching the bait while sittin on the porch. Does make for a lots of strange looks from the neighbors, like fishing from a pothole! I kept my water flowing all year, as one pond waterfalled into the other, and while they would mostly freeze up when it was very cold, I always still had bait in the spring. I very rarely had to treat the water, with the exception of major water changes, and cleaned my pump filter about once a month. Very easy and effective.
     
  18. Vector

    Vector New Member

    Messages:
    123
    State:
    Midwest
    :smile2: Good stuff Madcatter! I love working on keeping bait alive. I call it babysitting.

    I DO NOT KNOW a hill of beans about catching crawdads though! Have you got any tips for me to try out? Or is there a link somewhere? I'd sure like to use them more, but I don't know how to go about catching them at all.

    I've got muddy ponds, small streams, and larger creeks I could try to catch them in if I knew what to try.

    Thanks!

    Vector
     
  19. morivercatfisher

    morivercatfisher New Member

    Messages:
    70
    State:
    missouri
    throw a cast net into some creeks thats how i catch crawdads
     
  20. Vector

    Vector New Member

    Messages:
    123
    State:
    Midwest
    I can give that a try!

    I just started throwing one in ponds this spring. It makes bait catching a LOT faster than rod and reeling them all!

    Vector