Best Bait or Lures to Use in Streams and Small Rivers

The standard rules for water current and lures apply to most species in streams and small rivers. Most fish mainly eat small minnows and crawdads that live in the river, but they won’t pass up insects like dragonflies, mayflies or grasshoppers that fall into the water.

Live bait like nightcrawlers, minnows and leeches will catch almost every type of fish, and they’re your best options for bottom-feeding fish like catfish, carp and suckers.

For predator fish like trout, walleye or bass, small minnow or crawdad imitators are my main choice. Shallow or medium running crankbaits scurry along the bottom like a crawfish. Two- to 3-inch-long jerkbaits, inline spinners and soft plastic swimbaits resemble little minnows.

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