How do you know what colors to choose to hammer the fish in Lake Erie? The minnow farmer explains and gives top recommendations! These selections are strictly based off what we see in the minnow nets, and are all fairly versatile baits overall.
It has been an incredible journey and challenge to set up a minnow farm, bait and tackle shop from scratch. I struggled to figure out exactly what needed to be sold in the shop. Then it clicked, I went back to my minnow harvesting roots, and started to really consider what type of bait we see in the minnow nets. I started to really model my shop after the colors, shapes, and sizes that I see right here in Lake Erie and paired it with incredible quality cutting edge products.
People will often ask me, what is the best colours to use, and my answer is almost always the same, “it depends on where you are fishing” mimic the bait fish in that particular lake and you can’t really go wrong. It does make sense to adjust brightness based on water color as well but don’t forget to mimic the baitfish. This is where the minnow harvester comes in, I see everything in Lake Erie, and here are my TOP 3 CHOICES to mimic the baitfish/minnows in Lake Erie. The number once choice is by far the most desirable choice for bait in Lake Erie. These do change slightly throughout the year but are mainstays all year. All three can be fished at different depths with varying presentations.
3 = Goby – Whether we like it or not, this invasive species has quickly become abundant in Lake Erie. Fish love gobies however bait dealers are not allowed to sell and must kill this species when caught. That doesn’t mean you can’t mimic them.
Our choice to mimic the Goby - Drifter Minnow.
2- Yellow Perch – This is another fish which you can’t fish with as live bait because it is illegal but there is nothing illegal about matching your presentation to these baits.
Our choice to mimic Yellow Perch – Berkley Spy Bait Stealth Perch 70
1-Emerald Shiner – By far the most desirable minnow in Lake Erie, mimic the emerald shiner and you greatly enhance your chances of catching fish in Lake Erie. These beautiful minnows can vary in color slightly depending on location but the ones I see the most around our bait shop are a strong silver with emerald/blue colors.
Our choice to mimic Emerald Shiner – Mooneye Minnow - Blue Lagoon