How to Hook a Minnow: 3 Best Methods

How to Hook a Minnow: 3 Best Methods

When it comes to fishing, you have to pay a lot of special attention to the gear and equipment you use, your technique and skill, the location and type of waters…and also the bait that will encourage the fish to bite, so that you can actually catch a few.

And one of the most popular types of baits, amongst anglers all over the world, is a minnow. 

Minnow is great as bait for many different species of fish and can be very effective. Plus it can be used live or dead.

The important thing is to hook it on properly so that you don’t lose it once you cast the reel out into the water! 

So…how do you hook a minnow? Well, there are many different ways in which you can hook a minnow, and to help you out, we’ve included instructions for the three best methods, so that you can choose the one most suited to your fishing style and preference.

Plus, some pros and cons of using minnow, and some extra tips to help you along the way. 

Are you ready? Then let’s get right into it! 

How to Hook Your Minnow – the 3 best methods

live minnow on hook

Minnows are one of the very best live bait you can use when fishing, and what’s important is that the minnow stays alive for as long as possible after being hooked so that it can attract the fish you’re after.

That means you have to be careful when hooking the minnow, and you have to use the right method. 

There are many different methods and techniques when it comes to hooking live minnows, but here are our top three, which are considered to be the best, and which are the most commonly used: 

Through the lip hook

With this method, you hook the minnow through its upper and lower lips

This method is great for multiple different casts, and it allows the minnow to move freely, which can often attract more fish or certain species of fish. On the downside, this method doesn’t really keep the minnow alive for very long. 

The dorsal hook

Minnow hooked trough dorsal finn

With this method, you hook the minnow through its back, slightly in front of the dorsal fin

This method is one of the most recommended, as it allows the minnow to move freely, which makes it a more appealing bait for the fish you’re trying to catch, and also it allows the minnow to live for a lot longer than with other methods.

However, it’s quite a tricky one, as you can accidentally hit the spine of the minnow while hooking, and that will ruin the live baiting. 

Trick hook

With this method, you hook the minnow through the mouth, with the hook exiting behind the gills, near the stomach. This method is the one with the strongest grip on the minnow so that it won’t accidentally fall off when casting.

This makes it the best for fishing in fast or strong waters! However, this method doesn’t really keep the minnow alive for very long. (That being said, the fast waters will make the minnow move around even when dead, so it will still be very effective as bait!)

Should you fish with Minnows?

Fishing with minnows

When fishing with minnows as live bait, you can hook them up in many different ways, and maybe you will choose to use one of the three methods that we talked about above.

But before you do so, you might be asking yourself whether you should even be fishing with minnows or not in the first place.

After all, there are many different types of bait, is minnow really the one for you? 

Well, minnows are very popular, and often considered one of the best types of live bait, as they are great for catching all types of gamefish.

But whether you use them or not, is completely up to you, and as with anything in life, they have their pros and cons. Let’s take a look at these, and then you can decide for yourself! 


  • Fishing with minnows is very easy, and apt for most beginners
  • Minnows serve as an excellent bait, as they tempt all sorts of fish
  • They serve as great bait in deep still water, and in slow-moving water


  • Minnows are a hassle to transport to your fishing location, as they have to be kept alive in freshwater during the entire journey
  • Depending on the hooking method you use, the minnows don’t stay alive very long, and therefore they’re a lot of hassle for not a very long time of usefulness 

Tip for when using Minnows

Live minnow as a bait

If you want a pro tip that will save you a lot of money when fishing with live minnows, we recommend that instead of buying them from the bait shop, you catch them yourself!

If you have access to fresh water and the right tools, catching live minnow is actually fairly simple, and you can get lots of them so that you are well-stocked for bait without having to spend any money! Just some of your time, and it’s well worth it! 

Those that regularly catch their own minnows, often use a basic minnow trap. You can make your own, to go the full DIY way, or you can purchase one for quite cheap.

To use the minnow trap, you simply place some breadcrumbs or similar inside and throw them into a shallow area of freshwater.

Then, you just wait! Usually, it is recommended that you wait overnight, but this depends, as some people just leave the trap for a few hours and they catch plenty of minnows in that amount of time. 

Of course, once you have caught the minnows, you have to be able to properly store them in fresh water, so that they stay alive, and so that you can then use them as live bait for your actual fishing! 


So…in conclusion, how do you hook a minnow?

Well, there are many different methods and techniques for hooking a minnow so that it can be used as live bait, but you have to be careful and should aim to use the best method possible, so that the minnow stays alive for longer, and so that it is truly effective as live bait. 

The three best methods for hooking a minnow are the through the lip hook, the dorsal hook, and the trick hook.

Each method has its pros and cons, and ultimately, the one you choose depends on your own personal preference and the location where you are fishing. 

As to whether you should even be using minnows or not for your fishing, that also depends on you. There are pros and cons to using minnows as bait, so it depends on the circumstances and the location.

However, it must be said the minnows are considered to be the most effective live bait for catching most species of fish! 

Plus, if you really want to be a professional, and save some money while you’re at it, you can catch your own minnow to be used as bait, instead of buying them at your bait shop.

All you need is a basic minnow trap, access to freshwater, and some patience. The downside? You then have to store and transport the minnows appropriately, so that they stay alive until used as bait. 


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