Freshwater Baitfish



fathead 3






Need assistance with wildlife and fish management on your ranch, backyard, or pond? Simply call your local County Extension Agent.

The three main fish species raised for bait in the southern region are the golden shiner, the fathead minnow, and the goldfish. Together, these three species account for more than 90 percent of farm-raised bait and feeder fish sales in the United States. Baitfish are used by anglers to catch crappie, largemouth bass, walleye and other fishes.  Feeders are small fish sold through pet stores and to zoos as food for ornamental fish and invertebrates. Golden shiners, fathead minnows and goldfish are particularly suited for culture as bait and feeder fish because they adapt well to the environment of culture ponds, have a small adult size, readily accept prepared feeds, reproduce freely in ponds, and are found in most states in the country. Other fish, invertebrates (crawfish and shrimp), and amphibians are also used for bait, and culture methods are under development for a number of alternative species.

-SRAC Publication No. 120, Common Farm-Raised Baitfish

Southern Regional Aquaculture Center


North Central Regional Aquaculture Center

north central rac

 University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
 University of Florida
 Louisiana State University
 Auburn University
 University of Georgia


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