Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Natural Baits For Panfish

by: L.A. Van Veghel

Here’s a list of live baits that are ideal morsels to use when panfishing. Sure, some bait types are missing, but these are basically “variations on a theme by L.A. Van Veghel.” Newly swatted flies and bees are ideal for use when panfishing for most species.

Small Minnows – Yellow perch, crappies, rock bass, white bass, yellow bass, and also rock bass.
Earthworms – White bass, rock bass, yellow perch, occasionally crappies, sunfish (including bluegills, pumpkinseed, perch, rock bass and crappies.
Crickets – Bluegills, pumpkinseeds, yellow perch, occasionally crappies, both black and white,
Grubs - Crappies, yellow perch, rock bass and all species of sunfish,
Caterpillars – Crappies, yellow perch, rock bass & sunfish,
Hellgrammite – Rock bass, yellow perch & sunfish,
Nymphs – (Examples: May fly or Caddis Fly) – Yellow perch, crappies and sunfish,
Nightcrawlers – Yellow perch, rock bass, warmouth & sunfish,
Grasshoppers – Yellow perch, crappies, & all species of sunfish,
Newts & Salamanders (Small) – Rock bass & warmouth,
Wasp larvae – Yellow perch, crappies, rock bass & sunfish,
Freshwater Shrimp (scud) – Yellow perch, crappies, rock bass & sunfish,
Dragonflies – Crappies, white bass, warmouths, rock bass,
Darters – Crappies, warmouth, yellow perch & rock bass,
Sculpins – Warmouth and rock bass.Cut bait (small) – Yellow perch, crappie, rock bass, white bass & warmouth.


Contrary to popular belief, there are more panfish types than just crappie, bluegill and yellow perch. Our planet includes warmouth, green sunfish, long-eared sunfish, Sacramento perch – It’s a sunfish family member --, pumpkinseed, redear sunfish, redbreast sunfish, Roanoke Bass (Similar to rock bass), spotted sunfish, yellowbreast sunfish, white perch – This one’s a whitebass relative --, and we might as well include the following smaller fish that are not normally included in the larger gamefish groupings. Among these fish are lake herring, bullhead, chubs, smelt, mooneye, eulachon (or candlefish due to their oily skin. These fish were once burned as candles), and the threatened Wisconsin specie the goldeye. Brook trout have the luxury of being panfish but are upper crust enough to also be called gamefish.

This article is not in the continuing sunfish of southeast Wisconsin series that will pick-up again with crappies. This piece augments that series. Look forward to an article on Wisconsin’s forgotten gamefish. See if you can guess what it is.

Here’s a suggestion for a New Year's Resolution for private pond owners. How about switching from importing non-native fish that the history of past species such as silver carp or snakefish shows will end up in our state’s public waters and displace native panfish and gamefish to raising threatened and endangered native fish species? Switching is a great way to help save protected and getting rarer native fish species while helping protect biodiversity in our southeast Wisconsin waters. See what the DNR thinks.

Fish Base Consortium (Fresh water & salt water fish identification) – http://www.fishbase.org/search.php

Rare Fishes - http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/er/biodiversity/index.asp?mode=detail&Grp=13

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