hybrid hunter

Keeping Herring Alive

10 posts in this topic

Getting bait the past couple of years in NW NJ has been challenging as more bait shops (and those selling herring) have closed. Fishing Spruce Run, and now Round Valley Reservoirs has become particularly difficult as the only bait shop in the area is Hi Way Sports shop, and he doesn't open until 6 am. I like to get out before sunrise as fishing is often great before the sun comes up.

 

I recently bought an insulated bait bucket with an aerator. I have a second aerator as well. I then bought two dozen herring at the end of the day (around 6 pm) and attempted to keep them overnight so I could fish in the (early) morning. I even changed the water with fresh river water from the Musconetcong at around 1030 PM; when I got up in the morning (330 am), all of the fish were ok, but by the time I got to Spruce Run (430), I had some floaters, and all the fish were dead by 6 am. I missed one fish on a live herring, but they all died quickly.

 

Any advice or guidance on how to keep these fish lively? I'm at a point where fishing Spruce Run doesn't make sense because I can't get live bait, or I need to fish at night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a laundry basket. I use 2, one inside the other. I put a bag of ice in the bottom or outside basket. There's a 12 v dual aerator.  I easily keep 2 dozen for the weekend. 

Temp changes are not good. Warm is the worst.  I will not change or add warm surface lake water to my bait. 

I will change out 50% overnight from my well. Well is cold and no additives. 

I'll add a bit of water softener salt. Make sure the salt is all natural Crystal's. I put say 6 or 7 gallons in there and add 1 finger in a small plastic cup to the water. 

I use this on the boat or truck bed.

Keeps alwife great.

They dont die..... till they get ate.

20180913_095826.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Love it. I had a 3 gallon battery aerated insulated bucket, clearly not enough, then switched out to a 5 gallon homer bucket where I put an aerator and river water.

 

The river water is good, quite cold, I have wild trout streams around too so I can get good springs. I'm going to get two of those laundry baskets. No need to put a top on there? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hard to keep, you'll work harder handling bait than you will fishing. Try keeping a few alive, a dozen is asking too much for a bucket aerator system. 

 

And any handling of the Herring is damaging, they aren't very hardy, just looking to croak and ruin your day.  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 mins ago, Highlander1 said:

Hard to keep, you'll work harder handling bait than you will fishing. Try keeping a few alive, a dozen is asking too much for a bucket aerator system. 

 

And any handling of the Herring is damaging, they aren't very hardy, just looking to croak and ruin your day.  

 

 

Good point. I'm frankly ready to just fish Lake Hopatcong instead of Spruce Run as Dow opens at 530 and they will leave bait before they open if you ask them.

 

I just love how quiet and desolate Spruce Runs is, I regularly hook up too, especially when I have lively herring. 

 

Im thinking that the 12 volt dual aerator, ice and dual laundry bin may be the ticket

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have decent luck with one aerator, 5 gallon bucket and two dozen by keeping temp cold.

i use frozen 1 liter bottles and add them as they thaw, usually 3-4 overnight.

I have also frozen lake water in tupperware and pop that in the bucket in the morning. still get one or two floaters and once all ice melts they die pretty quickly this time of year but fresh dead work really well fished like a lure or slow trolled. good luck. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have some application for dead sawbelly or alwife. 

When I use this method, I take the bait live and refrigerate in a small baggie so they're stiff, straight and gills closed. Dead in the bucket while I'm live lining is not part of the program. When I had floaters...

(when I used the other above methods) generally the bait I netted for the hook would not live long when put over the side. When they start dieing, the whole batch is going down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok great to know. I have serious experience fishing with herring for trout, but hybrids is a whole new world; slow trolling is my next topic. I need to understand the how's on slow trolling; I'm in a kayak, so i can probably run a couple lines.

 

The frustrating part of my experience on Saturday is that they went down when I was at the reservoir; I frankly think that the water at the reservoir was in the low 70's and probably killed them; I would have been better replacing the water with river water (or finding a way to chill the water, with frozen river water, my wife is going to kill me).

 

Thanks for all this guidance, it's invaluable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.