grasshoppers as bait

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Jason E.
Jason E.'s picture
grasshoppers as bait
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 420px; height: 336px;" /></p> <p>With the dry, fall weather here in Minnesota, there&#39;s lots of grasshoppers jumping about and not too many worms to be found.&nbsp; So, I experimented a little bit the other day with grasshoppers as bait.&nbsp; I&#39;ve had great success with them while fishing for bass but wanted to see if other species would be interested.</p> <p>I threw out a grasshopper on the bottom, and soon caught a 15 inch channel catfish.&nbsp; Nothing too special, but still kind of fun on the new bait.&nbsp; Then, nothing.&nbsp; This spot is about as close as you can get to a sure bet for suckers, redhorse, and carp.&nbsp; I waited a good hour or so and then tried a worm.&nbsp; A few seconds later, I caught this fine fish.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width: 500px; height: 312px;" /></p> <p>I guess redhorse don&#39;t care much for grasshoppers.&nbsp; It didn&#39;t really surprise me much, but the speed with which the redhorse hit once I switched back to worms was pretty revealing.</p> <p>I was wondering if anyone else has tried grasshoppers and, if so, what kind of species have they caught.&nbsp; I&#39;m considering freezing some and saving them for ice fishing this year.&nbsp; Any thoughts or opinions?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
Sunfish, perch, trout, carp,
Sunfish, perch, trout, carp, and catfish usually like them. I've heard of black bass & rock bass, crappie, walleye/sauger, and fallfish going for them at various times too.




Let there be fire!

Heidi's picture
If I were a fish...

Please excuse my "noobieness," (so my opinion doesn't amount to much I know...) but this thread is really interesting! I'm always wondering about effective, natural live bait, and I really appreciate yours and Pyro's posts about your results using grasshoppers. I brought a jar of junebugs to the roundup in April, but left them on a picnic table and forgot about them, so never tried them - next year! 


Anyhoo, in regards to crunchy, exoskeleton bearing arthropods versus squishy, tender annelids, it seems a lot of northern freshwater fish's mouths appear adapted to softer food items. Grasshoppers in particular are very spiney and spikey, and I would theorize this texture might make them unpalatable to soft-mouthed fish like redhorse. However, a fish with a mouth like a bowfin might really appreciate such a special snack!


I'm very curious how much texture plays a role in what fish like, in correlation with flavor of course. 


I assume, like people, fish just might be in "a squishy crawler or crunchy bug kinda mood," depending on their present fishy states of mind...but if I were a redhorse, I'd hate it if grasshopper legs poked me in the lips, or got stuck in my throat like popcorn hulls...(@-@)


But please correct me if my theory "sucks" ;) - really! 

"Can you pull the leviathan in with a fishook?" Job 41: 1


the pyromaniac
the pyromaniac's picture
Heidi, I think you might be
Heidi, I think you might be onto something. Redhorse are probably going to be conditioned by the way they're designed to go for different stuff than spiky terrestrial arthropods. Bass, catfish, sunfish, trout, crappie, carp, walleye, sauger, perch, and fallfish have one thing in common. They'll eat just about anything...... Bass, trout, catfish, and sunfish especially have no problem focusing on terrestrials. I saw a picture yesterday of a cutthroat trout eating a mouse, and I know bass, pike/muskies, snakeheads, pikeminnows (squawfish), and brown/brook/rainbow trout eat mice, so why not? Most predatory fish are opportunists and terrestrial prey often presents an easier meal. For the record, I've been catching fish lately on slugs.....




Let there be fire!

Hengelaar's picture

I bet the pharyngeal teeth on somedem Red Hoss would do the bidness on any little bug right quick, like they do on clams and watersnails...

Maybe they're less interested because a grasshopper eminates much less of a smell and taste in the water than does a nice fleshy crawler. Or a (piece of) clam...

Just a thought.

Fishn sure is neat

Conecuh's picture
Species of hopper?

I don't know about the rest of the country, but down here in the South, baitshops sell a lot of gray crickets for bait. But it's common knowledge around that black crickets don't work at all.

It's true, I've tried black crickets and fish just won't eat them. 

That might be true of grasshoppers, too. Each individual species might be different, in the fish attracting department.

Nick Li
Nick Li's picture
Yupp! I've heard the same

Yupp! I've heard the same about grey and black, and I've had the same results ahha, it's interesting, and I know a lot of herbivores like eating grasshoppers and cicadas because they are basically condensed plant matter haha, I've seen many grass carp surface to eat a cicada or grasshopper. It also depends on what kind of food the grasshopper has been living off of, I know that plays a big role in whether a channel catfish will bite a grasshopper or not.

SK Justin
SK Justin's picture
Match the hatch

One of the species I've found most susceptible to grasshoppers is smallmouth bass.

Match the hatch


Corey's picture

Well, the thing you need to think about is whether the fish is a sight-feeder or a smell-feeder.


Grasshoppers are a terrestrial insect.  They have an exoskeleton to keep their liquid innards intact in a xeric environment.  So when a grasshopper finds itself in the water, it doesn't spread any scent.  As far as scent-feeding fish are concerned, it might as well be invisible.



Jason E.
Jason E.'s picture
I speared the grasshopper

I speared the grasshopper through the abdomen and head, and a few juices spilled out.  He was, of course, chewing his "tobacco" vigorously at that point too, so there was some scent in the water right after I casted him out there.  Interestingly though, and this would seem to validate Corey's point, when I pulled the grasshopper up to check on him, he was no longer oozing out any fluids, suggesting that, after a short while, he was leaving little to no scent in the water.  It seems clear from others' experiences that fish are fussy about their food, and hoppers don't work well for redhorse and suckers.  I might keep trying, though, just to be sure.


Heidi's picture

I would think It's hard to detect with the human eye minute oozings from impaled insects, and any other scents possibly released into the water that fine-tuned fish senses can detect - I'm still very curious about the effect of texture though. Of course I'm probably anthropomorphizing fish too much, but as far as redhorse and grasshoppers might go, imagine trying to eat crab legs without using your hands, or a struggling, biting, kicking grasshopper hands-free...even with teeth on your hard palate, getting those wiggly, spikey legs past ultra-sensitive mouth parts just might not be worth the efforts? 


As per Hengelaars observation, same analogy as above - eating roundish, smooth things like M&M's or malted milk balls (snail and mussel equivalents?) hands-free is not too problematic or painful. In fact, it's a great was to make a total fool of yourself in case you want to make folks laugh...

"Can you pull the leviathan in with a fishook?" Job 41: 1


Eric Kol
Eric Kol's picture
That photo of the foam hopper

That photo of the foam hopper in the mouth of the sm bass with the real meal in the background is great. One of the most basic of human joys is fly fishing for trout up top with hopper patterns in the late summer when the air is warm and the stream side weeds are tall. Man, it's like that you-tube video of that guy getting smacked on the head with the wooden spoon.... endless fun that never gets old.

When I was a kid I fished all sorts of live or recently deceased items as bait (like garter snakes ripped in half and rigged like a rubber worm for bass, tiny baby bullheads for bluegill etc). Hoppers are awesome for almost everything. Even if you step on them to make 'em more gooshy.

I bet if you were to dr the hoppers some the redhorse might find them more palateable, like remove the wingcase and thorax. Thread one or two juicey abdomen (is plural of abdomen abdomens?) on the hook and see what happens.

Carpy Diem!