How To Catch Shiners? – Very Important Guide


Learning how to catch shiners is a part of essential knowledge for every fisherman because it will help you catch enough fish that can be used as bait for larger fish species you plan to fish for. In this article, we’ll show you how to catch shiners with the help of shiner traps, a seine or cast net, and other useful techniques to keep the fish as stress-free as possible so they can be used for bait purposes later. Also, before you start your activity, make sure that fishing for shiners is legal in that area.

1. Shiner Traps Fishing 

This type of fishing for shiners means you’ll have to outsmart this fish, but outside of that, it is pretty much stress-free activity.

Start from the shallow waters, preferably around docks, trees, or any type of vegetation. If you avoid dense vegetation, spotting shiners from the surface shouldn’t be much of an issue. Set your trap where you see them roam around.

Test the area by throwing a bit bigger chunk of bread so they come out to eat. If you see a lot of shiners, then you’re at the right spot to place the shiner traps. 

Put the bread, crackers, or something like that inside trap to lure the fish and place the trap in shallow waters. You can use some heavy rocks as anchors, or secure it with a line.

This part is absolutely crucial – do your best to keep your trap at least partially submerged as you remove your catch to keep it stress-free and transfer them to designated storage quickly to keep them healthy.

2. How To Catch Shiner With A Seine Net

If you prefer a bit more active approach and would love to have a company along the way, then this is the right choice for you. Remember – the more the merrier!

Start by going through the shallow waters and stick to them, to avoid possible falls thanks to heavy currents.

Spread the net until fully extended. In the case of lead weights or floats, make sure the weights run along the bottom and the floats go along the top. One person should stay close to the shoreline, but at the same time make sure the net is completely extended. This person shouldn’t move.

The second person should go to a deeper end of the water, until the net is completely extended, and drag it through the water to complete half of a circle around the standing person. As that person moves, make sure the bottom of the net drags along the bottom of the body of water. This way you’ll trap the shiners between the shore and the net. To seal the exit, bring the ends of the net as near to each other as possible.

Scoop the shiners using a teardrop net.

3. Fishing For Shiners With A Cast Net

Catching with a cast net is another option for shiners fishing, especially if you plan to do it alone, but would love to avoid rod and reel. However, you should know that fishing with a cast net may be really challenging because it takes a bit of time and practice before you learn how to cast the net properly. That’s why you should learn how to cast the net first, then to heat to the location where the shiners are, or else you may scare them away.

Find the best spot. Avoid places where there is something that can mess your net and scan the water to find any shiners activity. If you see them, throw bread pieces in that area for the next 15 minutes to attract the fish to the surface.

Cast the net with your preferred technique. When the fish are in and you’re satisfied with your catch, let the weights sink for a few moments, then pull the rope tight so you close the net, but make sure to avoid it from reaching the bottom of the water, so it doesn’t get tangled with anything that lays on the bottom.

Move the net back to the surface, transfer your catch out of the water, open the net, and move your fish to previously prepared storage. The quicker you move, the healthier your fish will be.

4. Rod And Line Technique

This is the most complicated, stress-causing, and time-consuming way to catch the shiners because you’ll have to catch every fish individually, and it will make the fish a lot less effective later, so it may be the one method you should avoid, however, if you want to use this time simply to relax and catch anything, you could try it out.

Start by finding the best location. You should look for shallow and shaded water, where you’ll find the most active shiners. If you go deep, then look for anything that can show you where the shiners are – bubbles, boils, basically any surface disturbance. 

Throw the bread crumbs to the area where you see the shiners so you lure them out from the deep water.

You should use the treble hook so you don’t hurt the fish and use the balls of bread as bait. Place it in the water and keep the bait on the surface.

When the fish bites, wait for a few moments to make sure it got hooked, then start reeling your line back in as gently as possible until you notice the line has grown tight. The key is to keep the motions as smooth and gentle as possible to remove and unnecessary stress, so try to avoid any violent rod-shaking. 

Take your shiner out of the water, grab it firmly so it doesn’t wiggle out but not too hard or you risk injuring it. Unhook it and place it in the storage. 

How To Store Shiners

Learning how to store shiners properly will bring you more good live bait than just throwing it in the storage unit without any attention. Here are some tips on how to store them to keep them healthy and stress-free for as long as possible, so they act normally and naturally when you use them as bait. 

  • Make sure they are comfortable. This will remove any stress from the catching phase. 
  • The best options are aerated live-well, a flow-through bait bucket, or a cooler with an aerator.
  • Pay attention to water temperature. For this, you’ll need as precise a thermometer as possible. Keep the water temperature under 60°F. If the day is hot and you plan to use the fish as the bait on the same day, you could add ice to the cooler or bait bucket. However, if you plan to keep the fish in a good shape for a longer period of time, then get a refrigerated and insulated tank or a water circulation system.
  • Keep the tank clean and in a good shape to avoid the fish dying from any disease. Painting the interior with pool or tank paints will help you seal the surface.

Additional Tips And Information

Here are some additional tips on how to catch shiners:

  • If the weather is cold, shiners tend to go deep.
  • They love shady spots, so look for areas near lily pads, hydrilla, etc.
  • Go with as light bait as possible when fishing for shiners, so it doesn’t sink.
  • Chum the area you plan to fish in regularly to keep the shiners around.
  • Wear sunglasses or a hat to see under the surface better.
  • Check out our fishing trip checklist to have all the needed gear with you.



Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how to catch shiners:

Q: What are shiners good bait for?


Shiners provide a great bait for a lot of different fish species - catfish, crappie, yellow perch, striped bass, walleye, and pike, but most fishermen claim that shiners serve as the best bait for fishing largemouth bass. Small shiners will do for all bass sizes, but those above 6 inches will most likely bring you a great catch. 

Q: How do you catch Golden Pond shiners?


The best way to catch Golden Pond shiners is with a cast net. Golden Pond shiners are considered to be one of the most preferred food choices for most bass species, and the cast net will keep them both comfortable and healthy for your fishing trip.

Q: What do wild shiners eat?


When it comes to food, it is interesting to learn that shiners are omnivorous, which means they eat basically anything – from zooplanktons, plants, algae to bread crumbs, worms and insects on the surface, in the middle of the water or at the bottom.

Q: What size hooks for shiners?


Shiners most often have pretty small mouths, so when fishing for shiners you should use the small-sized hooks. Also, when you use shiners as bait, the key is to let them act as normal as possible, so going with a small hook will work here as well. 

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Learning how to catch shiners will give you the chance to catch your bait so you don’t have o worry about it for your next fishing trip, and catching them with this article will be more than easy and simple.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!