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Create Your Own Backyard Bait Shop

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Crickets, Grasshoppers and Katydids

Crickets, Grasshoppers and Katydids
Grasshoppers, katydids and crickets tend to flourish wherever wild plants are allowed to grow naturally. All make great fish baits regardless of species. (Keith Sutton photo)

These hopping bugs make great bait. Smaller varieties are irresistible to trout, bluegills and redears, and a big one floating on the water lures everything from bucketmouth bass to pot-bellied catfish.

backyard grasshopper bait
A backyard grasshopper fished like a dry fly will catch everything from big ol’ catfish to bluegills, bass and crappie. (Keith Sutton photo)

Keeping a plentiful population thriving on your property isn’t hard. Just pick a sunny area with lots of grass and natural vegetation and avoid mowing it during summer. If birds don’t beat you to them, you should be able to catch plenty of the insects when the grass gets tall, which you can keep in a cricket cage until fishing time. A butterfly or insect net swept back and forth through the grass should turn up plenty, or try this old-fashioned method to catch all the hoppers you need. Spread a fuzzy flannel blanket in the grass and drive the hoppers to it. The stickers on the bugs’ feet get caught in the fabric. Just pluck the bugs and put them in a cricket cage.

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