How to Use a Minnow Seine

by Ryn Gargulinski
Good catch

Good catch

Before using a minnow seine, it may be helpful to know what the heck it is. As any experienced fisherman could tell you, a minnow seine is a net attached to lightweight poles that is used to collect bait fish like minnows. Many seines are rather large and need two people to handle, so bring a friend along when you use a minnow seine.

Set up your supplies. Fill a large bucket with water, leaving enough space so it will not overflow when you add your squirming minnows. Ready your seine by unfurling the netting. Grab a pole at one end of the seine and have your fishing buddy grab the pole at the other end.

Pick your location. The best places to find minnows are in shallow areas, swimming in schools. Look for silver flashes that look like iridescent reflections but are really lots of small fish swarming about. You also want to pick a place with a sturdy bank and easy access into the water.

Place the seine in the water. Either stand on the banks or go directly into the water and gently immerse the seine. Balloon the seine into an arc and sweep through the throng of minnows. If possible, position the seine so the minnows are swimming into it, not away from it, but seines are usually large enough to pick up plenty of minnows regardless of their direction.

Remove minnows. Bring the two sides of the seine together, trapping the minnows inside the net. Gently lift your seine out of the water, allowing the water to filter through the holes around your pack of minnows. Quickly but carefully deposit the minnows in your waiting bucket. Take careful aim. You don't need a throng of minnows flapping around on the creek bank. They will become caked in dirt and utterly useless to you and any fish you wish to catch.

Tip

  • If you insist on fishing solo, get a smaller seine that can be handled by one person.

Warning

  • Don't get caught in your own seine. That would definitely scare away the minnows.

Photo Credits

  • Illustration by Ryn Gargulinski