What Do Minnows Eat? (Know All There Is About This Tiny Creature)

It is known that small fishes are used as live bait to catch larger fishes and Minnows are one of the splendid examples of this. However, if these fishes are being fed to larger fishes as bait, have you ever wondered what do Minnows eat? 

I’m definitely sure they also have their own preference when it comes to their food source. Minnows are fairly small fishes, so they are not fished to be eaten. However, over the years, they have been found useful as food for larger fishes in captivity as well as live bait.

As you read through this article, I will answer the lingering question of what do Minnows eat. Plus, I will also be sharing some amazing preparation tips for walleyes that you can use.

What Do Minnows Eat?

What Do Minnows Eat

Minnows can be found both in freshwater and saltwater. “Minnow” is a common term that refers to a small fish. However, Minnows are small fishes that come from the carp family. Freshwater Minnows in the wild typically feed on bugs and algae.

Mosquitoes and flies are often included in their diet as well as animal matter and dead plants. On the other hand, saltwater Minnows go for brine shrimp as their go-to food source. There is also a difference between a young Minnow’s diet from an adult one.

Young Minnows prefer eating plankton and in some cases algae. Aside from the usual menu that includes bugs and algae, they also consume snails, smaller fishes, and small clams. They often opt for food that can be crushed against their throat’s hard plate.

However, Minnows in captivity will usually be fed freeze-dried bloodworm. Others opt to use goldfish flakes or tropical fish flakes. If you notice that your Minnows are a little pickier when it comes to what you feed them, you can mix brine shrimp with flake food should do the trick.

Contrastingly, you can always consider other alternatives to feed your Minnows. Minnows are known to impressively adapt to the environment they and being omnivores, they do not have problems with the food source.

Compared to other fishes, Minnows grow at a maximum of 17 inches long as an adult. Since they are a fairly small type of fishes, they are not fished to be food but as the food source and live baits for larger fishes.

To see more of these tiny swimmers, watch this short video clip

Different Types Of Minnows

What Do Minnows Eat

They may be considered as a common and ordinary group of small fishes, but there are different types of Minnows that are known. Most live in freshwater, while other can also survive in saline waters. Here are a few of the commonly known types of Minnows.

Bluntnose Minnows

One of the most common types of Minnows is the Bluntnose Minnows. These fishes usually live in streams and river basins. It can grow up to 2.5 to 4 inches in length. Its distinct features include small dark spots on the dorsal fin area.

Bluntnose Minnows also showcase a light olive colored upper body with a sole dark stripe that usually runs on its both sides. It typically feeds on algae and small aquatic bugs.

To see more of the Bluntnose Minnow, watch this short clip

Bigeye Chub

Another type of Minnow is the Bigeye Chub. With a scientific name of Hybopsis Amblops, they are commonly found in cool and clear waters. It is known to have an intolerance for silt and murky waters.

Bigeye Chubs can grow up to around 4 inches in length. As for its appearance, Bigeye Chubs have a silvery color and transparent fins. One of its distinctive features is a dark line across the nose as well as both sides of its body.

Their food preference includes mayflies, stoneflies, and other invertebrate insects.

Bigmouth Shiner

The Bigmouth Shiner typically dwells in clear streams and tributaries. Its scientific name is Notropis Dorsalis and has a small and compact type of appearance. It also has transparent fins similar to the Bigeye Chubs.

Be that as it may, the Bigmouth Shiner features a long upper jaw. Unlike the Bigeye Chub, the Bigmouth Shiner has a bit of a silvery-sand color. Its distinguishing feature is a dark line that can be seen on its back.

It prefers to thrive on waters that is clear of algae or any vegetation. Bigmouth Shiners hunt during night time for aquatic insects or bugs. It is also known as one of the common types of Minnows that can be seen in freshwaters.

Watch this short clip about Bigmouth Shiners

Comely Shiner

Dubbed as the Comely Shiner with the scientific name of Notropis Amoenus, this specific type of Minnow is slender and has a pointed nose. Comely Shiners dwell is clean, small runoffs and pools coming from large rivers.

It has a bright silvery color and a uniquely placed dorsal fin that is spotted farther back compared to other Minnows. Comely Shiners prefer to source their food in areas of silt substrate of gravel. Their primary diet is small aquatic bugs like most Minnows.


Now that you have learned many interesting things about Minnows, specifically what they prefer to feast on, you can use this to your advantage when it comes to catching them. This is the primary purpose why many avid fishermen and anglers study the behavior of their potential baits.

It is a fact that Minnows are amazing live baits, and now, armed with a new knowledge about Minnows, you are on your way to an exciting fishing adventure.

Was this article helpful in answering your question on what do Minnows eat? Were you able to learn important facts about Minnows? Do you have other suggestions regarding this topic? Feel free to let me know your thoughts by leaving your comment below.

John Morris

Hi, I’m John Morris. I’m an avid outdoorsman and fisherman, blessed with an awesome wife and 2 kids. Fishing is not my passion, it is my lifestyle. I fished before I knew how to walk! I’m obsessed with all things related to fishing, even the fishy smell. I’m always willing to extend a hand to novice anglers looking for fishing tips and tricks thus I created this blog. This blog is a collection of my experiences, knowledge, and also research from other blogs.

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