Do you have a hard time keeping live bait in stock? Minnow buckets are a great way to store live bait and can even help you catch more fish! They’re light and portable, so you can take them with you wherever you go.
There are all sorts of sizes available, from small to big, so there’s no excuse for running out of bait again this season when you have your trusty bucket at hand!
Read more and get your hands on the best minnow bucket today!
Our Top Picks
Best Minnow Bucket
1. Engel 19 Quart Portable Insulated Live Bait Fishing Dry Box
Best Bait Cooler
- Airtight EVA Gasket Seal Recessed Ergonomic
- 2-Speed Pump Maximizes Aeration and Battery Life
- Water-Resistant Housing Protects Motor and Suppresses Noise
- Air-tight EVA gasket seal recessed ergonomic
- 2-speed pump that maximizes the aeration and battery life
- Water-resistant housing to protect the motor from getting wet
- Easy-remove pump and hose to convert to a cooler
- Designed to be compact and lightweight
This minnow bucket comes with a cooler and aeration. It is air-tight, keeping the baitfish inside fresh. It has water-resistant housing that will indeed protect the motor from getting wet.
Although expensive, this Engel cooler can store much live bait as built with a 19-quart capacity.
2. Frabill 4825 Insulated Bait Bucket
Best Bait Buckets on Budget
- Frabill Insulated Bait bucket with included aerator
- 1.3 gallon capacity
- Insulated Liner allowing to your bait to stay alive longer
- Built-in aerator
- An insulated liner that preserves the quality of your bait
- Hose hole to give you access to oxygen whenever you need
- Built-in compartment lid and lid-housed aerator
- 1.3-gallon capacity to keep your live bait alive
Frabill insulated bait bucket was perfect for those who are finding a minnow bucket on a budget. This bucket is built with a durable plastic exterior with a 1.3-gallon capacity. It can house a lot of live bait, especially live shrimps.
It is well insulated and has a good battery life, perfect for a boat that cannot carry a big bait cooler.
3. Flambeau Outdoors 6063BC 6 Qt. Trolling Bait Bucket
Best Deep Trolling Bait Buckets
- DEEP TROLLING BUCKET: This trolling bait bucket floats...
- SMART DESIGN: Sturdy tie-off handle for easy trolling....
- 6 QT CAPACITY: This bait bucket has a 6 quart capacity. Fits...
- High-quality material designed to keep your live bait fresh
- Floats deeper than other models
- Sturdy tie-off handle
- V-shape back and a wide design to prevent the bucket from spilling
- A 6-quart capacity that can fit a standard 5-gallon bucket
This Flambeau product is the perfect deep-trolling bait bucket. It can float deeper than other models of live bait buckets. It has a sturdy tie-off handle for a grip and easy trolling.
Even though it does not have an aerator, it can provide a constant fresh water supply for the bait.
It also has a V-shape and wide design to prevent the content from spilling.
4. Frabill 4501 Flow Troll 6qt Minnow Bucket
Best Floating Minnow Buckets for Wading
- Designed for wading or to be pulled behind a boat
- Hydrodynamic shape features to keep the bucket floating
- Self-closing door to prevent the bait from escaping
- Automatically aerates the bait when pulled through the water
- A 6-quart capacity to store much live bait
This Frabill product is perfect for wade fishing and kayak fishing. It is designed to be pulled behind a boat. It also has a shape feature to keep the bucket from floating with the door facing up. This feature provides ready access to your bait.
It also has a self-closing door to prevent your bait from escaping. A little inexpensive than Flambeau Trolling Bucket, it also has 6 quarts capacity.
5. Frabill Bait Box with Aerator
Best Bait Box with Aerator on Budget
- Frabill | Trusted By Anglers Since 1938
- Includes: Portable aerator, air hose, air stone | Capacity:...
- Portable aerator easily clips on lid turning the interior...
- Portable aerator that can be easily clipped on the lid
- Includes a lift-out net liner for simple bait removal
- Salt or freshwater tested because of its durable plastic construction
- Consists of an air hose and air stone
- An 8-quart capacity
If you are on a budget but still want to find a bait box with an aerator, this is for you. This Frabill Bait Box is a little inexpensive than Engel Bait Fishing Dry Box.
It has an 8 quarts capacity that can store a lot of baitfish. It can keep your bait at a perfect temperature until you want to use it. It also has a compact design.
Things to Consider When Buying a Minnow Bucket
Capacity and Style
In finding the perfect minnow bucket, you should consider the size of it. Some of the brands offer a lot of capacity but take up a lot of space.
But before picking the right bucket, you should consider what kind of angler you are, what you would fish, and the size of your boat.
Many bait buckets are made of styrofoam and plastic buckets that you can buy for a few bucks. But they could easily break after a while.
When looking for an excellent bait bucket, you should consider its durability.
Some bait buckets are made of a heavy-duty material that you can use for a long time. Investing in these can help you save more money in the future than buying a styrofoam bucket.
Some bait buckets with aerators are battery-powered. And if your boat has no power socket, battery life matters.
In choosing the best minnow bucket, you should assess your boat and how long you’re going to stay on the water. Choosing a bait bucket with long battery life is essential.
If you are fishing in a hot and warm area, you probably need minnow buckets with insulation. Even with good insulation, the water inside your bucket can kill your bait.
If that’s the condition, you should have cooler-like storage. Working with well-insulated minnow buckets can keep your bait alive even with hot weather.
Types of Minnow Buckets
Metal buckets are used for fresh and saltwater fishing. It comes with a screened lid to prevent the small live baits from escaping.
Some metal buckets have raised rims, so the contents won’t leak due to slope gradient when placed on the ground.
And some buckets of this type have recessed lids that function was to be filled without spilling over.
Plastic buckets come in a round shape and have an attached lip to keep the bait inside. Some have handles at the top of it. The attached lids keep the fish inside while being carried around.
Local anglers prefer wooden buckets on lakes since their weight is not enough to float out. Wooden minnow buckets do not rust, unlike the metal bucket.
It will also not rust if left outside during a storm. One disadvantage of having a cedar wood bucket is this type of material absorbs water. It may not last long like the plastic and the metal.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will minnows live in a 5-gallon bucket?
A minnow with a poorly aerated bucket can live up to 24 hours without any food. But with a well-stocked and regularly checked bucket, they can live for 72 hours before they die.
It is due to the lack of oxygen present in the bucket or natural decay.
How do you keep a minnow alive in a 5-gallon bucket?
It depends on the minnow that you’re going to use. For example, if you’re using a shad, the shad is too sensitive and thus difficult to keep alive.
Aeration is a must with this minnow. Consider conditioning it by adding a handful of non-iodized salt.
For shrimp, aeration is also a must need. It would help if you also avoided overcrowding. Use two small buckets for this. With the proper space and oxygen, 50 to 60 shrimps can live up to 24 hours. You also need to put five gallons of water.
Can minnows live overnight in a bucket?
It depends on the size of the bucket, insulation rating, and if it has an aerator. You can expect minnows to live for an average of 24 to 48 hours. The cooler and more oxygenated the bucket, the longer the minnows will stay alive.
What size minnow bucket do I need?
The bucket size you need depends on the type of bait you will use, how long, where you’ll fish, and the size of your boat. It can be packed using only a tiny 7.5-quart bucket with oxygen. A smaller bucket is best for kayak fishing.
You can find a variety of different bait buckets on the market at various price points. But you don’t want to waste money on those solid foam bait buckets that you find at the bait shop.
Instead, try to strategize and remember to always bring your bucket when you go fishing, so you don’t have to buy one there.