Where can I sell the bait minnows I’ve raised?

As with any aquaculture species, it is essential to find markets for your product before raising a crop. Visit area bait shops and talk with the owners about their needs. Perhaps there is a species of baitfish that is in short supply, or not available, that you could culture for sale. However, first check with your state natural resource agency to make sure that the species is legal to raise and sell. Then check with your local Extension office for information, to make sure it is feasible and profitable to raise the species. Baitfish marketing is especially difficult for new producers, as most retail bait shops already have established relationships with a supplier. Bait shop owners require a dependable, reliable supply of minnows of the right sizes, delivered as needed to meet customer demands. Demand for minnows varies with the weather and the season, and it is difficult for a new producer to judge the quantities and sizes of minnows that can be sold. Some small baitfish farmers sell fish to other farmers that have established markets, but typically are able to do so only when fish are in short supply. It is also important to have a biosecurity plan for your minnow farm, and to have regular farm-level fish health inspections, to ensure that the live fish you sell will not spread diseases to natural waters. If your fish can be documented to be free of important diseases, it will be easier to sell them.