River Bait

Connection to Nature.

In Japan, finding natural bait at the source is the historical and traditional method of Keiryu fishing. In the U.S., natural bait is rarely chosen for Keiryu fishing (although it is an extremely effective one). Most who bait fish will use store bought bait (namely nightcrawlers), while others may never bait fish, preferring to use soft baits or nymphs. With said, there is something special about finding bait in the wilderness and using it to catch a fish. It makes for a certain connectivity to the natural world and, can to put it plainly, it’s fun - like if you were a kid again digging up worms. It is for this reason that we encourage all Keiryu anglers to give it a try.

Below are common river baits. A good rule of thumb to catch these bugs is to find them underneath rocks, often in shallow or slower moving water near the shore OR lift rocks and stir the floor with your foot in faster moving water while placing a net downstream.  

Remember to check with local regulations to make sure live baits are permissible in your spot.

HELLGRAMMITE

Hellgrammite

1/2 - 4", 6 legs and 8 pairs of feelers along abdomen, tail can either be two hook extensions or one single spiky tail.

Hellgrammites are pretty tough, however you should still avoid puncturing the head or body (body punctures will let their guts seep out). To hook them, grab the lower back of head, find the soft area, insert and turn up hook (collar hook them).

Catch them in moving water - lift the rocks and use a net placed downstream to net them (see YouTube for some real good how-to videos). 

Keiryu Rod Co. Hellgrammite Hook Placement Illustration

STONEFLY NYMPH

Stonefly
Keiryu Rod Co. Stonefly Nymph Hook Placement Illustration

1/2 - 1 1/2", 6 legs with hooked tips, antennae, 2 hair-like tails, no gills on abdomen. Fragile.

Never hook in upper body. Hook it near its tail end. Check condition frequently as its limbs tend to fall off.

Look under rocks in shallow water.

MAYFLY NYMPH

Mayfly
Keiryu Rod Co. Mayfly Nymph Hook Placement Illustration

1/2 - 1", 6 legs hooked at mid point, plate-like or feathery gills on abdomen, 2 or 3 long hair-like tails, tails may be webbed together. Very Fragile.

Never hook in upper body. Hook it near its tail end. Check condition frequently as its limbs tend to fall off.

Look under rocks in shallow water. Also, certain types (featuring webbed lower bodes) will attach themselves to rocks in stronger currents when the weather warms up.