Maggots are great fish bait. Icemen use them for catching perch, trout, and panfish. Hooks tipped with these tasty morsels stimulate bites. Fish after all love to eat insects and maggots are the larva of flies.
The size of the maggot varies with the type of fly. A large Blue Bottle fly makes large maggots. Common houseflies make smaller maggots.
Maggots seem gross but they feed on dead and decaying tissue. Doctors have used these creatures to feed on injured humans to help prevent infections and clean the wounds. Its funny how many fishermen hate to touch worms and maggots. It’s a small price to pay for big bites and a stringer full of fish.
These larval bugs can be grown at home.
Place a raw piece of chicken on a page of newspaper.
Place 1-2 inches of wheat bran in a plastic tub.
Place the paper and chicken on top of the bran and cover. Leave room for flies to enter and lay eggs. The cover needs to have air holes, safety pin sized, to allow air to enter.
Check the chicken every couple of days and look for eggs. They will look like white spots on the chicken. When you see a lot of eggs, wrap the paper around the meat and cover.
Put in a remote and quiet spot, out of the sun, away from pets and kids.
Check for hatching eggs and small maggots. This can happen in 8-20 hours. It is also difficult to grow your own maggots in colder climates when flies are not in season.
Once the maggots are the size you want for fishing, it’s time to separate them. Use a colander to wash off the morsels in cool water. Now place them in another container with wheat bran.
To add color or scent, use food coloring or scent atop the maggots and mix. Place in a cool place/refrigerator to slow down their metamorphosis into a pupa and then a fly. The pupas are hard and black and are not good to use as bait.
Many Icemen leave their maggots out when ice fishing. This can freeze and kill them. It’s best to keep them in your pocket, next to the handwarmers. Now they will be active and frisky when placed on the hook. Usually, we hook 2-3 maggots onto the jig or hook. Place them on Butt first. The pointy end should hand and wiggle. Adding fish scent when you bait up is a good idea. A glow scent is perfect for ice fishing.
Storing them in the fridge will keep them for weeks. Add some wheat bran to a larger container for the maggots to grow and stay chubby and tasty. Once frozen, the maggots are dead. Hot water also kills maggots. Be sure to label the Maggots as bait and keep them in your secondary fridge.
One thing that I learned is that Maggots can climb a vertical wall! The lid of a maggot container was open, and the bait climbed up the fridge wall. Mrs. Montana Grant was not happy.