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When discussing the introduction of aquatic invasive species many people are aware of species that are introduced by the movement of ballast or bilge water from barges to recreational kayaks. These watercrafts are known to transport aquatic invasive species, however there have been several introductions through the release of the organisms as bait. There have been several regional campaigns to discuss this issue and the changes in the legislation to prevent the introduction, transportation and sale of these potentially harmful species. Below is a chart that we think would be useful to anglers and provide some awareness to which species are harmful to use in Michigan or Wisconsin. 

Invasive Bait Species  


  • Soft plastic paddle bait

  •  Jig 

  • Crankbaits

  • Rainbow smelt

Rainbow smaelt.jpg

Never Use: 

If you catch:

We prefer you use: 

Small Mouth Bass

Large Mouth Bass

  • Jerk bait

  • Jigs bait

  • Crank bait

large mouth bass.jpg
  • Rusty Crayfish 

  • Red Swamp Crayfish

Red swamp.jpg

Pike or Muskellunge 

  • Turkey Liver

  • Spinner Bait

  • Top Water bait  

  • Eurasian Ruffe 



Black crappie.jfif
  • Small crank bait 

  • Soft plastic swim bait 

  • Feathered jig

  • Worms

Additional Resources:

Michigan Bait Laws (Michigan Invasive Species Program)
Michigan Invasive Species (Michigan DNR)

Wisconsin ​Bait Laws (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)
Wisconsin Invasive Species (Wisconsin DNR)
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