how to keep leeches alive for fishing

To keep leeches alive for fishing, you’ll need to create and maintain the right conditions to ensure their survival. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Choose Healthy Leeches: Start by purchasing or collecting healthy leeches. Look for leeches that are lively, active, and free from visible signs of damage or injury.
  2. Use the Right Container: Get a suitable container to store the leeches. A plastic container with a tight-fitting lid or a bait bucket with a secure lid and aerated holes works well. Ensure the container is clean and free of any residues or chemicals.
  3. Use Oxygenation: Leeches require oxygen to survive, so provide adequate aeration in the container. You can use a small battery-operated aerator, an air stone connected to an aquarium pump, or a commercially available leech container with built-in aeration.
  4. Cool Temperature: Maintain a consistent and cool temperature for the leeches. The ideal temperature range is between 45°F to 55°F (7°C to 13°C). Avoid exposing them to extreme heat or direct sunlight, as it can stress or kill them.
  5. Use Clean Water: Fill the container with clean, non-chlorinated water, such as tap water that has been treated with a dechlorinator. Ensure the water level is enough to submerge the leeches fully.
  6. Change Water Regularly: Change the water in the container regularly to remove waste and maintain water quality. Use fresh, dechlorinated water at the same temperature as the leeches’ environment.
  7. Feed the Leeches: Leeches can go without food for some time, but they will thrive better with periodic feeding. You can provide them with small bits of raw liver, fish, or other meat. However, be cautious not to overfeed, as uneaten food can foul the water.
  8. Keep Leeches Separated: Avoid overcrowding the container, as leeches can become cannibalistic if they feel crowded. Use multiple containers or compartments if necessary.
  9. Handle with Care: When handling leeches, be gentle and avoid squeezing or injuring them. Use a soft, moist cloth or your wet hands to pick them up.
  10. Transport with Care: If you’re taking leeches on a fishing trip, ensure they are stored in a suitable container with aeration. Keep them at a consistent temperature during transport to minimize stress.
  11. Use Leech Attractants: To increase their effectiveness as bait, consider using leech attractants or scents designed for fishing. These can make the leeches even more enticing to fish.
  12. Observe Regularly: Check on the leeches regularly to ensure they are active, healthy, and free from any signs of stress or disease. Remove any dead or unhealthy leeches promptly.

Remember that leeches have a limited shelf life, so it’s best to use them as fresh as possible. With proper care and attention to their environment, you can keep leeches alive and ready for fishing for an extended period.

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