By Gabby Davis
Fishing is a big part of growing up in Indiana, and thus has become a significant thread in the fabric of the state’s culture. With that significance comes an abundance of long-standing local shops offering up all the best in equipment and bait. From shiners and bobbers to weights and hooks, you’ll find it all at Indiana’s top bait and tackle shops. Here are our favorites.
Twin Lakes Fish and Game shop in Monticello, Indiana, opened in 1984 and continues to thrive to this day thanks to its proximity to Indiana Beach Resort and Lakes Freeman and Shafer. Twin Lakes offer a variety of fishing bait and tackle, including crappie minnows, bass minnows, jumbo red worms, and frozen bait including chicken liver, and shrimp. Owners John and Terri Raines pride themselves on providing good quality bait and excellent customer service, so if you ever find yourself in Monticello, be sure to stop in and say hello!
Where bait shop and country store collide! Whether it’s pond fishing or ice fishing, the Bait Barn has all your bait needs! From Arnold speed stops to straw floats to live bait including minnows and worms, the Bait Barn has all your needs. The store also offers a wide variety of fishing equipment for women and children.
Another great bait and tackle shop in Monticello is the Breezy Hill Bait and Tackle Shop. Breezy Hill is a full-service bait and tackle retail store which specializes in custom order, hand tied jigs, lures, and flies. The store also carries panfish bugs, perch rigs, and crappie spinners.
Wormies Bait and Tackle has been serving the Greendale area since 1991. Many of the items sold at Wormies are handmade, including the spinnerbaits, buzz baits, crankbaits, beetle spins, and more. They also have over 90 ice jigs for ice fishing. The peewee jigs are quite attractive to most of the fish in the area because of their color and jewels. True to the name, Wormies also has a variety of worms and live bait available, from greenworms, mealworms, waxworms, and night crawlers.
Bait Bucket has been a staple in Evansville since 1958, and has been supplying tristate fishermen since 1984. Bait Bucket prides themselves on selling high-quality products. They sell minnows by the dozen or by the pound, as well as nightcrawlers, superworms, crickets, and more.
Northern Michigan City is one of the prime spots for fishing in northern Indiana so it makes sense that Chief’s Bait Shop would be the best place to stop for some bait. Chief’s is open year-round, and cater to everyone, including ice fishermen! They carry a variety of bait, from fatheads and minnows, as well as several different selections of worms: meal worms, butter worms, wax worms, and more. There’s something for everyone here.
For over 40 years, Steve and Lori Schwartz, owners of Schwartz’s Bait and Tackle in Noblesville, Indiana, have been providing central Indiana with not only outstanding customer service, but also some of the best bait and tackle in the area. Offering live bait such as leeches and baby night crawlers and frozen bait such as shrimp, whole shad, and shad guts, as well as rods, reels, and tackle, Schwartz is the place for quality bait.
The Fishin Shed is celebrating over 50 years at Lake Monroe in southern Bloomington, Indiana. It’s the last stop for live bait for several miles, and they have a large selection of bait and tackle for every level of fisherman. Bass and crappie minnows are available year-round, and they rotate their live bait stock. They have an array of bobbers, weights, hooks, soft lures and more, all ranging in different sizes and colors. If you are completely new to fishing, they also have pre-strung poles for sale. It’s your one stop shop!
Bass Pro Shops has a large selection of stores throughout the Midwest, but the Clarksville and Portage stores are among the best. Whether you are in need of new bait, a new rod or fly-fishing equipment, or perhaps even some new fishing sunglasses, Bass Pro Shops has it all. Bass Pro Shops also has a great selection of utility boxes, tackle bags and tackle boxes so if your significant other has their eye on a new one, be sure to check them out!
Located in downtown Indianapolis on White River Parkway, Westside Bait Shop is Indiana’s number one source for all your fishing needs. Westside Bait was established in 1951, and has been serving Hoosiers ever since. They also have one of the Midwest’s largest carp fishing departments, carrying supplies such as pack baits, bait runners, carp luggage, nets, and even flavored corn. Westside Bait also has one of Indiana’s largest selections of rods and reels, as well as a variety of other products.