Best Fishing Bait Chicago Area

Best Fishing Bait Chicago

We have the Best Fishing Bait Chicago. Our top 5 list of the best bait and tackle shops will help you get fishing. We have sampled bait from around the area and there are a few stand-out fishing bait stores in the Chicagoland area. Their bait is superior than other outlets for picking up bait and are worth the trip to catch more fish. Healthy, moving bait literally catches more fish. We have done experiments which show the best live baits out-catch artificial baits at 3:1 or greater! We believe your can catch four times the fish using better live bait! It proves out. Changing your hook bait from sad and old to brand new catches fish!

Best Fishing Bait Chicago Number 1: Lee’s Bait & Tackle

The top bait store in the Chicago area is a 2-store chain located in Elk Grove Village and Carol Stream. Also, Lee’s Bait & Tackle takes care of its bait better than any bait shop I have seen. I have been behind the scenes and their bait care & minnow tanks are top notch. Because of this, anglers travel to pick up bags of their minnows and flats of their crawlers because they catch more fish.

Lee’s consistently stocks all varieties of bait that are in season. They are one of the only retailers to carry Spikes (top panfish and trout bait) all season long. Henry’s staff feeds their nightcrawlers until the nigh crawlers are fat like snakes and strong!

You will not have a more lively bait than a Lee’s Nightcrawler! Their store smells the best of any bait store – because it doesn’t smell. Both stores are kept so clean because of the care and work that goes into keeping the minnow tanks clean-filtered and the bait fresh!

Bait for Trips Specialist

Call ahead for speciality baits or for packing baits for a long fishing trip – the owners will have your bait order packed and ready for the trip! Their prices are great also. Line spooling is a key service that they provide. Take advantage, save money on new line (which you should replace every other year). Looking for fishing line? Their stores carry bulk line prices will save you money and your reels will be spooled correctly!

Lee’s Bait & Tackle covers the West and Northwest Chicago Suburbs at two locations! Their store has very nice hours for those that fish (the owners work their tails off and are there most every day early and late)! This is one of the home stores for our fishing guiding. If you wish us to take you out, book a guided fishing session online and we can meet you at the shop! We take customers out, to use the fishing tackle and then help you pick out the perfect gear at the shop.

Lee’s Bait & Tackle – Elk Grove Village

Lee’s Bait & Tackle – Carol Stream

Best Fishing Tackle – Number 2:

First off, we are totally biased. We have the best fish-catching tackle in the USA. The reason, we stock a ton of the best pond and lake fishing tackle, we had to put Live Bait Fishing Tackle at number 2. Secondly, we don’t carry live bait. We have the ultimate selection of live bait fishing hooks, floats, rods and reels based on catching all species of fish. Our shop carries the Gapen float fishing rod, the best shore and float fishing rod available in the US.

In addition, we carry the most sensitive jigging rods available anywhere. The Gapen 6′ jigging rods are the top bite-detecting rod available to sense the structure, feel light bites and catch more fish.

The tackle is mostly based on competition-level fishing and is all field-tested by a 3-time USA Fishing Team World Championships qualifier! With few exceptions, all of the equipment listed is used in guiding and in competitions, fishing at a high level. This gear is hand-selected and even manufactured by the company to help you catch more fish.

Live Bait Tackle Specialists

The best hooks available are in stock along with the largest selection of floats and bobbers in the USA. Add the best live bait fishing tools and terminal tackle and you can’t go wrong shopping at this online store. Added bonus, locals can have their tackle delivered to their door also or pick them up at events.

Lastly, an added bonus is that all this tackle can be shipped to your door. We pick and pack your order saving you a ton of time shopping and driving. The store offers items not found in any retail store around. Shop 24-7 at

Number 3 : Fishing Connection

The owner Greg works very hard at keeping an excellent selection of tackle and baits. This is why Fishing Connection is one of the Best Fishing Bait Chicago options. The only weakness is that he doesn’t carry minnows for various reasons including size of shop and neatness.

Steelhead & Muskie Specialist

He has a great selection of Musky baits and Steelhead Salmon flies as he is an avid fishermen with a lot of Steelhead experience.

For bait he carries a lot of live baits and in season can get you most anything. Call ahead for special orders and he will have them ready. Fishing Connection offers reel services and rod repairs, a huge help to fishermen. I like his bulk wax worms. Spikes, you will need to ask him to order a couple weeks in advance. Visiting their stores, you will find them really clean . Both stores have great inventory. We live Fishing Connection best for the South Side angler.

Firstly, Note their hours. Mondays the store closes. Secondly, plan accordingly and visit Greg for your South Side bait and tackle needs. This is one of the home stores for our fishing guiding. If you wish us to take you out, book a guided fishing session online and we can meet you at the shop! We can even help you pick out fishing tackle at these store.

Fishing Connection – Tinley Park

Number 4: Henry’s Chicago – Best Fishing Bait Chicago

Henry’s is located right down the street from Old Comiskey Park in the heart of Sox Country. Easy access off of the highway, it is 3 blocks from the exit and offers long hours early and late for your live bait needs. They are one of the other retailers that carries the widest selection of live bait including spikes. Henry’s is our number 4 Best Fishing Bait Chicago stores.

Call ahead for bait availability. They usually have what you need in stock. Firstly, as for fishing tackle, they stock some of the basics. Henry’s has some rods and reels but are generally in the lower-end for their fishing tackle. Budget tackle is made available because that is mostly what fishermen grab.

Secondly, you won’t find a lot of specialty gear. Henry’s has enough fishing tackle, hooks, terminal tackle and replacement rods and reels for any emergency or last-minute trip. They do a great volume in the bait department and will have very fresh, well-kept live bait including a large assortment of minnows.

Lake Front Specialists

Lake-front and river fishing are their bread-and-butter so the baits you need to fish the lake are all there. Their hours are amazing, and you can call the store if you need anything special. Henry’s offers Line-winding services. Lastly, the owners are great and do a lot for the community. Because they are awesome, do support them if you are looking for fishing bait in Chicago proper! They are the downtown bait shop.

Henry’s Bait & Tackle – Chicago

Split Shot Tips -Help With Split Shot

Split Shot Tips - Super Doux Split Shot Assortments

Split shot tips to help you fish better. This article and an instruction sheet for a split shot tool could help you with your split shot game. Whether you fly fish or float fish, split shot can help you with your rigs. So, if you want a tip or two – try these two fishing tip sheets out. As a fishing guide using split shot in competitions and setting up rigs for clients, I have learned a lot.

Split Shot Tips Article

Split Shot Tool Instructions

Our best split shot – always purchase pure, quality lead split shot. Non-lead shot is horrible to your mono line. It does not stay in place. The often-used tin weights used in “safe” or “environmental” split shots, damages the line. It is also hard as a rock and horrible to try and get on the line.

Don’t Buy Non-Toxic Split Shot!

These brands may also make the “non-toxic” brand or “environmentally safe” options – beware. They do not work well. And, they should be avoided. Use only the lead – pure products. Stay away from the No Lead Split shots! Did we mention it costs almost twice as much as good split shot?

Pure Lead Split Shot

Pure lead split shot is the only way to fish. Pure lead shot comes in these brands.

  1. Anchor Brand Split Shot
  2. Super Doux Split Shot

Split Shot Tips – Small Floats

These come in selection assortments as well as single-size split shot pots. Note that some of the split shot selections are very small. Anglers will do best with sizes .3 gr – BB split shot (.4 gr) for balancing their float rigs. These two sizes work for smaller floats.

Split Shot for Bigger Float Rigs

AAA Split shot is also a good size to have for medium and large floats. AAA size is .8 gr and for long-casting bigger floats. For nymphing and wet fly fishing, you may want the sizes that are smaller such as .10 gr and even smaller to make fine adjustments.

Good Split Shot Selections