How Many Minnows are in a Pound/Gallon/Scoop?

Bait shops and pet stores all around the country sell minnows for fishing bait, feed, aquaculture, and other uses.

And depending on where you purchase your minnows, they may be sold by the pound, by the gallon, or even by the scoop.

This can make it difficult to determine just how many minnows you are getting, so in this article, I’ve done the math to provide estimates for each type of minnow that is commonly sold.

Note: Minnows often vary in size and weight, depending on the species. These tables are my best estimates based on information available to me and my personal experience.

How Many Minnows are in a Pound? 

Smaller minnow species like the common minnow, mosquitofish, fathead and blunthead minnows average between 130 and 360 minnows per pound, while larger minnows like shiner’s average between 40 and 72. 

Size1 inch2 inches3 inches4 inches5 inches6 inches
Count estimate360 minnows per pound180 minnows per pound88 minnows per pound72 minnows per pound56 minnows per pound40 minnows per pound
Minnow TypeCommon minnowLarge Mosquitofish 
Average Fatheads
Small Bluntnose
Large Bluntnose Smaller Common ShinerCommon Shiner
Golden  Shiner
Large Common Shiner
Large  Golden  Shiner
How Many Minnows are in a Pound/Gallon/Scoop?

How Many Minnows are in a Gallon? 

The largest shiners can contain as few as 24 per a gallon, while the smallest Mosquitofish can have over 2,800.

Size1 inch2 inches3 inches4 inches5 inches6 inches
Count estimate2,880 minnows per Gallon1,440 minnows per Gallon560 minnows per Gallon48 minnows per Gallon36 minnows per Gallon24 minnows per Gallon
Minnow TypeCommon minnowLarge Mosquitofish 
Average Fatheads
Small Bluntnose
Large Bluntnose Smaller Common ShinerCommon Shiner
Golden  Shiner
Large Common Shiner
Large  Golden  Shiner

Source: https://andersonminnows.com/species3.php

How Many Minnows are in a Scoop? 

The average scoop of Fathead minnows will contain around 24 minnows, while the average scoop of Shiners will contain around 10. 

Size1 inch2 inches3 inches4 inches5 inches6 inches
Count estimate36 minnows per scoop24 minnows per scoop18 minnows per scoop12 minnows per scoop9 minnows per scoop 6 minnows per scoop
Minnow TypeCommon minnowLarge Mosquitofish 
Average Fatheads
Small Bluntnose
Large Bluntnose Smaller Common ShinerCommon Shiner
Golden  Shiner
Large Common Shiner
Large  Golden  Shiner

Source: https://www.iceshanty.com/ice_fishing/index.php?topic=314770.0

Average Price for a Pound of Minnows? 

Live fathead minnows can often be purchased online for less than $20 per pound. Common shiners can be found for between $12 and $24 per pound, and Mosquitofish cost significantly more than other minnows – with a pound often costing hundreds of dollars! 

The price of minnows varies widely, with the primary variable being location. New York is known to have the highest minnow cost in the United States, and different regions will have different species readily available. 

Anglers in Iowa have reported only two varieties of minnows available for purchase, “small” and “large.” Conversely, fishing hubs in the south, like those along the Mississippi River or Gulf Coast, can have up to a dozen different varieties of minnows available for sale.

Live fathead minnows can be purchased online from a number of different hatcheries, which will mail the fatheads out in bags across the United States. Fatheads from these large hatcheries cost anywhere between $15 and $22 per pound. 

Live minnows

Golden shiners can also be purchased from some of these same hatcheries, and cost anywhere between $11 and $18 per pound when buying bulk. Mosquitofish, on the other hand, are significantly more expensive, as they are known for their pest controlling abilities and are highly sought after. 

Mosquitofish are not sold by the pound, rather, they are so valuable that they are usually sold individually. They usually cost between one and two dollars per fish, which can add up to a whopping $360 to $720 per pound! 

It is usually tougher to have shiners delivered, as they are larger and heavier making them tougher to ship. They are most often sold frozen as bait and cost around $16 per pound.

Shiners can be found for live purchase from local hatcheries as well as bait shops, and they can cost anywhere from $12 to $24 per pound. 

See Also: Minnows vs Shiners: Understanding The Difference

How Many Minnows Should You Buy for Fishing?

For a half-day of fishing, a good rule of thumb is two dozen “minnows” per person, and one dozen shiners per person, minimum. Depending on the species of fish you are targeting, and how good the fishing is, you may want double that amount.

For example, if I am using live minnows for crappie fishing, my dad and I will usually purchase of catch 5 dozen (60 minnows) for the two of us.

That is because crappie minnows tend to come off the hook easily or get eaten by other fish like bass and bluegill so we always want extra on hand.

We can also keep a lot more crappie (25 per person in Florida).

Conversely, if I am using minnows to target catfish, then we will only get about 4 dozen minnows, or 2 dozen shiners and cut them up. That is because we are less likely to have the minnows or shiners come off the hook, and we usually only keep 5-8 catfish anyway.

Conclusion

If you’re like me, you are most likely buying minnows to use as fishing bait…

But, if you are buying minnows for another purpose like fish food, aquaculture, or even a special diet, I hope this article helps give you some ballpark figures.

Check out my tips on how to keep your minnows alive without an aerator…the last thing you want to do is spend money only to have them die on ya!

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