EAST LIVERPOOL, OH - Fisherman in the upper Ohio Valley will find it tougher to purchase live bait this year as long-time supplier Chaney's Service Station, in Chester, WV, have decided to close down that portion of their business. It was one of the few bait shops still in business in the Tri-State area near the Ohio River and upper Ohio Valley.
Pat Chaney, grandson of founding owner Don Chaney (who passed away in October 2014), said selling live bait was no longer a profitable venture. "Minnows are hard to keep alive. By the time you throw out the dead ones there's not much money to be made," said Chaney. "With the prices going up you can't make enough money at it."
Chaney said the gas station and convenient store (the bait shop was located at the rear of the store) removed all items related to fishing tackle and bait. "We cleaned out everything," said Chaney.
Minnows, like these shiners, could be tough to find in the upper Ohio Valley this fishing season. Photo by Larry Claypool
Will they sell nightcrawlers? "No."
So, where do you find live bait in the area? That's been my quest the last several days. I know it's early in the fishing season so I could use our reader's help. If you know of a bait shop in the upper Ohio Valley region please let me know and we'll pass along the information. I'm a fisherman too, and I'd like to know if a dozen crappie minnows or shiners are available.
I have found two locations that have assured me they'll have live bait this year. There will be a little drive time involved though.
Josh Congrove of Mee Mee's Live Bait (15499 State Route 45, Lisbon, OH, a short drive behind Wellsville) said he currently has a nice selection of crappie minnows. "If the weather holds up I should have shiners next week," said Congrove.
Mee Mee's also carries worms and cutbait for catfishing. Their phone number is: 330-383-2383.
The second location is: Reddi Bait & Tackle in Bridgewater, PA. Owner Tim Reddinger said he has a wide selection of live bait, and specializes in catfish bait. "We have bluegill, suckers, shiners, crappie minnows, bullhead minnows, cutbait, worms, chicken liver, we have it all," said Reddinger. "We have anything that wiggles, swiggles, creeps or crawls."
Reddi Bait is located at 214 Bridge Street in Bridgewater. The phone number is: 724-888-2932.
For more information about these shops see their Facebook pages. Plan on spending some time on Reddi Bait's Facebook page, as Reddinger offers some entertaining YouTube videos about his shop and fishing in general.
Editor's note: An attempt to contact a few bait shops in the Steubenville, Toronto and Guilford Lake areas were not successful. It's a little early, I know. Many local convenient stores and big box stores carry nightcrawlers. Contact our office at 330-385-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try to compile a list of bait shops in the region.