In the Wild with Greg Wagner


The classic, nostalgic fishing bait shop is hard to find any more, take it from me. Make way, I guess, for the bait vending machines 


and the large sporting goods retailers selling fishing bait, huh? 

But hold on a minute here, let me tell you folks, that at least one classic, nostalgic, family owned and operated bait shop does exist here in Nebraska – in the northeast. 


It’s the Erb family’s Grove Lake Bait Shop just north of Royal, NE serving the Grove Lake Wildlife Management Area and the East Branch of the Verdigre Creek trout stream. 


This is one of my favorite places to hang out. Why? A number of reasons: Bait (obtained locally), tackle, camping supplies, groceries, GOOD FISHING INFORMATION AND GREAT CONVERSATION! I think the best fishing advice has been dispensed, and more problems with the world have been solved, in conversations at the bait shop, it seems. Bait shops also reek of character (not just the minnow odor, ha). The Grove Lake Bait Shop has a couple Caiman reptiles swimming in the minnow tank, 

Family friend Tre Ruff displays one of the bait shop's Caimans for the camera.

antique lures in a display case on the wall, big fish and animal mounts, plus Randy Erb’s famous chainsaw carvings from wood gathered in the area.  


So, my challenge to you is to seek out and visit a local bait shop near where you are going fishing. Game and Parks Fisheries Guru Daryl Bauer sums it up best when he says: “Patronize the locals.” Daryl’s blog on fish and fishing in Nebraska can be accessed here: 

See you out there, at the Grove Lake Bait Shop or in a bait shop near you! 


5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hi, I’m from Thailand and was wondering do you guys fish for herbivorous fish where you come from or is everything caught only on bugs and minnows?

Comment by Bangkokhooker

Well, the only herbivorous fish we can think of that we have here in Nebraska is the grass carp or white amur which is primarily shot with bow and arrow near the surface of the water. We have omnivorous fish in Nebraska such as carp that feed on a variety of things such as corn, earthworms, homemade doughball mixtures, etc.

I hope this information helps you. Thanks for checking out my blog!

Best Regards,

“Wags” – Greg Wagner
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Omaha-Metro Office

Comment by Greg Wagner

Thank you very much Greg, I’ve always wondered what Americans fish for.

Your Grove shop sounds like quite a wonderful place and I hope to visit it someday in my travels.

As for your challenge to visit bait shops I’d like to contribute this:
Here in Thailand we still have tackle shops that sell live bait however the only two types of live baits you can commonly buy here are just two species of earthworms.

Most of our bigger fishes are vegetarian so you’d see a lot of bread flakes, wheat germ, and bread mixes for sale here.

As for other live bait such as small eels, live toads and other little things, that can be used to hunt the carnivorous fishes (like the giant snakehead), we go to the fresh markets.

Keep up the great work 🙂

Comment by Bangkokhooker

Thanks for sharing that very interesting information. I hope someday that I could visit Thailand! Take care!

“Wags” — Greg Wagner

Comment by Greg Wagner

if you ever drop by this part of the world let me know! Take care Wags.

Comment by Bangkokhooker

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