Unless you catch it yourself, live bait isn’t cheap. Keeping it alive and healthy not only protects your investment—fresh, lively baits are more attractive to hungry walleyes, pike and panfish.

Keeping live bait alive can be challenging, particularly during the heat of summer. But it can be done, especially if you take proper measures and use equipment that helps make the task easier.

It helps if your boat is rigged with an aerated baitwell. Just keep in mind that the system pulls water from the surface, which can be too warm for sensitive baitfish. Carefully adding ice while running in recirculating mode can help prevent temperature-related mortality.

Bucket- and cooler-style systems are great, too, provided they’re aerated. Lindy pro and veteran Northwoods guide Jeff Sundin recommends a 12-volt Power Bubbles portable aerator similar to those used in aquariums.

He notes that cold, untreated well water is ideal for keeping minnows ranging from shiners and redtails to fatheads happy.

Sundin also swears by Lindy’s Bait Tamers. Available in top-opening 1- and 5-gallon sizes, along with 10- and 15-gallon side-opening models, Bait Tamers are woven from a durable mesh that allows 100 percent circulation and ventilation. Velcro openings close securely, keeping bait inside yet easily accessible.

Keeping leeches in a Bait Tamer, tucked inside a baitwell or aerated, insulated cooler, is far better for your bait than the plastic containers they come in at the bait shop, Sundin explains.

“Bait Tamers also make short work of transferring minnows and leeches from the boat into a supply of fresh water in my vehicle at the end of the day,” he added.

Such slick transfers not only help keep your valuable bait alive to fish another day, they help prevent the spread of harmful aquatic species — providing yet another benefit of taking smart steps to keep your bait healthy.