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#3026816 - 02/16/13 10:56 AM
minnow grader
ortonville Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 349
Loc: ortonville
i trap most of my own minnows.the only time i dont is in the dead of winter when the ice gets to thick.what iam looking for is a grader to sort out the big minnows i have seen the ones the bait dealers use but cant seem to find any for sale.does anyone know where i could buy one or how to make one
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#3026833 - 02/16/13 11:53 AM
Re: minnow grader [Re: ortonville]
foo Online   content
Sr IceLeaders.com Family

Registered: 07/03/07
Posts: 274
Loc: OTC
I am interested as well. I found some very expensive ones on the net...but not much info out there it seems.
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#3026837 - 02/16/13 11:59 AM
Re: minnow grader [Re: foo]
Alagnak Online   content
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 1037
Loc: Lakeville
Just use different sized wire mesh/screens and the little ones fall through, big ones stay. Just make them appropriatly sized for your tanks, throw the minnows on top of the screen with it submerged in the tank, pull the framed screen up by handles and most small ones fall/wiggle down through to bottom. Make a 4-6'' lip on the frame so the big ones on top don't flop over the side and then dump the big ones in a different tank. Different sized mesh for diff size minnow groups you are trying to collect. If you are afraid of the wire doing damage you could spray it with rubberized paint spray.
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#3027223 - 02/17/13 10:23 AM
Re: minnow grader [Re: Alagnak]
flathead Offline


Registered: 02/02/13
Posts: 3
Loc: MN
Alagnak, have you ever actually done that? Seems to me you'd have to get them to swim directly through the square hole in the mesh. I know graders are completely different. I have one, but I know they are expensive to buy, seems like around 300.00 each size.
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#3027317 - 02/17/13 02:20 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: flathead]
CAMAN Online   sonar
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 10/26/08
Posts: 3039
Loc: Savage, MN
I tried searching for a picture of one for a design idea but couldn't find any. But if I were making one just going off of theory I would make a tall (tall enough so it doesn't fully submerge in the tank)three side box with bottom and have the fourth side be steel mesh. Dump the minnows in and the small ones will swim through and the big ones will stay. Place a light over the sorter and make sure the other side of the tank has plenty of shade. The small minnows will gravitate to the shade and stay there.
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#3027324 - 02/17/13 02:36 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: ortonville]
Gordie Offline

HotSpotOutdoors Staff Development Administrator

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 12273
Loc: Zimmerman Minn
ortonville I sent you a PM
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#3027436 - 02/17/13 06:19 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: Gordie]
lispeej Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1142
Loc: North Metro Minnesota, USA
I thought we couldn't catch our own minnow anymore.?


Edited by lispeej (02/17/13 06:19 PM)
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#3027569 - 02/17/13 09:44 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: lispeej]
Gordie Offline

HotSpotOutdoors Staff Development Administrator

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 12273
Loc: Zimmerman Minn
Originally Posted By: lispeej
I thought we couldn't catch our own minnow anymore.?

Or any less. The rules don't stop us from catching or possessing minnows it just tells us what water we can't keep them in during transport and what waters we can't take them from.
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#3027577 - 02/17/13 09:53 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: Gordie]
Bobby Bass Online   laughing
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 04/27/05
Posts: 3611
Loc: lake Iwanttobethere
I'm sorry but every time I come across this string "Minnow Grader" I keep thinking, What a terrible job to have, Bobby grin

I don't know where I am going, but you are welcomed to come with!

Just search Lakeiwanttobethere to find where Bobby has his cabin!
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#3027578 - 02/17/13 09:53 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: Gordie]
fiskyknut Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Pro Staff

Registered: 08/21/00
Posts: 4891
Loc: LOTW, Rainy and Red rivers
Really ?
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#3027581 - 02/17/13 09:55 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: fiskyknut]
Bobby Bass Online   laughing
Sr HSO Family

Registered: 04/27/05
Posts: 3611
Loc: lake Iwanttobethere
You know, a couple of five gallon buckets and a ruler.....

I don't know where I am going, but you are welcomed to come with!

Just search Lakeiwanttobethere to find where Bobby has his cabin!
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#3027587 - 02/17/13 10:11 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: Bobby Bass]
Gordie Offline

HotSpotOutdoors Staff Development Administrator

Registered: 07/24/06
Posts: 12273
Loc: Zimmerman Minn
One of the reason a guy shouldn't complain about minnow prices grin
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#3028086 - 02/18/13 02:38 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: Gordie]
Sportland_Bait Offline
HotSpotOutdoors Specialist

Registered: 11/21/04
Posts: 1677
Loc: Nisswa MN U.S.A.
Graders are pretty expensive and hard to find many options. You might want to find an old fridge rack. A salvage yard may have a rack that would work for you. Frame it with a box and you are in business.

Jason Erlandson

Dave's Sportland Bait and Tackle

We are at the intersection of Hwy 371 and Cty Rd 13
Nisswa MN
218-963-2401
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#3028414 - 02/18/13 10:14 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: Sportland_Bait]
timk Offline
HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 12/27/07
Posts: 76
Loc: amboy Minnesota
i use a 5 gal bucket with holes drilled in it. dump all in the pail put lid on and walk away all but chubs swim out or get eaten by the chubs. i have a 200 gal tank and this way the chubs don't jump out or eat all my other minnows

born to fish forced to work!
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#3028421 - 02/18/13 10:37 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: timk]
Great Outdoors Offline
Sr HSOList.com Family

Registered: 01/28/05
Posts: 1761
Loc: Burntside Lake-Ely, MN
Commercial graders are at least $150 each, and the one size fits all grader holder, will run close to $300.
Graders come in many different sizes, (18's, 19's, 23's, etc) and the numbers mean the grader size in 64ths of an inch distance between bars.
An easy way to make a poor man's grader is to find hardware cloth (the metal screen that minnow traps are made out of) in two different sizes, two square and three square (three square is hard to find). These are the number of squares per inch.
The two square will hold fairly large minnows, and the three square will obviously hold smaller minnows.
For each grader, take some 1x6 boards, and make a two foot x two foot box. Then fasten a piece of either size screen on the bottom. It's best to make two boxes, each with a different screen.
When grading your bait, stack the two boxes one on top of the other, in about a foot of water (with the box and larger screen on the top.
This way, the large minnows will stay on the top box, and the smaller in the second (lower) one.
All of the undesireable size will swim through the bottom of the lower one, and return to the pond.
When putting your bait in the top box, snap the surface of the water with your finger and this will drive the minnows down, trying to get away from the sound.
This will speed up your grading process.
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#3028627 - 02/19/13 09:14 AM
Re: minnow grader [Re: Great Outdoors]
ortonville Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 349
Loc: ortonville
i havent had much luck finding a grader.thanks for the tip gordie but no luck on that.i have built a grader but i am only looking at keeping the big fatheads and the square mesh i can find isnt big enough i still get to many small one
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#3028873 - 02/19/13 01:38 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: ortonville]
mnhunter2 Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 01/10/05
Posts: 413
Loc: marshall mn
Get yourself a plastic 5 gal bucket and drill it full of the right sized holes for your sorting and you are good to go.
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#3028886 - 02/19/13 01:53 PM
Re: minnow grader [Re: mnhunter2]
ortonville Offline
Sr HotSpotOutdoors.com Family

Registered: 12/29/04
Posts: 349
Loc: ortonville
the 5 gallon bucket will be the next thing i try
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