Do Fish Eat Frogs?

Many species of fish will consume frogs in small quantities. Some species of fish, in particular bass, will consume frogs in large quantities.

Do all fish eat frogs?

Not all fish eat frogs. Some fish in the lakes and rivers, like a crescent or duskystripe shiner, redbelly dace, or razorback sucker, are vegetarian and feed mainly on algae or aquatic plant matter.

The omnivorous fish feed on other animals, but many of them, like black crappie, American shad, blueback herring, or bluegill, would have jaws too small to eat even a small frog. Their main diet is crustaceans, invertebrates, and small fish. They can, however, eat tadpoles if available in their habitat.

Some of the omnivorous fish, like common and mirror carp, sturgeon, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, are opportunistic feeders and eat anything they can find and fit in their mouths. That includes frogs.

Fish that enjoy eating frogs the most are mainly predatory. They are equipped with rows of teeth in their powerful jaws. Predatory fish are fast and can easily ambush their unsuspecting prey.

Common Species of Fish that eat frogs?

A lot of fish include frogs in their diet, but some of them are more commonly catch by anglers.

Largemouth bass – Largemouth bass are well known for feasting on frogs. They stick around reedy lines of the pond or lake, waiting for unsuspecting frogs to venture too far out or hop off the lily pads into the water.

The largemouth bass is an aggressive feeder and will jump at anything that resembles food in its eyes, and frog movement on the surface is doing the trick. 

Smallmouth bass – Smallmouth bass are not picky eaters. Their diet consists of frogs amongst fish, mice, and anything that may struggle on the surface and is small enough to fit in the bass’s mouth.

Northern pike – Northern pike is a master of ambush in the weedy shallows. It is also an opportunistic feeder, and it will eat anything that moves in front of its mouth, including frogs.

It is also common to find a winter pike with frogs in its belly.  

When the prey is scarce during cold months, the pike will often turn to eat whatever it can find on the lake’s bottom, like hibernating frogs.

Chain pickerel – Chain pickerel, a cousin of the northern pike, is an apex predator in its habitat. It is an opportunistic feeder and eats anything that crosses its path. One of its hunting domains lays between weeds in the shallow waters, and that’s where they find frogs.

Chain pickerel is equipped with rows of sharp, needle-like teeth and a bullet-shaped body, and it makes small work of catching unsuspecting frogs traveling between aquatic plants.

Walleye – Walleye is one of the predators that would alter their habits to get easy food, like in September and October, when the leopard frogs migrate from forests to lakes to hibernate.

During that time, walleyes, usually pulled by anglers from deeper parts of the lake, wait in marshy shallow waters to intercept the frog migration, counting on a big meal. 

One can usually spot them by their eyes, shiny white spots in the shallow water. 

Channel catfish – Channel catfish have taste buds distributed all over the external body. It can taste the frog swimming by before it can see it. 

Channel catfish are especially prone to eating frogs in spring when waking frogs come out of their winter hiding and swarm the lakes searching for food and partners.

Channel catfish gorge on frogs for two to three solid months between early breeding leopard frogs and late breeding bullfrogs.

Yellow perch – Adult yellow perch are known for eating anything that can fit in their mouth. They are mostly piscivorous, but as opportunistic feeders, they would grab a frog if they saw one.

Many anglers pulling yellow perch from under the ice found frogs filling yellow perch’s stomachs. 

When the water freezes and the life under the ice slows down, yellow perch look for any food source they can find. Because there are not many opportunities in winter, yellow perch often travel to the bottom where they can find hibernating frogs.

Trout – Trout that live in rivers and streams are not as prone to eat frogs. They usually stay in the pools beside fast-flowing waters, feeding on larvae and insects that drift by with the current. 

The lake-dwelling trout is another story. They are more likely to eat frogs. Standing or slow-moving lake water forces them to search for food actively, and frogs are a significant and steady part of the tout’s diet.

Are frogs harmful to fish?

Do Fish Eat Frogs?

In general, frogs are not harmful to fish as a food source unless the fish manages to get one of the poisonous frogs, like the pickerel frog, in its mouth. 

There is the possibility that adult frogs will feed on fish eggs and pick on fish fry and small fish. Frogs big enough to feed on mice and other frogs, like the bullfrog, would take their chance to get even larger fish in their mouths.

Can you use frogs as bait?

Yes, you can use live frogs as bait considering regulations allow it. 

Frogs are very potent bait for fish like largemouth bass, chain pickerel, northern pike, catfish, and even yellow perch.

If the law in your state doesn’t permit fishing with live frogs, you can successfully use artificial frog lures. They are also good for saltwater fishing on the surface in reedy bays for fish like snook, redfish, and seatrout.

How to fish with frogs?

If your state permits fishing with live frogs, your best bet is to get some medium-sized frogs so that you can target every size of fish.

You have to keep your frogs moving naturally while rigged. To do that, you have to hook the frog through its lips or one of the back legs. 

To fish with live frogs, the best type of line is braided. It decreases chances of breaking while you retrieve the frog through aquatic flora and will be strong enough to reel in the fighting fish. 

You can generally fish with frogs the whole year-round, but the best season is from late spring to the end of summer, when the frogs are abundant in the lake. 

Conclusion

Many species of fish would target frogs as one of their meals, and in some instances, would go as far as to change their habits to include an easy frog meal in their diet, like walleye.

The frog movement will entice even the pickiest of fish if they consider it easy enough prey, and fishing with frogs, even the artificial ones, can be very successful.