You may accidentally freeze-dry baits yourself if you leave some minnows in the freezer too long, but it is better to purchase them. Many kinds of bait ranging from crickets to minnows are freeze-dried and sold in zipper bags. They keep well for a long time and will catch fish, but not as well as fresh-frozen baits. Use them as an emergency supply or when you need lightweight bait.
Freeze-dried baits are the lightest baits you will find so they're good baits to carry when backpacking. They keep for a long period of time, don't take up much space, and are very lightweight, all of which are important factors when backpacking.
Kinds of Freeze-Dried Bait
Minnows are the most popular kinds of freeze-dried baits and many tackle stores sell them. They're often more expensive than live or frozen bait and don't work as well. You may also find crickets, grasshoppers, crayfish, and leeches for fresh water, and clams, squid, shrimp, and crabs for salt water. Look for baits that are whole, not broken apart, and store them so they won't be damaged after you buy them.
How to Fish Freeze-Dried Bait
It's usually best to soak freeze-dried baits in water to soften them before using. Treble and double hooks hold them better than single hooks, and bait holder hooks (hooks with barbs on the shaft or a small spring) may be a good choice. These baits retain the smell of the live bait so they can be effective for fish like catfish that scavenge for food using smell.
Add a small inline spinner to these baits for added attraction, too. They make good jig tippers and can add enough smell and meat to them to make you get more bites. Fishing them under a cork or sitting still on the bottom will get bites from bluegill and other active feeders that eat any kind of food they can find. The ones for salt water work for bottom feeders when dropped down on a fish finder rig but will work better when drifted under a cork or moved along the bottom.