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Goldenrod Grubs for Winter / Summer Panfish

11/30/16 @ 3:27 PM
Artic Armor
User since 2/17/10

Photos follow to help focus this discussion:

This fall I've gone back to my younger years and picked a large quantity of Goldenrod galls / grubs. Searching the internet there few good articles on their collection, opening, storing, and use. Fallow farm fields and road and railroad ditch lines yielded most of my harvest.  I found that picking the galls before mid-October was a challenge as the stems are green and woody and the galls are often hidden by plant leaves. Ideal picking was the last two weeks of October when stems are dry and much of the plants leaves have fallen. By November 1st birds had pecked out many of the biggest galls. Speaking of size, I found that it does NOT pay to pick galls the size of a dime or smaller as grubs very seldom exist in them. "Smaller then a dime - Leave them behind" Pick only larger ROUND and DARK BROWN galls. Elliptical shaped / non-round or any gall other then dark brown color are almost always empty, so don't waste the effort on them.

Storing galls in 5 gallon buckets was a mistake as they mildewed and got somewhat moldy. Best storage was in paper grocery sacks and burlap bags and they could dry out better. 

Opening Galls: Various suggestions are out there about how best to open the galls to get the large BB sized grubs. I found resting ea. gall on a 2X4 plank and striking a hammer on a old kitchen knife was as fast and effective as any. See photo. Any way you open them, you are going to cut or squish several.

 I estimate the success rate of getting a usable grub from a gall is about 1 in 4, taking into account those that you damage, empty galls or small sized grubs.

Time Saver: It is easy and quickest to cut open the galls and IF the grub is NOT immediately coming out, place opened galls in a cardboard tray or similar and place at room temperature for a few days and the grubs will crawl themselves out of the opened gall for easy harvest (see photo).

Storing grubs: You may know as I recalled, and I have now again experimented with, putting the grubs in ground cornmeal, then put them in a bait container in fridge or freezer. Bottom line is you can repeatedly freeze and thaw goldenrod grubs from fridge to freezer and back again without harming them. Its reported that the grubs have glycol-like body fluids that allow them to survive these changing conditions. I try and fish FROZEN grubs as they thread and hold better on a jig hook.  Its NOT without time and effort. A paper grocery bag of galls = 1 and 1/2 times a 5 gallon pail) and takes 2-3 hours to pick in the field and another 5 hours to open them. All the while anticipation builds for the fishing fun to come with self harvested bait.

Welcome your goldenrod grub experiences.


11/4/17 @ 9:58 PM
User since 1/17/12

That is really cool. I wish I had more time to spend on stuff like this in my life. Anytime spent outdoors doing anything for me anymore is a plus. 55-60 hour work weeks for me don't leave much spare time for me. What spare time I have is spent fishing or sleeping, and I fish ALOT. So I get what seguar is saying, get it delivered and fish. That's what I do. Plastic is fantastic for me.....dont have any time to go find live bait anymore, be it from nature or paid for.

11/4/17 @ 9:18 PM
User since 12/17/09

Like seaguar said...Spend the 30 dollars stay indoors and sit in front of your computer all day with a big bowl of chips and will feel better.

11/4/17 @ 2:11 AM
User since 2/5/05

That seems to be more effort than it's worth by a wide margin. Is this something you did to get back in touch with your younger days? Because that I completely understand but for like $30 you can have a ton of bait delivered to your door. I long for simpler days also.

11/3/17 @ 9:21 PM
MEMBER since 6/22/01

I picked some of these today for the first time. I opened a few of them. Found one full sized one and three tiny grubs. I picked about 100 of them, so it'll be interesting to find out how many have grubs in them. Now I know what to look for!

12/1/16 @ 11:48 AM
User since 6/15/01

Easiest way to open a grub.

Use a sharp pocket knife.  Cut about 1/3 into ball, give the blade a quick twist and the ball will open to the grub.  Tap the half of the ball with the grub on it on your open hand and the grub will fall right out.

The best time to pick them is in the fall after the frost has killed the plant.  If you are bending and twisting the plant, you are too early.

I have no problems storing buckets full of the balls in the garage.  Your problem is you are picking them too early and the stems are not dry.

I carry a good sized garden clippers along with me to clip the balls off.  I have not hunted for years but when I did I always filled my pockets with the balls when I found them in the woods.

The grubs don't eat their way out of the bulbs until spring time.  Birds usually do not start using them as food until there is snow on the ground.  Prior to that, there is a lot of other protein available to them.

If you find a good patch in the woods, leave a few grubs to replininsh the quantity.

I like your comment about using frozen grubs.  Something I never thought about. 

You need a very tiny hook.  I have some 1/64 and 1/80 jigs I use.  Much easier to use a tiny jig and tail and add the golden rods if that does not work.

11/30/16 @ 10:28 PM
User since 1/11/10

Wow, give you credit arctic armor. I've opened a few goldenrod galls through the years. Hard work, you really put your back into it. Kudos!

11/30/16 @ 6:21 PM
Keeper of the Gate
User since 7/18/05

I use a diagonal pliers to open the galls.  My favorite pliers have relatively thick blades.  The thickness of the blades split the gall open nicely.  Also helps to apply the pliers with the stem of the plant, not across the stem.

11/30/16 @ 3:34 PM
Artic Armor
User since 2/17/10

A few more goldenrod photos:

11/30/16 @ 3:30 PM
Artic Armor
User since 2/17/10

More goldenrod grub photos below:

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