Goldenrod grows virtually everywhere, from eastern roadside ditches to the prairie. However, what some fishermen may not know is that there is bait inside many of those stems. Abnormal, round-shaped growths, called galls, are home to the larval stage of the goldenrod stem gall fly–one grub per stem.
To collect enough for a day’s fishing, just go for a walk in a goldenrod field and search for plant stems with the easily recognizable bulbous galls. When picking galls, avoid those that have any tiny holes in them–woodpeckers or parasitic wasps have beaten you to the grubs. To reveal the small larvae inside, simply slice the gall in half.
If you pick enough for several days of fishing, store the unopened galls in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer, where they will last for several weeks. Goldenrod grubs are free for the taking and are killer bait for crappies, perch, bluegills, and trout.