Mepps Fishing Lures Will Pay You For Squirrel Tails And Use Them For Lure Making

Mepps Fishing Lures is among the most popular, versatile, and generationally accepted fishing brands on the market. Known for their classic inline spinner, Mepps fishing lures have been catching fish for over 80 years transcending time for generations of anglers. Plain and simple, they’re easy to use, fish-catching baits. 

The original Mepps spinner was invented by Andre Meulnart in 1938, but it took another decade for it to gain popularity in the United States. An American soldier got his hands on early versions of the original Mepps and brought them back with him stateside. They eventually landed on the lap of Wisconsin angler Todd Shelton who found immediate success using the Mepps spinner in the local Wolf River. 

Mepps Mania Begins

mepps original

Using the baits for personal use, Todd eventually began importing Mepps spinners and selling them at his fishing store in town.

Years went by, sales skyrocketed, and Todd began pushing Mepps nationwide while developing new colors, patterns, and sizes. The inline spinners were flying off the shelves helping anglers catch anything from trout to musky.

The original Mepp’s featured a bare treble hook with all of the action of the bait coming from the leading blade. In the 1960s, Todd began to experiment by wrapping furs around the hook, hoping to add action while disguising the three points of the bulky treble hook.

Things Get Hairy

Todd used fur from bear, rabbit, coyote, fox, and skunk but found that only buck tail or squirrel tail provided the pulsating action he wanted.

Now that he knew what he needed – Todd hung a sign in front of his building, letting the community know that he would pay money for their squirrel tails.

Squirrels are hunted throughout rural America and often the first animal a young hunter targets. Wisconsin has a rich hunting and fishing history so it didn’t take long for the squirrel tails to start showing up at Tom’s shop.

More than five decades later and Mepps is still offering compensation for squirrel tails to make their world famous bait. While you’re not going to become rich, it’s tremendous that Mepps is still honoring outdoor tradition, using natural resources, and preventing unnecessary waste.

From Fluffy Fur To Catching Fish

Watch how Squirrel tail is hand-wrapped around a lure by a skilled worker at the Mepps headquarters in Antigo, Wisconsin.

Credit: The Sportsman Channel

What Mepps Look For In A Squirrel Tail

fur chart

Squirrel Tail Payment Breakdown

NOTE: Mepps is only interested in recycling tails taken from squirrels that have been harvested for the table. Mepps does not advocate taking squirrels strictly for their tails. Squirrel tails cannot be sold in CA. It’s illegal to sell Western grey squirrel tails in the state of OR. State of Idaho Regulations: only red and fox squirrel tails can legally be sent to Mepps. Learn more at

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