How To Catch Nightcrawlers

Video how to attract nightcrawlers

Nothing attracts a trout or freshwater Bass more than a big ole juicy Nightcrawler especially if they’re fresh and lively dangling off a barbed size 6 Eagle Claw Trout Hook. My buddies and I would fight over the last one because they are soo hard to catch and that job normally needs to be done the night before you go fishing. What is the best way to catch Nightcrawlers for fishing?

  • Catch at night in cool temp.
  • During a rain shower or try to simulate a rain shower
  • Avoid high grass
  • Use a flashlight with a red lens at the nightcrawler’s hole
  • Keep them cool-store in fridge
  • Don’t overfill container

Best Method to Use:

  • Dish Detergent Method
  • Worm Grunt Method
  • Worm Tazer Method
  • Walnut Tea Method

Like ‘Fishin’ stories are as old as the hills, so are the tales that surround them. Here are a few ways that you can fill a bait bucket with Earthworms even if the Bait Shop is closed in order to catch that monster that almost got away.

How To Catch Nightcrawlers

According to Webster An Earthworm (Redworm) is greyish red color- a worm that lives in the ground. the terrestrial worm that burrows into and helps aerate soil; often surfaces when the ground is cool or wet; used as bait by anglers a Nightcrawler An earthworm of the species Lumbricus Terrestris, known for its large size and nocturnal surfacings. Both these guys are the fellows we are looking for but obviously, it’s the Nightcrawler we want more than Earthworm. They got more meat.

Rain-The best time to find and harvest Nightcrawlers or worms is after an evening rain shower. If there is no rain you need to simulate it by hosing down an area using a sprinkler or hose.

Cool Temperatures-Nightcrawlers tend to come up to the surface when temperatures are between 60 and 70°F. In much warmer or cooler temperatures, worms will remain below ground. Also, hunting worms during foggy conditions can be productive

High Grass-Avoid searching in high grass. If you touch the grass it will act as an alarm to nightcrawlers, causing them to retreat into their holes. Working areas of flat dirt or low grass will be much more successful.

Red Light-Worms can detect white light from a normal flashlight and will withdraw quickly when it hits them. On the other hand, they do not notice a red light. Using a flashlight with a red lens will allow you to grab the nightcrawlers undetected. Try using a headlamp to keep both hands free.

Nightcrawler Holes-Nightcrawlers usually do not come completely out of their holes, but simply rest on the surface with their tails still underground. This allows them to slip back in quickly when alarmed. When trying to extract a nightcrawler from its hole, use gentle and steady tension on the worm and pull slightly horizontally to keep it from breaking.

StorageDo not overfill the container with worms. Use bedding of garden soil, coffee grounds, and shredded dead leaves with enough water added to moisten the mixture. Store your worms in the refrigerator or a better idea is to keep them alive along with the fish you catch.

Catching Nightcrawlers and Worms from Soil

Nightcrawler worms can burrow down to a depth of 6.5 feet in the ground, they generally stay close to the surface. This increases the chance of running across one when gardening, playing in the dirt, or landscaping. These worms receive their name because you can usually find them feeding above ground at night, but they’re really just your common earthworm.

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The average Nightcrawler can grow as large as 14 inches long and weigh up to almost a 1/2 ounce and in the wild can live up to 6 years old. They perform a great function environmentally eating waste in the soil while adding nutrients that are healthy for the environment. Grab the worms for fishing and stick them in your bait box.

Find a Nightcrawler on Top of the Garden

Worms eat up to 1/3 of their weight daily chomping on decomposed leaves and roots and are food for rodents, frogs, and birds, and when they get the opportunity most fish like them too. Commercial and recreational fishermen often dig for nightcrawlers in order to use them for bait for fishing to catch fish and if you grew up in the USA, girl or boy, then you already know that they are excellent for this purpose.

Nightcrawlers sense light and vibration but if you need nightcrawlers and the Bait shop is closed and ‘gone fishin’ or you can’t pay for them just do what every kid in America has done for many years:

  • Wait for the Sun to go down
  • Hose down the front yard
  • Use a flashlight to spot them
  • When you see them don’t hold the light directly on the worm or the worm will take off back into the hole he came out of.
  • Brush the light over them to see his hole’s location
  • Before he gets down the hole again grab him
  • If you vertically pull it out of the hole the worm might break apart
  • Pull the Nightcrawler out of his hole slightly horizontally and you will be able to capture him with less trouble

How To Grab Nightcrawlers and Catch Worms Out Of the Ground

During the summer, spring, or fall when the fish are biting and you might run out of bait walk around the lake or stream in the wooded area and look for leaf-covered litter on the ground. This will be closer to the water. Use your feet and kick away the leafy matter until you hit moister, wet dirt under the leaves. You’ll find worms but what you really want to get nightcrawlers those Largemouth Bass you’re thinking about are big fat Nightcrawlers.

Where the wet dirt is under the leaves you’ll find worms. Not as many as the watering your yard at night Method but you’ll find worms. You can always lay a piece of cardboard out on the wet ground and have an endless supply underneath whenever you need a few worms to go and lift the cardboard it makes for a great worm habitat. You still need Nightcrawlers they are a guaranteed strike. Pick one of these Methods and fill a small cooler.

The Dish Detergent Method

One of the best ways to catch worms is to add soap detergent or shampoo to an exposed area of dirt. Add a bunch of dish detergent like Dawn and mix it in a watering can pour it directly onto the bare ground and you’ll see worms come out of the ground in seconds. After a couple of minutes, all the worms that are underground in the area will be on the surface of the ground. They hate suds that are on the ground.

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Spring rain can produce some of the best conditions for finding nightcrawlers above ground. Worms don’t like to dry out so surface moisture is essential to catching them. If you have not had recent rains, try watering your lawn just before dark. This will draw worms to the surface after the sun sets.

Where is the Best Place to Find Nightcrawlers

Worms have sensors that allow them to feel vibrations. They know when predators are close by, and they know when it’s raining. Earthworms love to come out of the ground after the rain because they don’t have to worry about drying out, and they can move about much easier when it’s wet.

Just before dark, water your entire lawn (or the area of ground you are searching) long enough to soak it. Once it gets dark, you should be able to tiptoe around and catch nightcrawlers by the dozens. However, they may not come out of the ground entirely, and they are likely to retreat back into their holes if you don’t tread lightly.

These slimy creatures love cool, damp weather. In the early spring or fall, they can normally be found stretched across the ground after it rains. It’s much easier to spot them in areas where the grass is scarce or cut very low. Find them in areas with tall grass grow, or leaves covering the ground, are not ideal places to look for nightcrawlers because they will go back into the ground the minute you move the grass or leaves.

Nightcrawlers cannot live in extreme hot or cold temperatures. They thrive best in soil that’s around 68 degrees F (20 C). Most refrigerators run anywhere between 32 and 40 degrees F (0-4 C), so that would be a bit too cold to keep them if you want them to reproduce. However, they may go into their “hibernation” when in the bait fridge and can survive for a short amount of time if you’re just keeping them alive to use as bait to fish.

Get the Nightcrawler as close to the tail as you can and pull them gently out of the ground. In many cases, you will need to get some pull force, but not too much you don’t want to break them. If they seem to be stuck in their burrow then continue applying a small amount of pull, wait for them to relax, then add a little more pull force, eventually, they will come out. If you break them in half, leave them as there are many more and you don’t want to have Nightcrawlers dying in your container before you are able to use them.

Catching Worms to Fish

The worm Grunting Method is done with 2 wooden sticks, Take one stick and poke it into a hole in the grass and farther into the ground. Rub the other wooden stick against the stick poking into the ground which makes a rattling-type noise. This noise will drive the worms out of the ground right in front of you. This method is a little greener because you will not be pouring anything into the ground.

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Try and be quiet while you attempt this as we said earlier Nightcrawlers and all worms are sensitive to vibration.

One more vibration method uses a chainsaw to first cut a piece of a branch and make a stake that you can pound into the ground. Take your chainsaw and start it and lay the bar with the chain running onto the flat end of the stake and spin it until the stake pops out. That will vibrate the ground and area that worms definitely don’t like and they will make a run for it to the surface where you can scoop them up easily.

Walnut Tea Method is yet another way to harvest earthworms.

  • Gather up walnuts that are laying around on the ground.
  • Soak them in water for 5 minutes or so- it will make a black-colored tea
  • Use the same principle as the dish detergent
  • Expose a large portion of your yard to bare dirt
  • You can use a plastic leaf rake and clear an area
  • Wet the ground with it and wait a few minutes
  • All the Worms that are there will come out within a few minutes

The Worm Tazer method for catching nightcrawlers with Battery power and not 120-volt electricity.

  • Cover the headlights of your vehicle- you can use red cellophane that allows just enough light out to see but won’t spook the Nightcrawlers from the ground of your lawn
  • Locate some moist wet ground or make it yourself where the worms are on your lawn
  • Insert the metal rods into the soil, approximately 4 feet apart. Push them in by hand, as hammering them in will scare away the worms. Remember, worms are scared of light and vibration.
  • Put on your rubber gloves, sneakers, or Rubber BootsClamp one end of the red jumper cable onto the positive terminal of the battery.
  • Clamp the other end onto one of the metal rods. Clamp one end of the black jumper cable onto the negative terminal of the battery.
  • Clamp the other end on the other metal rod. Wait for approximately 30 minutes. Remove the jumper cables from the battery terminals.
  • Dig up the topsoil between the two metal rods.
  • Collect the Nightcrawlers
  • Use the method we recommended earlier to grab the worms- Pull the Worms slightly horizontally so that it’s easier to grip and less likely to break in half.

Good Luck Fishing!

What is the Best Way to Keep Nightcrawlers?

  • Store Nightcrawlers in a styrofoam or Tupperware container with a lid
  • Add newspaper, grass,& weed clippings
  • Use layers of dirt above that for the bed
  • Keep bedding moist & cool
  • Locate in a dark place
  • Feed Nightcrawlers commercial food-used coffee ground & kitchen scraps
  • Keep in temperatures at 58 to 68°F …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. Read more

JimGalloway Author/Editor

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>