How To Catch 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.

Earthworms vs 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 harvest Nightcrawlers 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 a gentle and steady tension on the worm and pull slightly horizontally to keep it from breaking.

StorageDo does 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.


Best Moon Phase For Saltwater Fishing

How to Attract Nightcrawlers


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.

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.

They 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 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 holes 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 Keep Fish Fresh While Fishing

How To Get Nightcrawlers 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 for 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-On 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 mixed 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.

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.

Try and be quiet while you attempt this as we said earlier Nightcrawallers 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.

The Worm Tazer is the high-tech way to collect worms when you got some time on your hands or maybe you want to make a little Live Bait stand near the Fishing Hole. The way to do this is to:

  • Make up some probes a half dozen or so
  •  Connect them to a 120-volt outlet
  • Stick the probes into the ground
  • Worms will make a mad dash to get the heck out of the ground and there will be a ton of them
  • This is the most efficient way and produces a huge amount of worms
  • It can also kill you if you’re not careful!
  • If you have a GFI Breaker plug outside where you’re juicing the Worm Tazer-it won’t work-the breaker will shut the power down- which tells you it’s not a real safe project to do. You would need a standard outside receptacle and a buddy who is a licensed Electrician and like to fish. I wouldn’t recommend the Electric Taser rather use a car battery for the power down below.

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 with Battery power and not 120-volt electricity. I would prefer this way myself!

  • 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.
  • Locate some moist ground or make it yourself
  • 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 Rubbber 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 soil between the two metal rods.
  • Collect the Nightcrawlers
  • Use the method we recommended earlier-Pull the Worms slightly horizontally so that it’s easier to grip and less likely to break in half.

Good Luck Fishing!




What are the different types of fishing rods and the differences between them?                    Different Types of Fishing Rods



      JimGalloway Author/Editor



Recent Posts