Running low on fishing bait? Look to your backyard

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Photo via Wisconsin DNR

Need Fishing Bait?

Find some right in your backyard! Worms and nightcrawlers are great for catching fish, especially bluegills, pumpkinseed and other panfish.

Where Can I Find Them?

Worms like moist soil. Check under rocks, logs and in shaded areas, or grab a shovel and dig some up. Got a compost pile? Check there. Worms are great for decomposing organic material.

Another fun and exciting way to find worms is to search for and catch them at night with flashlights. Worms and larger nightcrawlers will come out of the soil after dark, especially after a warm rain. Walk slowly and scan the lawn for them. Once you spot one with your light, be ready to act. Worms will retreat quickly down the holes they came from if it senses the light for too long. It takes practice to catch them this way, but it can be a lot of fun trying to find those big ones!

Once you’ve found them, place the worms in a storage container with some soil. Make sure to poke air holes in the lid of the container.

How Do I Use Worms As Bait?

Try putting a worm under a bobber the next time you go fishing. Attach them to the hook, making sure to leave enough of the worm dangling off the hook for fish to bite onto.

Worms tend to go bad quickly in warm weather. Keep them chilled in a cooler with an ice pack while fishing.

I Caught A Fish! What Should I Do With The Worms Now?

Save worms for your next fishing trip.

They can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. Place the worms in a container with a few holes poked in the lid. If you don’t want to save them, throw them in the trash. Worms are an invasive species and should never be dumped into the water, grass or woods. Properly dispose of them in the garbage.

Find more fishing information on the DNR’s fisheries webpage.