How Do You Attract Nightcrawlers?

Written by candice coleman
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A night crawler, or "dew worm," is a nocturnal earthworm frequently used as bait in fishing. It originated in Europe but has since spread to parts of the United States and Canada. Night crawlers are not only purchased for use as bait, they also churn soil and fertilise it. If you intend to use the night crawlers you catch during an upcoming fishing trip, you should start to collect them several days in advance.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Collect decomposing vegetation such as rotting fruits or vegetables or other plants. Travel to locations located near large bodies of water or which are near vegetation. Wooded areas, beaches, golf courses and farms typically have large numbers of night crawlers. Places where the soil has recently been moved, such as buildings under construction, can also attract night crawlers. Look for locations that have dead vegetation.

  2. 2

    Place decomposing vegetation in the location where you intend to catch the night crawlers. Choose a moist night for collection. Drop coffee grounds around the decomposing vegetation to attract night crawlers. If you wish to attract night crawlers in your own backyard, use mulch or compost to attract them. A freshly mowed lawn is also attractive to night crawlers.

  3. 3

    Wait past sunset for night crawlers to appear and do not shine any lights directly on the worms. Shred newspaper and place it at the bottom of a container. Fill with moistened soil. Add night crawlers. Moisten the soil as needed and add vegetation to feed the night crawlers.

Tips and warnings

  • Worms prefer older coffee grounds, although new coffee grounds will still attract them. Allow grounds to age until they gain a mouldy appearance.
  • Loud noises or lights can scare night crawlers away.
  • Clean up any items that you use to attract night crawlers, such as dying vegetation or coffee grounds. Place these items on top of newspaper for easier cleanup. Check city ordinances to see if your collection methods constitute littering.
  • Worm environments should be moist, not soggy. If worms dry out, they will suffocate and die. Store worms in a cool, damp location like a basement.

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