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How to Keep Maggots Alive Longer

Updated January 24, 2019

The maggot is considered a pest by most but many anglers use the cream coloured larva as bait. Storing the maggots in a live condition is possible in a temperature-controlled setting. The maggots eventually die and the angler must monitor the health to ensure the maggots are lively before fishing. Extending the life of the maggot is an easy task but be prepared for a strong smell to develop in the storage area.

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  1. Place a thin layer of sawdust or shredded newspaper in a plastic tub. Fill the bottom layer of the tub with two inches of bedding. Deep bedding makes it difficult to monitor the health of the maggots.

  2. Place the maggots on a screen and sift the screen to remove moisture and particles from the old bedding. Dump the maggots into the plastic container.

  3. Cover the plastic container with a window screen. Use a fine mesh screen that is not easily penetrated by the maggots. Tape or clamp the screen on the tub, if desired, but the weight is typically enough to hold the maggots in the tub.

  4. Place the covered plastic bin in a refrigerator. Maintain a temperature of 1.67 degrees Celsius to extend the life of the maggots. Temperature fluctuations are responsible for decreasing the life of the maggots.

  5. Monitor the maggots and change the bedding one time each week. Maintain dry bedding to extend the life of the maggots.

  6. Tip

    Keep the maggots in a refrigerator separate from your food storage. The maggots do not infect food but the smell is unpleasant. Expect the maggots to live for less than one month.


    Do not freeze the maggots. Although some may survive, the majority are likely to perish. Only freeze the maggots for use as dead bait.

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About the Author

Zach Lazzari is a Montana based freelance outdoor writer and photographer. You can follow his work at bustedoarlock.com.

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