Wild Nightcrawlers

More reader questions today! Hopefully people aren’t getting sick of them yet. Haha!
Just so you know, I’ll definitely be starting to mix in some of my more typical kinds of blog posts very soon as well. Here is a question from Danny relating to ‘wild’ nightcrawlers.

Please advise me on what time of year, where to look, and
how to find wild nightcrawlers. I would like to be able to catch my
own, at least enough to start my own worm bed. I have a 1/2 acre pond
and eventually I would like to be able to feed my fish with my own

I have heard that in the middle of spring through late fall that I
could go out at night with a flash light during rainy times or
shortly after and find them in the garden and in the woods. Is this

I am handicaped, so I cant walk to far at a time, and its hard for me
to get around in the woods at times.

Any help you could give me I sure would appreciate.


Hi Danny,
Unfortunately the type of ‘nightcrawler’ you can catch on the lawn after a warm rain shower is not the same type of nightcrawler that can be used for worm farming. The ‘Canadian Nightcrawler’ (aka Dew Worm) is a very large soil dwelling worm that is widely used as a bait for fishing in North America. I’m not sure where you live, but up here in Ontario (Canada) these worms can be captured (with the help of a flashlight) in huge numbers at night after a heavy rainfall in spring, summer and fall (as long as there are relatively warm temps). I’m not sure how widespread these worms are down in the US (I know a lot are imported from up here), but you might see if you can find some after a heavy spring rain shower in your area.

As great as these worms can be for fishing, they are not ideally suited for worm farming. They are adapted for life in soil – more specifically, for solitary life in deep tunnels in the soil. If you force them to live confined in a worm bed with lots of other worms they will not be happy.

There is however another ‘nightcrawler’ that is widely used for fishing AND composting, but I suspect you won’t find it running wild in Canada or the U.S. The European Nightcrawler (Eisenia hortensis) is a large-bodied composting worm that is commonly sold for bait. It is bigger than the ‘Red Wiggler’ (Red Worm), but they are closely related and can both be used for composting.

I would highly recommend you buy a pound or two of these worms and start growing them yourself. As I have discovered, they are very easy to raise, and seem to me to be pretty well the perfect size for fishing (Dew Worms are a little TOO big in my opinion) – not that I could every put a worm on a hook again!

Hope this helps!


[tags]nightcrawlers, bait, fishing, worms, earthworms, dew worms, european nightcrawlers, eisenia, worm bin, worm bed, worm farming[/tags]

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    • Greg Tavener
    • September 28, 2009

    I had a huge number of night crawlers in my lawn, 12 feet X 20 feet. I removed 2.5 lbs of extremely large nightcrawlers in 5 evenings. The lawn was actually unsafe to walk on, due to the mud cones they were leaving. I bared the nuetral and the black wire, and attached a metal rod to each end. The rods are stuck in the ground to about 6 inches in depth, and the other end is plugged into a 110 volt receptical (not a ground fault). In a matter of a minute or so, all worms in a three foot circle around the neutral rod climb out on top of the grass. This does not kill the worms, and has made a lot of neighbourhood fishermen very happy.


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