Springtime Spaghetti - Earthworms

With the slow coming of spring, were having colder than normal water temperatures which causes trout to be sluggish. The best bait in early spring to get these sluggish trout going is the earthworm.


In the spring, earthworms are most often available to trout when high water or heavy rains occur. Earthworms are often washed into drainages of streams or swept off shorelines into rivers, ponds and lakes. Trout will take immediate advantage of this rich feeding opportunity.

While earthworms are good bait, the best is the nightcrawler that gets their name from their habit of crawling on the surface of the lawn or ground at night. They are often called dew worms. In early spring, nightcrawlers are hard to get yourself, you will have to rely on local tackle shops or corner stores who import their worms.

Since worms do not swim or emerge to hatch, simply fish them tumbled along close to the bottom with the speed and direction of the current. I personally like a piece of crawler on a long shank hook attached with a small spinner.


Nightcrawlers are large worms measuring up to 10 in (25cm) in length. The dark-coloured end is the head where the brain is located and the tail end of the worm is flattened in shape and lighter in colour. While the surface of the worm feels smooth it is actually covered with many tiny bristles. These allow the worm to move and also help to anchor it. If you have ever tried to pull a nightcrawler out of the ground you know how tightly they can hold on.

Although worms have no ears, they are very sensitive to vibrations in the soil – try walking up to one and see how quickly they can move. Since worms have no lungs they must absorb oxygen directly through their moist skin. If a worm dries out it dies.

Later on in the spring when it warms up, you will be able to gather your own crawlers. Here are some useful tips: just after heavy rains, crawlers often cover sidewalks and roads, but picking up a slippery nightcrawler can be a pain. Using a spatula to pick them up makes this much easier. When gathering crawlers after dark, I use a flashlight with red cellophane over the lens. A white light scares them back into their holes. After you grab a nightcrawler and it refuses to be pulled from its burrow, continue to exert steady pressure and he will soon tire and slide out.

Try scouring your nightcrawlers several days before a fishing trip. Place them in a container filled with sphagnum moss until the worms rid themselves of the dirt in their bodies. This makes the worm more translucent and attractive to fish.


When fishing the real thing is not an option there are a variety of fly patterns designed to imitate these worms.


One of the most popular is the San Juan Worm. It is simple a piece or red, brown or green yarn tied on the hook and secured with a wire rib.

Whether you fish the real thing, or an imitation, worm spaghetti is tough to beat as bait for trout in the spring.

FISH-ON! Cookster

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.