Homegrown Worms: An Angler’s Guide

Bait, it’s one of those things where you can never be too picky. I am not a big bait fisherman; however, I do understand that some days bait is the only way to go. I used to buy worms by the dozen from my local tackle shop. They would work, but it almost seemed like the fish were used to the scent and look of the worms. After looking into alternative bait options, I decided I would start my own small-scale worm farm.

I should mention that I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my fiancé. Imagine trying to convince your fiancé, significant other, or roommate to be okay with having tenants of this sort in such a small space! It took a bit of convincing, but I got her onboard in the end. After doing some research on containers, habitat, food, climate and harvest, I felt comfortable enough to get my ‘farm’ up and running.

The most common question I get is, how do you reduce the smell? What most people don’t realise is a healthy worm farm should not stink, it should have a very neutral smell. If it stinks, you are doing something wrong.

How to build your own worm farm:

I went to Canadian Tire to buy two Rubbermaid containers. I drilled hundreds of 1.5mm holes all over the bottom of 1 rubber maid and placed it into the other container. This allows the liquid to drain from the top bin into the bottom bin, which prevents the worms from drowning. I drilled more holes into the lid and the top third of the container to allow air flow. This reduces temperature, smell and increases the oxygen levels.

Once this was done, I put a 5-inch-thick base layer of shredded moist newspaper in the worm farm. I went to PetSmart and bought a couple dozen worms. They quickly reproduced, enjoying a diet of plant based green waste and a few egg cartons every now and then.

Feeding your worms:

During the colder, winter months the worms go a bit dormant, but you still need to supply them with food. Typically, I will feed them once a week during the winter. As the temperature increases and the worms become a bit more active you should start feeding them twice a week or when the food is all eaten-up. Worms can go a couple of weeks without food, but like most living things they will eventually starve if they don’t get any sustenance.

It is important to supplement their diets with finely crushed egg shells and corn meal from time to time to increase their size and fatten them up for fishing. It is imperative to not overfeed them. Worms can eat about half their body mass in one day. You will quickly know if you have over fed them if you see food rot and smell foul odours.

Tip: If you freeze your food waste before feeding it to the worms, it will reduce the chance of getting fruit flies.  

I have had great success with my home grown red-wiggler worms. As soon as you string them on the hook you can smell a stronger and more aromatic scent compared to the regular store-bought worms. The strong, hearty smell, plus the bright red color of these worms, make them an irresistible bait for many fish.

I highly recommend you try this at home!

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~Tobias Roehr

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