How to Catch Worms in Your Backyard

Enlist children to help catch worms for a fishing expedition.
Enlist children to help catch worms for a fishing expedition. (Image: Steve Baccon/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Whether you need free bait for fishing or want to improve your compost pile, catching worms in the backyard is a simple task that almost anyone can accomplish. Recruit the kids to help. Worms rise to the surface of your yard at night when the grass is cool and damp. If you want to hasten their appearance, water the lawn at dusk to drive them up. Once caught, store worms in loose soil or damp moss, and add pinches of cracker meal to feed them.

Things You'll Need

  • Garden hose
  • Shovel
  • Flashlight
  • Bucket
  • Crackermeal

Soak the backyard with a garden hose at dusk. Watering in the evening hours reduces evaporation and helps the soil absorb moisture, which drives worms faster to the surface.

Drive a shovel blade into the edge of your backyard where the soil is wet. You can dig anywhere you like if you don't mind shovel holes all over the yard, but digging at the edge will be less obtrusive.

Shine a flashlight onto the dirt mound overturned with your shovel. Poke at the dirt to loosen and expose worms.

Grab a worm gently with your thumb and index finger when you find one wriggling in the soil. Hold the worm for a moment rather than pulling immediately to avoid pulling the worm apart. When the worm stops resisting, pull from the soil and deposit in your bucket.

Overturn shovelfuls of dirt to catch worms until you've found as many as you need. For a fishing trip, plan on using a dozen worms for bait per person.

Cover the worms with a layer of loose soil and sprinkle lightly with water. Add a few pinches of crackermeal and keep the bucket in a cool, dark place until needed.

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