A Guide To Breeding and Raising Worms For Fishing

A Guide To Breeding and Raising Worms For Fishing blog banner

For any avid fisherman, one of the biggest recurring expenses is constantly having to buy new live bait for every trip. Especially, worms. 

Not only can the bait itself be expensive but the time, money, and effort involved in going to the fishing shop itself can also feel like a chore. 

Fortunately, if you are not afraid to get your hands dirty, there is a simple solution to this problem. That is to keep and breed your own worms as live bait. 

This guide will help you learn how to raise worms for fishing so that you can streamline your fishing trips and save time and money while at it. 

Step 1: Deciding the Species 

Earthworm Bait Worm Fishing The Worm Excavation

The first thing to do is to make sure that you know which species of worm you are going to raise. 

Generally speaking, there is only one main factor to consider when deciding the species you want to breed and that is the sort of fish you expect to be fishing. 

Some species such as Perch and Trout prefer smaller worms, thus if those are the fish you are going after, mealworms may be the most suitable option. 

On the other hand, Catfish and Bass prefer bigger worms such as nightcrawlers and red worms. 

Step 2: Deciding on the Location

You can set up your worm container both indoors and outdoors depending on the climate in your area. 

If you have an outdoor space then that will be suitable as long as the area is mostly shaded throughout the day and temperatures do not go below freezing. 

In case an outdoor space is not available or it’s too cold then you can pick a spot indoors in your garage, basement or some other suitable location. 

Generally it is not advisable to keep worms in your actual home. This is for a few reasons, firstly the container may create unpleasant odors that will stink up the house. (though some indoor worm bins do a good job of keeping odor to a minimum)

Secondly, there is a chance that some of the worms will inevitably escape. No one wants worms running around on their floor!

Step 3: Preparing the Box 

The next step is to prepare the box to keep the worms. 

For this, you first need to get a suitable container. Usually a plastic, acrylic, or tupperware container works best. 

Or you could skip this step and look for the best worm bins

It is important that the container is not metal or clay. This is because those materials can potentially lead to chemicals leaching into the soil inside the container and thus harm the worms. 

As well as this, the container needs to have holes drilled in and this is hard to do with a material such as metal or clay. 

Once you have gotten the container, drill a few small holes on the bottom to allow moisture to drain away. 

Otherwise, there is the risk that water pooling up will cause fungal blooms which could also hurt the worms. 

The next thing you have to do is drill a few holes near the top of the container. The substrate that you add in later will be below these holes. 

Throughout this process, it is important to ensure that the drill bit you use is smaller than 0.95 centimeters. 

Otherwise, worms could potentially escape and that could lead to issues. 

If you want to skip this part and just buy a ready made worm bin, these are our favorites: 

Step 4: Adding in the Substrate 

Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/infospigot/11144531926

The next step is to add in the substrate into the container for the worms to live in. Although a variety of substrates can be used. 

The most common ones are a combination of paper and potting soil. To prepare the container first add in a thin layer of shredded paper into the bottom. 

It is important to make sure that the paper does not have any harmful chemicals in it. 

Thus you ought to avoid paper that has a layer of glossy plastic such as the kind used in high-end magazines.

Moreover, certain inks can also be harmful thus the most sure fire way of avoiding that is by using plain shredded paper as the base. 

Once you have shredded the paper make a layer on the bottom that is about an inch or two thick. 

The important thing is to make sure that this layer of bedding is even throughout and does not have any noticeably large bumps. 

After the first layer of paper has been added the next step is to add a layer of potting soil into the container. 

The layer of potting soil can be much more generous and thicker than the previous layer of paper. 

Anything between 3 to 8 inches should be good, although more can also be used if the container is particularly deep. 

One thing to ensure is that the garden soil does not contain any pesticides or chemical fertilizers. 

Some brands of potting soil come with these included and this can seriously harm the worms. 

Finally, once the appropriate substrates have been added in, you should give the entire setup a nice and thorough watering. 

The goal is not to completely soak the substrate, however, it should be moist to the touch otherwise the worms will dry out and die. 

Step 5: Taking care of the Worms 

The next step is to get your worms for your container that has been set up. There are a few ways to do this. 

Firstly you could simply go to a normal fishing shop and buy live bait and release it into the container. 

Alternatively, if you want to save a few bucks and do not mind getting your hands dirty you could dig for worms in your garden. 

Fortunately, worms are not very picky animals and can easily be taken care of as long as a few crucial things are observed:

  • Firstly, ensure that the substrate is always moist to the touch and when it starts drying that means more water needs to be added. 
  • Secondly, add in kitchen and garden scraps and other compostable items every 3-5 days in order to feed the worms. 
  • Finally, you should ensure that the container remains within a comfortable temperature range for the worms. 
  • Anything between 10 Degrees and 27 Degrees Celsius should be suitable for the worms. (but check on the species you’re raising as it may vary)


Hopefully, this step by step guide to raising and breeding worms for fishing by yourself will save you both time and money. 

There’s no doubt that fish love worms as bait and if you have the space, you can knock multiple things off your list – breed your own worm bait, as well as create an easy recycling system for your food scraps…and you can even use the worm castings from your worms to grow your own fruit and vegetables. Win-Win-Win!