Do Crappie Eat Worms? (Earthworms, Nightcrawlers, And Other Species Of Worm Explored)

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Worms are excellent fishing bait for a variety of species, including trout and crappie. Some crappie fishing anglers who are enthusiastic about capturing crappie are always wondering if worms are a viable option.

Yes, Crappies eat worms. Crappie can be caught using nightcrawlers and worms. Though Crappies tend to favor alternative live bait such as suckers, shiners, minnows, and yellow perch over worms.

When you opt to fish with worms though, you may find yourself spending the day chasing yellow perch and bluegills.

This is because these species are more competitive when they are presented with worms as fishing bait.

What is A Crappie?

Crappie could be regarded as apex carnivores in several lake and river ecosystems due to their various feeding habits. They are voracious eaters and develop into quite large-sized fish.

They are also able to dive deeper than plenty of smaller fish, allowing them to attack prey like minnows and bluegills that lurk below, from above.

For most of their growth, little crappie are greedy feeders, eating and chowing down on tiny fish, small insects, and plankton until they reach adult size.

Will Crappie Eat Earthworms?

So, can you use earthworms as bait to catch crappie?

Earthworms do make excellent crappie lures. Earthworms are seldom, if ever, encountered by crappie in their natural habitat.

A severe downpour can sometimes sweep Earthworms off a riverbank into a river or a lake; however, crappie don’t perceive earthworms as a bad food ingredient.

Earthworms are among those baits that very few fish will refuse to eat.

Earthworms have been proven to attract interested and oftentimes puzzled attacks in water from not only crappie, but also:

  • shad
  • catfish
  • bullheads
  • bass
  • yellow perch
  • bluegills
  • trout
  • and chain pickerel

…over and over again. If you give a tasty wriggling earthworm to crappie, it will surely eat it.

Whether that’s due to the taste or smell of a worm or whether it’s more to do with their movement is often hotly debated.

earthworms for crappie fish

What Type of Worm does Crappie Like?

While it’s commonly known that crappies can eat most worms, it is still a mystery to many: What type of worm does crappie like the most?

Earthworms are one worm kind that not only crappie would feast on, but several other fish and animals love too since they are more commonly found, compared to the different worm kinds.

However, crappie will also like:

It’s a bit more technical than assuming they’ll only eat earthworms.

Crappie prefer nightcrawlers and mealworms during summertime (as they shimmer and reflect light in the water) the most.

In the opposite colder season, crappie prefer to feast on wax worms (though meal worms work well for winter crappie too).

As for the calcium worms and superworms are rarely used by the anglers to lure the crappie.

Minnows are widely used as one of the best crappie bait to draw in crappie fish. But worms can still do a decent job of catching crappie too.

Nightcrawler or Regular Worms: Which One do Crappie Prefer?

The never-ending argument amongst anglers: earthworms or nightcrawlers?

Both are available for purchase at almost any fishing store (species may change depending on location).

Some people have great success with worms that are wild-caught from their neighborhood or garden.

People particularly enjoy utilizing them as those worms are far more alive and vibrant compared to the unenergetic worms kept in crowded fishing stores, or even dead worms commonly sold in freezers in some places.

Live crappie bait will almost always be more appealing and attention-grabbing to fish.

Those store-bought worms are generally tiny and slowed down to a crawl. Catching your earthworms makes them fresher and much more energetic.

When you have to choose between store-bought nightcrawlers and worms, nightcrawlers are the way to go.

Such giant worms are generally more energetic and more significant of a meal as crappie baits go, than regular worms.

Can You Catch Crappie with Worms?

Yes, you can catch crappies with worms.

They’re not the only thing you can use when fishing for Crappie, of course.

Crappie is a carnivorous predator, with jaws significantly bigger than bluegills in proportion to body composition. That allows them to consume a far wider variety of foods.

While ground insects such as worms spilled into water are definitely dietary sources for mature crappie, they have also been known to eat:

  • Tiny frogs
  • tadpoles
  • small snails
  • shrim
  • crayfish
  • aquatic insects
  • plankton

Adult crappie are most known for their ability to eat other fish.

Their big jaws enable them to eat baitfish that are significantly bigger than the average mature bluegill.

Crappie will eat minnows, chubs, suckers, shiners, and fish less than 3 inches long.

How Would You Use a Worm to Catch Crappie?

  • Get a decent size 4 through 2 bait hook and a solitary worm – then hook the earthworm or night crawlers for a crappie’s attention
  • Allow the body or tail of the worm to wriggle by penetrating it with the hook.
  • The fish will be drawn in by the moving head or tail

Wax Worms VS Mealworms For Crappie

Ice fishing bait for yellow perch, trout, and bluegills is typically mealworms and wax worms. They’re also an effective ice fishing lure for wintertime crappie.

Additionally, whether put onto tiny jigs heads or tied solitary onto lure hooks, wax worms and mealworms would be effective for summertime crappie.

You’ll have to keep an eye out for the other fishes in the area. When there are many bluegills or yellow perch in the area, they’ll attempt to eat your mealworms and wax worms before crappie can get to them.

Throughout the summer, waxworms have shown to be a very effective lure.

Although we would not recommend wax worms or mealworms over minnows, when you cannot utilize minnows or are inaccessible, mealworms and wax worms are still an effective bait to capture crappie.

Do Worms Work Better for Black or White Crappie?

It appears that black crappie favor worms to white crappie. Although white crappie will take the live worm baits, black crappie seem more active.

Both kinds of crappie prefer baitfish much more than worms; therefore, if possible, use shiners, live minnows, fathead minnows or synthetic baits.

However, if you wish to utilize worms, it appears that angling for black crappie rather than white crappie would yield more remarkable results.

black crappie and white crappie


Do Crappie Eat Worms? They absolutely do. Worms are ideal for luring the crappie into the bait.

Worms trigger an instinctual feeding response through their natural scent and movement, leading to the crappies hunting for them.

You can catch crappie using various worms such as nightcrawler, mealworms, and wax worms.

Although anglers prefer nightcrawlers over other worms, you can still opt for their counterparts since all these lures work to catch the crappie. Ideally, though, you want to use minnows as one of their favorite food sources.