How to Find and Catch Worms

  • By: Sam Richards
  • Date: August 18, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Have you ever paused to wonder about the many worms wriggling beneath the surface of the ground in your backyard? For fishing enthusiasts, these earthworms are invaluable, often used as bait to catch bigger prizes. This guide co-authored and generously supported by wikiHow, is a mission to educate the curious and the keen on how to locate and catch these worms in just 7 steps. Whether you’re trying to observe these creatures, use them for fishing, or simply want to understand the nature of backyard worms, this guide has got you covered.

Over the course of this article, we’ll explore the behaviors of worms, such as how they come to the surface, often driven by factors like water from a hose or a simple piece of cardboard. We’ll delve into techniques on how to gently pull worms, especially those that resist, and how to properly store your worms to ensure they remain healthy. Additionally, for those who might like a more hands-on approach, we offer insights on when to dig through the soil, when to simply lift the soil, and even when to wait patiently and see if any worms surface.

How to Find Worms

If you are looking for worms for fishing or just want to find earthworms for any other purpose, there are several methods you can try. Mission accomplished!

1. Wait for the worms: Worms naturally come to the surface during certain times, such as after a rain shower. Patience is key.
2. Keep worms: Once you find some worms, you can create a suitable environment like a worm bin or a compost pile to keep them.
3. Put your worms to work: Worms may not only help in composting but also improve soil quality. Let them do their magic.
4. Find the worms gently: When searching for worms, be gentle in handling them to avoid harming them or causing distress.
5. Go back into the ground: After finding worms, they tend to go back into the ground. Ensure you place them somewhere suitable before they return.
6. Find worms without digging: If you prefer not to dig through the ground, you can try alternative methods like using a worm probe or attracting them with food scraps.
7. Worms that resist: Some worms may resist being found easily. Use methods like introducing vibrations or moisture to encourage them to come to the surface.
8. Dig through the ground: If all else fails, dig into the soil using a garden tool or your hands to find worms hiding beneath.
9. Worms to feed: If you’re specifically searching for worms to feed other animals, consider looking under rocks or logs, as worms often seek shelter there.
Remember, worms cannot survive on the ground without moisture. If the soil is too dry, try watering it with the hose to encourage the worms to emerge.

Get your hands dirty if you want to find worms. It will be hard to spot them when you are standing on the ground Sit down and dig. Move plants and debris to see if there are worms hiding on the surface.

Pro Tip: When you are walking when searching for worms, be as gentle as possible with your footsteps. Worms are intelligent creatures. They can feel the vibrations of your feet, and it might send them hiding. Not to mention, when you aren’t careful, you might end up crushing worms on the ground.

How to Catch Worms

Finding worms is just the first thing. The next important step is to catch the worms from their habitat. Worms can be slimy, making them hard to hold. Luckily, however, they are not fast movers. This means that they will not easily escape, as long as you act quickly to catch the worms.

Below, we will have a quick rundown of some of the best methods to catch worms.

1. Cardboard Method

This is one of the simplest ways to catch worms. Even if you are a first-timer, you can do this successfully without exerting a lot of effort. All that you will need to do is to leave damp cardboard in the yard overnight. Make sure that it is flat and it touches the surface of the soil. Cardboards are amongst the best foods for worms, so they will naturally venture out of the soil and feed on the surface, making them easier to spot and catch.

2. Digging Method

Another simple way of catching worms, this is exactly what the name implies. When you see worms in a specific area, it’s time to get your hand dirty. Look for a stream or any indication of water since worms thrive the most in moist environments. Use a shovel to dig. Do not dig too deep. In most instances, six to eight inches will be enough. Once worms start showing up, scoop them out of the ground.

3. Electrocution Method

This might seem like a little morbid, but this is another common method by which you can successfully catch worms out of their habitat. You will need a car battery, metal rods, and jumping cables. Do not forget to wear rubber boots to protect yourself from being electrocuted during the procedure. Position the metals deep on the ground and turn on the car battery. The electrical current will let the worms come out. Repeat the process until there are no more or few worms coming out, then move to another area.

4.    Soap Method

Using a bucket, liquid soap, and water, you can enjoy another successful method of catching worms. Mix the soap and water in a bucket. Make sure that you are using a non-toxic soap since you will need the worms alive. Pour the mixture over the lawn, and almost immediately, you will see worms coming out. Once you catch the worms, rinse them immediately. The soap in the water can make it difficult for them to breathe, so they need to be washed.

A Few Tips and Tricks

When catching worms, below are some of the most important things to keep in mind:

  • Do not pull the worms off the ground. You might end up breaking their body. If they are burrowing, let them be. Wait until they are fully on the surface before catching them.
  • When you transfer the worms to a cup or container, make sure that there is dirt. Like in their natural habitat, they also need moist soil to survive after being caught.
  • Keep the worms alive. Whether you are using them for gardening or fishing, among others, they are most useful when they are alive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are earthworms?

Earthworms are small invertebrate animals that belong to the class Oligochaeta. They have elongated bodies and are commonly found in soil.

What is worm grunting?

Worm grunting is a traditional method used to lure worms out of the ground. It involves rubbing a wooden stake against a piece of wet cardboard to create vibrations that mimic the sound of rain, attracting worms to the surface.

How can I dig around to find worms?

To find worms, you can dig around in moist soil using a shovel or garden trowel. Look for areas with organic matter and gently turn the soil to uncover worms.

How can I collect worms for bait?

If you want to collect worms for bait, you can use methods like worm grunting or digging around in moist soil. Another option is to set up a worm farm and breed your own worms.

Is it true that wet cardboard attracts worms?

Yes, wet cardboard can attract worms. The vibrations created by rubbing a wooden stake against wet cardboard mimic the sound of rain, which worms associate with moisture and surface activity.

Can I use earthworms as fishing bait?

Yes, earthworms make great fishing bait. They are commonly used by anglers for various types of fishing. Worms can be threaded onto a fishing hook to attract fish.

How can I get worms back into the ground?

If you want worms to come back into the ground, simply place them on the soil surface. The worms will naturally burrow back into the ground when they sense the need for protection and moisture.

Do earthworms have eyes?

No, earthworms can’t see in the traditional sense. They do not possess eyes but rather rely on touch and sensitivity to light and vibrations.


Worm hunting, an age-old practice often tied to fishing enthusiasts, is a mission many undertake in their backyards, especially when in need of earthworms to use as bait. Worms, particularly those near a water source, are not just valuable assets for fishing but are also essential contributors to soil health. From understanding that worms love cool and moist conditions to recognizing when they come close to the surface after rain or watering, every tip is designed to make your worm search effective.

One fascinating aspect we’ve explored is the wriggle and resistance of worms halfway into the ground; this signifies the right moment to gently pull them out. Avoid digging in areas without any signs of worm activity and focus on spots where the damp soil indicates they might be nearby. If you’re struggling to locate them, remember that worms are often attracted to wet cardboard; a piece can drive them closer to the surface.

Once you have your worms, it’s crucial to handle them gently and store them properly, ensuring they have holes in the lid of their container for ventilation. If you’re not going fishing immediately, a worm box or worm composting system can help keep your worms lively and healthy. For those who may want to learn more, there’s even a YouTube video that provides further guidance on this worm hunt journey.

Throughout our research, we’ve found that worms need moisture to survive and are usually found under rocks or inside holes. They love damp conditions, and if they are difficult to pull from the ground, it’s best to keep them without causing harm.

Happy worm hunting!

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