Do Trout Like Worms? [Do They Work?]

Do Trout Like Worms

Fishing for trout can be done in different ways.

It is not just fly fishing on a pristine river, somewhere far in the wilderness.

Anglers can practice different fishing techniques and use various baits and lures to so do.

Worms are one of the possibilities, but do trout like worms?

YES, they do! Trout eat a variety of food, and grown-up specimens will be happy to consume worms like nightcrawlers, red wigglers, waxworms and others. They are a part of their natural diet, and you can have a lot of success when using them for fishing.

If you would like to know more about this subject, I will tell you more about trout diet, worm species, and fishing techniques in the following chapters:



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What do Trout Eat in the Wild?

Trout thrive in clean and well oxygenated, relatively cold, waters.

These waters are usually full of different organisms that are eaten by trout fish.

The bigger the trout, the more feeding opportunities it has. Baby trout can’t feed on very large prey. And their feeding habits don’t include just aquatic animals.

So, here is a list of their favorite food:

Aquatic animals

Trout will often prey on smaller fish species like minnows. They will also eat crayfish and similar organisms. Some trout species, especially the brown trout, will not hesitate to eat smaller members of its own species. So, you can say that some trout are cannibals.


Insects, especially flies, are well known when it comes to trout fishing. Fly fishing is based on a trout’s desire to consume them. Depending on a location around the world, insect species can vary. All kinds of flies are on their menu, especially among smaller trout specimens.

Terrestrial animals

When hungry, trout will occasionally eat terrestrial animals that accidentally fall into the water. One for the best examples are grasshoppers. It has been observed that some larger trout even ate a mouse. Of course, this is not something that is on their every day’s menu.

Invertebrates and larvae

Trout will eat all kinds of invertebrates and larvae. Those include mussels, snails, leeches, and of course, worms.

Worms are liked by many fish species, and trout is not an exception.

Do Trout Like Worms?

Yes, trout really like worms. Worms are found around most of the waters where trout live, especially during spring and fall. Worms like moist soil and humidity, and the soil has these properties when near the water. These worms end up in the water and trout can consume them.

Their scent, color, and natural wiggling will attract trout from far away.

Except worms, trout love to eat leeches.

Leeches move slowly, and contain a lot of nutrients and calories, which is important for the fish, especially if they haven’t eaten for a long time.

I will tell you more about the best species of worms you can use to catch a trout, but in nature, when hungry, trout will eat almost any kind of worm. However, some are tastier than other to them, and those are the one you should use.

Some anglers argue that trout do not like worms, however, I completely disagree. Catching a trout on a tasty nightcrawler can be done, and you can have a lot of success. But your fishing technique is equally important, because trout is careful, and can detect unnatural things, so you have to be careful when presenting your bait.

Do Trout Like Worms - Underwater

Is it Legal to Use Worms as Trout Bait?

It is irrelevant do trout like worms or not, if their use is not permitted.

So, is it legal to use them?

I hear this question a lot, and many anglers are confused about this. There are many places where live bait is not allowed, and the rules can vary in different states, countries, or even among waters within the same area. But the thing that confuses anglers is the fact that in some places, worms are considered to be a live bait, and in some other places, they are not.

It is hard to be precise about this, and if you are unsure, it is better to check it out with the local authorities, or ask when you are buying your fishing license.

If there is a rule that says artificial lures and baits only then worms are not allowed.

If live bait is allowed, then the worm is too.

The problem usually occurs when there are all kinds of baits, including worms, allowed, but the rules state that live bait is forbidden. To be on the safe side, you can just remove the head and use a dead worm, but that is not as efficient as fishing with a live one. In my experience, rules are usually strict about live fish used as bait, but no one actually cares about worms.

However, they are alive, and to avoid problems with the authorities, you should always inform yourself about a specific location.

In some locations you are going to see that the rules say that live fish is not allowed as bait, which means that the live worm is OK to use.

What Worms are Best to Use as Trout Bait?

There are a few species of worms that you can use for trout fishing.

They all have some advantages and disadvantages.

Additionally, some may not be available in your area, but don’t worry, all the worms I am going to mention are excellent.

Nightcrawlers (American and European)

The term nightcrawler actually describes 2 species. You can distinguish them by their Latin name

European nightcrawler is called (Eisenia Hortensis) and it is well known for surviving really cold temperatures. That makes it great for trout fishing in colder waters. They are very resilient for a worm, and trout absolutely love them.

It is a compost worm and it can easily be farmed, and you can even grow them yourself.

American nightcrawler is easily available in bait stores, however, it is not easily farmed. But if the conditions are right, you can dig them up in some areas. It goes under a Latin name Lumbricus terrestris. This worm is among the favorite choices of anglers everywhere.

Both of these are large, can be cut into pieces and look similar. The most apparent difference is the color. When cut, they remain alive (if you know where and how to cut them) and they release scent that is attractive to fish.

Red wigglers

Another great bait for trout is a red wiggler.

It is also a compost worm, and you can farm it yourself.

They are also quite resilient and can survive in various conditions. Red wigglers got their name because of their lively and strong wiggling motion that attracts the fish from a great distance. Due to their size, because they are a bit smaller, these worms are great for smaller trout specimens.

Waxworms and Butterworms

Waxworm is not technically a worm, but it resembles one, and you can use it to catch a trout.

Many trout anglers are not using them, simply because they are not aware of how good these worms are. It is an excellent choice in times when other baits don’t work.

Waxworms are actually moth larvae. They are white and small, less than half an inch long. Due to their size, they are not suitable for larger trout specimens, however, they can be added to artificial baits to increase their effectiveness.

Butterworms are similar to waxworms in their appearance but larger, and can also be used to catch a trout. They have a yellow/orange color and are more visible. Butterworms are about one and half inch long, and unlike waxworms, can be used as a single bait.

Is Chumming With Worms Good for Trout?

Chumming is great if you do it properly.

Many beginners overfeed the fish instead of just attracting it. Before you start chumming, make sure that local rules and regulations allow it.

When it comes to chumming with worms, the answer is yes, you can do it. Sometimes, you can see a feeding frenzy when there is a lot of grasshoppers around, and fish are attracted naturally.

Worms can work in a similar way. You can also combine them with some other chumming mixture.

Some anglers use corn for this. Worms are completely natural and trout will see them as their usual food source.

Using the same chumming food and bait is excellent, because trout is likely to bite on something it already ate a few moments before.

The best way to use worms for chumming is cut the long ones into smeller pieces, or just to use small worms.

When chumming, don’t throw a bunch of them at once. That way, you will feed a fish or two, and they will swim away. Add little by little, to attract as many fish as possible. When the food is coming slowly, but regularly, some trout will wait for more, while other trout will have time to arrive from a distance, and you will have many of them on the same spot.

When that happens, present your bait, and there is a high chance you are going to be very successful.

Do Trout Like Artificial Worms?

We already answered do trout like worms or not, but do they like artificial ones?

The answer is YES, they do! Which is excellent, because you can always have a few in your tackle box, to use when necessary.

Soft plastic worms are available in all colors and sizes, and for trout, use a smaller, or medium sized ones. Huge specimens usually do not have a lot of interest in worms, so it is better to attract those that will happily bite it.

Choose natural looking ones for calmer and clear water. In faster rivers or a but murkier water, you can go with bright colors.

Artificial worms wiggle quite well, and added color can visually attract trout, however, they lack the natural smell.

Real ones are better, in almost any situation, but artificial ones are good for locations where nothing except artificial bait is allowed. Or if you are using some other bait, so that you can have this as a spare option.

Another good thing about artificial worms is that you do not have to take care of them and keep them on a certain temperature, like you have to do with live worms, if you want them to live long enough.

What is the Best Way to Catch Trout With Worms?

First of all, you have to chose a proper baitholder hook, in accordance with the targeted fish size.

Not all trout species are the same, and even the specimens within the same specie can vary a lot. It also depends on a body of water.

So, here I will explain some basic principles, applicable to all situations.

When it comes to attaching the bait, you can simply take a 5-inch nightcrawler, and pierce it with a hook somewhere in the middle, if you are fishing in deep and fast waters. For that, use a #8 hook. Both ends of the worm are going to wiggle as the current moves it. A split shot should be attached 1,5 feet above the baited hook.

In shallower and transparent waters, you can thread a worm onto the hook to completely cover it. Just pull the hook through the whole length of the body. This will hide the hook and release a lot of scent, which is excellent in calmer waters, as it won’t get washed away immediately. Don’t leave a large end of the worm to hang because trout will be able to steal a piece without biting a hook.

When fishing in a lake or in a pond, you can thread it on a hook by piercing it a few times from one side of the body to another. It is going to look “wavy” and hide a hook. Leave both ends to wiggle. By doing so, you are making it more visible but you are not giving trout an opportunity to bite off a piece.

Another important thing to mention is to use very long leaders, that are almost invisible. Choose in accordance with your local water color and clarity. Trout is very cautious and it will observe the environment before it bites.

Depending on a situation, you can suspend it under a bobber, or even use it for bottom fishing.

When it comes to the equipment, use a spinning light rod, 6ft long, and a matching spinning reel. Use mono lines.


So, now you finally know do trout like worms, what worms to use, and how to use them. Worms are an excellent fishing bait for many fish species, not just trout.

Their natural movement and scent will attract the fish, without making it suspicious. Just make sure that you follow all the local rules and regulations, and release the fish you can’t/won’t keep.

Artificial worms can be useful to, but nothing can beat live bait. Just remember to use those that resemble the real ones.

About Me

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I am Siniša Pintar (friends call me Sina), the guy behind and eBook writer. This site is base camp for fishing enthusiasts from all over the world. I love fishing and want to share all my stories, knowledge and my experience with any and all potential anglers. Read more ...

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