Ice fishing can be very rewarding, especially when it seems like there are no fish on the frozen lake. During the winter, fish are looking for food high in protein, and nightcrawlers are an excellent choice for ice fishing. They work well for catching panfish like Trout, Bluegill, and crappies, as well as game fish such as Northern Pike, Yellowfish, and Perch. However, Walleyes don’t usually go for night crawlers under the ice.
If you’re new to ice fishing, you might not know what a nightcrawler is, but it’s just a type of live bait. Even if you’re an experienced ice fisher, you may not have tried using nightcrawlers before. In any case, let’s take a closer look at this versatile bait option for ice fishing.
Obtaining Nightcrawlers in Winter: Your Source Guide
If you enjoy using nightcrawlers as bait for fishing, but it’s winter, you can still get live bait using three methods:
- Purchase them from a tackle shop and have them shipped quickly.
- Buy them from a specialized pet store and get express shipping.
Make your own worm farm so that you can have a steady supply of nightcrawlers throughout the year. Having your own worm farm can save you money and time, as you won’t have to wait for them to be delivered.
Rigging a Hook with a Nightcrawler: Step-by-Step Process
How you attach a worm to your fishing hook is mostly up to your personal preference. However, the type of fish you want to catch may influence your choice of bait size. If you’re targeting panfish, you can use a medium-size worm.
Here’s a simple method to bait a hook with a nightcrawler:
- Take the hook and insert it into the worm about a quarter of the way down its body.
- Run the hook through the entire length of the worm, so it’s securely attached.
- Push one end of the worm close to the other end, making sure it goes past the hook’s barb. Leave a small piece of the worm’s body to wiggle, as this motion will attract fish like Crappie, Trout, Bluegill, and Bass.
Mastering Ice Fishing with Nightcrawlers: Effective Techniques
The best way to fish with a nightcrawler depends on the kind of fish you want to catch. Two good methods are to put it on a small jigging bug or to fish it close to the bottom as if using a Senko lure.
Jigging Techniques for Success with Nightcrawlers
- Take a small to medium-sized fishing tool and break a nightcrawler in half. Put one half of the worm on the hook, leaving the other half dangling.
- Lower your bait into the water through the fishing hole.
- Allow it to sink to a good depth, then slowly reel it in while lifting the fishing rod slightly and letting it drop again.
- Repeat this action until you feel a fish biting or lower the bait again if needed.
- Keep an eye on the nightcrawler to make sure it stays on the hook.
Enhancing Your Ice Fishing with Nightcrawlers: Bottom Fishing Similar to Senko Worms
- Put the bait in the hole, similar to how you put the jigged bait. Let it sink as deep as it can go.
- Reel in the bait every few seconds and then stop for a while.
- This is necessary because the cold water will harm the nightcrawler, so you have to reel it to make it look alive and attract fish.
Cold Survival: Can Nightcrawlers Withstand Freezing Temperatures?
Nightcrawlers can freeze quickly if they are not protected while you’re on the ice.
A plastic container won’t be enough to shield them from freezing temperatures. A better option is to use a Styrofoam container, which provides better insulation and helps keep the nightcrawlers alive.
- You can also keep them warm by placing them in a glass jar inside your jacket.
- If the night crawlers freeze, you should throw them away right away because they will become useless as fishing bait.
- Once the worms freeze and thaw, they will become smelly and messy, making them unsuitable for fishing.
- The main goal is to keep your night crawlers alive, soft, and fresh, even when you’re out on the ice.
Nightcrawler Pricing: How Much Do They Typically Expense?
Here are some estimated prices for buying nightcrawlers from a worm farm, which can give you an idea of how much your next fishing trip might cost. These prices are from a reputable supplier called Pryor Creek Bait Co. in the Wyoming/Montana area. Keep in mind that prices may vary and are subject to change. Check for updated pricing.
- 12 nightcrawlers in dirt: $3.00
- 18 baby nightcrawlers: $3.00
- 24 nightcrawlers in dirt: $5.50
- 250 nightcrawlers (half flat) in dirt: $45.00
- 250 nightcrawlers (half flat) with paper bedding: $50.00
- 500 nightcrawlers (flat): $75.00
- 500 nightcrawlers (flat) with paper bedding: $80.00
Please note that some suppliers take extra care to ensure minimal loss during shipping.
Nightcrawlers are a type of live bait that works great for fishing. They are effective in every season and are especially popular among ice fishermen. To prevent them from freezing, follow some useful tips. Once you do that, you’ll catch plenty of fish to cook and enjoy.