What’s the Best Bait for Fishing in a Canal?

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Canals offer fishing opportunities to anglers all year round, making them one of the most exciting places to fish. Baits are a must-have when fishing in a canal because they significantly increase your chances of getting a bite. So, what is the best bait for fishing in a canal?

What Is the Best Bait for Fishing in a Canal?

The best bait for fishing in a canal is live worms. Live worms are great for canal fishing because most fish find their visual appearance and tender meat irresistible. This makes them efficient in catching most -if not all- species and sizes of freshwater fish, such as catfish, rock bass, striped bass, bullheads, trout, bluegills, walleye, and crappies.

An image of a person holding worms

Fish are natural predators; they mainly prey on smaller organisms in the water for food. Since worms are easy prey, it is only natural for fish to hunt them once they see them.

Why Are Live Worms Great?

In addition to the fact that they are a natural preference for fish, their wriggling action and long-lasting nature make them an easy choice. They are highly cost-effective and you can get them from a range of locations.

They Are Cost Effective

Worms can be found anywhere including:

  • Parks
  • Lawns
  • Pastures, and
  • Garden soils

Humid days are often the best times for collecting worms. So, with enough digging and searching, you can be sure to get yourself enough worms to fish a whole canal.

If searching for worms isn’t for you, a more accessible alternative is to purchase equally yummy worms at any bait shop around you for a small amount.

They Attract Fish

The natural and distinctive earthy smell of worms is one thing that draws fish to them. Although worms don’t naturally live in water, most freshwater fish find their scents and erratic, wiggling motion attractive.

Since most fish have a poor long-distance vision, they generally perceive the worms before seeing them. Once hungry fish pick up on this scent, they usually can’t resist searching for the source, leading them directly to your hook.

Little Can Mean More

An interesting thing about using worms as bait is that even if they are cut into smaller portions, they still lure fish. This allows you to fish for longer periods without needing extra worms, while at the same time preventing small fish from taking bites off the worm without biting on the hook.

Also, the different types of worms give you a wider range of choices depending on the kind of fish you wish to catch.

Types of Worm Bait

When it comes to worm baits, there is no one-size/type-fits-all application. The characteristics -specie, size, scent, color- of the worm you choose are highly likely to affect the willingness of fish to bite. Therefore, it is not enough to simply use a worm; selecting the right kind of worm is equally essential.

Below are different types of worm baits suitable for fishing in a canal:


These worms are a preferred bait option for many anglers because of their large sizes -a typical nightcrawler grows to about 4-6 inches long. Even though most bigger fish require bigger bait, nightcrawlers can be cut into smaller pieces and still work effectively for catching big fish.

Another advantage of these worms is that they are surprisingly easy to find, so you won’t have to spend any money procuring them. Most importantly, nightcrawlers are a favorite of all fish species, meaning you can count on them always to attract fish to your hook.

Mealworms and Waxworms

Mealworms and waxworms aren’t technically worms; they are the larvae of darkling beetles. Yet, fish love them so much. When underwater, these baits let out a scent as they break down, attracting small fish like:

  • Bluegills
  • Crappies
  • Perch, and
  • Trout
An image of a worm crawling on grass

Red Wigglers

These bright red worms are popularly known for their wild wiggling movements both in and out of water. Red wigglers come in big, medium, and small sizes. A big red wiggler is often smaller than a medium-sized nightcrawler; hence they are great worms for catching smaller species like trout and not big fish.

Blood Worms

Blood worms are incredible baits that attract any kind of fish. Their transparent appearance and a large amount of fat in their bodies make them appealing to fish. They also come in varying sizes, ranging from small to enormous. Blood worms bite when they feel threatened. So whatever you do, make sure to keep away from their mouths.

Related Question

Are Dead Worms Good Baits?

No, dead and lifeless worms are not good bait and will not attract much fish. Live worms attract most fish because of the scents they let out, their appearance, and, most importantly, their erratic movement in the water.

Notwithstanding, it is possible to catch catfish using dead nightcrawlers since the smell from the congealed mash of dead worms used for stink baits is known to attract catfish.

What Fish Can I Find in a Canal?

You can find perch and roach which are the most common fish species in canals. You could also find species like bream, carp, rudd, and tench.


Live worms are the best bait to use when fishing in a canal. Their irresistible features, such as their smell, appearance, taste, and wiggling when inside water, make them very appealing to fish. So next time you go fishing, make the most of your experience by using the right worms as bait.