Category Archives: Reel Fishing

Homegrown Worms: An Angler’s Guide

Bait, it’s one of those things where you can never be too picky. I am not a big bait fisherman; however, I do understand that some days bait is the only way to go. I used to buy worms by the dozen from my local tackle shop. They would work, but it almost seemed like the fish were used to the scent and look of the worms. After looking into alternative bait options, I decided I would start my own small-scale worm farm.

I should mention that I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my fiancé. Imagine trying to convince your fiancé, significant other, or roommate to be okay with having tenants of this sort in such a small space! It took a bit of convincing, but I got her onboard in the end. After doing some research on containers, habitat, food, climate and harvest, I felt comfortable enough to get my ‘farm’ up and running.

The most common question I get is, how do you reduce the smell? What most people don’t realise is a healthy worm farm should not stink, it should have a very neutral smell. If it stinks, you are doing something wrong.

How to build your own worm farm:

IMG-0846I went to Canadian Tire to buy two Rubbermaid containers. I drilled hundreds of 1.5mm holes all over the bottom of 1 rubber maid and placed it into the other container. This allows the liquid to drain from the top bin into the bottom bin, which prevents the worms from drowning. I drilled more holes into the lid and the top third of the container to allow air flow. This reduces temperature, smell and increases the oxygen levels.

Once this was done, I put a 5-inch-thick base layer of shredded moist newspaper in the worm farm. I went to PetSmart and bought a couple dozen worms. They quickly reproduced, enjoying a diet of plant based green waste and a few egg cartons every now and then.

Feeding your worms:

IMG-0845During the colder, winter months the worms go a bit dormant, but you still need to supply them with food. Typically, I will feed them once a week during the winter. As the temperature increases and the worms become a bit more active you should start feeding them twice a week or when the food is all eaten-up. Worms can go a couple of weeks without food, but like most living things they will eventually starve if they don’t get any sustenance.

It is important to supplement their diets with finely crushed egg shells and corn meal from time to time to increase their size and fatten them up for fishing. It is imperative to not overfeed them. Worms can eat about half their body mass in one day. You will quickly know if you have over fed them if you see food rot and smell foul odours.

Tip: If you freeze your food waste before feeding it to the worms, it will reduce the chance of getting fruit flies.  

IMG-0844I have had great success with my home grown red-wiggler worms. As soon as you string them on the hook you can smell a stronger and more aromatic scent compared to the regular store-bought worms. The strong, hearty smell, plus the bright red color of these worms, make them an irresistible bait for many fish.

I highly recommend you try this at home!

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~Tobias Roehr

Ice Fishing the Fishing Highway

5 am, alarm goes off. I think to myself, “should I hit snooze, or sleep in?” at the same time I remember that feeling when a fish takes my bait and I pull it up through the ice, so I get out of bed. My friends and I have three short days in Clearwater, BC to explore the ‘Fishing Highway’.

IMG-0835I begin the process of gearing up for a day on the ice. Starting off by going over my packing list:

  • Long johns, base layer, wool sweater, snow pants and snow jacket
  • Gloves, toque, heat pockets, snow boots and sunglasses
  • Ice auger, ice scoop, depth sounder
  • Fishing rod and reel
  • Flasher, flutter spoon, UV rattle spoon, UV jigs and split shots.
  • Bait: shrimp, and homegrown live worms
  • Camp chair, BBQ, hotdogs, water and a thermos of hot coffee

Feeling ready, I grab some breakfast, start warming up the car and we make the drive to our fishing spot for the day. Arriving at the lake we load up the sled and trek through the snow on to 14 inches of ice. A tingly feeling jolts through me as the excitement of ice fishing builds. There is something about boating on a lake one season and walking on it the next that exhibits a true Canadian experience for me.

Finding our spot, we begin to unload and use our hand auger to drill the first hole. Using a hand auger to drill through 14 inches of ice is exhausting and never fun, but with the excitement of fishing in mind we make it through quickly. All set and baited up the first IMG-0836line drops, BOOM! Instantly my friend yells “FISH ON!”. In disbelief I watch her pull up a beautiful 12-inch rainbow trout. Excited by the prospect of more to come she releases this one. We check the fish finder to see that fish are being read at 5ft., 10ft., 14ft. all the way down to 30ft. Soon after, a double header for my friend and I. After that the hits continued to come fast and furious. By the time lunch rolled around we had nearly reached our possession limit of fifteen, five trout each. After a quick bite to eat we got back to it and reached our limit for the day. We packed up the sled hauled back to the truck to make the drive back into town.

Reflecting on the day I was happy how well the gear I brought worked. The UV flasher with a UV jig underneath it proved its success yet again. Even though there is a large amount of sunlight penetrating the ice I prefer using UV flashers and jigs. ‘Shiny’ flashers do not give off a great sparkle under the ice. UV reflecting flashers on the other hand are designed to ‘glow’ in conditions with low direct sunlight where ultraviolet light can still reach. These flashers or jigs have a specially formulated pigment that reflects ultraviolet light giving them a ‘glow’. This will attract fish from a further distance as well as induce a strike. When bait fishing for trout I like using natural baits when possible, always check regulations. In my experience the scent and visual effect natural bait gives off proves to be superior over most plastic baits.

Now, off to the smoker to smoke some fresh trout to enjoy during the weeks to come.

I like to use this recipe, per 1 lbs of trout. The cayenne pepper gives the sweet tasting fish a bit of a spicy kick.

  • 3 cups of brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper

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~Tobias Roehr