The Art of Worming for Trout

Learn the tricks used by an experienced angler when worming for trout, includes detailed fishing instructions, fishing equipment tips and a worm gang-tying technique diagram.

| July/August 1982

A beginner can succeed when fishing for trout in streams and small rivers by learning basic trout fishing techniques, includes worming for trout and a worm gang-tying technique diagram. 

"The old drunk told me about trout fishing . . . he had a way of describing trout as if they were a precious and intelligent metal. " (Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America.) 

There have probably been more words committed to print in praise of trout than have been set down in tribute to all other types of fish combined. And, likely at least in part because of the good press enjoyed by these members of the salmon family, many anglers—novices and old hands alike—avoid trout fishing . . . apparently thinking it's the type of sport that one can't be successful at without years of painstaking indoctrination and study.

That notion is an unfortunate one, too, because not only are trout delicious but—and perhaps more important—the experience of fishing for them (especially along streams and small rivers, which is precisely the kind of angling that this article will deal with) can be one of the most relaxing and soul-satisfying forms of outdoor recreation imaginable. Furthermore—although there's no doubt that continual practice, and study of the habits and habitats of these fascinating creatures, will result in ongoing improvements in an angler's skill, success, and enjoyment—there's no reason why a complete novice, using relatively inexpensive equipment and after only a day or two spent learning basic techniques, can't start right in catching trout . . . some of which might well be big enough to inspire the envy of folks who've spent years stalking the same streams!


Almost anyone who's had even the slightest exposure to the mystique surrounding trout angling probably knows that fly fishing—that is, using artificial lures of fur and feathers that are designed to look like the insects and such that make up a trout's diet—is generally considered the highest form of the art. In fact, some anglers are openly contemptuous of folks who employ such baits as metal spinners, live minnows, grasshoppers, or even (one can almost hear the purists gasp at the very thought) lowly earthworms.

However, although fly fishing is both enjoyable to participate in and beautiful to watch (and should certainly be attempted by anybody who finds pleasure in angling), "worming" can, when done properly, be every bit as challenging as fishing with artificial flies (and often a dang sight more productive). The key word here, of course, is "properly". You see, all too many worm anglers show little or no consideration for either the demands of the water in which they're fishing or the fears and appetites of the trout they're trying to catch. Typically, the worming for trout technique used consists of little more than dropping a large night crawler—weighted with a hefty sinker—to the bottom of a spring-roiled river . . . and sitting back to wait for a trout to discover the offering.

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