Several other invertebrates are less commonly used as bait by fishermen. These include caterpillars, crickets, garden snails, grasshoppers, larvae, maggots and wax worms. None of these products are currently regulated in Ontario. Salamanders cannot be used as bait in Ontario. It is illegal to bring live bloodsuckers, live elk, live fish, smelt, wax worms, crabs or salamanders into Ontario. Frozen or salted elritz is allowed. Nightcrawlers (earthworms) are allowed when packed in artificial litter without soil. Records of fishermen using earthworms to catch fish date back to the 15th century (Anonymous 1962). Although there are no native earthworms in Ontario, there are at least 19 species currently found in the province (Evers et al. 2012). Earthworms are a very popular and widespread bait. They are marketed under a variety of names, including angle worms, leaf worms, nocturnal caterpillars, dilly worms, and wigglers (Keller et al. 2007).
The dewworm or nocturnal caterpillar (Lumbricus terrestris) is probably one of the most commonly used earthworms sold commercially. Other types of earthworms can be used by fishermen who collect their own bait. Currently, there are no restrictions on harvesting or selling earthworms in Ontario. Fishers or licensed fishers who catch bait in waters containing endangered species (see Table 6) may accidentally catch a federally or provincially listed species. Under the Provincial Endangered Species Act (ESA) (2007) and the Federal Endangered Species Act (PPA), it is illegal (whether fishing, commercial fishing or bait fishing) to fish or possess species listed as threatened, endangered or extinct. Maggots are the larvae of terrestrial diptera insects, but do not include earthworms (dewworms, nocturnal caterpillars) or larvae, pupae or adults of aquatic invertebrates. (Maggots) Earthworms can be raised relatively easily in large containers filled with peat, sawdust, sand and other organic matter. The moisture content of the bed is a critical factor. Foods high in fiber are often used to promote growth. Worms can be harvested in new beds first after 3 months and then harvested every 2 to 4 weeks (Masson et al., 1992). The collection and sale of species other than bait, accidentally or intentionally, is not uncommon.
Litvak and Mandrak (1993) reported finding six illegal species of baitfish in four bait stores in Toronto, Ontario. Ludwig and Leitch (1996) found species other than bait in 28.5% of bait samples purchased from 21 bait dealers in North Dakota and Minnesota. Kircheis (1998) found ten illegal species in a survey of bait traders in Maine. Hendrix, P. F., M.A. Callahan, J. M. Drake, C. Y. Huang, S. W.
James, B. A. Zinder, and W. Zhang. 2008. Pandora`s box contained bait: the global problem of introduced earthworms. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 39:593-613. Masson, W. T., R. W. Rottmann and J.F. Dequine.
1992. Cultivation of earthworms for bait or fish feed. Circular 1053. Department of Fisheries and Agricultural Sciences. University of Florida. Gainesville, Florida 4 p. bait can generally be defined as any substance used to attract and catch fish. The use of living organisms as bait has always been popular among fishermen. The type of bait used often varies depending on the type of fish sought (Lowry et al., 2006). Surveys show that nearly 80% of Ontario fishers use live bait, mainly worms and baitfish, and a small percentage use frogs and crabs (OMNR 2006). Leeches are used by about 20% of fishermen.
Exactly the property that makes them parasites (they easily grow in a closed box, provided there is food), also makes them very convenient for raising them at home, which is why they have become popular for bait fishing and feeding insectivorous animals. They also have fewer chitinous membranes than, say, mealworms, so they are more digestible. As of June 1, 2009, entry into the United States requires a valid passport. U.S. citizens and legal residents of the United States do not require a visa to enter Canada as a visitor. Detailed information about obtaining or renewing your U.S. passport is available on the U.S. Department of State website, the National Passport Information Center, or the U.S. Postal Service`s U.S. Passport Application Service. Of course, bait in general is really an important means for the introduction of invasive species. The problem is that, as far as I know, bait is practically unregulated.
If there are laws to control which bait is used or where it is taken, they will certainly not be applied very well. There is not even much awareness of what an invasive bait is or is not. For example, I only discovered a few years ago that earthworms are invasive in the Upper Midwest and Canada! When I first saw these years ago, I thought they were called wax worms because they looked waxy. But then I discovered that they were actually caterpillars of the large wax moth Galleria mellonella. They get their name because caterpillars attack hives and destroy the wax comb. They chew wax and eat the skins of nymphs and cocoons of bee larvae, which makes a huge mess in the process. They are not native to North America, but they have been inadvertently introduced wherever honey bees are introduced. Fortunately, they are not very tolerant to cold and therefore do not do well in our local climate in the wild because it is a long way between hives and they have trouble finding shelter for the winter.
But I still don`t want them to settle in our hives. In Ontario, fishermen have the option of harvesting their own bait or buying bait from a retailer. Prior to the introduction of a resident fishing licence in 1987, resident fishers could use bait traps and diving nets without a licence, but had to obtain permission to use a calf net.