What is a River Worm?

earthworm in dirt
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We recently received an interesting message from one of our readers. He asked us if we have ever heard of something he refers to as a “river worm.” He explained that he obtains them by digging for them in the soil. He said that some of the worms are “green and stink” while others are “reddish to brown, but not quite like an earthworm.” He explained that when he puts these worms on a hook they become sticky, and that “the sticky stuff almost glows in the dark.” Our reader asked us if we could help in any to identify these mysterious creatures. He also wants to know if it would be easier to “pound a stick into the ground and use a rasp or a wide file to call the worms to the surface.” As of now, he has been “pounding a stick in the ground and hitting the stick to cause vibrations to call them to the surface.”

Based on the words our reader used in his message, we believe he is a fisherman (also known as an angler.)  Unfortunately, we aren’t familiar with any worms like the creatures he mentioned. However, we think that maybe another angler who reads our articles on our site might have experience with these smelly green “river worms.” While we don’t know about the creatures themselves, we do know a little about worm grunting.

Worm grunting is the method that our reader mentioned above to lure worms to the surface from deep in the soil. This method is based on the observation that when worms feel the earth tremble, they head to the surface in fear that the vibrations are from the predatory burrowing mole. Worm grunting requires a range of tools depending on preference, but some people use stakes, saws, and rakes. Another method for attracting worms to the surface is sprinkling water on the surface of the soil to mimic rain. This prompts earthworms to flee to the surface so that they don’t drown under the wet top layers of soil. We aren’t sure which method will work best for attracting the mysterious worms our reader has discovered, but we encourage him to try both and to see which yields the most success!

In conclusion, one of our readers reached out to us about some strange “river worms” he is curious about. Some are green and smell bad, and some are reddish brown but are not earthworms. Sadly, we aren’t sure what these organisms are, and our reader didn’t provide a picture for further information. We encourage any readers who do have input on this topic to share their thoughts in the comment section.


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What is a River Worm?
Article Name
What is a River Worm?
A reader reached out to us about some strange "river worms" he is curious about. Sadly, we aren't sure what these organisms are, and our reader didn't provide a picture for further information

Share the knowledge

Author: Worm Researcher Dori

1 thought on “What is a River Worm?

  1. I know exactly the worm he’s talking about. I live in Kansas and we find them on the muddy banks of rivers but i’m talking about that dense heavy concrete like river mud that gums up your boots, shovel, and hay hook and the mud stinks the closest smell to feces without it being in feces. I have always had to dig for them and I know fisherman that will pay around $4.00 per dozen for them. I’m a huge catfish angler, flathead to be specific and this is the only bait that has beaten my fresh caught live perch in the early spring. I mean anglers around me will catch flathead of this worm when they are not hitting my live perch. But this is only for a short in the early spring when their metabolism is still low and they prefer hitting smaller baits. They usually only out fish my perch for nature maybe 2 weeks then the worms are not as good as the live perch. Plus to fish them for flathead, you have to put about a dozen or 2 on your hook so it’s a huge ball of worms then you have to rebait frequently because the little catfish, carp, and pretty much any other fish will peck them off your hook. We call them sod worms for some reason but that’s not what they really are. They move like a red wiggler bit are grey to light brown color with some a green color and they secrete a slimy stinky gel of some kind.

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