In an experiment to determine the impact of angler baits, cereal or maggots were added to areas of sediment in a eutrophic reservoir at realistic rates, over a 12-week period. The densities of benthic invertebrate taxa were estimated before treatment, immediately after treatment, and, finally, after a 4-month recovery period. All taxa except the tubificid Limnodrilus hoffmeisteri were reduced in density by cereal baiting, the most sensitive being naidid worms and cladocerans. Recovery of the benthic community was not apparent after 4 months, although cyclopoid copepods were significantly more abundant in treated areas. Baiting with maggots had a qualitatively similar effect. Laboratory experiments to determine the rate of oxygen consumption by sediments treated with cereal bait suggest that demand for oxygen can be increased 100-fold by a single application of bait. It is suggested that this demand for oxygen could result in local deoxygenation under warm, calm conditions, and that this is the probable mechanism of the impact of cereal bait on benthic invertebrates.