BL Workshop

Make your own minnow trap

Click here for a PDF version of these instructions.

You’re ready for fishing. You’ve got everything … but bait. And no cash to buy any. Well, forget throwing money at minnows. Gather your own! It’s simple with this easy-to make trap. Here’s how:

You’ll Need:

  • Two plastic soda pop bottles. The three-liter size is best, but two-liter will do.
  • One woodworking nail, about 6-penny size (the exact size is unimportant).
  • Some twine, kite string or something similar.
  • Adult permission and/or help.

For tools, scrounge up a pair of sturdy scissors and locking pliers (such as Vise-Grip) or common slip-joint pliers. A utility knife can help with initial cuts but isn’t necessary. You’ll also need a controllable flame source — the kitchen stove is perfect.

Step 1STEP 1: Label one bottle “A” and the other “B.” Cut off the bottom one-third of bottle A and put in your home recycling bin. Leave the bottle cap on.


Step 2STEP 2: On B, cut off the neck & shoulders, close to the top of the bottle label. It should be cut just below — maybe a half inch or so — where the sides begin to straighten out. Toss the bottom and spare bottle cap in the recycling bin.


Step 3STEP 3: The remaining steps should be done near your flame source, with the pliers and nail handy. Keep a bowl with cold water nearby also. Fit funnelshaped piece (B) into the bottom of A so it points toward A’s remaining bottle cap. It should now form a nice little “cave.”


Step 4STEP 4: Holding the two bottles together firmly in your weak hand (left hand if you’re right-handed, right if you’re left-handed), turn on the flame with the other hand. Pick up the pliers with your free hand and firmly grasp the nail near its head with the pliers. Carefully hold the nail over the flame so that it gets good and hot.


Step 5STEP 5: Keeping your grip on both the A and B bottle parts and the hot nail in the pliers, push the nail point through both the funnel and bottle, in 10 to 12 spots around the lip of the “cave” that we mentioned. Drop the hot nail into the cold water.


Step 6 and 7STEP 6: Using your string or twine, sew the two bottle parts together. Alternately, simply cut the string into short pieces, using the same number of pieces as there are holes, and individually tie each hole up so that the two plastic parts A and B don’t come apart.


STEP 7: Reheat the nail as in Step 4, and put a bunch of holes all over the sides of the bottle (A). A couple of dozen should do it.

Setting Your Minnow Trap

To use your trap, add some bread or cracker bits through the funnel (B). Sink the trap in your favorite pond or lake for a few hours, preferably overnight. Tie it securely to a dock or tree. The minnows will go in the trap but aren’t smart enough to get out. Next morning, simply open the bottle cap and pour the minnows into your bait bucket. You’re all set for a day of fishing!


Comments about “Make your own minnow trap”

  1. Bassfisher says:

    Dog food makes great bait.

  2. Pro fisher says:

    I used this trap In a little stream and I caught trout in it and also lots of minnows

  3. Xboy says:

    Poor Minnows!!!! Don’t hurt them!

  4. Troop16er says:

    Awesome looks easy I am definitely going to try it!!!

  5. Survival master 720 says:

    This trap works use it and hook the minnios through the mouth to keep them lively plus the fish go for the head first

  6. Anonymous says:

    butter and bread makes good bait

  7. Lindsay says:

    Side holes are for fresh water to circulate

  8. Fisherboy says:

    Can’t wait to use this! ( btw what are the side holes for can anyone tell me?)

  9. leppy says:

    it works i caught 18 minnows and crawfish

  10. dj says:


  11. SallyTheTabby says:

    You can staple the two parts together instead of using a hot nail. In 20 minutes I got 50 minnows leaving it for a few hours you would have too many!

  12. Jmm0427 says:

    Can you use fishing line in place of the twine

  13. CM387 says:

    Way Cool!

  14. Jess says:

    Outstanding! Use it and teach the younger guys! It does work! Great job!

  15. Jbro says:

    I do not have a place to get minnows but I do have a place to get crayfish.I put my crayfish in with my turtle and he is terrified of that crayfish.

  16. Baseballbro17 says:

    I made one and it works really well!

  17. Old minnow catcher says:

    crumbled up saltine crackers work very well, that’s all my dad and I have ever used

  18. Anonymous says:

    Haha that’s easy

  19. Anonymous says:


  20. fishingstud says:

    Hey use a stick of gum for bait it works great

  21. Ruthless says:

    Nice thanks for the info can’t w8 to try it

  22. Catfisher says:

    I made my own trap like that but with 2 entrances and caught about 20 minnows a couple of shad and crawfish

  23. J Hoova says:

    Gonna try this out. Just hope it works

  24. jusxstar says:

    old pencil soldering irons make the hole for twine so much better and easeir and safer

  25. tickel body says:


  26. yea buddy says:

    im ganna do that

  27. moondoggie says:

    thanks for the great ideas guys.

  28. Anna says:

    I made mine out of gal. size vinager jug also used gal. milk jugs…. Work great :)

  29. mnpikehunter says:

    I’m sure this trap could also work for leeches.

  30. i luv candy says:

    try using squirtable cheese as bait

  31. d says:

    don’t use a hot nail. just use the pointy end of scissors or a knife.

  32. d says:

    just use twisty ties to hold it together. that’s what I always did as a kid and caught thousands of the things.

  33. General Bigfoot says:

    That seems cool, i’ll have to try it some time.

  34. asdf says:

    I just duck taped mine together

    • jenngirl says:

      if i was u i would not use duck type because it doesn’t work very well,because i have tried it be for and the type came off and i all most lost all my minnows because i didn’t fix it the way it really was supose to work out.

    • busterbrown says:

      I am using duck tape

  35. trapper boy says:

    I used it and i caaught bout 25 minnows it works really good. Another good bait is dog (or cat) food

  36. Watosh says:

    Dry dog food works great for attracting minnows, will last about 8 hours.

  37. buffalo Bob says:

    You can make a better one out of PVC pipe and a small. Tin

  38. 72vette says:

    neat idea saved me twenty bucks I was just going to buy one.

  39. scooter says:

    i love this idea just made one in ten min hopefully it will work in my pond i have a koi pond in my yard and when i have left over minnows from fishing i put them in my pond but i actually dont know if the koi ate the minnows or not the test will be revealed tomorrow when i check the trap

  40. FirstClassFun says:

    You can make frog/toad traps much the same way. just use a container with a wide mouth, fill with dead flies from the windowsill or other frog food, and camouflage in or near a wet, cool place where you know has frogs/toads. You can use the caught ones as bait, or food for your turtle.

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