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Make your own minnow trap

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.


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!

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37 Comments on Make your own minnow trap

  1. does this work with 9oz water bottles?????

  2. Does it work in small creeks?????? Becaue I saw a lot of minnows and I couldn’t catch them with my hands so I need to know.

  3. I just made the trap i will drop it the the river tonight and see what I get in the morning

  4. i wanna catch a fish // August 22, 2010 at 10:22 pm // Reply

    you only need one bottle and skill with a knife to cut a circle out of the botle

  5. cool caught 300 minnows

  6. you can make two traps with two water bottles
    you need 2 to make 1 trap

  7. you dont need to throw away the bottoms of the water bottles i used them to make a jar to keep the minnows in

  8. young fisher boy // August 11, 2010 at 10:11 pm // Reply

    i put mine in 10 minutes ago and ill kno if it works tom. morning….i hope it does cuz ive wanted to go fishing but i dont wanna spend the money on a store bought trap

  9. Doesn’t work in lakes

  10. fish master200 // August 10, 2010 at 11:02 pm // Reply

    worked great! now i cant wait to go catch some big fish with my minnows

  11. i just put bread in a 3 l bottle and throw it in the river and i caught over 50 minnow and som very small brown trout

  12. nice

  13. omg 5 gallonn bucket = 1,000

  14. pro muskellenge fisherman123 // July 25, 2010 at 9:57 pm // Reply

    works great caught a shiner and used it as bait and caught a 40 inch musky my biggest was 38 pounds smallest 12pounds works great man my brother caught a 22inch flathead cattie with a fat head minnow

  15. muserulz32 // July 21, 2010 at 11:50 am // Reply

    i made it out of 2 water bottles and it worked great!

  16. it works best if you use the minnows in the same pond you caught them in.

  17. this is an incredible trap i caught 3 8 lb catfish and 3 Bass and panfish.

  18. are the minos allive the next morning

  19. xbox360 fan 27 // July 13, 2010 at 2:56 pm // Reply

    i’m gonna try it!

  20. Just finished makeing one out of 2 liter bottles now just need something bigger. Going to try the 3 liter bottles.

  21. i will try it

  22. First time i try it it works and y save money y got a 60 poun bass

  23. fishinmagician // June 25, 2010 at 4:56 pm // Reply

    this trap truly works. i caught 21 fathead minnows with it in a creek overnight, then caught 7 largemouth bass with the minnows

  24. 1st time fisher // June 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm // Reply


  25. out doorsman // June 22, 2010 at 10:30 am // Reply

    it works im amazed!i caught my bait then caught bigger fish with the minnows.

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