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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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39 Comments on Make your own minnow trap

  1. amphibian lover // July 11, 2011 at 10:20 am // Reply

    will the trap work in a creek

  2. just use hot dogs for minnows its the best they stay a lot longer

  3. as a 5 yo i made a trap using a goldfish bowl, on its side, w opening facing the shore of a lake i lived on. i put bread crumb in the back of it. the fish would get in the bowl and try to get out the back, seeing the deeper water thru the bottom of the bowl. i would just scoop them up and put them in my baby pool full of water. what a shock my parents had when they saw 100s of fish, and minnows but i had no fising pole!! i am going to try this and also use it to catch bugs!! thanks for the ideas for me and my kid.

    • If you don’t have A rod/reel I’ll give you one .I have alot. My best is an A.B U Garcia I won at a fishing tornament

  4. sweet chin muisic // July 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm // Reply

    i hope it works

  5. What time of the day should I set the trap?

  6. Deer slayer // June 20, 2011 at 10:52 pm // Reply

    Were should you put it if u have a pond

  7. hope it works.

  8. As a class today we went to a pond and caught minnows and shrimp so we kept them as pets and now we will feed them fish food and crumble it up very good.

  9. this is the bomb

  10. Sounds fun! Minnows here I come. I know the perfect spot.

  11. use meow mix to get minnows

  12. DavidTheKid // May 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm // Reply

    i am going to try this i hope it works

  13. i am a girl and this trap has helped me and i get 50 minnows aday

  14. i found it works great

  15. I made a different kind of trap and used it during winter.I wanted minnows but i caught a catfish and a bass.I should catch minnows this summer.

  16. bassmaster bob // May 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm // Reply

    cool i’ll try it hope it works

  17. Anonymous // May 1, 2011 at 1:46 am // Reply

    you can also use a can of the most cat food and you will find a few crawdads as well as minnows that way you can fish for bottom feeders like catfish

  18. Wow!That is so cool I hope it works!

  19. you only need 1 bottle

  20. sounds fun ill try it

  21. sunds fun i’m gonna make one

  22. Bagels tend to last longer than crackers or bread

  23. i usually catch around 20 a night

  24. Fish master dave // April 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm // Reply


  25. Bad-Luck Fisherman // March 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm // Reply

    How much/many crushed crackers should you use?

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