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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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32 Comments on Make your own minnow trap

  1. fried chicken also works if you want to catch crayfish. i recommend that it be fresh and hot that way the smell will be strongest when you put it in the trap. (Good luck)

  2. hi is my face deformed by chance? // December 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm // Reply

    I have a canal in behind my backyard full of cradawds and minnows. the minnows eat the bait so this should help. crawdawd traps are bigger and have a bigger opening.

  3. mountainer 101 // December 19, 2011 at 5:05 pm // Reply

    I cant wait to try it!It sounds fun!

  4. I tried doing that with my friend and all we got the next morning was stinky water with soaked bread in it.

  5. will little peaces of bread if it doesent work what do minnows like to eat

  6. mix crackers and dogfood

  7. ninja winja // October 7, 2011 at 1:50 pm // Reply

    I made about forty. I attach each to a rock with twine and put french fries in.after i put the french fries in, i put a little bit of salt and leave it over night.each trap gets obout 20 minnows in it. i sell the minnows to my scout troop as fishing bait.oh, and C.S., each trap should cathc about 10 to 20 minnows.

  8. SleepieMcGee // October 3, 2011 at 1:38 pm // Reply

    Is this a practical way to catch 2-3 dozen minnows a day for bass fishing? I am making one right now at this very moment…but I was wondering if it was adequate for what I need, or if I need to make more than one of them?

  9. the minnow trap catchs crawdads to. i catch crawdads to feed my ckickens they love minnows to :>)

  10. If you dont have 2liter or 3liter bottles, regular 20oz bottles will do, you just wont catch as many

  11. perfect I can’t wait to try this out on my troops fishing trip

  12. cool works

  13. hi fish 8900

  14. about 20

  15. Cool reply sound awesome gonna try this with my buddy

  16. It's over 9000 // July 31, 2011 at 9:32 pm // Reply

    I tried making one of these but used power bait instead and it didn’t work. Anyone know why?

  17. works great

  18. minnow minster // July 28, 2011 at 11:41 pm // Reply

    this trap works great i use it every day

    • Comeherebassybassy // October 23, 2011 at 7:39 pm // Reply

      When does it work best?

      • if you set your traps in the mornings and evening and then go and checks them and c what you have?but i think that you should have some kind of bucket with you so you can keep the minnow in the bucket so when you are ready to go fishing.

  19. me and my dad are gonna make one and use the minows to catch catfish on yoyos

  20. I am going on vacation to lake Michagin and want to catch minnows. I am going to make the trap, but does it work?

    • this does work very well, i was going for minnows but instead i got 3 baby blue gills

    • yes,It really does work,because i have cought a lot of them.and i use dog food and that does work too. because i have tried and it does many as you rally want. but i might advice you to take a bucket or something to put the minnows in,I have made a minnow holder out of a 2 litter plastic pop bottle and it really works to to take my minnows to my house.

  21. will the fisherman // July 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm // Reply

    it will catch water bugs too

  22. moo moo man // July 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm // Reply

    Will it work in salt water?

    • In salt warter the tides might wash your trap away! If you try it make shore you anchor it real well. Good luck!

  23. hello govener // July 13, 2011 at 12:49 pm // Reply

    this really does nt work from my correcet usage it only hols 10 11 12 minnows.

  24. really all u need is one. get the bottel cut it at the part 2,b DONT dicard bottem just flip it overand fit it in, and no need 4 fastening. there you go. the better way.

  25. this is awesome i love the trap and i hope it works. now i don’t need to use a net to catch minos cause now i got a trap to do it all for me.

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