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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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25 Comments on Make your own minnow trap

  1. this sounds like a good idea i will try it.

  2. can someone teach me how to make a crawfish trap or will this one do?

  3. This helps ill see if it works

  4. pokemon dude // May 12, 2007 at 8:48 pm // Reply

    this sounds very intresting. I should try it. This sounds easier to do than catching one in a net or even my bare hands!(I have caught a minnow those two ways, but this will be better!)

  5. i just got back from trying TYE IT TO THE TREE OR DOCK BEFORE THROWING IT IN THE WATER because i threw it and the rope slipped from my hand and all was lost!

  6. This trap works so well i built it at 4:00pm and put it in the water half an hour later

    Then i came back at 6:00 and there were 18 minnows and 1 snail!!!

    the only problem is that craw fish work better as bait. =:(

    u guys should invent a craw fish trap like this. i mean u might catch one in this trap but that is just by luck.

    the bigger the bait the larger the fish!!!


  7. you dont see those everyday

  8. minnowcatcher // May 5, 2007 at 7:31 am // Reply

    i used it yesterday and caught 3 big minnows and 10 smaller ones i luv this trap

  9. billy bob joe // May 3, 2007 at 1:19 am // Reply

    cool that will help me a bunch

  10. I think it will work and will be awesome when I’m using real fish and my friends are using powerbait

  11. I tried it and it works SO WELL!!! ( Here’s a tip minnows arn’t the only fish that can come into these traps don’t just put bread crawfish LOVE meat so if you have ANY kind of meat ad it. ) I caught about 6 crawfish 12 tadpoles & 18 minnows!! This invention is SWEET!!

  12. great idea!

  13. Juniata Boy // April 30, 2007 at 5:14 pm // Reply

    I will try this on the Juniata River, but try gum as bait because it will last longer and will spread more scent through the water

  14. banjo boy 95 // April 28, 2007 at 7:46 pm // Reply

    I tried this project with two 24oz bottles and duct tape, and within 2 and a half hours, I had caught a three and a half in long trout. Also, instead of using bread I used Wheat Thins, and I did this in a small creek instead of a pond.

  15. I licke your ideea

  16. go motsomoto // April 24, 2007 at 9:27 am // Reply

    let’s go fishing

  17. coool i’ll will try it. there is a realy big lake close to where i live

  18. fhisherman bob // April 23, 2007 at 5:12 pm // Reply

    This is really cool but does anyone know if it will work in a creek

  19. horseman of stokes // April 22, 2007 at 2:47 pm // Reply

    Hey, Cman how ’bout building a crawdad trap?

  20. horseman of stokes // April 22, 2007 at 2:44 pm // Reply

    I’ll try it.Ya’ll have fun fishin’!

  21. joe the fish // April 22, 2007 at 10:17 am // Reply

    yes. i will try it. only question why so important of the size of the hole? wat if its a little smaller wit more holes. like my nickname?

  22. wow i will try it.

  23. darth vaders real son // April 11, 2007 at 4:03 pm // Reply

    this trap really works i set it out overnight and caught 17 minnows and 2 tadpoles.

  24. Sam-ROBO199962 // April 11, 2007 at 6:39 am // Reply

    Me thinks it will sort of work……………………………

  25. I just have to try that the next time that I go fishing. Mabye I can bring it to summer camp and use it.

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