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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!

518 Comments on Make your own minnow trap

  1. Jabshier123 // August 1, 2009 at 10:30 am // Reply

    There another eaiser way to connect the 2 peices together Instead of Using a Hot Nail, I always use a regular Paper Stapler , and staple the 2 peices together works for me it easier for Kids too they don’t have worry about getting burned

  2. I have not done it yet,But… I’m sure it,ll work.

  3. fisherman23 // July 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm // Reply

    curryman use shrimp tails and dog food

  4. fisherman23 // July 28, 2009 at 12:08 pm // Reply

    I use shrimp tails and dog food. I got 97 minnows in a small little water hole

  5. u por down // July 23, 2009 at 11:21 pm // Reply

    I want to drop this off a small pier. i’ll need to tie the trap to a line, but which end of this trap is UP?!

  6. minnowfreak // July 20, 2009 at 7:07 pm // Reply

    i used tiny picies of bread and minnows loved it

  7. i made one and havnt tried it yet it is still a cool idea im gonna but more than 1 bait in

  8. im going to try this!

  9. It works i caught 52 nice sized minnows went fishing the next day in the river and caught a 10 pound catfish and a couple sturgeon

  10. Im planning on keeping some minnows as a pet so should I try to catch them in the pond or buy some at a bait shop?

  11. Ok I live right near a pond a have tried thease traps before and have never cought anything so i was wondering what bait to use “I have tried bread and cheese” and where to set it do you just throw it as far as you can or should i try to get it close to weeds or something?

    P.S I f you respond put To curryman at the beggining so i know.

  12. bassmaster // June 10, 2009 at 7:04 pm // Reply

    i look forward to trying this

    oh and i herd that corn works good whole cernal

  13. I haven’t tryied it yet but I’m sure it will work fine

  14. for cray fish i use cat food in a homade trap made from a 2 leter bottle i caught 6 in 1 trap!

  15. dsjfhsfdsh // June 3, 2009 at 8:41 pm // Reply

    instead of discarding the bottoms recycle them and use them as planing pots to grow trees or other plants =]

  16. Fiiisherr // June 3, 2009 at 8:41 pm // Reply

    I also sharpened a stick and tied the other end off the string to it stuck it into the ground and threw it out and it works as a great holding point

  17. Fiiisherrr // June 3, 2009 at 8:39 pm // Reply

    I just got mine set with beta balls gold fish flakes and bread crumbs and i have to check it tommorow sounds great if im not mistaken hot dogs should work well to

  18. rockinbrad // May 28, 2009 at 8:43 pm // Reply

    cool

  19. RockinBrad // May 26, 2009 at 4:01 pm // Reply

    looks cool

  20. KING FISHER // May 25, 2009 at 8:04 am // Reply

    COOL

  21. Anonymous // May 24, 2009 at 7:50 pm // Reply

    awsome dude! I love it. I might use the minnows as feeders for my 10 gallon native tank.

  22. I put bread in mine, I leave mine in for 1 week, and I catch so many minnows that there smushed together and I live in westvirginia

  23. canadien boy // May 7, 2009 at 8:09 pm // Reply

    BASS HUNTER,IT DOES WORK I CAUGHT ABOUT 10 BLUEGILL IN ABOUT 3 HOURS IN MINNOW TRAP

  24. check your state regulations before using…in PA openings must be 1″ or under and have your name, phone# and address attached to trap. dog food works excellent for bait. you can buy a minnow trap for like 12.00

  25. i have a wire trap and i catch 500 to 1000 minnows in one trap i let it soak in a creek for 2 to 3 days with beef liver. you shounld try works realy well !!!!!

  26. what is the best bait to use for bait fish in vt

  27. im using two 16oz water bottles and what is the best bait for the minnows

  28. At the end of the game you can play as Lugi after that play the whole game with Lugi And you should get a star!!!!!!

  29. minnowking // April 25, 2009 at 9:12 am // Reply

    i made about 13 of these and bourght 3 i used some cheap sardines and i cought about 8 crawfish in each trap and a few minnows does any1 no which bait works well for freshwater shrimp

  30. masta fisha // April 25, 2009 at 8:50 am // Reply

    i used to do this it works so great but little food dand 20 minnow!

  31. i need to try this

  32. Im gonna try some milk jugs, i’ll make them and set them out tonight and check back in, in the morning to let ya know how they worked

  33. basshunter // April 11, 2009 at 4:47 pm // Reply

    Will the traps work on catching 1-2 inch bluegill as well as other small fish? plz let me know.

  34. I made like 10 of these traps (because i have tons of jars in my basement) and caught a lot of minnows just tie the string TIGHTLY because my first time out i lost a total of 3 traps because of the string coming untied

  35. if you cut a plastic bottle in half and dispose of the cap then put the nozzle end into a jar then fasten it however you want (i prefer to use metal wire) tie a long string or shoe lace to the jar and then throw it into the body of water available to you (stream pond ECT) the next day you should have a handsome catch of minnows

    NO BAIT REQUIRED!!!!!

  36. NICE AND SIMPLE TOOK ME 2 MINS TO MAKE WITHOUT THE HOLE BURNING I HAVE MADE SIMILAR ONES AND THEY HAVE WORKED GREAT I CAUGHT A HEAP AND LANDED TWO 50CM FLATYS I BET THIS ONE WILL WORK EVN BETA

  37. I used something simalar to this but I used a 5 gallon bucket, cut a hole in the lid stuck the end of a 2 liter bottle tied it on, just like the original. I used bread, beta pellets, goldfish flakes, and broken up nightcrawlers as bait. I put it in my shallow pond overnight, checked it the next morning and had over 50 minnows, 3 crawdads, 10 tadpoles, and 2 small frogs (Just in one night!) I went fishing in my deeper pond that same day and caught a very nice 7 pound bass along with a few others.

  38. Wont they just swim out the same hole if its filled with water?

  39. i used a big gatorade jug and i caught a little catfish and a few minnows

  40. steelheding101 // March 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm // Reply

    nice

  41. done this in a similair way with a cheeze ball tub, and i also tried it with a coke can. both worked great.

  42. i made one 2weeks ago an caught a snake and about 15teen good size minnows andd i went fishin an caught a 21 pound catfish an a couple brim u haft to try it it works good.

  43. I tried this with bread crumbs for bait, It did not work

  44. WILL THIS WORK IN THE WINTER SEASONS BEACAUSE I WANT TO TRY TO RAISE MORE FISH FISH FOR THE SUMMER

  45. I’ve never tried this befor but im willing to if it works to catch anything for bait. I thank you for this item to try.

  46. This looks cool! I’ll have to try it!

  47. you can make it a different way too

  48. i will probably use the minnows for live bait when fishing.

  49. this is a great idea. it does work well with the 20oz bottles like minnowboy said i used fish food pellets and that worked very will

  50. these traps work very well. i made a couple out of 20oz bottles and put dog food (crunchy) in the traps. i had about 6 nice minnows in each one. i have made a couple out of 2 liters too but havent used them yet. but just so everyone knows it will work with small bottles too.

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