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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. last time all i caght was a snagd lure.

  2. do you have to use a tortch or can you cut the holes?

  3. on other websits it said to youse one bottle but then there is no way to get the minnows out. So your way acshly works!

  4. what is bate

  5. dose it work

  6. Whatever you use, be careful and do not reach into a trap unless you can see what’s inside it. In many areas these traps catch lots of snakes some poisonous but all can give you a painful bite. Use only clear, see through bottles or jugs.

  7. I actually made this thing. I put a frozen hot dog in and chummed it up in the trap. 1 hour later got 50 minnows. Now if that was not funny I put the trap the same place and thought the rest would catch on. Next thing I see before I headed out for the hour I seen 5 as the bottle rested go right in. I did note the bottle had the tendency to float even with the holes so I added a few rocks to weight it down some. Sank like a rock and make it faster to set the trap and go.

    Looking at this one could use them pretzel tubs from Sam’s club or Wal-Mart Then use the B part of the bottle to keep the same setup but have more room. That will be my next project.

  8. i used this with a mik of hotdogs and crackers. i cought 20 minnow and 15 crawdads in 5 and a half hours!!!!!! im gunna make plenty of $$$$$$$$ with this i used paracord cause it holds best

  9. how too mac it sink/?

  10. does coler matter

  11. how deep shoud it be?

  12. to Minnow

    your idea would work because of where the minnows get trapped is in between bottle part A and bottle part B.

    to everyone: I’m gonna email this to my $i$. thi$ trap i$ a TRIBUNGU$ money maker!!! (lol. it might)

  13. it works

  14. work goods i got two bass and alots of minnow

  15. I used one bottle. It worked the same but was a different shape. Just cut the same way but invert it into the bottom, then sew together and do holes. It worked a treat….

  16. i caught a baby pike in mine


  18. i allmost caut a bas

  19. I enjoy the idea! I plan to catch lots of minnows and use them for good catchin’!

  20. fishing owns // August 6, 2008 at 11:22 pm // Reply

    this works great for the pond behind my house there are always small cat fish crappie and alot of small bass now i no what to catch them with lol i came home with dinner last night

  21. I didnt know if it was suppose to float or not the bottle wouldnt sink so idk yet

  22. Minnow assasin // August 4, 2008 at 11:24 am // Reply

    Don’t discard the bottom half of Bottle B use it to make your trap longer and u catch more minnows

    But the trap is awsome it saves me so much $$$

  23. fisherchamp // August 3, 2008 at 1:18 pm // Reply

    i used it once, cought 50 minnows in 12 hrs! i used one as bait and got a huge catfish

  24. bassfisher888 // July 29, 2008 at 12:09 pm // Reply

    this trap is geniuus! iv been looking for a place to buy one, but then i found this!t works just as well! thanks!

  25. lobstahboy // July 26, 2008 at 3:50 pm // Reply

    i made mine a few days ago but havent gaught any yet

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