BL Workshop

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!


Comments about “Make your own minnow trap”

  1. pet man says:

    We have an electric stove, and they said use a gas stove.

    What do i do?

  2. Aspic bass says:

    How do u put it down without it floating around?

    • HybridHunter says:

      You burn hole in it with the nails. This allows the water to enter and it will submerge. No need to tie it down.

  3. dog lover says:

    i have a store bought one with this kind of making without all the holes in it it great for minnows and piggy perch

  4. Thaddeus 8463 says:

    Its cool I used it

  5. asce says:

    good for cat fish

  6. Joey says:

    Awesome this type of thing is on youtube.although the hot nail is out side though because of the fumes off the plastic

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s just like a bug trap

  8. Padyy says:

    I love catching minnows

  9. Codered says:

    Some food I would use is Granola bars at Nine Eagles I dropped my Granola bar in the water and sunfish were everywhere then came a catfish.

  10. kStigma says:

    Why would you use hot dogs, sardines, or worms to bait minnows when you can use those as perfectly good bait for fish? Dn’t waste those on minnows… they will eat anything that’s small enough.

  11. sweetguy says:

    Try using dog food that’s what we’ve always used and it works great

  12. Trout says:

    Check if you need a permit to catch live bait, or you could face a $500.00 fine!

  13. FishyFrank says:

    I used epoxy resin to stick the two halves of the bottle,then a hot nail for the sink holes.
    Remove the inner bottle top before sticking.Put holes in the bottle top to prevent airlocks.
    If you are baiting it with maggots,make smaller nail holes so they cant escape..

  14. pizzaguy says:

    You can use a hole punched to make the holes instead.

  15. bugspray says:

    Would a milk jug work?

  16. bugspray says:

    I cant wait to try it but if you release them, will they still follow the bait into the same trap?

  17. dwb says:

    what type of food should i put in my minnow trap?

  18. bullman says:

    is sardines a good bate for minnows

  19. bullman says:

    i have a regular minnow basket ……… but dont no what the best food is to put in them anyone no ?

  20. fisher says:

    will this work in upper michigan

  21. REXES says:

    Waw amazing i get a lot of fish within 30 minutes

  22. Anonymous says:

    i hope this works!

  23. ctc10 says:

    you dont have to burn holes with a nail you can use a knife or scissors

  24. aj127 says:

    this is a good trap and works very well

  25. baseballplaya99 says:

    awsome way to catch minnows you have to try this

  26. Superscout says:

    Where do i put it?

  27. ctc10 says:

    its awesome you have to try it

  28. Twig says:

    Got to try this!

  29. jake says:

    how will the minos get into the bottle?

  30. greenberet says:

    dont set your trap in the winter

  31. J.D says:

    I stapled mine it woks fine

  32. J.D says:

    Can you just skip the sewing together part and just staple it

  33. Angkamxmc says:

    Whats the best time to trap minnows?

    • classic fisherman says:

      Any time is good as long as you are in an area that has lots of minnows. The best spot would be were there is a strong current in a stream from 6″ to 1′ so the minnows will stay in better. If you only see a few going in walk away for about 1 to three minutes and it should be packed with minnows.

    • Xman414 says:


  34. Lambs rock says:

    Catch lots of minnows in 5mins

  35. Lamb says:

    You can catch loads of minnows in10mins

  36. nadog says:

    Going to try this at Bass Lake when we go up to Yosemite for Spring Break!

  37. Schlemmy says:

    My dad and i use a small twine link net tied onto 2 sticks. It works really good for us.

  38. Ctfort says:

    Try sardines that’s what I always use

  39. wheels says:

    it depends on the season you are setting your trap

  40. person says:

    What kind of fish would you use minnows to catch? I like fishing and will try using minnows that I caught, the next time I go. I have used bagel as bait before and that works well.

  41. xman124 says:

    this can also be a crawdad trap

  42. spoofer says:

    I caught a 20lb salmon and a 17lb pike in mine

  43. johnny apple seed says:

    man i tried it with bred but no progress….i dont know if im doing this wrong because i see mnnows swiming around and about but aint catching non with the trap

  44. jenngirl says:

    It really does work because i have two fish tanks and i have 5 in one tank and 3or 4 in
    another tank, and it really does work so if any one like to make it and find out for your self, and see if we aren’t wrong about how many minnows you eill catch in the minnow trap, believe me it really does work.
    and yes it does work.

  45. FYI says:

    it is so coooooooooooool

  46. mr.shady says:

    whats the best bait!

    • Hard Head says:

      I used a cheese cracker (after trying everything else) and caught about 50 minnows in less than 20 minutes! I just broke the cracker in half and dropped it in thru the open hole. As it flaked apart the minnows swarmed into the trap to eat the flakes.

  47. james bonds says:

    this is ASWOM like it really works

  48. falcon says:

    i caught like 6 crawfish and a bunch of sucker minnows

  49. :):):):):)::):) says:

    does this raelly work?

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