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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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69 Comments on Make your own minnow trap

  1. What Mess? // March 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm // Reply

    Use a dip net and scrap it through some vegitation under water.

  2. fishing hunting guy // March 2, 2011 at 5:13 pm // Reply

    these are awsome because i love fishing

  3. The Rainbow Trout // February 26, 2011 at 1:35 am // Reply

    Cool, Gonna Try It Sometime

  4. that is the coolest minnow trap ever!

  5. bassfisher000 // February 1, 2011 at 5:45 pm // Reply

    that sounds cool

  6. Where can you find a three-liter soda bottle?

  7. im gonna tryit it sounds really cool

  8. you can also catch flies with this trap

  9. Ihaven’t tryed this but will.Sounds like a winner. Congrats to you boy’s for thinking of it.It’s things like this that makes me happy to be a fisherman. Keep up the good work and some day you might be A pro. Thats how I started! Good luck Nels

  10. i made it but i havent taped it together.Its small, so im gonna just use 1-3liter bottle.

  11. If you need bait on a multiple day fishing trip on a stream or pond, stick a tumbleweed or limb of a bush in the water near the bank. Just about after sunset, quickly pull out the bush and fling it onto the bank. Minnows like to hide in these covered areas at night. You can collect all the minnows that come flinging onto shore for bait the next day.

  12. That is cool I have to tell my Grandpa.

  13. I will definately try!!!

  14. Professional Fisherman // December 5, 2010 at 12:14 am // Reply

    Looks a little cheesy… But i’ll try it. Who knows, it might work…

  15. This DOES work. i caught 10 minnows in 48 hours. But two problems: DO NOT USE CHEESE AS BAIT! it becomes green and moldy and drives away minnows. Also, the trap cracks a little after 24 hoour use

  16. cool

  17. so awsum šŸ˜‰

  18. parispuppy5120 // November 3, 2010 at 10:40 pm // Reply

    i will try it

  19. That’s a great Idea. does it work in saltwater?

  20. At my camp I have a creek with alot of minos. I might try it. šŸ˜€

  21. COOL! im gonna try (if my mom lets me)

  22. Wow this is so great I’m gonna use this for my school project!

  23. what is the best place to place a minnow trap in a pond with lots of bushes and moss

  24. try chicken gizzards and corn cobbs

  25. rich old man // September 8, 2010 at 2:35 pm // Reply

    i caught 200 minnows in 1 three liter bottle usin corn cobbs

  26. does this work with 9oz water bottles?????

  27. Does it work in small creeks?????? Becaue I saw a lot of minnows and I couldn’t catch them with my hands so I need to know.

  28. I just made the trap i will drop it the the river tonight and see what I get in the morning

  29. i wanna catch a fish // August 22, 2010 at 10:22 pm // Reply

    you only need one bottle and skill with a knife to cut a circle out of the botle

  30. cool caught 300 minnows

  31. you can make two traps with two water bottles
    you need 2 to make 1 trap

  32. you dont need to throw away the bottoms of the water bottles i used them to make a jar to keep the minnows in

  33. young fisher boy // August 11, 2010 at 10:11 pm // Reply

    i put mine in 10 minutes ago and ill kno if it works tom. morning….i hope it does cuz ive wanted to go fishing but i dont wanna spend the money on a store bought trap

  34. Doesn’t work in lakes

  35. fish master200 // August 10, 2010 at 11:02 pm // Reply

    worked great! now i cant wait to go catch some big fish with my minnows

  36. i just put bread in a 3 l bottle and throw it in the river and i caught over 50 minnow and som very small brown trout

  37. nice

  38. omg 5 gallonn bucket = 1,000

  39. pro muskellenge fisherman123 // July 25, 2010 at 9:57 pm // Reply

    works great caught a shiner and used it as bait and caught a 40 inch musky my biggest was 38 pounds smallest 12pounds works great man my brother caught a 22inch flathead cattie with a fat head minnow

  40. muserulz32 // July 21, 2010 at 11:50 am // Reply

    i made it out of 2 water bottles and it worked great!

  41. it works best if you use the minnows in the same pond you caught them in.

  42. this is an incredible trap i caught 3 8 lb catfish and 3 Bass and panfish.

  43. are the minos allive the next morning

  44. xbox360 fan 27 // July 13, 2010 at 2:56 pm // Reply

    i’m gonna try it!

  45. Just finished makeing one out of 2 liter bottles now just need something bigger. Going to try the 3 liter bottles.

  46. i will try it

  47. First time i try it it works and y save money y got a 60 poun bass

  48. fishinmagician // June 25, 2010 at 4:56 pm // Reply

    this trap truly works. i caught 21 fathead minnows with it in a creek overnight, then caught 7 largemouth bass with the minnows

  49. 1st time fisher // June 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm // Reply


  50. out doorsman // June 22, 2010 at 10:30 am // Reply

    it works im amazed!i caught my bait then caught bigger fish with the minnows.

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