How to Make a Minnow Trap

How to Make a Minnow Trap
Nothing beats live bait for catching fish. That's why experienced anglers prefer minnows, worms, leaches and crayfish. You can buy elaborate minnow traps at your local tackle shop, but it's almost as easy to make one yourself. All it takes is some common tools and supplies, and a few minutes of your time. Commercial minnow traps take advantage of the fact that fish will rarely swim out of a hole they swam into. That's why if you build your own trap, minnows won't know the difference, but your wallet will.


Difficulty: Easy

A Minnow Trap From Plastic Bottles

Things You’ll Need:
  • 2 plastic 3-liter bottles (use 2-liter if you don't have 3)
  • Scissors
  • Ice pick or pocketknife with hole punch
  • 20 feet of string
  • Three teardrop swivel sinkers
  • Large nail
Step 1
Use the scissors to cut the top off one of the bottles a few inches below the cap. Cut the bottom off the other bottle a few inches above the base. Keep the tops and throw away the bases.
Step 2
Remove the cap from the smaller bottle top, invert it and put it inside the larger one so that both bottles face the same way. Leave the cap on the larger outer bottle. Use your ice pick, or hole punch, to put holes through the outer edge of both bottles, at one-inch intervals. Heat the tip of the ice pick to make this process easier.
Step 3
Sew the bottles together using the string, running it through one set of holes to the inside of the bottles and back out the next set of holes. Also thread it through the swivel eyes of the sinkers, putting them on three sides as you work your way around the circumference. Tie the starting and ending points together to close the loop. You should have at least 18 feet of line left.
Step 4
Tie the free end of the string to the nail. When you throw the trap into a stream or lake, push the nail into the ground to keep your trap from drifting away. You can also tie the string to a branch or bush.

Tips & Warnings

Many types of bait will attract minnows to your trap. Try crackers, breadcrumbs, dog or cat food, tropical fish food (especially the time-release cakes), raw chicken or beef liver, or even ivory soap.
You can find minnows around docks and submerged trees. They also like calm, shaded and shallow water, as long as cover vegetation is nearby.
Check the laws in your area before using a minnow trap. Unlicensed catching of baitfish is prohibited in some parts of the country.

Article Written By Dan Eash

Dan Eash began writing professionally in 1989, with articles in LaHabra's "Daily Star Progress" and the "Fullerton College Magazine." Since then, he's created scripts for doctor and dentist offices and published manuals, help files and a training video. His freelance efforts also include a book. Eash has a Fullerton College Associate of Arts in music/recording production and a Nova Institute multimedia production certificate.

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