How to Bait a Minnow Trap

How to Bait a Minnow TrapCatching minnows in a trap is a great way to save money while always having minnows on hand without making a trip to the bait shop. It also ensures that the minnows you use for fishing are the same as those found in the lake. Learning how to properly bait a minnow trap guarantees a good catch and is as easy as using the right bait for the minnows in your pond.


Difficulty: Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Minnow trap
  • Bread
  • Saltines
  • Hot dogs
  • Cat food
Step 1
Roll up two slices of bread into small balls and place them into the minnow trap. Minnow traps catch fish by allowing the minnows to swim into the trap but not out---you don't need to set hooks. Your main job in baiting a minnow trap is finding a food source that attracts your local minnows. Bread works everywhere.
Step 2
Crumble up several saltine crackers and sprinkle it over the area where you want to set the trap. If minnows come to the surface and take the crackers, bait the trap with saltines by stuffing a couple crackers into the trap.
Step 3
Place cut-up hot dogs into the trap. As the hot dogs decay, they become increasingly smellier. Fish hunt with the help of their noses, so the smell attracts the fish. Many smelly food items attract minnows, so experiment to see what works best in your area.
Step 4
Pierce holes into a can of cat food and place it inside the trap. For long-term trapping, the cat food left in the can holds up and keeps on attracting minnows.

Tips & Warnings

Use captured minnows in the same lake you caught them---transporting minnows can introduce invasive species to new lakes.

Article Written By Bryan Hansel

Bryan Hansel is a freelance photographer and kayaking guide who began writing in 1993. His outdoors articles appear on various websites. Hansel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and religion from the University of Iowa.

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