How to Use Catfish Traps

How to Use Catfish Traps
Catfish are one of the most common types of fish in the world--especially in North America. While the traditional rod-and-reel method is typically used to catch a catfish, traps can also work as effective catfish catchers. There are several types of catfish traps available--mostly wire or wood--but they all essentially work the same. By following a few simple steps, you should be able to correctly use a catfish trap without too much difficulty.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bait
  • Trap
  • 2 ropes
  • Anchor
Step 1
Determine the legality of catfish traps in your chosen fishing area. Some states have outlawed catfish traps. If you're going to a lake in a state park, for example, call state park management first and make sure catfish traps are legal. Your local or state department of wildlife or its equivalent should be able to answer your questions.
Step 2
Tie a sturdy rope to the opening of your trap; this rope should be at least 15 feet long. Tie another rope, no more than a foot long, to the middle of your trap. Tie the other end of the second rope around an anchor--a rock or some heavy metal object. You should now have a catfish trap with two ropes tied to it, including one with an anchor.
Step 3
Bait your trap. Strictly speaking, you don't need to bait a catfish trap. Catfish love holes and caves, and the long narrow shape of a catfish trap therefore naturally appeals to them. Still, you certainly increase your chances of catching a catfish if the trap is baited. Traditional catfish bait would work--but so would a piece of old cheese, some sour corn or cotton-seed cake. Place the bait in the back of the trap.
Step 4
Locate your trap spot. An ideal spot for a catfish trap will have little current. A protected spot in a slow-moving river, a large pond, or the edge of a lake works best.
Step 5
Place your trap. Simply put it down on the ground underneath the water. The weight of the anchor will keep the trap submerged. Tie the end of the long rope (attached to the trap's opening) to something above-surface--like a pier, a tree or a root.
Step 6
Pull up your trap after at least a couple of hours. Reach into the trap and pull out (or "noodle") your catfish. If you've failed to catch one, put your trap back into the water and give it a few more hours--or choose a new spot to try.

Article Written By William Jackson

William Jackson has written, reported and edited professionally for more than 10 years. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, high-level government reports, books and online. He holds a master's degree in humanities from Pennsylvania State University.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.