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How to make a 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:


  • 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 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 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 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 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 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: 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.


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!

23 Comments on How to make a minnow trap

  1. Cool how do they get in

  2. It looks awesome!!!! I will try it!!! 🙂 🙂

  3. lots of fun using these things


  5. 200 lb. wild hog demolisher // April 16, 2013 at 6:37 pm // Reply

    I will try this on lake chatuge in hiawassee georgia.

  6. hog demolisher // April 17, 2013 at 2:55 pm // Reply

    will try on chatuge

  7. Pedro's Keeper // April 22, 2013 at 2:41 pm // Reply

    Love it….! Will try it next time I’m near the water!!!!

  8. MCOutdoorsman // April 25, 2013 at 9:19 pm // Reply

    tried it at a creek behind my house, got several3-4 inch long ones!! (big minnows down there I’ve seen 5″)

  9. oh joe ah! // April 26, 2013 at 2:10 am // Reply

    aw:( no minnows here:(

  10. why, comatose, why??? // April 19, 2014 at 9:21 am // Reply

    Question – how do you cut straight on the bottle?

  11. i allready knew how to make one.

  12. Normally minnows do not fall off the hook unsels the cast is abruptly stopped. This will cause the hook to tear through the skin and the minnow to go flying.You can fish the minnow under a bobber or float and this will indicate the bite you’ve been waiting to get. As stated, you can hook the minnow through the lips or through the back behind the dorsal fin with both methods working well for the fish you are after. Just don’t use too large of a hook size so the minnow can swim around. leave the minnow out for 10 to 15 minutes and if you do not get any bites reel in and cast somewhere else. Try and cast near some form of cover as fish like to hang around and use cover for feeding. Tight lines! Flounder Bytes Pro Staff

  13. man I wish Id thought of that!

  14. Scout den 107 // April 4, 2016 at 5:28 pm // Reply

    That’s so cool I can’t whate to go camping!!!?

  15. dirtydillard // May 14, 2016 at 5:54 pm // Reply

    Dirty dillard has a thought you could add weights on it to

  16. What happened to the little plastic tops, funnel shaped, with a hole at the bottom of the funnel. They clipped over a jam jar. ?
    String was tied round and a length left to tie a float to. Had so much fun catching minnows in the lake district as a kid.

  17. DrewTheDude // June 20, 2016 at 2:48 pm // Reply

    Sweet! I can’t wait to try it!

  18. scoutymcscoutface // July 27, 2016 at 12:16 pm // Reply

    if you use a 2 litre bottle and make the hole wider you can actually catch bigger fish

  19. Will this work for snakes too?

  20. Put spme rovks pr sand in it to weigh it down

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