How to Make a Fish Trap

The goal when you use any fish trap is to catch fish. You want to make a fish trap that the fish can swim into but not out of. Part of the trick is the bait, but a big part of the success of any fish trap is its design. Here’s a simple fish trap you can put in a river to catch a load of fresh fish.

There are numerous methods to make a fish trap and all sorts of materials can be used. Below is how to make a fish trap using wire mesh. More traditional fish traps can be made using natural materials such as willow. A small fish trap can even be made out of an old plastic drinks bottle.



· 9 feet of galvanised wire mesh, 3 feet wide.

· 18 gauge wire.

· Wire cutters.

· Old sock.

· Dog food.

· Rope.


1. Cut a 3-by-5 foot section of wire. Form this into a cylinder that’s about 2 feet wide and about 3 feet long. Use the 18-gauge wire to tie the edges together. Overlap them to make the trap sturdier.

2. Use the wire cutters to cut a circle of wire mesh about 1 ½ inches bigger than the cylinder. Bend the wire around one end of the cylinder. Use the 18-gauge wire to connect the circle to the cylinder.

3. Bend of section of remaining wire into a funnel shape. The length should be about half of the cylinder. Leave the hole on the narrow end large enough for a fish to swim into. The wider end should be the width of the mouth of the cylinder. Use the 18-gauge wire to hold the funnels shape.

4. Attach the funnel to the remaining open end of the fish trap. Secure it with 18-gauge wire.

5. Create a door in the side of the cylinder. Cut 3 sides of a mesh square. Make it big enough to get your hands into so you can bait the fish trap and remove your catch. Tie the door shut with a piece of wire.

6. Bait the trap with an old sock that’s got some dry dog food in it. Tie the sock about six inches beyond the end of the funnel. The fish swim into the funnel in search of the good smelling dog food bait. Once they enter the trap they can’t figure out how to get back out.

7. Tie a line onto the trap. Toss the fish trap into the river. Leave it for a while and then pull it out.



· Use a wire mesh that is stiff enough to form the shape you choose and that will remain rigid with a substantial weight of fish in it.

· Use a suitable bait for the fish you are trapping. Rabbit feed pellets, cat food pellets, dried dog food biscuits, cheese etc. are all common trap baits.

· Check the trap daily to make sure no predators have discovered it and either damaged it or gotten trapped in it.

· Never abandon a trap. If you give up this effort. Remove it and dispose of it safely.

· Check the laws and regulations regarding the use of fish traps in your area.

· Always get the landowners permission before laying or setting any kind of trap.

Commercial fish trap

2 Responses to “How to Make a Fish Trap”

  • jennifer Russell:

    I have made a minnow traps with plastic bottles and i have cought a lot of small fish in it,I have use all kinds of bait it really works,I really wasn’t sure if the big one would work and so i went to go and check it i have a pond near my house and i have cought a lot of fish with the small one that i have made with plastic bottles, and they really do work, and they are a lot easier to make than the big one is.the big one is a little to hard for me to make,but the using the plastic bottles are a lot easier to make too.not hard to make at all.
    your friend,
    Jennifer Russell

  • Ryan Ricklefs:

    Thanks, Jennifer Russell. I am looking for ways to trap fish in a creek and the plastic bottles is a great idea.

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