How To Make A Fish Trap

Geoff Stadnyk in Fishing Tactics & Skills on

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to catch your own fish? How would you start? Do you have a fish trap? If not, could you make yourself one? Well, you are in the right place if you are reading this.

If you have ever wanted to make a fish trap, you will learn how to make one by the end of this article.

Table of Contents

Why You Would Need A Fish Trap

You never know when the day will come that you will need to make a fish trap. You may be stuck on a camping trip near a lake, or you want to start your fishing business with little capital. A fish trap can be a great tool for a starving survivor in the wilderness or an upcoming fish farmer with limited funds.

Traps are very easy to make. To help you get started, these are the steps you need to follow.

Step 1: Size Of The Trap

What size of fish are you hoping to catch? If you are going for the humongous fish, then your trap must match your needs. You can catch small fish in a 12 by 24 inch fish trap. Your trap should accommodate your needs, but be careful that it is not taller than the depth of the water.

If this is your first time, you should start fishing in shallow waters before proceeding to deep waters.

Fish trap stacked up along the harbour at Apollo Bay, Victoria, Australia

Step 2: Shape Of The Trap

I know you are probably wondering what the shape of the trap has to do with the actual catching of the fish. Well, I am here to let you know that the shape of your fish trap matters. You can either build a fish trap with a rectangular or cylindrical base, depending on the water current.

Rectangular traps are more common because they work well in both calm and strong currents. A cylindrical trap will be rolled over and become fouled in a strong current, so consider the area you will be fishing before building a fish trap.

Step 3: Choose Your Material

In areas where trapping fish is rooted in the tradition, it is common for artisans to use various materials to build the finest fish traps. Such traps require a considerable amount of skill and time to be crafted. However, as a first-timer, I would recommend building a trap with simple wire mesh and poultry net. It will be easier for you, and the result will be the same-catching fish.

If you don’t have the luxury of the materials, you can use what you have. For example, you can use your fishing knife, string, and tree shoots to make a trap if you are in the wilderness.

Step 4: Build A Box Frame

You will need:

  • 12 pieces of wood
  • A wire mesh
  • Nails

You will form a cube using the pieces of wood by creating squares parallel to each other and then nail them together. Next, attach the longer pieces to the box you have created and nail them again.

Step 5: Cut And Fold A Wire Mesh Around The Box

After joining the pieces of wood, you will have a rectangular cuboid. Wrap your wire mesh around the cuboid. Remember, your wire mesh should not be the exact size if you are building a 12 by 24 inch fish trap. Cut enough wire mesh to cover and fold around the box. A six by four feet will be the ideal size that allows an overlap. At each corner, create 90 degrees on each slate and tie the two edges firmly. The last thing you want is a loosely tied wire mesh that will dismantle when placed in water and end up catching no fish.

Step 6: Form A Funnel Inside The Box

Using the same wire mesh, create a cone-shaped funnel that is large enough to attach to the slats of the box but leaving an opening. The opening at the top of the funnel is supposed to catch the fish and allow it to swim without leaving the trap.

Just like that, you have your very own first fish trap. Get to fishing!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are fish traps legal?

Depending on your state, there will be fishing rules, and fish traps recommended when fishing. You will have to check with the fisheries compliance officers before building your fish trap and check whether it meets the set standards.

What is the best bait to put in a fish trap?

Saltwater baits are the best to make a quick and easy catch. Worms, leeches, grasshoppers and crickets make up the best bait when fishing. If you cannot find these easily, you can use household items such as peanut butter, bread and cat or dog food.

Where do you put a fish trap?

You need to place your fish trap with bait underwater and set it to catch fish. To catch as many fish as possible, you need to drag out the trap as far from the shore as possible.

Are homemade fish traps effective?

Homemade fish traps are just as effective as those crafted by artisans. If the bait is set securely and the trap placed correctly, they are very effective.

Is this type of fishing environment friendly?

If you are using floating traps, they are very efficient and reduce the impact on the seafloor. Additionally, they catch more fish when the entrance of the trap faces the current.

How long until I catch a fish?

A fish trap should be set between 20 minutes to 24 hours to catch fish.

The fish trap you build will depend on your situation. If you are in the wild and hungry, you will need to come up with a quick fish trap to catch fish as soon as possible. However, if you have time, you can settle on getting a wire mesh and pieces of wood to build a more durable fish trap.

For tips or guide on how to catch fish such as river cat fish or bream, we have articles for that.

Geoff Stadnyk

Geoff started fishing as a child in the gorgeous lakes of Mammoth, while on family vacations. His fishing experience includes the use of fly rod and reel. Guided trips along the Madison and Gallatin rivers in Montana, the Frying Pan and Animus in Colorado, and the Deschutes river in Oregon have all paid off and helped make Geoff the angler and writer that he is today.

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