Build a Fish Trap Out of Wire, Sticks and Even Plastic Bottles

When it comes to survival and living off the land, learning how to build a fish trap is something the average person can accomplish, whereas other skills like hunting deer is not something you will be able to just pick up overnight. Catching fish is a skill that can be mastered in a reasonably short period of time and does not require hunting, tracking and shooting skills that are needed if you want to bring down a deer or wild pig or something similar.

What you Need


Here is just one variation of a fish trap. Some traps use wood while others like this one uses wire and believe it or not, dog food. Here’s what you will need to build a fish trap.

  • Wire cutters
  • 9 feet of galvanized wire mesh or hardware cloth, 3 feet wide
  • 18 gauge wire
  • Dog food
  • Old sock
  • Rope

Once you have your supplies it’s time to begin building your fish trap. Some fish traps are designed to just catch bait fish, while this one is designed to catch fish for the dinner table.

1. First cut a 3x5 foot section of wire mesh and form into a cylinder about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long. The 18 gauge wire is used to tie the ends together. You can overlap them to make your trap sturdier if you like.

2. With your cutters cut out a circle in the mesh that is about 1 ½ inches bigger than the cylinder.

3. Bend the wire around one end of the cylinder and use the 18 gauge wire to connect the circle to the cylinder.

4. Bend section of remaining wire into a funnel shape. The length should be about half of the cylinder. Make sure the hole on the narrow end is big enough for fish to swim through. The wider end should be as wide as the mouth of the cylinder. Your 18 gauge wire is used to hold the funnels shape.

5. Attach the funnel to the remaining open end of the trap. Secure with your 18 gauge wire.

6. Make a door in the side of the cylinder by cutting 3 sides of a mesh square. Make sure it’s big enough for you to get your hands in and out of. Tie the door shut with a piece of wire.

7. For bait take your old sock and put dog food in it and tie about 6 inches beyond the end of the funnel. Fish will swim in searching for the smell of the dog food and then cannot figure out how to get out.

8. Be sure to tie a line to the trap before tossing into a creek or river so you don’t lose it. Nothing’s worse than taking the time to build a fish trap only to have it get washed down stream overnight.

Tips for Build a Fish Trap Success


You can do a few things to increase your success when you build a fish trap. Make sure the wire mesh you use for your trap is sturdy enough to retain its shape even with the weight of fish in it. You should also check frequently just to make sure predators haven’t discovered your trap. You certainly don’t want to be feeding the competition. You might also try baits like cheese, rabbit feed, or even cat food pellets. These are all common baits and are known to work well. Before placing your trap make sure you’re not violating any local laws regarding trapping fish.

Variety of Traps


If you don’t have success the first time you build a fish trap you may want to consider making a different type of trap. In extreme survival situations people have even successfully made and used a fish trap made from a 2 liter soda bottle. Other people have made nice traps using sticks or even traps utilizing the rocks that are found naturally in a stream near them. These traps do work. You just may have to experiment with types of traps and bait selection.

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