Fish Traps

All About Fish Traps and What They Can do For You.

How to make a fish trap How to make a fish trap How to make a fish trap

How to Make a Fish Trap

A fish trap is any structure that allows a fish to willingly enter and then presents a situation that they cannot escape.  Fish traps have been utilized since the beginning of man’s appearance on earth.  There is an infinite variety of sizes and shapes of fish traps.  In this article the question “how to make a fish trap” will be addressed by describing the process necessary to build a medium sized trap but the principles will apply to traps of any size.  The configuration of traps is only limited by the imagination of the builder.  If the trap catches fish it passes the test.

1.  Decide on the dimensions you need for the type and size fish you are going to trap. Minnows or pan fish for bait can be caught in a trap 12 inches diameter by 24 inches in length, large catfish, carp, and suckers require a much larger trap.

2. Choose a shape for your trap. Many are rectangular, with a 1:2:4 height, width, and length ratio, but cylindrical traps work well if there is not any current in the water to cause them to roll and become fouled.

3. Select the material you will build the trap out of. In Alabama, where trapping catfish is a long standing tradition, the finest traps are built by craftsmen using white oak strips, woven together with galvanized steel or copper wire. Because this takes considerable skill and time, we will look at building a trap with a wire mesh fabric or poultry netting. The choice then, is the mesh size, determined by the size fish you are trapping. For bait minnows, a hardware cloth in 1/4 or 1/2 inch mesh is fine, for suckers or carp, poultry netting is less expensive.

4. Cut the wire mesh large enough to fold into a "box" and allowing for overlap at the seam. A 12 inch X 24 inch X 48 inch trap will require a sheet of wire fabric 6 feet long and 4 feet wide.

5. Mark the fabric across the width at 12 inches, 36 inches, 48 inches, and 72 inches, and using a length of straight lumber, fold at each mark 90 degrees, to form a box. Tie the final corner with plastic "snap ties" or light gauge wire.

6. Cut another piece of wire fabric 12 X 24 inches for the end of the box, and secure it in place with the same ties or wire you seamed the box in the previous step.

7. Form a funnel with the wire fabric for the end of the box you have not closed up yet. The funnel opening will have to be large enough for the fish to swim into, tapering down to leave this opening facing into the box. Secure this piece in place with wire that can be untied later to release or remove your catch.

8. Place an "onion bag", or mesh fruit bag filled with your bait into the trap, along with a large stone or piece of brick to weight the trap down, tie the funnel in, and you are ready to "set" the trap.

9. Tie a strong line to the trap so that you can pull it out of the water when you are ready to check it, take the whole apparatus to the water, choose your "fishing hole", and lower it in.

10. Pull the trap in slowly when you decide to check it, keeping in mind you never know what will be inside it.