How to Make a Minnow Trap Out of Soda Bottles





Introduction: How to Make a Minnow Trap Out of Soda Bottles

About: I am an Eagle Scout. I love Hunting, Fishing, Camping, Ropework, Chain Mail, Making things in general, and i love my family.

In this Instructable, i am going to show you how to make a minnow trap out of soda bottles. this method of catching minnows is the on the cheap consisting of things youll just find laying around the house. The next step will highlight these!

Step 1: Materials

The materials needed are quite simple:

1) 2 Litre Bottles X 2
2) 10' Rope (I used Para Cord (550 Cord as its better kown as) BUT anything works well so long as its synthetic as ropes such as hemp, cotton, etc. will likely rot or mildew easier which weakens the rope and inccreases the chance of your hard work getting washed down the river)
3) Scissors
4) A Black Sharpie
5) Matches
6) Something REALLY Pointy

Step 2: Starting the Project

After gathering the things necessary to build the trap, you need to take the label off the bottle. to eliminate having to put another picture up here, i just started with the label already stripped off the bottle.

Now your going to punch holes in one of the bottles down where the bottom is. I personally used the little seam like line at the bottom of the bottle as a guide and punched 8 holes perpendicular to each other about 1/4" from the seam. I then cut the bottom off the bottle using the same seam to punch the holes as a guide to cut off the bottom.

NOTE: Heating up the object your using to puch the holes just enough to melt the plastic works wonders and kinda saves a little time.

Step 3: Making the Inside of the Trap

Now take the second bottle and fit it inside the first bottle as shown. Now you have two options...Use the marker to mark where the holes in the first bottle are then remove the second bottle and punch the holes then refit the second bottle, OR heat up the sharp object you are using and punch the holes with heat.

After you punch the holes HEAT PUNCH a starter hole to insert your scissors and cut the top of the second bottle FLUSH with the bottom of the first bottle.

Before anyone out there comments an insult to me about the cap being on the second bottles top, I KNOW ITS STILL ON...ITS JUST IN THERE FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES!!

Step 4: Securing the Parts of the Trap

Now cut 12" of 550 Cord and pull the 7 inner strands out (i know paracord also uses only 5 inner strands but most contains7).  Singe one of the ends of the inner strands and then fish (pardon the pun) the strand through the holes and tie a surgical stitch (i used only 3 square knots to attain this) to secure the two parts together...also not mentioned in the supplies, if this method dont work for you, then it IS ok to use wire (of course it will be more secure and would be the more favored option).

Then weld the knot to set it in and keep it from coming apart.

Step 5: Final Touches

Now your going to tie 550 cord to your trap to secure it to the river bank (or lake shore).

Take 48" of 550 cord and cut it in half. take the insividual halfs, and tie an overhand loop in each of them. Then take the remaining rope and tie the two halfs to it using an Archer's knot (really any loop knot works, BUT this is what i prefer).

Now heat punch 4 perpendicular holes in the bottom of the trap about as big in diameter as the rope your my case its 550 cord. Then your going to tie the four ends of the halfed cord through the holes. I used the two half hitches knot.

Step 6: Enjoy the Fruits (erm...i :D) of Your Labor

The title of this last step implies, it is time to enjoy the effort you put into catching your minnows. Really from here anything and everything is your decision...Where to put the trap, what to bait it with, how long to leave it in the water...its all you from here...however, i would like to make some suggestions:

It is best to put the trap i the more shallow water that the minnows prefer (at least thats where i have seen ALOT of minnows) however it really depends on the body of water. Minnows will frequent the shoreline in most rivers, creeks, and streams because the water doesnt flow as fast. Lakes they may frequent deeper water.

Bait is a little tricky...i dont know how many species of minnow are out there but i DO know that there are too many species for me to really care...BUT i am pretty sure they will eat anything. i remember as a kid, i would wade into the lake and soon after i got all settled, BAM!!! there they were trying to eat the hair off my legs. Point is im pretty sure each species prefers different baits, so if one bait isnt producing results then put something else in the trap. Trial and error here.

LASTLY...the length of time...again from what ive seen before, you could have a swarm in your trap as soon as it hits the water. OR you may get nothing at all for 2 hours. refer to the above paragraph if the latter is the case. If you leave the trap in the water too long, a predator (bird, rodent, fish, or other animal) could get a hold of the trap or its potential contents...of course depenting on your game of choice this could either help you or hurt you in the long could get a better bait such as crawfish and hook a huge Aligator Gar, or frogs and hook a Bluegill.

None the less, i hope Yall have enjoyed this Instructable as much as i have enjoyed making it!!



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    53 Discussions

    If you use drilled-out plastic pickle (or other large-top) jars, you can affix a cone of screen or from a three-liter plastic bottle into the larger jar lid (with a cut-out hole) with tape or a glue gun. To get your minnows, just unscrew the big lid and dump them into your minnow/crawfish bucket. Glue some rocks onto the big lid or jar side and that will let it sink faster. Just make sure it doesn't sit on the bottom with the coned top down.

    Thank you so much man you saved my fishing. ✌️?

    do you drill any holes in the lid to allow water flow?

    how do u get the minnows out after the minnows are in the bottle?with out having to cut the bottle again.i've made an minnow catcher kinda the same way execpt i use 2 plastic bottles to make mine, and it all so works the same way but u have to undo the top with the lid on makes it a lot easier to get the minnow or crow fish out as well. at least i think so.

    1 reply

    I used twist ties to hold the tops in mine. Usually had to remove two to open the lid. It takes a minute or so but then you can just empty the entire contents into a minnow bucket or whatever you're using.

    I caught a fair number of crayfish in my traps, even without widening the openings. Indeed, I stopped trapping in one area because crayfish were getting in and eating most of the minnows (and on one occasion, a snapping turtle smashed the trap getting the crayfish!). They ran the gamut as far as size--I was surprised some could get into the traps.

    I've made these by cutting the top off a pop bottle, removing the cap, reversing the cut-off section into the bottom half, etc. Works just find and you get one trap out of each bottle.

    1 reply

    had my webelos do it. They love it


    I love this design. to make it friendly for crawdads as well, I cut the top out of the bottle than goes in the bottom and hot glued some flaps made out of the leftover bottle. than way hopefully I can catch both,,,thanks a bunch,,great instructable..oh, and I used bread ties to attach the bottom to make it removable so I can get out what goes in ;-)

    1 reply

    to eliminate some work you could also use gatorade or 3L bottles for crawdads since they have bigger holes

    if they are small yes...if not then no it wont. also you would have to wrestle the crayfish out of the bottle. good idea, but maby not practical. but still, a good idea. worries with me...i usually answer rather quickly if i am able. i would love to see how your trap turns out!! post pics if you dont mind!! :)

    These work well enough that I used them on my masters degree research project awhile back. If you replace the bottle cap with a piece of insect screen held on by a rubber band the fish inside will live longer. It allows oxygen into the bottle.

    1 reply

    drilling holes large enough in the bottlecap, or in specific "strategic" locations on the outer bottle would work just as well, and save money. great idea though if you have insect screen just laying around somewhere thats not being occupied by a window already. If the idea is to keep the fish alive, than i guess this would work, but the trap is mainly short term as the minnows would be used for fishing.

    This will work as a blow fly trap too. Add about two inches of water with a tsp of raw meat or fish. It really stinks so it's up to you to dump the smelly contents or just throw it out. Since I live out of town I'll dump the contents "in the bush" and let nature take care of all the dead flies.

    1 reply

    thats another use for it. good idea. you can also use it to catch hornets, bees, wasps...just pour a sweet sticky food in it and you have a premium, hand made bug catcher.

    what do you do with the minnows? and can't they be used for bait?