Introduction: Pickle Jar Minnow Trap

Picture of Pickle Jar Minnow Trap

Have you ever wanted one of those vintage glass minnow traps but didn't want to spend the money? Well, let's build one for less than $10. This project takes less than an hour and will have you trapping minnows in no time.

Step 1: Items Needed

Picture of Items Needed

Items Needed:

A. One Pickle Jar with Lid.
B. Clear plastic funnel. Cost $1.00. I am not sure who produces this particular funnel, but my local sporting goods store sells them to convert mason jars into minnow traps.
C. 3/16 inch glass and tile bit. I purchased mine at Lowes for about $7.00.
D. Variable speed drill.
E. Hammer and flat head screwdriver or dremel tool.
E. Gloves and safety glasses. A must when working with glass.

Step 2: Drilling Bottom of Jar

Picture of Drilling Bottom of Jar

Drilling the Jar:

1. Turn the jar upside down on a non slip padded surface. I used an old bathroom rug for this project. I also used my legs to hold on to the jar while drilling.
2. Using the 3/16" bit carefully drill about 6-9 holes through the bottom of the jar. You must use water to lubricate the drill bit during the process. Failure to do so can result in glass breakage. The key is using a slow speed when drilling and using a slower speed as the drill bit goes deeper into the glass. Do not rush this step or you will end up with a broken jar!

Step 3: Drilling Complete

Picture of Drilling Complete

This is what the bottom of the jar should look like after drilling.

Step 4: Cut Hole in Lid

Picture of Cut Hole in Lid

Cutting the Lid:

1. Turn the lid upside down and center the funnel on the lid.
2. Mark the inside of the funnel on the lid.
3. Carefully cut out out the center of the lid. I slowly punched mine out with a hammer and a large flat head screwdriver, but a dremel tool might work also. Be careful as the metal will be sharp.

Step 5: Insert Funnel Into Lid

Picture of Insert Funnel Into Lid

Insert funnel into lid. If you are careful and did not cut the hole too big you should be able to press the funnel into the lid without using an adhesive to hold it on.

Step 6: Completed Minnow Trap

Picture of Completed Minnow Trap

Place the lid back on the jar and now you have created a glass minnow trap. You may attached a small rope around the lid for pulling out of streams.

Now get out and trap some minnows! I find that glass traps catch more minnows than the wire type traps.

Tip: add a couple of crumbled up saltine crackers to your trap before placing in a stream.


amazingv2 (author)2017-11-06

You can watch my video that show about

How to catch fish small & big at bride

jerelj (author)2013-06-27

Just wanted to let everyone know as of 6-27-2013 they have them at Denny's for sure just bought a couple. I got some UPC info off them as well and they show sptman "PMTC minnow trap cone". There is a website called sportsman supply think that is where Denny's got them as his label said sptman also but their site says no longer available. Anyway bar code is 040468 95432. Good Luck

JeromeM27 (author)jerelj2016-05-21

I had trouble finding a funnel... didn't carry them at the sporting goods stores or at the bait shops... So, I bought a six pack of them from Amazon ( ). It came out to about $1.70 per funnel, but at least I have spares, lol.

MatthewJ12 (author)2016-04-29

these are illegal in my state?

Leer42 (author)2014-06-02

Well done roussinloe! Most instructables I've found about these kind of traps are filled with bad grammar and crappy pictures. This on is very good, but maybe you could include some explanations as to why or how it works. Just a thought.


xcoreinmolinex (author)2013-02-19

Is there any reason this would not work?

TeeNootsieBrasseau (author)2013-01-11

Unable to find any funnels. Dennys does not have them. I need some badly and quickly. Anyone have any info to share. Another supplier perhaps. Thanks

nhtriker (author)2011-03-22

Can I use a plastic mayo jar? Maybe add a few rocks to weigh it down?

pthompson1 (author)nhtriker2011-04-29

Cant hurt to try. Ive used 2 liter soda bottles with the tops cut and inverted, and they work better than my wire traps.

jenngirl (author)pthompson12012-01-18

I've made minnow traps out of plastic pop bottles, but i was wondering if you can make a minnow trap out of a plastic mayonnaise jar? and if it can be passable,then i''m going to try to make one, and c if it works like the ones made out of plastic pop bottles.
Jennifer Russell

roussinjoe (author)jenngirl2012-04-03

a plastic jar would probably work just as well. You may need to weigh it down with rocks.

jenngirl (author)2012-04-02

Dear Good friend,
I would like to know how many minnow have you cought in the mayonnaise jar? and do you use them for bait?or do you put them in a fish tank for pets? or how many have you cought from the plastic pop bottles? because when i use the plastic pop bottles i get at lest 20 or more in the pop bottles than i really want o have in my fish tanks. here is my gmail if any one wants to know more about the pop bottles and i would like to know if the Mayonnaise jars really work or not.

roussinjoe (author)jenngirl2012-04-03

I can usually catch 20 or more minnows at a time. I use them for bait. They are great for catching smallmouth bass or crappie in the streams in my area. I will take a picture and post it the next time I use it. I have not used the plastic pop bottles yet. Only the glass traps.

Ray from RI (author)2011-12-09

Have any of you who used this trap have any experience catching crayfish with it as well?

Excellent project to recycle those large mayo and pickle jars!

ke5ldo (author)2011-11-12

In some jurisdictions, Like Texas, fish traps are illegal and have heavy fines. be sure to check with the game warden.

jb3389 (author)2011-06-30

Help. I fish the MO Ozarks streams and have used quart mason jar traps for years but now cannot find the plastic funnels. Can anyone help?

jb3389 (author)jb33892011-07-06

Help again.......................called Denny Dennis Sporting Goods in Fenton, MO. They do not have any funnels and have not seen them for years.

If anyone else knows where I can get them, I would appreciate the information. Thanks, Joe Bazin/Topeka, KS

roussinjoe (author)jb33892011-07-06

I just went to Denny Dennis today and purchased one. They are $1.19 each. They have six left and they keep them back by the minnow buckets and live bait. They may have been thinking of something else when you called.

plantbiz (author)roussinjoe2011-10-22

Great instructable! However, I can't find any local suppliers for the funnels. Do you know what the brand name of the funnels is? Any leads would be appreciated. I can't wait to build one of these traps and take my 7 year old son with me to trap minnows.

roussinjoe (author)plantbiz2011-10-26

Unfortunately, there is no brand name on the funnels I buy. You can try calling the Sporting goods store that I purchase them from - Denny Dennis 636-343-9447. They may be able to tell you who manufactures them.

jb3389 (author)jb33892011-07-06

Help again. Called Denny Dennis Sporting Goods in Fenton, MO.....they have no funnels and have not seen any for years.

roussinjoe (author)jb33892011-07-01

Denny Dennis sporting Goods in Fenton, MO is the only place in my area that sells them. I think they charge $1 per funnel.

B2BSurvivor (author)2011-10-18

New to this site. Looks like a cool project. We used to make these using old 2 liter plastic soda bottles. Have to add some weight to sink it.

jb3389 (author)2011-07-07

To "roussinjoe"......just got off the phone with "Steve" at Denny Dennis Sporting goods. He has 25 and will hold 10 at the front cash register for a friend to pick up. Thanks, Joe Bazin/Topeka, KS

joelr97 (author)2011-06-23

Hey guys i never had luck with traps do you bait them some how or how long do you leave them in the water please write me back i need help

roussinjoe (author)joelr972011-06-27

I always bait mine with crackers. As far as how long, it really depends. It usaully takes 15-30 min to flll the trap on the creeks I fish.

Highdoom (author)2011-04-12

My wife uses the glass cutting bits to put Christmas lights in glass blocks, after "using up" several bits, I had her submerge the block in a 5 gal bucket, with the water level just barely covering the bit's contact point. It kept it cool and wedging a woodblock with carpet glued to it inside the bucket kept the work stable. I like the putty idea as well. Nice instructable!

dans89 (author)2011-03-13

Minnows are also attracted to a stick of chewing gum. I saw it in a fishing magazine once and tried it and it works. I used jucy fruit. And the awesome part is it doesn't deteriorate.

philip43 (author)2011-03-06

For freshwater applications check out the fishing regulations where you reside. In NY State it is illegal to have live trout in your possession, no matter how small. You will have to learn how to identify the little fish and only keep the minnows and other legal baitfish. This bait trap is a fun way to get bait and don't forget to take a youngster fishing!!

treesneedtobehugged (author)2011-01-16

so the minnow just goes in there and can't get out? what attracts it inside?

Bread is often used to attract minnows. Dead fish or cat food is often used to attract crayfish. This could work as a crayfish trap too.

roussinjoe (author)chuckr442011-01-17

Great idea! I haven't caught crayfish in years. I will have to try that this year. The kids will enjoy too.

catsnw (author)roussinjoe2011-01-30

CRAWFISH! lol bacon works too.

Schpool (author)catsnw2011-03-04

Hot dogs work as well. So does chighen livers.

Believe it or not, minnows are attracted to dry cat food. So all you need to do is put some cat food in the jar and you should get some minnows.

thier lack of a concept that devices has an entrance/exit or where it would be?

sometimes you don't need anything to attract the minnow inside, other wise, you could use bread, I use to make these from plastic bottles.

Playahater (author)2011-02-25

why would you want to catch minnos???

Vanila (author)Playahater2011-03-03

To use as bait.

mista.v (author)2011-01-17

Hmm, instead of a funnel, couldn't you just cut the bottom out of a plastic cup and hot glue/epoxy it in?

farmsteader (author)mista.v2011-02-09

Good idea, or any clear plastic bottle top and make hole to your State's legal opening , in Arkansas , on Glass ,Plastic and wire mesh minnow traps throat opening limit is 1 and 1/2 inches, just not to get any Fish and Game troubles , look it up. We can use Glass still, but i imagine in some states you cannot.
Will be one of my next projects, Thanks for this !

mista.v (author)farmsteader2011-02-09

It seems that I am in the clear- Rhode Island doesn't regulate minnows or shellfishing!

roussinjoe (author)mista.v2011-01-17

A plastic cup would probably work just as well. I prefer this type of funnel because it has the lip on top, but if you can't find a funnel then by all means go with the cup.

halo99 (author)2011-01-23

Where do you tie it off?

jwelch1103 (author)halo992011-02-04

You could use cordage or small rope to "weave" a pouch or basket for it. There are many, many knots that have been devised over time, I'm sure a little research would reveal a technique to do this. As a matter of fact I will try to find one after work today!

mybookroom (author)2011-02-03

I hope this doesn't get posted twice. But being from the desert, I don't understand WHY TRAP Minnows. Aren't they to small to eat?

jwelch1103 (author)mybookroom2011-02-04

For bait to catch other fish!

Nightmare54 (author)2011-01-30

When I drill glass I use wood putty to create a pool of rubbing alcohol which keeps the glass cooler as well as allows for faster drill speeds (not much but a little faster) and makes it so you don't have to keep spraying water on the bit. Works AWESOME!

cameronhirsch (author)2011-01-29

Awesome trap, looks like a fun project for fishing season.

Mekasia (author)2011-01-22

Another tip for would-be trappers: get your jars for free (usually) by asking at your local deli/ sandwich shop. This is also an excellent source for 5 gallon buckets, if you don't mind the pickle smell.

About This Instructable




More by roussinjoe:Pickle Jar Minnow Trap
Add instructable to: