Cheap Simple Fish Trap




Introduction: Cheap Simple Fish Trap

Simple cheap fish trap. $10 total and can be customized to your specifications. With the amount of screen you could make about 5-6 of these for $10!

The second picture is what I caught over night on my first try! 7 minnow and 2 crawdads.

Step 1: Basic Shaping

Materials needed:

Screen (cost me $9 at Lowes for a HUGE roll, I have a lot left over)

Hot Glue gun


(Maybe gloves for protection against the screen, it can be pokey)

That's it!

Cut out a big piece of screen for the project, whatever size you like. Take the sheet of screen and fold it in half but not making a crease in the bent part, keep it rounded. Next is to take the end and fold them over on themselves like in the forth and fifth picture.

Step 2: Folding Again...

Take the part you just folded and fold it a second time. This insures the fold will stay right and together. Next hot glue the fold so it stays in place. The hot glue does a good job of seeping through the layers of the screen to hold it all together.

Step 3: Making a Cylinder

Bend the screen to make a cylinder (after the glue hardens) to complete the main structure.

Step 4: Making the Cones

The cones are made to trick the fish to stay inside the trap. Take the outside of the screen and fold it in on itself (photo 1) then taking the screen and bending the part that is put inside into cone shapes leaving a hole (whatever size you want depending on the fish you're catching) for the fish to enter. Hot glue the folds while making the cone.

Step 5: Making a Door to Place Bait and Remove Fish

The first image is the finished product before the door. I cut a door with scissors for placing bait or removing your catch. (you can cut it whatever size you desire)

After cutting the door I hot glued a couple screen pieces (picture 2) to hold the door closed while in use.

picture 4 is the completed product.

Doesn't have to look pretty, mine doesn't, it just has to do its job!

2 People Made This Project!


  • Water Contest

    Water Contest
  • Metalworking Contest

    Metalworking Contest
  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest

23 Discussions

I wouldn't say a strong current because it has no solid frame. It has the chance of folding on you. It probably would do fine in a slow current though. I've only used it in still water.

This is good depending on the type of fish you wish to catch....if it is for bait fish, this is great! If it is for crawdads, I't good too...But if you're looking to catch pan fry size fish, Hardware cloth would be the way to go.

Is this a good 'ible' ? yeah, I think so. I think it could save you a lot of money too...and in a survival situation, it may even keep you from starving to death.

TY for sharing. : )

Looks really handy

Wow, thank you for sharing that story cdstudioNH. I'm sorry the fishing didn't workout for you but I'm not sure about your bait lol. You're the first person I've known to use a delicious sounding muffin for bait haha. I used something stinky for mine, catfish with chicken blood.

I hope your next trip works out better, just get some $3 bait from the store and try that out. Your trap looks awesome though! Thanks for posting, let me know how the pond works out.

1 reply

: D

When I used to net-fish there last summer, I would drop bread into the water and the herring would dive right for it! It took a few passes of the net, but I ended up catching quite a few. I think it just might be getting too cold for them right now. I'll try again this weekend while I am actually fishing and will use some worms. (I have plenty!)

check out my instructable I did today, at the beach:

very nice. i have done something similar with a pop bottle to catch crawdads/crayfish.
In my overregulated country you probably need a license to even bring these things in the vicinity of water :-)

Well funny you should ask cdstudioNH, I use whatever I catch to feed my son's turtles. We have 3 different types of painted turtles. I'm sure they get tired of store bought food because they munch those minnows up.

Tell me how it goes, I hope it goes well! I've set the trap 3x so far with catches each time. I'm anxious to see your results, thanks for commenting!

This is a great instructable and all the pictures really helped. Are you using the fish for bait? Just curious. I'm going to try to build this while enjoying my Saturday evening martini and bring it down to the river before it gets dark. And I won't be checking any of my local "laws". :D

I'll post pics after the weekend!

I checked it out jmcdonald23, very good construction. Simple and effective! Thanks for the compliment! Great knives on the site too.

Very nicely done! I made some crawfish traps with chicken mesh. Check it out

I pulled a dead Platypus out of a large trap of similar design, It was a sad day.

Good idea handyhippie65, the hog rings would be a good choice. I was honestly very surprised with the hot glue and how well it held together. I never thought of a floating trap, clever, very clever. I put a rock in one of mine so it would stay at the bottom and not move with the current. Thanks for the comment! Great ideas!

i build animal cages, and traps for a living. i make something similar out of hardware cloth. i use 3/8 hog rings to hold it together. keep the small end of the trap cones somewhat flat on the vertical plane to allow bigger fish to enter. try sharp hog rings instead of glue. they will hold better, you can get them at any farm store.(tsc, rural king, ect.) good job, by the way.

1 reply

Great comment a.steidl, I actually checked out my local area and it is legal. Thanks so much for the comment!

Cool project. Be sure, however, to check out your local laws and regulations regarding methods on harvesting fish, and different fish species, before laying trap. ;)

Have you tried it out yet? The shape is tried and true as I've seen lots of variations on this, but I was wondering how your success has been.