Make a Plastic Bottle Fishing Trap

In a survival situation, every little bit of food you can capture adds to your chances of staying alive. If you’re in an area with fish, one of these small pop bottle funnel traps can be a great way to catch small minnows for either bait, or food if conditions are really bad.

I’ve been using these types of minnow traps for as long as I can remember. They are a great way to catch bait, and are really easy to make. They’re also pretty much free, and a great way to recycle those old water bottles.

Instructions fo making a plastic bottle fish trap

How to make the Plastic Bottle Fish Trap

  • With a Sharp Knife, carefully cut off the top of the pop bottle (as shown above). You can use pretty much any kind of plastic water bottle to make this type of trap.
  • Shove the head or cone of the bottle into the body of the bottle. To further secure the head, you can poke a couple holes through the cone and use a bit of fishing line to tie the sections together.
  • Throw in a couple small rocks to anchor the bottle to the bottom, poke a couple small holes in the bottle, and then add some small scraps of bait or small insects to attract the fish.
  • Place the bottle in some shallow water, and secure it with some line. Once the fish swim through the funnel, they will not be able to swim back out.
  • The more of these you can set, the better chances you have of catching something substantial enough to sustain you.

 Examples of Plastic Bottle Fishing Traps

Plastic Bottle Fishing Trap with Bait inside

Plastic bottle fish trap with flap
Plastic Fish Trap with a quick flap cut into the top for releasing the fish after they’re caught
Shirts of Liberty

OFFGRID Survival book



  1. Interesting idea. It might be worth experimenting with bottles that have somewhat larger mouths, like juice bottles. Of course, they need to be shaped in such a way that the cut off top will fit neatly into the rest of the bottle, as with the pop bottle.


  2. I read the story about fish trap with pop bottle that was so easy it’s brilliant trap you can find or bring plastic bottle with you thanks I will try that this year thanks again,Jeff, from michigan***

  3. I will have to show this to my son… he loves trying this kind of thing. My kids know more about survival techniques than I do most of the time!

  4. If one wishes to catch larger fish just cut the “spout” part of the bottle off and give yourself a larger hole. make the cut in a zig-zag pattern for a more effective trap.

  5. how do ya keep the water out of do bottle and if ya dont my bad, but i think it would be better to attch thorns so once they swim in they cant swim out, and cut a v shaped notch.

  6. Great idea! I have been designing and building traps for years with common articles at hand, but this never occurred to me. It strikes me as being a good way to catch bait for larger traps and larger prey, or for fishing with a hook and line.

    • off Grid,
      I was wondering does it really work the way you and other people say it does, and how can you get them off with out messing things up? and do you keep the trap after it’s been use or do you throw it away?

  7. Been making these traps for nearly 30 years always work.I would suggest poking holes in the bottle to help it sink.Connect the cone to the bottom half with fishing swivels to make it easier to remove the catch and bait.With a piece of bacon works good on crawdads to. HAPPY TRAPPING!!!

  8. This makes a great fly catcher as well. We used them in Afghanistan where flys are a big problen on our FOB. Pour a little soda, juice or sugar water in the bottom and it will catch tons of flys.

      • It does — I’ve used the same basic design for a number of different purposes; small hole and juice or soda for flies (like Jimmy, while deployed) and wasps (in the backyard at home), larger holes and bacon (like Paul says above) for fish and crawdads. It’s a very useful and versatile design with readily scrounged materials that can be adapted to a lot of different purposes. I’ve even used it on land to catch frogs and lizards (tilt the spout up so they can follow a ramp in and it’s hard for them to get out; sometimes they still do, but it’s worked more often than not).

  9. well…guess what i have mad a lot of minnow traps and i have cought a lot of minnows but i don’t use them for bait,i just put them in my fish tanks and watch them grow then i will let them go if they get too big for my tanks.I have at least 5 or more of these minnow traps and they really do work,I’ve use dog food and that really works too even bacon does too,but so does dog food and other things like that. I cought a lot of them by use all kinds of bait.well better let you all go now.
    happy trapping to you all.

  10. Dear friend,
    How would you be able to keep the fish in the trap with out sawing it together? and how would you be able to get the fish out of the trap with out having to have to cut the string with some kind of sharp thing? and be for you put the trap in the water how would you be able to keep it there with out something taking off with it? and you really just can’t just stand there and watch the minnows go in to your trap, they can see you you know? and they won’t be going in it while you are stand there watching them and waiting for them to go in, and how long do you think it will take be for you find out that you don’t have any minnow in there because the top isn’t fastened on to the bottle? did you ever think of how you will be able to keep the minnows in your neat trap? hope that it does work.
    hope it does.
    well better let you go now.
    a good friend\

  11. I have been making these since i was a kid….I have found the clear bottles work much better than the colored bottles… Its a simple thing thats great for catching bait..and as always be responsible and dont leave your traps behind..

  12. These work great; flip it and cut the bottom off and then you can get the “fish / bait” out by unscrewing the original cap and just tipping and draining. This keeps you from having to rebuild the trap every time.

    Eric Pinola

    • Eric,
      how are you suppose to keep the top with out it coming off or falling adn your bait or small fish disappear and you don’t have any more bait just the trap, then what do you do? if you loose all your bait?then what?

  13. Hay Eddie!
    I have question for you?how do you get the top to stay on while you are fish and all so how do you keep the fish in the pop bottle while the river water is running? and how do you get the fish out of the pop bottle after you have cought them? and what if you don’t want to use them for bait? can you just keep them in a fish tank and watch them grow and them set them free, and then catch more,or do you have to use them for bait,Because i don’t like using small fish for bait?i use other things for bait. hope to hear from you soon.
    Jennifer Russell

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