Gone Outdoors

How to Catch Minnows Without a Net

by Contributing Writer

You have decided to catch your own minnows. You may want them for fishing bait or you may want to add them to your aquarium. Unfortunately, you may not own a minnow net or you forgot to bring it with you. There are several easy methods for catching minnows that are inexpensive and only require the use of items that nearly anyone can easily find. Here are a couple of pointers on how to catch minnows without a net.

How to Catch Minnows without a Net

Find a bucket of nearly any size or a large plastic drinking bottle. The bucket requires no modification but the bottle will be used to make a funnel trap.

Set the bucket on its side in water that is at least 6 inches deep and anchor it to the ground with rocks or bricks or have someone hold it down. Scare the minnows into the bucket by getting behind them and splashing the water as you walk toward the bucket. Once the minnows are in the bucket, quickly pick it up out of the water.

Cut the top off of a large plastic drinking bottle 3 to 4 inches from the smaller end and make 10 to 20 holes no larger than ¼-inch in the bottle. Cut off the small end until the desired size of the opening is reached, but don’t cut off too much to make it easy for the minnows to escape. Turn the top so that the small end is inside the bottle and fasten the two parts together.

Attach the two pieces by making several small holes around the bottle ¼-inch to ½-inch from the cut end of each piece. Fasten the two pieces together with thin wire or plastic line woven continuously through the holes or tying the line at each hole.

Tie one end of a line to the minnow trap and the other end to a stake or nearby branch so that the trap does not drift away. Place the trap in the water so that it fills up.

Use a bait to make the funnel trap work most effectively. Use chicken livers, moist cat food or tuna. Each of these baits will give off a strong sent while in the water, but chicken livers will last the longest in the trap.

Items you will need
  • Bucket
  • Rocks
  • Large plastic drink bottle
  • Knife or scissors
  • Plastic line or thin metal wire
  • Bait


  • The bucket method is most effective in slower moving water such as a pond or wide slow stream.
  • Funnel traps often need to be left undisturbed for extended period of time to produce results.
  • This style of minnow trap can be used to catch many things other than fish.
  • Professionally made minnow traps can be purchased online or from fishing equipment suppliers.

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