Fishing for minnows with a trap is a great way to catch them for use as live bait. Minnows can be drawn out with inexpensive baits such as bread and pet food and most traps are relatively inexpensive. To catch minnows, bait a trap, place it in shallow water near the shore, and wait for them to come. That’s pretty much it. There are some tips that can help you catch more minnows however which we’ll include in this post.
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Minnows are a popular bait for many types of fishing, and the most efficient way to catch them is with either a minnow trap or a cast net. Minnow traps are cages that can be baited with food to attract the minnows. The traps should be placed in shallow water, preferably near the shoreline, and checked regularly. Once the minnows have been caught, they can be transferred to a live well or other container for use as bait.
When using a minnow trap, it’s important to make sure that the entrance is facing away from the shoreline so that the current will draw in more minnows. The size of the entrance should also be taken into consideration; if it’s too large, larger fish may enter and eat all of your bait before any minnows have a chance to get in. Additionally, make sure that you use enough bait to last a while if you plan on setting the trap and then coming back later.
License and Permits for Minnow Trapping
You’ll need to check with the local laws and regulations in your area to determine what type of permits or licenses you may need. If you plan on using the minnows that you trap yourself as bait, then typically a standard fishing license is all that is needed. If you are planning on selling the minnows that you trap to other, you may need other commercial fishing licenses. These requirements will vary from state to state so be sure to check with your local department of wildlife.
Fishing with Minnow Traps
Minnow traps are a great way to catch live bait for spring fishing. They are usually legal in most areas for taking non-gamefish and other aquatic animals such as crayfish and shrimp, but must not exceed 24 inches in length, with a throat of no more than 1 inch by 3 inches. Your area may also have other requirements such as an attached float of a specific size and color. You may also be required to affix your name, address, or license number on the trap or float somehow.
There are several models of minnow traps and while they can look entirely different, they all basically perform the same way. A minnow senses food in the water and goes to investigate. They are funneled through an opening in the trap designed to allow them to enter the trap. Once inside the trap the funnels are inverted and it’s much harder for the minnows to find their way out. Plus, as long as there is food present in the trap and no predators then they tend to stay in the trap without much concern for escaping. You can either buy a minnow trap or make your own. Here are a few different styles that is available on Amazon:
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Buying a Minnow Trap
Minnow traps are a great way to start trapping minnows. They are inexpensive and can be found in most fishing tackle stores, bait shops, and even large department stores that sell fishing supplies. The trap has a narrow opening that allows the fish to enter but not escape, and bait is used to attract them inside. Keep in mind that if you buy a minnow trap, you’ll need a string or rope to attach to the trap if you want to fish with it more than once.
Building a Minnow Trap
Building a minnow trap is an easy and effective way to catch small fish. There are many different ways to build a minnow trap and they all perform about the same. However, since minnow traps are so inexpensive and last a long time it’s certainly a good investment if you plan on fishing more than a few times per year with them.
Even if you build your own minnow trap it will still need to conform to local regulations. This means mesh size, diameter, innermost throat, and outermost throat should all be within parameters to be legal to use. They may also be different for commercial purposes if you’re planning on selling minnows as well.
A minnow trap can be made with a 2-liter plastic bottle with the top cut off, and then reversed so that minnows swim into the bottle after bait is placed. Sticks can also be used in shallow water to create a natural fish trap. Here is a video of a user who made a minnow trap with a plastic bottle:
If you plan on making a larger minnow trap you can use hardware cloth. Typically, the hardware cloth size that is used is 1/2″. Here is the normal size hardware cloth that is used on Amazon.
A 2 foot by 10 foot roll of hardware cloth can make about 2 and a half minnow traps or crawfish traps. So while DIY projects such as making these traps can be rewarding to build it’s usually just as cheap to just buy the minnow traps instead.
Bait to Use for Minnows
Minnows are a popular bait for anglers looking to catch larger fish. They can be lured with common household items, such as dog food, hot dogs, breadcrumbs, shellfish, bacon, and crackers. Bait can range from scented items such as dog or cat food, hot dogs, etc., to more expensive options such as premade catfish bait. To ensure maximum effectiveness, the bait should be placed in a mesh bag or old pantyhose and suspended at the center of the trap with wire or string.
Anglers may set a minnow trap overnight in an area near where they will be fishing the next day. Another tactic is to leave the bait trap out in the water while fishing and go back periodically to check on it.
Issues with catching minnows with trap
Catching minnows with a trap can sometimes be a difficult task. Many people have reported unsuccessful attempts despite trying various baits. There are several reasons why this maybe happening.
The first reason that many people speculate is that the trap, which is likely made in China, is coated with some type of chemical which repels the minnows. You can try to clean the traps really well to try and remedy this but if the chemicals are in the paint somehow it may be a moot point.
Another reason why your minnow trap is coming up empty is simple because of water conditions. Colder temperatures or low oxygen water can have an effect on minnows and how they feed. If they aren’t feeding, they won’t go into the trap for food.
To increase your chances of success, it is important to look for quiet water spots such as holes above and below road culverts, or under small bridges with holes of water underneath. Try a few different baits if you don’t succeed to begin with.
Once you have found an appropriate spot to place the trap, bait it with dry dog food and place it in a calm pool. After an hour or so has passed, check the trap to see if you have caught any minnows.
Catching minnows with a trap can be a difficult task. However, by following the tips outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of success. Try different baits if you don’t succeed to begin with and place the bait in a mesh bag or old pantyhose suspended at the center of the trap with wire or string. With patience and persistence, you should be able to catch some minnows quickly and easily!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Are minnow traps illegal?
Whether you can use minnow traps legally is different in each area. It is important to check with your local laws and regulations before using a minnow trap in any body of water.
What is the best bait for minnows?
The best bait for minnows varies depending on the type of fish you are trying to catch. Common household items such as dog food, hot dogs, breadcrumbs, shellfish, bacon, and crackers can be used as bait. For larger fish, premade catfish bait may be more effective.
Why do minnow traps work?
Minnow traps work by luring the minnows with bait and then trapping them in a bottle or mesh trap. The bait should be placed in the center of the trap and suspended with wire or string to ensure maximum effectiveness. Once the minnows are lured into the trap, they will be unable to escape due to the mesh material.