In a survival situation, trapping is arguably the best way to fish. Unlike hooks with bait or spearing, fish traps require almost no work on your part: you simply make and set the traps, leaving you free to do other tasks ( like make your survival shelter). There are many different ways to make a survival fish trap. I’ll go over the easiest and most effective here.
1. Pot Trap (aka Plastic Bottle Fish Trap)
In a survival situation, you will be thankful for how much trash is everywhere. You can probably find a 2 liter plastic bottle and use it to make a small pot trap for small fish.
Here are instructions on how to make it:
- Cut the top off of a plastic bottle
- Invert the top of the plastic bottle and put it into the lower part of the bottle. They should fit together snugly. You might need to cut a small slit on the top part of the plastic bottle to get it inside. Poke some holes through both and tie them with string. This also serves as a handle.
- Poke some holes in the bottle for water to flow through.
To use the trap:
- Put some stones in the bottle (to act as sink weights)
- If you have bait, put it in the trap as well.
- Use the handle to secure the trap in an area where fish or frogs go. Orient the opening towards the water flow.
- Check the trap every few hours.
And here is what the bottle fishing trap looks like in real life.
2. Fishing Weir
A fishing weir takes more time to make then a bottle trap, but it is less passive. Instead of just waiting for fish to enter, you activity can chase the fish into the weir. Or you can put the weir with the current running towards it (to catch fish as they go downstream).
The fish swim into the trap through the opening and then cannot find their way out. It isn’t as effective as using a net because some fish can still find their way out, but it is one of the easiest to make.
The weir can be made out of rocks, heavy logs, or even sticks pushed into the ground to make a “fence.”But you can also make a small fishing weir (like the one in the picture) at the bank of a pond or river to get small fish.
3. Seine Fishing Trap
A seine is basically a big fishing net that you drag along a river or pond to catch fish. This is a very effective method of fishing and it has been used for thousands of years – including by stone age people. Like with a weir, it takes more work but is less passive.
The obvious downside to this method of survival fishing is that you will need a net.
Hopefully you will have a lot of cordage or even dental floss to make a net. Or, you can get really crafty and use natural materials to make your own cord in a survival situation.
Your net needs to be fairly long (at least a couple meters) and wide. The larger the net is, the larger of fish you will be able to get.
Tie stones (as weights) onto the bottom of the net. Tie something which floats onto the top (this can be driftwood, closed plastic bottles, or Styrofoam you find in the trash, for example).
You will need two people to operate the seine. One person holds onto each side of the seine and walks through the water. Start by walking straight forward, and then come towards each other making a C shape. It helps to have a third person to grab any caught fish in a net.
Have you ever used any of these survival fish traps? Let us know in the comments.