Making a proper fish trap is critical for survival.
(Photo by iStock Photo)

How to Make a Fish Trap: No Fishing Pole? No Problem!

The dollar has collapsed, Joe Biden has been carted off to a retirement home and Joe Rogan is President of the United Colonies. Food is scarce and you are part of a small percentage of the population that is self-sufficient. You are listening to Wolverine radio as they discuss California being sold to Mexico for 13 wool blankets and a bottle of tequila. It is at that point that your stomach starts to growl, and you know it is time for some apocalyptic fine dining.

On the menu tonight is striped bass and fresh herbs. Back in the day this would have set you back $75 at a nice restaurant, but not today. You enjoy this life now because before the collapse you learned how to get food in the wild. More specifically, you know how to put fish on the plate because you learned how to make a fish trap.

The Catch Of The Day!

Fishing can be a fast way to get an easy meal.  Fish live in many bodies of water including those in urban areas. Fish are high in calories as well as healthy fatty acids. Knowing how to catch fish in tough times, as with hunting, is different than sport fishing. Many methods of survival fishing are illegal in everyday life.  However, in an emergency, it is better to focus on survival instead of game and fish rules.

One of the most reliable ways to harvest fish is to build a trap.  Also called weirs, they have been utilized for thousands of years around the world.  In some cultures, weirs were built on a large scale and were designed to feed large groups of people.  For our use though, it will be less of a construction project.  The principle behind a weir is to create a trap system that will allow fish in, but it is difficult for them to swim out.  Many times, a V-shape is incorporated into the design.  The opening would be the top of the V and it would face out into the open water.   

Eating fresh fish is very rewarding after successfully building your own fish trap.
(Photo by iStock Photo)

Build A Better Fish Trap

The idea behind a fishing weir, whether large or small, is to create a trap that will contain fish with an opening that they can swim into but cannot easily swim out of. When fish swim into the trap, it narrows, and they usually cannot find the opening and swim back out.  A simple small trap can be made in any body of water ranging from a small creek to a lake.  On a basic level it can be nothing more than sticks pushed into the mud.  The sticks make a fence of sorts to keep the fish contained.  If the sticks are placed close enough together, even small fish will not be able to escape the trap. 

More sticks are then used to form an entrance and the funnel where the fish will enter the trap.  Make the opening large enough to allow decent sized fish to enter your trap.There are many places around the country where you can catch very large fish in these traps making life much easier. 

Choosing The Best Bait

The final step is to add bait to the trap.  Bait can generally be found along the edge of a body of water if you do not have a designated source.  Dead fish and insects make solid bait, as does corn, bread, or anything else edible you might have on hand. As fish enter the trap to get your bait, reach down and grab the fish from the water.  Take care to avoid sharp fins such as those found on catfish.  A wound even as simple as a puncture from a fish can be problematic in survival situations.

There are other methods of getting fish in emergency situations.  Each of those depends on the equipment you have on hand.  Multiple fishing lines tied to tree limbs overhanging lakes or streams can be a good way to fish a large area.  Be committed to checking these lines however as turtles and other fish can destroy what was once a meal.  

A fishing trap is a very useful tool for keeping yourself fed in a survival situation.
(Photo by iStock Photo)

After The Catch, Cleaning and Preserving

The best way to ensure your fishing skills are up to the challenge is to practice.  Take the opportunity each fishing season to get out and improve your skills.  One area that is often overlooked in fishing is what happens after you catch the fish.  Cleaning and dressing your catch are crucial skills.  It is also useful to learn how to preserve or smoke fish for later use. If you have a great time one week, it is best to stockpile if possible. Especially if you live somewhere that sees freezing temps in the winter and frozen bodies of water.

Fishing in non-emergency times is a good way to gain those critical skills. Trying to learn as you go in an emergency will throw you into the world of luck instead of preparedness.  As with any emergency preparedness skill set, those serious about survival will seek education and information.  Know what you are doing before times get bad.

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