Static Fish Trap


Life is dependent upon water, so when you find a source of water in the wilderness, chances are it’s a good place to look for your food too.  There are numerous designs for fish traps, and in this article, we’ll be talking about a static funnel fish trap. 


How it Works

A static funnel fish trap works by channeling or funneling the fish from the open body of water, into your trap, and making it difficult for them to find the one way back out.  Fish aren’t that smart, it’s basically like building a fence maze in the water, a maze that anything smarter than a fish would have no trouble getting out of, but still it will work just fine on fish.

How to Build One

Since the trap is static and built in place, location is everything.  That being said, the basic design can be adapted to work in other locations if you get the principles.  For now, we’ll talk about building one on the side of a stream, perhaps an inlet that is not running, though as I said before the design could be adapted to build it in the middle of a stream.  The reason for selecting an inlet that is not running is that it is a dead-end, this will mean your trap will be more effective with less material and less work for you.

Gather several arms full of supple branches.  You will want them to be sturdy, but still give a little.  Take them to the mouth of the dead-end inlet you have chosen.

Starting at one bank, take sturdy pieces of the branches that are a foot or two longer than the water is deep and drive them into the mud about 6 inches away from each other.  Each successive stick being both further towards the center of the inlet, and further towards away from the mouth of the inlet.  Do this until you get to the center.  Then do the opposite on the other end so that you are left with a “V” shaped arrangement.

Then extend the center of the “V” with more sticks on each side, so that there is a channel about the width and length of your arm protruding off the “V” so that it now looks more like a “Y”.  This channel is where your prey will enter in.

Now take the remaining supple branches and weave them through the vertical sticks.  It doesn’t need to be pretty; it just needs to function as a barrier.  Make sure that your barrier extends several inches above the water.

Now, just bait your trap with whatever you have available.  If you have already eaten an animal, the discarded innards will work, or bones, or even animal droppings if you have nothing else.  But I wouldn’t suggest wasting any plant-based food you might have, eat that for yourself as it will be ineffective bait.

One nice side effect of your trap is that it will also attract animals that want to eat what you have caught like birds or racoons.  These could also be potential prey for you if you are prepared when you check your trap.


This trap is easy to build and effective.  Usually I would tell you to go out and practice it so that you aren’t using it for the first time when your life depends on it, but these days environmentalists have ruined everything and traps like these can be illegal in some areas for purposes other than survival.  So check your local laws before DLNR rights you a ticket.

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