Country living, DIY, & a Dash of Fun!

DIY Crawfish Trap

Last summer I decided I wanted to try my hand at catching crawfish.

Now when I was a kid I remember my brothers and I snagging these elusive little buggers, one by one out of the lake, with our make-shift fishing poles (which we cleverly made out of sticks and old, used fishing line found on the banks of the lake).  With worm-baited hooks we’d all patiently wait, watching as these skittish little creatures would slowly crawl out of their rocky, underwater hideaways, and make their way over to the delicious worm dinner that was on offer.  As soon as the crawfish grabbed that fat worm with their claw we would pull the line up and BOOM, he was caught!  It was all a fun catch-and-release game that we played and had hours of entertainment doing it 🙂

This time I wanted to make a trap to see how many I could catch.  Surprisingly, it was pretty easy and inexpensive to make!


  • A 2ft x 3 1/2ft sheet of chicken wire (use the type with 1/2in x 1/2in square holes)
  1. Two rubber bands
  2. Small chain about 6in in length (used to make handle for carrying trap and also for hooks to close trap door)
  3. Package of zip ties
  4. Strong string or rope (to retrieve trap from water)
  5. Plastic water bottle (to serve as a ‘bobber’ for locating traps)
  6. 4in piece of wire (for securing water bottle to rope)


  • Wire cutters
  • Needle nose pliers

I started by cutting out a piece of chicken wire that was 48 squares x 43 squares in size

I rolled it up lengthwise to make a cylinder

…and zip tied it together

…making sure to cut the ends of the zip ties off

I then cut 2 more pieces of chicken wire that were 21 squares x 21 squares in size.  These were to be the end pieces of the cylinder.  Each piece would be shaped into ‘cones’

To shape each piece into a cone, I marked an X with a marker to find the center

…then cut one corner up to the center

To get that ‘cone’ shape, I pulled one end over the other…

…and kept pulling, making it tighter


I then slid the cone into the end of the cylinder, making sure the cone tip poked in about 3 inches

After making sure the cone was at the desired shape, I secured it with zip ties

…and trimed off the zip tie ends

The tip of the cone was then cut off, leaving a hole that was about 2 1/2 inches in diameter

You guessed it, zippy ties were used to secure the cone into the end of the cylinder

..and yes, I trimmed those zippy ends!!!

To finish this end off, the excess wire was trimmed away from the bottom of the cone

The crawfish will be able to go in, but not out!

I then finished the other side by attaching the second cone to other end of the cylinder, the same way I did the first one

About 5 1/5 inches of chain was used to make a handle for carrying my trap, simply by bending open both chain link ends on each end of the chain…

…and clamping them to my trap

I had to make sure my handle was centered on the trap before securing so it wouldn’t be lopsided while carrying it…

For removing the crawfish I needed a trap door, so I cut a hole into the center of my trap…

The hole was 9 squares x 8 squares in size

With what was left of my excess chicken wire, I cut a door slightly larger than the hole I just made in my trap.  The door was 10 squares x 11 squares in size

The sides of the door overlapped the hole nicely

My door was then attached with more zippy ties

Trim, trim, trim those zippies!!

For keeping the trap door shut, I used a rubber band and a piece of chain link

The rubber band was slid through the wire on the door

…and looped through itself

I actually attached two of these that kept the trap door secured nicely 🙂

Simply stretch the rubber bands and hook shut!

My trap was done!  Woot Woot!!!

To keep track of my traps and for ease of retrieval from the water, I made some really FANCY ‘bobbers’ out of some rope, a plastic bottle, and a piece of wire 🙂

Simply attach wire to the bottle, make a loop with the other end of the wire, then tie a rope to it

Tie the other end of the rope to the trap handle

The best part about this is I can slip a note inside the bottle with my name, phone number, and date & time that I set my traps.  This informs any passers-by that I haven’t abandoned them and that I’ll be back later to retrieve my traps.

I was ready to go catch some crawfish!!! (yes I made two because one is never enough!)

I’d heard that hot dogs were good for bait so I decided to give em’ a try!

After tossing the traps into the water, my little plastic bottle ‘bobbers’ danced up and down like tiny water buoys, marking where the traps were…they did their job well!

I then went for a long stroll to explore the breathtakingly beautiful scenery as the pups rambunctiously romped through the water…Happy Dogs!!!!

After about an hour, we returned back to our spot to see if the new traps had any treasure in them.  I was excited to pull them up to see what was inside!!!

Score!!!  I caught three crawfish to be exact…One in one trap, and two in the other!!!

This little guy was happily munching away on his hot dog!

Next time I’ll try leaving the traps in for a longer period of time to see if we catch more!  🙂


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  1. Heather Kirby

    So cool! I will have to make this!

  2. i think you used the wrong bait as yabbies (as we call them in australia), are attracted by blood. raw red meat is the obvious choice as bait, as the scent is detected from them from a fair distance, and depending on current factor, yabbies will be attracted from several directions in good sized numbers, depending on the enviro and the yabby population. bait needs to be changed every half hour or so because after the meat loses its color, it no longer gives off the scent needed to attract the yabbies.
    try using raw meat for bait and i guarantee you will get 4 to 10 times as many yabbies, or possibly more, as you did with processed meat.

    aside from that, your trap design and method of construction looks very effective and easy to do, and i will definitely try it myself. been trying to work out a trap design myself and i was thinking of oblong shape with 4 entrances (one on each wall), but i am thinking your design is far easier to construct. also your method of making the entry cones looks fairly easy, so i am going to try your design.

    many thanks for sharing

    • Hi Wil!

      I like your bait method and am definitely going to give it a try! Have fun with that new trap!

  3. Brandon P

    Too cool! I was gonna buy one, but I already have chicken wire to use! I want to make a few modifications to use in creeks, but I like this idea! Crawfish make excellent catfish bait. Even better, after you filet the catfish, the carcass can then be used to catch more crawfish! Symbiosis at it’s finest! 🙂

    • Hi Brandon! Wow, I didn’t know about the crawfish being great bait for catfish (and vise versa)…good to know!!!

  4. another thing about yabbies (crawfish) and any type of small crab or prawns/shrimps etc …

    since i got older i have developed a conscience about boiling creatures alive, so instead of throwing them live into boiling water i put them in a sealed container, and put them in the freezer. after they freeze to death i boil them. some people tell me that being boiled alive is a faster more humane death than freezing to death, but i am not so sure.

    a new zealander told me it is illegal in nz to boil lobsters alive, and they usually drown them in fresh water before boiling. doesnt sound logical to me but he swears it is true. for now i will stick to freezing them before cooking.

    getting back to bait for crawfish/yabbies – leftover fish flesh, like the frames left over after filleting are also good bait to use.
    although i have never used it, i am told that a tin of sardines with a pinhole in the tin is great bait for fish as well as crustaceans.
    an american chat friend tells me that doing the same thing with a can of corn is a great attracter for fish but he never mentioned crawfish. never heard of that here in australia though.

    and lastly, a keen fisherman told me recently that the best crustacean bait is raw chicken necks. cheap low quality ones from a pet food supplier is good enough i reckon and i will definitely try that first chance i get. i also heard the same thing from a guy catching salt water crabs with them, so it probably works. the key thing is to use raw meat as the blood will attract from a far greater distance than cooked meat.

    btw i made a prototype trap from your design and it turned out ok. cant wait to try it out.
    going to make another one which will either be square or circular with 4 entrances instead of 2.

    warmest regards

    • Very interesting Wil! I’m not sure either about the New Zealand law…maybe I’ll google it 🙂

      You’ll have to let me know how those traps turn out!

  5. Randy Forsyth

    nice ideas

  6. Aziz Sulaiman

    Thanks very much for sharing.
    Very nice…..i like it

  7. Chris

    Do you know what the gauge of wire you had?

  8. Danny Wayne McGhee

    Very nice. Can’t wait to give it a try.

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