Aug 06

How to Make Crawfish Traps From Plastic Bottles

Red Boiled Crawfish

Red Boiled Crawfish

You can call them crayfish, crawdads, or mudbugs; crawfish happen to taste great. This is reason enough to get out and catch some craws. You can just use your set of hands, a piece of raw fish head, and an inexpensive trap. Many styles and sizes of traps are employed in trapping crawfish. Making crawfish traps from plastic bottles is an inexpensive, simple, and yet effective way to trap crawfish. If you have a waterway or water body near you, make a crawfish trap from plastic bottles and see if you can catch some. Plastic bottles perform very well and are easy to store. You can try to make your own trap out of a two liter soda bottle. You just cut off the pouring end, put some bait inside the bottle, and then invert the top end back into the bottle. You staple in and you are good to go. Actually, there are many variety of plastic bottle traps for trapping crawfish. But, we’ll get into that in detail later on.

Where can you Catch Crawfish?

You can catch crawfish in just about any lake, river, stream, creek, or pond, in urban or rural areas. For example, on a fairly weedy lake with a rocky shore, you can catch all of your crawfish in the shallow water along the shore. Crawfish like to hide in the rocks that line the shore. Crawfish are most active at night, therefore, you can set up your trap in the evening, and check them in the morning. By putting the trap in the water in the evening, the bait will be at its most potent as this is the time crawfish are most active.

A general rule of thumb for time of catching crawfish is night time. Night time gives crawfish a huge advantage of catching fish. A crawfish can catch and eat a trout up to 6 inches in length. They are adept hunters even during the daylight; striking from above, pouncing like coyotes, and stalking like cats.

Some places may be filled with crawfish, while other places may have a lower population. Part of the fun of catching crawfish is finding a place with the highest population. Look for areas that provide cover for crawfish, such as roots, rocks etc. these areas not only provide cover for them but are also prone spots for algae, which is also food for crawfish. Such areas also provide a good place for crawfish to hide while hunting. The area provides a cover from the different predators and is also a feeding ground for crawfish themselves.

The best places have lots of rocks; where rocks have been used to shore up the river or lake banks. They provide massive areas of deep cover and have high population of crawfish. Heavy grass is also a great cover for crawfish, but tend to hold low numbers. Ponds that don’t contain fish can host large numbers.

Crawfish population is growing at an alarming rate, posing a threat to game fish in rivers and lakes. So, most states encourage harvesting of crawfish. Look into areas that may provide cover for crawfish, such as roots, rocks etc.

Baits to Use

Bait is very important as it makes all the difference in the world whether you are going to catch 2-3 pounds per catching or 15-20 pounds per catching. The kind of water body also plays a factor. Some water bodies have a large population of crawfish, so, you’ll end catching more with the correct bait. Bait boxes are a must during the prime time of crawfish. Don’t confuse a bait box with a bait jar since they are not the same. A bait box allows crawfish to feed and send a broadband of scent throughout the water body for a longer period of time. Also with bait boxes, it is easier to freeze bait, which fit nicely into gallon freezer bags.

Fish heads, chicken carcasses, and bacon are some of the baits you can use to trap crawfish. A slightly unusual bait is a tin of cat food with a few holes punched in. Cat food bait is advantageous over the others as crawfish can’t actually get to it through the can, so it should last the night. Using bullhead; slicing them in half will attract plenty of crayfish. You can freeze them to use them later.

Actually, baiting crawfish comes down to personal experience as people use all sorts of weird and wonderful things as bait. But, crawfish are choosy eaters, so baiting with something known to work would help. But choosing a fresh bait is the key; fish based is preferred. Take into account when baiting your trap that crawfish are big eaters. Therefore, in prime season, get more bait food.

  • But Fish Makes the Most Enticing Bait

Even though you have variety of baits you can use, fish makes the most enticing bait that surpasses all other baits. Conventionally, crawfish in most regions are baited with fish. A commercial craw fisherman can bait with salmon heads and other oily fish.

Things You’ll Need

  • Soda bottle
  • Bait
  • Razorblade or scalpel
  • Thin rope
  • Bread bag twist ties
  • Awl (optional)

Cut the top off one soda bottle beneath the cap using a razor blade. Try to make the opening a couple inches in diameter. When using the razor blade, be careful as the soda bottle is a little slick, so the razor can easily slip through. Below the cut you just made; a few inches away, cut through the bottle again to produce a funnel form.

Holding the soda bottle, place the funnel into it, with the small part of the funnel inside the soda bottle and the wide opening of the funnel even with the cut edge of the soda bottle. It should look like you pushed the top of the soda bottle inside itself.

Make some holes through the bottle and right through the funnel, spaced about ¼ inch from the cut edge. Use an awl to make these holes, if you have one. Or you can use a razor blade but ensure you don’t cut a slit pointing towards the cut edge-this may keep ripping the plastic bottle and the hole may rip often. Cut horizontally if using a razor blade.

Cover through the holes in the soda bottle and funnel with the bread bag twist, making sure it keeps the two pieces together. This will be the part for opening and closing when putting in the bait and when getting the crawfish out.

Take your bait, undo the twist and set the bait inside, then close the trap back up. Go to the source of your crawfish; lake, river, pond etc. and look for a shallow area, a few feet deep or less, which does not experience a lot of current. Think where crawfish would hide and set the trap there. Hide the trap from crawfish in water weeds or rocks.

Tie a rope around the trap and set it into the water, making sure the inside of the bottle fills with water. The opening allows water in, which equalizes the pressure. But you still need to hold the bottle down in the water until it fills in. Once the trap is filled in with water and set at the bottom of the stream, tie on the other end of the rope to something nearby to prevent the trap being washed away.

You can leave the trap in the water for some hours or even overnight. It is recommended you leave it overnight as crawfish come out mainly in the evenings and night. Pull the trap up after your scheduled time out to see if you have managed to trap some crawfish. If not, move the trap to another area or try a different bait until you get the hang of it.


Jeffrey Howie is a hunter and survivalist with a fanatic interest in survival gears and wilderness survival techniques. He regularly publishes articles on his blog: Survival Crib is the ultimate resource for anyone looking for survival tips and techniques. To learn more, visit Survival Crib (

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