How do you make a primitive fish trap?

This survival trap is a very ancient way of catching fish. Primitive traps like these can work for you all day and night, saving energy and coping with other tasks in a survival situation.

The method I will present in this article is a proven design. It is essentially a small cone within a large cone. The practice is simple, and often when we keep things simple they tend to work well.

In this article, we will look at the various steps to create this survival trap, followed by instructions on how to actively use the trap to collect fish.

How to Build a Survival Trap:
The first step is to collect the materials to make the trap. The main parts of this survival trap consist of two different diameters. The band is about as thick as your index finger or thumb. The other group of branches should have a thinner diameter, smaller than your little finger, and very flexible.

You will also need a string shape to tie all the sticks together. The biggest sticks will be the trap skeleton (also called chains). The thinner and more flexible wands will be what we weave, though the larger wands are for creating a trap structure (also called frames).

I used a number of different plant species for this trap. The species I use include hazelnut block flute (Corylus cornuta), maple vines (Acer circinatum), Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis), willow (Salix spp.), and red willow dogwood (Cornus sericea).

The string I use is willow bark. I cut a willow branch and slowly peeled the bark.

Once all the parts are assembled, the first step is to tie the thin ends of the vertical parts (aka deformations) to a piece of wood that acts as a cork. It is important to use an odd number. I’m here at nine. An even number results in an incorrect weave.

Once the verticals (chains) are firmly connected to the cap, it’s time to weave in the weavers (aka frames). The weaving pattern is very simple: under, up, down, up, etc. as you weave your way around the chains.

The ends of the weavers can simply be folded and inserted into the previous weaves. When one weaver is finished, simply place the next weaver in the place where the last one was finished and continue. I like to start at the skinny end of the weavers.

After the base of the trap has been woven several times, then I create a ring and fix it in the center of the vertical. This is done in order to open the trap a little and give it the right shape.

Select the desired total length. In this case, I chose about two and a half feet.

Once the total length is reached, fold the parts of the frame (chain) and insert them into the weavers. This will add some structural stability.

Once the first cone is ready, it’s time to start with the smallest cone. This smaller cone is inside the larger cone. This creates a point of strangulation and makes it very difficult for the fish to find their way out.

The first step to making the smallest cone is to form two circles of flexible branches. These circles must be properly measured. The larger of the two should only fit inside the larger cone. And the smallest circle is about three inches in diameter.

The two circles shown above are made in two different ways. The largest circle is a piece of grape maple twisted on itself. This is very easy to do and no rope is required. The small circle is another piece of wine maple and is tied with willow bark.

Once the circles are ready, it’s time to link the verticals. I first attached them to a larger circle using willow bark and Raffia fibers.

Don’t forget to turn the number of verticals into an odd number (if you don’t, the fabric won’t come out properly).

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