Trapping is an incredible asset in a survival situation. It allows you to free yourself up to do other important tasks with out missing out on possible meal opportunities. Combine that info with the fact that fishing can provide an easy and abundant source of protein and calories and you have the recipe for an easy fish trap.

In this post we're going to show you how to build and set a spring-pole fish snare so you can use the advantages of trapping on land or water.



list of materials for spring pole fish snare

Step 1: Gather Materials.

      We're going to need a few basic tools and materials for this project. If you can find a springy sapling in close proximity to the water source you plan on fishing then you can skip the larger stake and the sapling pole and just use the sapling.

Here is what you're going to need for this project:

  • an axe 
  • a knife
  • a saw (not required if you found a sapling near the water)
  • cordage
  • 6-8" long trigger stick about 1-2" in diameter
  • 2 1/2' long stake about 1-2" in diameter
  • a larger stake about 4-5' long and 3-4" in diameter (not required if you found a sapling near the water)
  • a springy 8-10' sapling pole (not required if you found a sapling near the water)
  • fishing line and tackle


sapling tied to large stake

Step 2: Make Your "Sapling".

        Hammer in your larger stake about 2 1/2' into the ground. Then lash your sapling pole to the larger stake. This will act as our makeshift "sapling". If you are lucky enough to find a springy sapling near the edge of where you plan on fishing then you can skip this step.


notched sapling for spring pole fish snare

Step 3: Notch Your Sapling Pole.

       Cut a shallow groove in the end of your sapling pole or sapling. If you're using an actual sapling, also make sure that you cut all of the limbs off to help with the whip effect.


spring pole fish snare trap trigger stick up close

Step 4: Carve and Hammer the Smaller Stake.

         Take your smaller stake and carve a notch in it as show in the picture above, and then hammer the smaller stake into the ground. It is important not to cut more than a third of the way through when notching your stake or else you risk the chance of break off the head when hammering it in.


spring pole fish snare trap trigger set up close
spring pole fish snare trap set close up

Step 5: Carve the Trigger Stick.

        Carve a notch toward the bottom of the trigger stick as shown above. You may have to trim it down a bit so it fits more securley in the notch of the smaller stake. 

        After that carve a shallow groove in the tip of the trigger stick like you did at the tip of the sapling pole. This is where the cordage and fishing line will sit when you tie them on later.


spring pole fish snare trap end tied

Step 6: Tie Up Your Set.

        Take your cordage and tie it to the end of your sapling pole in the groove you cut in the tip. After that bend the sapling over to where you feel it would be sufficient enough snapping strength to set the hook. While holding the sapling pole in this bent position, extend the cordage out to your notched stake you hammered in and mark the distance from the tip of the sapling pole to the notched stake on the cordage. Tie your trigger stick on the line a couple inches above the point you marked on the cordage to compensate for the length of the trigger stick.

        After that tie on enough fishing line to the end of the trigger stick so that the fishing line can reach the area you are trying to fish. Its always better to put on a little extra fishing line than you need as you can always wrap some around the trigger stick to take up the slack. Next you're going to need to tie on your tackle of choice. If available, I recommend a simple setup of small hook, a sinker, and a bobber.


spring pole fish snare trap set
Setting the trap for spring pole fish snare

Step 7: Set Your Trap.

        Grab the bait of your choice and throw it on the hook. Next grab your fishing line just above your tackle you tied on and toss it out in to the water where you plan to fish with this trap. Now grab your trigger stick and pull it back in towards your stake you hammered to maintain as taught of a fishing line as you can. You want to try to have as little slack in the fishing line as you can, this way, the fish have less of a distance to pull the bait before setting off the trap. 

        Its important to note that bait you can catch locally in your area may work a little better for this kind of trap. The fish in the area are naturally used to them and a little more trusting and will tend to bite harder and more often. Also try to fish naturally sheltered areas such as overhanging or fallen trees. This is where the fish like to hang out and feel a bit safer.


Fish caught with spring snare

        This trap requires a bit of time to set up, especially if you can't find a decent sapling near the edge of the water. In a survival situation it really shines when you have limited tackle and fishing supplies but you have other important things you need to get done like setting up a decent shelter or getting that toasty fire going. Hopefully by the time you get your camp setup you will have a tasty treat waiting on the end of your line.

        Make sure you check local laws and regulations reguarding trapping and snaring of any kind as this kind of trap may be illegal in your area.

        Be sure to check back regularly for new how-to and gear review posts and videos. Thanks for stopping by and remember, waiting.


~The WG Team



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