From Xplor for Kids
May 2020 Issue

How To

Make a Minnow Trap

Here’s What You Need

  • Two 2-liter plastic bottles
  • Utility knife
  • Hole puncher
  • Parachute cord
  • Crackers or bread for bait
  • A grown-up to help handle the knife

Missouri’s minnows come in a rainbow of colors, yet it’s hard to get a good look at them. They swim away so fast! But catch a few fish in a minnow trap, and you can look at them as long as you like.

Here’s What You do

  • With help from a grown-up, cut off the top of a 2-liter plastic bottle. Make the cut about 6 inches down from the cap, where the bottle goes from being skinny to fat. Save the top of the bottle (the part with the cap), and recycle the rest.
  • Cut off about 3 inches from the bottom of the other bottle. Save the top of the bottle (the part with the cap), and recycle the rest.
  • Unscrew the cap from the piece you cut off in Step 1. Insert this piece into the bottom of the other bottle. The spouts of both bottles should point in the same direction.
  • Use a hole puncher to make a series of holes around the bottom edge of the bottles. Space the holes about 1 inch apart and 1 inch from the bottom edge of the bottles.
  • Thread parachute cord through all of the holes. Go up through a hole, over the edge of the bottles, back inside the bottles, and then up through the next hole. When you get all
  • the way around to where you started, tie the two ends together and snip off the extra cord.

Here’s how to use the trap

Find a shady, quiet pool in a stream where you’ve seen schools of minnows. Gather a few handfuls of pebbles and drop them into the trap. These will keep it from floating away. Crumble up a cracker and drop some crumbs into the trap.

Place the trap in the water with the spout pointing downstream. You’ll probably have to tilt it up so air inside can bubble out. You may need to stack rocks around the trap to hold it in place. Leave it alone for a few hours or even overnight. When you check it, be sure to lift it out of the water with the spout pointing down (so the water stays inside). Did you catch anything?

After you’ve gotten a good look at the minnows inside, be sure to release them. Hold the spout just above the water’s surface and unscrew the cap. The water will drain out, taking the minnows with it.

Rules, Rules, Rules...

To use your minnow trap — even if you’re going to release the minnows right after you look at them — you need a Missouri fishing permit. You also have to label your trap with your name and address. your trap with your name and address.

Also in this issue

Newt

Eft You Only Newt …

Lizard or salamander? Missouri’s only newt can pass for both.

American Burying Beetle

Beetlemania!

No other animals on Earth are more successful than these insects.

And More...

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This Issue's Staff:

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White

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Xplor: May/June 2020

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