Best Minnow Traps Reviewed for 2024

Written by: John Baltes
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Find the best minnow trap in this review guide

Live bait has often been the difference between a fish fry and an empty ice chest.

And whether we’re talking about largemouth bass, smallies, crappie, or flathead and blue cats, minnows are the obvious choice.

Most bait shops stock minnows, but you may not have one near you. And while minnows may not count as “expensive,” with inflation eating away at your paycheck, a cheaper option is never a bad idea.

That’s where minnow traps come in.

Below, we’ll review some of the best minnow traps on the market, discussing what makes these picks special.

Related: Best Minnow Buckets


Best Minnow Traps Reviewed

Best Overall
Daiwa BG Drag

Gee-Feets G-40 Minnow Trap

USAngler Rating:

Upgrade your fishing game with Gee-Feet's G-40 minnow trap, boasting enhanced features like tighter mesh and dual funnels for superior minnow retention, plus the added benefit of supporting American workers – a top choice for efficient bait collection!


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Summary

GeeFeets’s G-40 is essentially a slightly improved version of the Eagle Claw and South Bend design.

This 7 ½-inch x 16 ½-inch minnow trap is manufactured from galvanized steel, sporting a slightly smaller mesh size than its competitors. That’s something I like, as smaller minnows can’t worm their way free overnight.

It features a tight funnel at either end, also a plus as two funnels make it easier for minnow to find a way in. And the size of those openings is an improvement, too, though crawfish and snakes can still make it in - just less frequently.

The break-open design makes collecting your bait easy.

Gee-Feets’s G-40 is probably the best option of the three, and you’ll probably catch a few more minnows with this design than with the others. It’s also made in the USA, helping to support American workers.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Excellent mesh size
  • Two tight funnels
  • Break-open design makes bait collection easy
  • Made in the USA
Cons
  • ???

Also Great
Daiwa BG Drag
USAngler Rating:

Choose South Bend for a century's worth of trusted fishing gear expertise, featuring a design paralleling the classic Eagle Claw trap – get the best deal on your reliable and effective bait trap solution!


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Summary

South Bend is another old school company that’s been producing fishing gear for more than 100 years.

Unsurprisingly, their design is virtually identical to the Eagle Claw, as this set-up is time-tested and effective.

South Bend’s 9-inch x 16 ½-inch trap offers a tight mesh and a good funnel, as well as the same break-open feature as the Eagle Claw. And like that product, you’ll find that crawfish can crawl into the funnel, where they’ll scavenge your bait if they can.

Given the similarity of these products, I’d opt for whichever one I can get the better deal on.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Good mesh size
  • Effective funnel
  • Break-open design makes bait collection easy
Cons
  • I’d like to see a smaller funnel opening to prevent crawfish from entering the trap
  • An even tighter mesh would be excellent

Budget Pick
Daiwa BG Drag
USAngler Rating:

Embrace the timeless efficiency of Eagle Claw's minnow trap, combining old-school wisdom with modern features for an easy, effective, and durable bait collection experience – set the standard on your fishing adventures!


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Summary

Eagle Claw’s fishing products have been around longer than most of us have been on the water.

That old-school know-how really shines through in their 9-inch x 16 ½-inch minnow trap, as it offers all the features that your grandfather would recognize as essential.

Made from steel coated with a protective paint, the mesh is small enough to keep minnows contained. The funnel works well, especially when placed head-on in a river, stream, or tidal zone.

I wouldn’t mind an even tighter opening to prevent hungry crawfish from invading my minnow trap, but there’s simply no question about the effectiveness of this trap when baited with cat or dog food.

And unlike one-piece traps, the hinged, break-apart design makes collecting your bait a snap.

Inexpensive, effective, and reasonably durable, Eagle Claw’s minnow trap sets the standard for its competitors.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Good mesh size
  • Effective funnel
  • Break-open design makes bait collection easy
Cons
  • I’d like to see a smaller funnel opening to prevent crawfish from entering the trap
  • An even tighter mesh would be excellent

How We Tested: What to Look for in a Good Minnow Trap

Proven metal designs

Folks who’ve never actually used a minnow trap will recommend fabric mesh designs. And at a glance, those tightly-woven sides look attractive. They’re ultra-light and often fold down to almost nothing. 

What’s not to like?

Everything, actually!

These mesh designs aren’t durable, and from the base material itself to low-quality zippers, they tear in no time.

They also sport large openings, allowing crawfish, bluegills, crappie, and anything else looking for an easy meal into your trap, where your bait becomes dinner overnight.

Do yourself a favor and skip these products, sticking with the tried-and-true metal designs on our shortlist.

You won’t be sorry!

Small mesh

A good minnow trap has a small mesh to prevent bait from escaping and limit access by potential predators.

Smaller is better but also requires more material, increasing price.

And as minnow traps are made to be inexpensive, there’s an upward limit on the material that is used to manufacture them.

Among the best options in this regard is the Gee-Feets’s G-40. I haven’t measured, but the mesh strikes me as slightly tighter than the Eagle Claw and South Bend.

Small funnels

The business end of your minnow trap is the funnel (or funnels). 

They need to be tight enough to exclude potential dinner guests, but large enough to allow minnows easy access, while preventing a quick exit.

I like mine to be about 1 inch in diameter, as this helps to cut down on crawfish, and it’s not a bad idea to squeeze the funnel of your trap down to this size if you can.

Break-open design

Collecting your minnows through a small opening is a pain.

The best minnow traps have a break-open design that allows you to dump minnows directly into a bucket.

Our Pick: Gee-Feets G-40 Minnow Trap!

While the Eagle Claw and South Bend certainly work, the Gee-Feets G-40 is probably the best minnow trap on the market.

Featuring a small mesh, two appropriately sized funnel openings, and a break-open design that allows you to collect your bait in a snap, it’s the perfect design, well-executed, and made in the USA.

We hope that this article has helped you find your new minnow trap, and if it has, we’d love to hear from you!

Please leave a comment below.

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