Fish trap

I had quite a problem making this fish trap as I had never actually seen one before and most of the pictures were not really clear enough to show the construction details of the funnel section of the trap I decided to make one similar to the picture in Dorothy Wright's book, The Complete Book of Baskets and Basketry

I made a hoop to which I attached all the stakes using scalloms.  I worked up the stakes with spiral fitching until I got to about six inches from the end I reduced the number of stakes and did a bit of ordinary weaving finishing with a border. This completed the body of the trap.

The funnel was made in a similar fashion using shorter willow for the stakes. It was shaped like a cone leaving a hole of about 2 to 3 inches in diameter at the top to allow the fish to enter.  A round lid was then made to fit the end of the main body of the trap.  I tied the funnel to the main body using bailer twine.  I could not see how the funnel fitted in the picture in the book and tying it at least would allow me to change the size of the aperture to suit different fish!


The picture above left shows the trap with the lid and the right picture is a view looking down inside the body towards the funnel (the fish's view from inside!)

Did it work?  Well, I suppose it did up to a point.  I live next to a hydro electric loch and it was into this that I put the trap carefully baited with a head of a salmon.  I had waded out to an old tree stump and the trap was set in about 2 to 3 feet of water.  The next day I went down full of expectations.  Was it going to be salmon, trout, eel or at least a pike?  It was in fact empty except for my salmon head!  Every morning for the next week or so I was down inspecting the trap always with the same result.  Then a sort of disaster happened.  The hydro engineers decided to fill the loch a bit fuller.  Unfortunately the trap was now too deep to reach with my wellies so I had to abandon it until the water level got a bit lower.  The water level never got any lower but the weather got hotter and I plucked up enough courage to wade/swim out to the trap and managed to retrieve it.  In the trap were about 10 to 12 small perch and a few thousand fish eggs!  A few days later I was down again at the lochside where the trap had been and saw an otter apparently looking for my trap!  I did not put the trap out again for fear of catching and drowning the otter.