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Thread: Catching Natives in Bait Traps

  1. #1

    Default Catching Natives in Bait Traps

    I'm not having any luck catching fish for my aquarium with a bait trap. I went to Dayboro today to catch some natives in the North Pine River (rainbows, gudgeons etc) and the trap was surrounded by fish (about 20-30) eating the bread and burly that escaped the mesh but not a single fish entered the darn thing. I've tried multiple locations over the Sunshine Coast but to no avail.

    The trap itself is a 1.5 inch collapsible bait trap (
    Is their a secret to using these things?
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2


    Not sure if this works with natives, but I use it to catch poddy mullets for fishing bait.

    You cut flaps into a bottle and insert bread, the fish swim in and have troubles swimming back out. Give it a go?

    The alvey traps also work well.

    Here's a link

    Good luck!

  3. #3


    Thank you, I'll try it out. Maybe the clear colour will work better than the current blue trap

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Narrabri, NSW


    I've experienced the same problem with bait traps in numerous locations. Baiting with bread+vegemite+butter (Been told by numerous people this is the best) all I can typically catch is gudgeons and macrobrachium prawns. Although saying that last night for the first time ever i caught a singular juvenile Melanoteania fluviatilis. If you're after rainbows I would take a large dip net out at night with a spot light, they are fairly easy to catch as they are on top of the water and sluggish.

  5. #5


    I think it’s the colour of your bait trap. I’ve used blue and green traps side by side on several occasions. The blue one would be empty or almost empty while I would catch a dozen fish in the other.

  6. #6


    Thanks for the feedback guys, wish I saw this earlier. I went up to Biloela on a friend's property to catch some rainbows with bottle traps and my blue box trap. Didn't have success with either unfortunately (even after making the opening bigger on the blue box trap). As the creek was only temporary due to rainfall and very shallow as it dried up, I was able to catch some rainbows and gudgeons with a tiny black aquarium net. Took half a day to catch about 20 fish but was fun. Returned lots of Hardy heads which seemed to be attracted to the dirt I kicked up as I sloshed through the water though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    Brown bait trap, bait as cat biscuits, seems to work whenever I have tried.

    The blue traps have worked well for me too, but I suspect the brown is still better.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Qld, Brisbane


    These work well

    throw into water then throw small bits of squashed bread so it drifts into net.
    Fish get attracted by movement.....leave it till there is a bit of feeding frenzy...then remove quickly

    Caught blue-eyes,rainbows,smelt,gudgeons, swordtails and gambusia with this type of net

  9. #9


    I use the same style of bait trap as the blue one, except I use brown netting not blue. I catch all sorts of things in them. Try a different colour trap. And use a hard strong smelling bait. I use trout pellets from local pet shop. High in protein and stay together pretty well when wet. Raw prawn from a bait shop works too. Shell the prawn and squash it a bit then put it in the bait section of the trap. Put trap in water and catch fish.

    Put 4 or 5 traps in and spread them out so they are at least 20meters apart. Have some in shallow water and others in deeper water (about 2 foot down), and drop one on the bottom (5 or 6ft down). Leave traps for 30-60minutes and do not stand near the traps watching. Just put the traps in and go sit under a tree.

    Have a large plastic storage container for when you go to retrieve the traps. Put the storage container in the water and move the trap into the container whilst still in the water. Then tip most of the water out so there is about 4 inches in the bottom. Lift container and trap out together and put on bank. Open zipper on trap and slowly turn the trap so the zipper opening is in the water and the fish can swim out.
    The reason I do this is because lots of bait traps have rough course netting that can damage the fish. So if you can let the fish swim out of the trap it is better for them than flapping about on the net in the trap. Then use a soft aquarium net to transfer the fish to a holding bucket that containers an airstone that is bubbling away.
    It's usually a good idea to add a tablespoon of rock salt per 20litres of water. It helps calm the fish and reduce the numbers that go belly up.
    And put a lid on the bucket.

    NB, most states have restrictions on how many traps you can use, and traps normally need a name and contact number on them. There will also be bag limits for how many fish of each species you can take per day. Check with your local fisheries office. General bag limits for non commercial species are around 10 fish per day but take a few and don't get carried away.

  10. #10


    Thanks Colin, today I tried a brown trap inland Sunshine Coast and caught heaps of ..... gambusia. I am seriously surprised how high their numbers are.

    Next time I go out I'll get a couple more traps and throw them deeper. Might be worth looking into making DIY fish meal out of all the pest fish.

  11. #11


    Unfortunately Gambusia populations are on the rise thanks to the Australian government making them a noxious species. Who would have thought the people collecting Gambusia to sell as live fish food were actually keeping their numbers down.... "shaking head in disbelief at stupid government"

    If there are heaps of Gambusia in the waterway there is unlikely to be many native species. However, if you catch out most of the Gambusia over the next month or so, then the natives will move back into the area.

    Before they became a noxious species I use to survey waterways and collect Gambusia for the local petshop to sell as feeder fish. I found that after doing several decent sweeps through a waterway (1 week apart) to remove the Gambusia, the native fish started to return. However, I had to collect Gambusia at least once a month indefinitely if I wanted the natives to stay. If I left the Gambusia for 3 or 4 months then they took over again and the natives diminished.

    It was pretty amazing to see the difference tho. One creek I did had nothing but Gambusia in as far back as anyone could remember. After 12 months of collecting, a few natives appeared and within 12 months of that, there were 12 species of native fish in the creek. So there is hope, but it will fall back onto the average person to collect out as many Gambusia from their local waterways as possible. This is because the government thinks it is pointless trying to eradicate the species. We shall leave them in the waterways but prevent anyone collecting and selling them. That will fix the problem. (*&^%$# idiots. The government needs to amend the legislation to allow the bloody things to be collected and sold as live food. Then the numbers would reduce and the natives would come back.

    If you catch heaps of Gambusia, you can freeze them, then bury in the garden. The roses love them.
    Last edited by Colin_T; 04-03-18 at 07:37 PM.

  12. #12


    That's an awesome story and fantastic to hear Also kind depressing regarding the laws, especially when most fish foods are not sustainable and we can sell native firetails as feeders.

    Considering they are thinking releasing a virus for carp and genetically modifying canetoads to only be male, it would be great for some action on gambusia.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2013


    I have puddle pirated a few creeks in Sydney and mostly found Gambusia which were introduced to Mr Rock/Mr Riverbank.

    @Colin_T, that's a fascinating viewpoint indeed.

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