Wed. Oct 20th, 2021

Fish can be a very significant food source in a survival emergency. They’re plentiful, nutritious, and simple to catch.

Even if you don’t have a survival fishing kit, there are several ways to catch fish that don’t require any gear or just require equipment made from natural resources. Survival fishing is a valuable skill to master, and here are the finest methods for catching fish in an emergency.

The Best Survival Fishing Techniques

Use the following approaches when practicing emergency fishing:


Passive fishing techniques help you to conserve your resources by allowing you to focus your energy on other pursuits.


Choose fishing techniques that allow you to keep the fish alive but confined until you’re ready to devour them. This saves you money by preventing you from having to prepare or store more fish than you need, as well as reducing the amount of garbage and wild animals drawn to your camp. It also allows you to make the most of the fish you have.


For the best results, combine as many different survival fishing strategies as feasible. Using weirs or traps, passive lines, and a net will all help you catch more fish and boost your chances of success.

Always keep a portion of your catch.

Always save aside a portion of your caught fish to use as bait to catch more or bigger fish. If you can use it as bait for anything bigger, even the tiniest fish is worth catching.

How to Catch Fish in an Emergency

Build a Fish Weir

What exactly is it?

A weir is a type of old fish trap. Weirs have been used to catch fish for thousands of years and can be constructed out of a wide range of materials. A weir is a heart-shaped trap with a small hole facing the current and water flowing freely out the opposite side. The fish swim into the weir but are unable to exit.

What You Will Require

A stone weir is made of stones or rocks, whereas a wooden weir is made of wood and sticks.

Choose a spot with a gentle stream and shallow depths for your weir. You should be able to readily explore the entire weir, and little fish are worth catching as well.

You’ll want to build a wooden weir in most survival scenarios. Look for a lot of fresh, green wood sticks and branches that have a lot of water in them. A stone weir is more durable, but it takes longer to construct.

Begin by placing your sticks vertically in the water, ensuring that they are deep enough to be stable and secure. Build a stick “fence” with apertures large enough for water to flow through but too tiny for fish to swim past.

Build a Basket Fish Trap

What exactly is it?

Another old method of catching fish is with basket traps. They take longer to construct than a weir, but they have the benefit of being portable and adaptable to a variety of water conditions.

What You Will Require

You’ll need thin, flexible twigs or grasses because you’ll be creating a basket. A knife or shears are useful for gathering acceptable materials and trimming them to length.

To make a basket trap, you must first weave a basket. The size of the fish you can catch is determined by the size of the basket. To make it harder for fish to swim back out, you’ll put a tight neck, funnel, or coil in the top of the basket.

Begin by arranging 6-8 sticks in a star shape, then weaving smaller twigs over and under these twigs to form a basket, bending the edges up as you go.

Construct smaller coils and lay them within the opening to make the neck, fastening them with further weaving. Place a piece of bait inside the basket and drop it into the water, weighing it down with pebbles or anchoring it in place.

Here is a tutorial to follow.

Build a Trotline

What exactly is it?

Another passive fishing technique that allows you to catch numerous fish at once is the trotline. To maximize your chances of capturing a fish, a trotline consists of a mainline with numerous fishing lines attached.

What You Will Require

Hooks and fishing line You could wish to use bait on your lines as well.

Choose a length of line or cable and secure it with several shorter hooked lines. To avoid tangling, keep your dropper lines 4-6 feet apart. The trotline can be hung over a stream by tying it to the banks on either side at a height that permits your hooked lines to dangle several inches into the water.

If you can’t anchor both ends of the line, tie one end to a tree on the bank, then tie the other end to a stone and throw the line into the water. A full description of how to make a trotline may be found here.

Use a Dip Net

What exactly is it?

Fishing nets are one of the most effective and time-tested methods of catching fish. Although not passive, a dip net is a very effective way to catch fish. When larger fish are needed, it’s a quick technique to catch them.

What You Will Require

A forked stick with a good balance of strength and flexibility, a fishing net or paracord to construct a fishing net, and some rope are all you’ll need.

Choose a strong forked branch with a firm grasp but flexible ends that may be bent together to produce a dip net. Make a loop with the ends of the fork using cord or twine, then attach your fishing net to the loop with more cord or twine.

Use a Hand Line With a Gorge Hook

What exactly is it?

A hand line with a gorge hook is a very effective approach to catch fish if you have bait and patience. This method will not allow you to catch and release because it is too destructive to the fish, but it will increase your odds of survival.

What You Will Require

A gorge hook with a fishing line With a little stick and a knife, you may quickly build a gorge hook, as seen below.

How to Go About It

A gorge hook is quite effective at catching fish, but it takes time. The fish must swallow the bait entirely before being dragged in with slow, constant pressure. A full explanation of how to install a gorge hook may be seen in this video.

Spear Fishing

What exactly is it?

You spear a fish with a sharpened stake or spear from above the waterline when spearfishing. It allows you to catch enormous fish, but it requires patience, skill, and time.

What You Will Require

A spear for fishing. This can be as simple as a sharpened stick in its most basic form. A pronged spear is a little more difficult to manufacture, but it increases your chances of success by successfully hanging on to the fish. A knife, a stick, and some rope.

Because water deflects light, spearfishing requires a lot of experience. You need to aim below where the fish appears to be, but also slightly ahead of the fish, anticipating its movement.

It’s a good idea to spearfish at night or in low light, or kneeling on a bank, depending on your circumstances, so that your shadow doesn’t deflect fish, but it also makes your ability and aims that much more crucial.

Because spearfishing is a tough skill to perfect, it’s recommended not to start practicing in a survival situation or rely on it as your sole source of fish.

Bottom Line 6 Ways to Catch Fish in an Emergency

Fishing is a centuries-old skill, and people have been catching fish using these tactics for thousands of years. The less equipment and resources you have, the more important it is to rely on ability and experience, as with practically all survival tactics.

Survival fishing techniques, especially manual, no-gear strategies like spearfishing, strike fishing, and hand fishing, take practice, therefore it’s a good idea to understand and practice them before you need them.

Practicing numerous fishing tactics at once is the greatest way to assure your survival, so create a weir, set up a trot line, and then focus on making a net, spear, or gorge hook. This allows you to save energy and resources while increasing your chances of success.

By Beth

I'm Beth Nunes, the proprietor of preparing in the city. My family is the most important thing in the world to me. I couldn't bear the thought of my three small children going hungry, so I became obsessed with finding simple and practical ways to be prepared for the future by building food storage and gathering other emergency preparedness items.

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