Survival Fishing Techniques

September 26, 2022

As the proverb goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Fishing has been a skill set used by humans for thousands of years. It’s one of the main sources of nutrition for survival; however, recently, it’s become more of a sport for outdoor enthusiasts.

Fish thrive in almost any body of water. They are packed with protein and are a great go-to, especially if caught in survival mode. For this reason, it’s important to learn how to catch a fish without the bells and whistles of modern-day equipment such as a rod, reel, and tackle. The concept of fishing is easy. Yet, understanding the basics of marine life and their habitat will help, along with having some knowledge of fishing techniques, and practicing patience. Read on to learn a few different methods for fishing without the fancy equipment.

Net Fishing

This style of active fishing allows a person to potentially collect multiple unaware fish in just a single scoop making this method very practical in any survival situation. A fishing net can be created using various materials, ranging from wood, cloth, thick grass/vines, and twine to scraps of your own tee-shirt tied to a couple of sticks. The net needs to be porous, allowing water to flow through, yet strong enough to hold fish. Once you have your net, stand in deep water, yet stay where you can still steadily stand within the current and drag the net along the bottom, working your way up to shore. As you approach shallow water, carefully lift your net to maintain your catch. Hopefully, you will have caught at least several small fish to be used either as bait for larger fish or for a small meal!


A trotline is a passive option to catch fish and doesn’t require a person’s complete and undivided attention. This type of fishing works best if set up over a stream or other running water. Take a sturdy rope or line, tie it to a tree branch, stretch it across a shallow section of water to the other side, and secure. This creates a control line where you’ll add additional lines with a hook and bait on the end every foot or two. This method allows you to leave and return to check on your trotline, and hopefully, you’ll find a fish or two to enjoy.

Live Traps

Using live traps has a couple of advantages over other types of fishing. First, it doesn’t require special equipment like hooks or a fishing line. Secondly, catching and keeping the alive fish means a fresher, tastier meal. A funnel trap is the most basic type of live trap that a person can use. These are created by using a plastic bottle or something similar in shape. Placed with the current, fish swim in the narrow tunnel and become trapped in the larger container. Poke holes to release pressure on the container, weigh it down using rocks, and add bait to entice the fish to enter. Alternatively, you can build a larger version of this live trap called a fish weir. Using natural barriers such as rocks and sticks assembled together, you can guide fish into small, closed-off areas where they cannot swim out due to the current and small opening in which they came through. 

Passive fishing techniques are best for long-term survival as most of your energy will be needed elsewhere. Also, planning is important; keep in mind that your catch is prey for others. Consider smoking or drying your fish to preserve it for long periods. Or keep a live fish well, like your fish weir trap, to retain them. No matter your situation, remaining calm, focused, and maintaining a positive mindset will aid in survival.  

Need supplies? Wolf Survival Gear has long-term food, outerwear, camping gear, and essential survival tools for the great outdoors. 


Wolf Survival Gear is a hub for your prepping and survival needs. We are your trusted resource for concerned families, avid hunters, or serious preppers. Make us your one-stop-shop and prepare now, before you’ll need it later.

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