Build Your Own PVC Crab or Lobster Trap

Updated on February 28, 2018

Disclaimer! Check your local regulations to be sure this type of trap is legal to use in your area!

I was looking for a lightweight, cheap, non-corroding crab trap design. I needed it to be cheap because there were several locations I wanted to trap. The problem I found with crab traps is that DIY designs are far and few between. The ones I did find were not what I was looking for. So I came up with this little number. It is simple, cheap and light-weight.

There are only a few steps to building one. You can build three or four in an afternoon. Materials are readily available at any big chain hardware store.

Materials you need:

  • ½" PVC. How much depends on how large you want your trap, they come in 10' sections.
  • ½" PVC elbows with side outlets (for each corner) - 8 per trap
  • PVC glue (blue fast dry)
  • ¼" Eyebolts 2" long with nuts - 4 per trap
  • Chicken wire
  • 20 gauge galvanized wire (picture hanging wire)
  • Poly rope, depends on the depth you need to reach
  • 1 Carabineer (fast release metal clip)
  • 1 small mesh laundry bag (bait bag)
  • 6" heavy duty zip ties


  • Drill and bits
  • Snips for the chicken wire
  • Pliers (safety wire pliers are optional, but they make the job easier)
  • Saw
  • Measuring tape


It's really simple.

  • First, take the PVC pipe and elbows and build a rectangular box.

  • Drill holes for the eye bolts along the top pipes. Drill drain holes in the corners, and along the sides.
  • Wrap the sides, top and bottom with chicken wire. Secure with the galvanized wire by twisting.
  • Cover one end with a square of chicken wire. Hinge it from the top with zip ties. You'll secure the bottom with another zip tie, string, or whatever after the bait is loaded.
  • Make a funnel out of chicken wire for the other end. There is going to be some bending and shaping involved to make it fit. The funnel entrance should be at the bottom of the trap. The exit should be in the middle of the trap. Make sure your holes are large enough to let the prey in. Attach this with the galvanized wire.
  • Attach your eye bolts.
  • Take two lengths of rope make a loop in the middle and splice loops on all ends (four loops) inside the eyebolts. Make sure the lengths of rope are very close to the same length.
  • Take remaining rope and splice a loop on the end. Attach the carabineer to the loop. This will attach to both middle loops of the ropes attached to the eyebolts.


Very simple. Put some bait in the mesh bag. Zip-tie it to the bottom of the trap. Attach your rope and throw it in the water. Secure your rope on something, our use a bouy. Wait a few hours and pull it up.


The use of galvanized wire to secure the chicken wire it a self destruct mechanism. If the trap gets lost in the water, the wire will corrode away and the trap will just be a PVC frame. Though it may be annoying for a fisherman to catch a PVC frame, at least no animals will continue to get trapped by it.

If you experience pretty rough tides you may want to attach some weight as well. I make my own with concrete and an eyebolt. 5lb barbell wieghts work good too.

Also, because the materials corrode in saltwater, make sure you do a fresh water rinse after ever use.



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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Looks great and simple to make, will make one. What type of bait is used fo lobsters?

    • profile image

      because california sucks 

      6 years ago


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      How come this can't be used in California?

    • CZCZCZ profile image


      8 years ago from Oregon

      Interesting set up, was cool to read.

    • profile image

      dale haslem 

      8 years ago

      Thankyou for the excellent lobster trap plans. From the photos of the traps it appears they are enclosed in a 1/4 inch black plastic mesh webbing in addition to the chicken wire. No mention of it in the text. Is this an important component?

      Dale Haslem

    • King Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      King Bee 

      8 years ago

      Wow, I never thought this would be such a popular posting! Thanks everyone. I'd love to hear your stories of how this worked for you.

      Ian - Sorry I didn't get too specific because the dimensions are really up to you and your conditions on how you want to build this. It's all squares and rectangles, so make it as big or small as you want to.

      Thanks everyone! Happy hunting!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Ian im making one 30x30x60. tallxwidexLong, and looks ok. write me at ill send some photos.

    • profile image

      Ian Nicholas 

      8 years ago

      looks great but no dimensions to follow!

      How sections for square end

      How long sections for Length

      What Diameter hole opening

      What diameter hole closing

      If you added these any novice(aka me) could build one from scratch

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Its an awesome design but unfortunately cant be used down here in California for crabs and lobster but still its great for crayfish i bet.

    • profile image


      9 years ago


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thank you for posting this idea,

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      How funny I was thinking of ways to make a lighter trap pvc was one of my ideas thought I would go on line to get some ideas and make. My own design thanks for the ideas

    • Highvoltagewriter profile image

      William Benner 

      10 years ago from Savannah GA.

      cool traps! I have built them from chicken wire before but I never used the PVC, I have seen a lot of traps like yours being sold for up fifty bucks! Thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      DINAgraet idea 

      10 years ago

      Great idea,I will be trying it

    • thor6 profile image


      10 years ago from

      Excellent hub I wish mine were as good as yours. Keep up the good work. Take a look a t mine and tell me what you think

      Take care and have a happy life.


    • profile image

      Anthony Lambert 

      10 years ago

      Great Idea. Thanks


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