How to Make a Wooden Minnow Box

Jonah Morrissey

Storing live bait can be a challenge for many fisherman. Minnows are prized among live-bait anglers but must be stored carefully in order to keep them alive. An effective way to keep minnows is to use a minnow box. Minnow boxes can be made from many materials.

Minnows are a popular live bait.

Wood minnow boxes are easy to make and most people have the necessary materials readily available. The wood minnow box allows the minnows to be submersed in shallow gently moving water until use.

How to Make a Wooden Minnow Box

  1. Use a miter saw to cut the sides and end pieces out of the 2-by-8-by-96-inch board. Measure out 24 inches on the board with a tape measure. Mark the spot with a pencil. Cut the board at the pencil mark. Cut another 24-inch board. These two 2-by-8-by-24-inch boards will be the sides of the minnow box. Measure, mark, and cut two pieces at 9-inches. These two 2-by-8-by-9-inch boards will be the ends of the minnow box.

  2. Place the two side pieces on a work surface parallel to each other approximately nine inches apart. Place the two end pieces perpendicular to the side pieces on each end between the sides. Use a screw gun and 3-inch coated deck screws to fasten the sides to the end pieces. Measure and mark the center of each side. Place the 2-by-2-by-9-inch board between the sides at the center mark. Fasten the this board to the sides using 3-inch coated deck screws and screw gun. This is the minnow box frame.

  3. Lay the 12-by-24-inch panel of aluminum 1/4-inch hardware mesh over the minnow box frame. Use a staple gun to staple the mesh panel to the frame. Space the staples approximately every 2 inches. Staple the mesh to the center piece in the frame using the same spacing. This is the bottom of the minnow box.

  4. Flip the minnow box over so that it is upright. Set the 3/4-by-12-by-12-inch wood panel on one end of the minnow box frame. Align the edges so that it is even with the edges of one end of the frame. Place one side of the hinges on the center piece of the frame 3 inches in from the edge on either side. Place the other side of the hinge on the wood panel. Use a screwdriver to fasten the hinges to the panel and the center piece of the minnow box frame. This forms the lid of the minnow box.

  5. Screw an eye hook into the center of the center piece of the minnow box frame. Screw it all the way in so that only the eye is exposed. On the end of the lid that opens, screw the locking hook and eye set into the edge of the lid. Close the lid. See where the locking hook falls on the side of the minnow box frame. Mark this spot. Screw the eye part of the locking hook and eye set into the wood at this mark. Slip the locking hook into the eye to lock the minnow box.

  6. Tie the 72-inch section of rope onto the eye hook that is in the center piece of the minnow box. The rope will be used to lower the minnow box into the water and raise it up as necessary.

  7. Tip

    Minnow boxes can be made out of many different materials. Use what you have readily available.


    Always wear eye protection when woodworking. Follow tool safety precautions.