Let The Fish Eat The Worms…You Eat The Fish!

Fishing In a survival SituationFishing can be one of the fastest ways to obtain food in a wilderness environment, even if you find yourself literally with just the clothes on your back in the wilds, you can still capture fish with the resources that mother nature provides for you. Another benefit of fishing is the effort is not substantial compared to the payoff. You could burn valuable calories setting traps or searching for food while fishing is just a lot of waiting.

There are several different ways to catch fish in a survival situation. You can capture fish using the traditional hook and line, using a sapling as a pole, catch them by hand or trap/corral them,  or even use a makeshift spear to find your dinner. Learning to spear a fish takes quite a bit of skill and accuracy, so I like to practice with my son on camping trips. this serves two purposes, he has fun learning about survival and he also learns a needed skill.

Survival Fishing Techniques

A very simple concept using a bent sapling with a hook and line, this is the same concept as a spring snare used for small game. Hooks can be made from pieces of wood, thorns, bone and wire such as paper clips or use snare wire twisted together.

Gorge Hooks

gorge hook
Gorge Hook

You can also make gorge hooks, these can be made from virtually any material, and the idea is to get the fish to swallow the entire hook, and once the hook is in it wont come out. so make sure each end of the hook would be baited.

A gorge hook can be made from bone, wood or even hard plastic. The size of the hook is dependent upon the fish you expect to catch. Start out making by making the hooks about three inches long.


Home Made Fish Hook

Home made fish hookFishhooks made from materials available in your environment to include the tabs on discarded soda cans or the can itself if you have a multi-tool that can cut the material and twist into hooks. You can also use things like broken coat buttons, plastic bottle tops, whittled down sticks etc… Just use your imagination.

Just like spearing fish making a fish hook requires skill, so you should practice your fish hook making skill before it becomes necessary for your survival…or you’ll be eating the bait.

Trapping Fish

Trapping FishFish can be corralled by driving stakes or using rocks in the river or stream bed in a semi-circle close to the bank preferably where the water is the deepest. You can also fashion a trap out of sticks or rocks that the fish can go in, but are too dumb to get back out like the image on the left.

These is just a couple of examples of a fish corral’s, and the depicted illustration would be too big for most survival fishing situations, so adapt the concept to suit your particular needs. Once you have the corral built, leave a small opening for the fish to enter. You then can move downstream and walk up through the water driving fish into the trap. Once in the trap close off the opening and then you can spear, net or grab by hand.

Another way to catch fish is by making a basket. This video goes into really good detail about just how to do it and how affective they can be.

Spear Fishing

Image From natureskills.com

Fish can be speared and for the best results, you need prongs similar to the ones pictured. Simply sharpening the end of a sapling will still be too blunt for most fish. A blunted single end spear can cause damage because it will not puncture the fish and may even destroy parts making them inedible. Split end of green saplings into separate prongs and hold apart by placing pegs between the spear ends.

It is very difficult to cast a spear into the water because of the weight of the spear will not be sufficient and you will likely lose the spear so you essentially need to be standing over the fish. Stab into the water straight down instead of throwing the spear at the fish. This means you have to wade into the water and be patience until the fish once again begin to circle around in the pool.

A Couple Of Extra Tips

Fishing line can be made from twisted strips of plastic, shoelaces and article of clothing cut into strips.

Bait can be left over food from your rations, crickets, worms, grubs, fuzzy seedpods or even pieces of bright colored clothing. Bobbers can be pieces of Styrofoam, a small and capped water bottle or any material that will float. Spoons can be any shiny piece of metal and can be made by cutting up a discarded soda can.

Although fishing for food in a survival situation has it’s advantages, I would recommend having a couple of  snare traps set before you begin, you must take advantage of all food sources you can in a survival situation. Inventory all of your supplies and you will be surprised that you will very likely find something that can be used for snaring animals and for fishing.



Survival and being prepared should not only be a passion, it should be a lifestyle. The definition of a prepper is "An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of, or prior to, any change in normal circumstances, without substantial resources from outside sources" Like the Government, police etc. I don't believe that the end of the world will be the "end of the world" I believe it will be the end of the world as we know it now. You can also find me on Google Plus and Twitter

    1 Response to "Fishing For Food in a Survival Situation"

    • Daron

      You mention several good methods here but you forgot one that is low maintenance and low effort with high return. Gill netting. If you have to survive, the fastest way to get a lot of fish (If there are a lot of fish in your location) is gill netting bar none. Hence it is illegal in most states. it is indiscriminate, it catches fish of most sizes (depending on net size) and not only one fish that can be lost on a lure.

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