How To Trap Mink When The Water Is Frozen

frozen stream with open water spots

Mink have a reputation for being one of the hardest animals to trap. While definitely smart, mink do not have to be difficult to trap if you know how they think and adapt to their natural tendencies.

Even when the water freezes you can successfully trap mink with the right trap sets. In this article you will learn how to do just that.

Frozen Trap Set For Mink

Old time trappers have long capitalized on the mink’s natural curiosity when devising their trap sets. A mink spends most of it’s day looking for food. And they will travel considerable distances looking in every hole they find looking for frogs, crayfish, and other local food.

Because mink will look in every hole for food, the wise trapper will use this to their advantage. The oldest traps set took advantage of natural pockets and this works even when the ice has set in.

When doing your pre season scouting find a promising looking creek and look for mink tracks in the mud. Dig a hole in the bank of the creek a little ways away from the tracks. Dig the hole until around four inches of water seeps in the bottom.

Make sure the hole is wide enough for the trap plus your hand next to it. This will allow you to easily set your trap. Stand in the water so you don’t leave your scent.

Place a handful of live minnows in the pocket for bait. A stake should be placed in the bottom of the hole with the trap setting on top of the stake. The trap must be completely level and below the water surface.

Leave the same way you came in unless you plan to place more traps along the same stretch.

Check your traps daily and reset each time you make a catch. It should only take one to three days to trap a mink and no additional concealment is needed. When the mink inspects the hole, the minnows movement will entice them to go in.

Once the ice sets in, continue to set the trap. The mud surrounding the pocket will keep the water inside insulated and it will not freeze over until around three inches of ice has formed on the creek.

Once the ice starts to form you can also add grass to the top of the hole for added insulation. This will buy you additional trapping time.


This method of trapping has been passed on for generations and it is still as effective today as it was a hundred years ago. The great thing about it is most trappers don’t think they can successfully trap mink once the ice sets in, and that means less competition for us. In another article I will let you in on another ice setup you can use.

For more mink tips check out these artcles

Written by Fred

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