8 Basic Fishing Techniques For Wilderness Survival 2020

April 4, 2020
fishing in a lake

Perhaps you've heard the old proverb "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"?  This has never been more true than in an outdoor survival scenario. Unless you're an experienced hunter, fishing may be your primary source of food, should you find yourself stranded in the wilderness.
With some basic fishing gear included in your survival kit or the skills to fabricate some gear in the field, you will easily be able to provide food for yourself and others by finding the closest lake or stream.

Gill Net

Gill nets are used to catch fish by entangling them as they try to swim through the net opening. Gill nets are effective at different times in different places but these can give you the best results when there is a migratory fish run.  You're not going to be able to fabricate one easily in the woods, but they don't take up a lot of space and might be worth considering for your emergency pack.

Hand Fishing

photo credit: rrcc.blogspot.com
photo credit: rrcc.blogspot.com

Probably the most primitive there is when it comes to fishing. Here, you will actually grab the fish from the waters using your own hands. Depending your location, this activity is known by many names. Graveling, noodling, cat fishing, hogging, grabbing, gurgling, stumping and fish tickling are just some of the terms that are being used when referring to this hands on angling method. Just put on a pair of gloves and forget about your fear of the murky waters, because this technique could land you some good sized fish.


You can fabricate your own fish spear with relative ease.  Take a straight branch or limb, preferably  3/4 to 1" diameter.  Use a knife or rock to sharpen one end to a point.   Find a calm area of the water that is only a few feet deep.  Sit back and wait for any fish to swim by and give it your best shot.  With any luck you'll pull a few fish out of the water with this technique.

Dip Net

dip net
photo source: www.ontheshoremd.com

The net is typically used for landing the fish caught with hook and the line can be used as well for scooping up an unaware fish as a standalone method for fishing.

Hand Line

Just a simple line and hook, together with some bait, is the only thing that you need for catching fish. The hand lines are typically handheld line coils that are being cast then retrieved by hand.

Fish Poison

Something that must be used only during dire emergencies, fish poison is traditionally derived from the crush plant materials which can release the compounds to the water for stunning or killing the fish. Typically, poison is being used in small pools and water although this ancestral method has been used in rivers and the bigger waterways.

Gorge Hooks

The use of a gorge hook is completely different from the use of the curved steel hook. This is the technique that lets the fish swallow the bait that has a bone shard or sharp thorn that sticks out of it. never jerk the line for setting the hook. When you think that the fish has already swallowed the gorge hook, this is the only time when you can slowly coax this to the waiting dip net.

Basket Trap

basket trap fishing
photo credit: beforeitsnews.com

The container with funnel-shaped entrance is all that you will need for building an efficient fish trap. Consider the habits and size of the fish that you would like to catch before you build the trap that will fit. The wooden slat traps for the catfish are usually more than one yard long with a big funnel opening that is wide enough for imprisoning a fat blue cat. The minnow traps can also be made from soda bottle with its neck cut off and inverted in the bottle.
If you know of any other survival fishing techniques, we'd love to hear about them.  Just leave a comment below.
Featured Photo Credit: www.johannmullersafaris.com

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