How Do Gillnets Work?

How Does a Gill Net Work
4 Min Read
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Gill netting is a method of catching fish that uses a large mesh net to trap the fish in a specific area. The gill nets are usually used for fishing in rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Gill netting is usually used by commercial fishermen as well as recreational anglers because it allows them to catch more fish than they would with other methods. 

Because of how effective this technique can be, lots of fishermen feel like they need to try grill nets at least once during their time as an angler and love of all things outdoors. 

However, just because you have a gill net in your possession, doesn’t mean that you’re automatically an expert! Follow the rest of our guide to find all of the ins and outs of gill netting.

What Is A Grill Net?

A gill net is a small mesh net that’s designed to allow water through while trapping smaller fish. This type of net is often used when fishing on ponds or lakes where there isn’t much current. These types of nets are also commonly used in saltwater environments when fishing from boats.

The best thing about these nets is that they don’t require any special equipment to use them. All you need is something to hold the net open so that the fish can swim into the net and get caught in your trap.

Although we mentioned that these nets can be used in saltwater environments, we recommend that you use them in small estuaries because the net will need a smaller space to work in.

Because of the technique that you’re using, these nets aren’t as efficient in large areas in the ocean because fish can simply swim around the net or avoid it.

The Pros & Cons Of Using A Grill Net


  • You don’t need to worry about losing your net if you lose it when fishing.
  • They’re easy to set up and take back down.
  • You can use them in saltwater and freshwater environments.


  • It’s not very efficient for larger bodies of water.
  • Fish can easily escape from the net.
  • They’re difficult to keep track of after you’ve released them.

Because these nets tend to just trap fish in them, they can be useful for those who don’t want to take ages to set up their equipment. As we know, it can be fairly tedious work when setting up hooks and fishing rods, so the simple way this net can be used is really helpful. 

However, their open layout will mean that some fish can slip away, lowering the effectiveness of your net.

What Fish Types Does This Net Target?

This net is perfect for targeting fairly large freshwater fish such as trout, bass, catfish, and crappie. The size of your net will determine what types of fish you’ll be able to target.

If you’re looking to catch larger fish, then you may need to venture into saltwater territories to find a wider range of marine species. Deepwater can be a problem, however, with fish able to get around the net, depending on their size.

What Size Be A Standard Gill Nets?

Gill nets come in many different sizes, but most people buy them in either 2’x2′, 3’x3′, or 4’x4′. If you’re planning on buying one of these nets, make sure that you’re getting the right size for the type of bodies of water that you like to fish.

If you prefer freshwater rivers, then you’re better off getting a larger net compared to one more suited for a small pond.

Where Should I Put My Gill Net?

You should place your gill net near the shoreline of the body of water that you plan on fishing in. When placing your net, make sure that you leave enough room for fish to enter the net, otherwise, there’s no point in having the net!

If you cover as large an area as you can, you give the fish more of a chance to enter your catching device.

How To Use A Gill Net In Saltwater Environments

How To Use A Gill Net In Saltwater Environments

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Saltwater environments are much harder to fish than freshwater ones. The reason for this is that saltwater fish have evolved to live in salty environments, which means that they’re less likely to eat food that has been exposed to fresh water. 

To combat this, use a gill net and fishing equipment with saltwater bait. Positioning your gill net efficiently for saltwater use is essential to catching fish outside of shallow water.

If you’re lucky enough to have the choice of fishing location, shallow water is always your best bet. By choosing shallow water or a narrow width of water, you’re bottlenecking the fish into your net and ensuring that the spaces around the net are limited. 

This leaves the marine life with no choice but to swim into your gill netting.

Can You Use Gill Nets Anywhere Legally?

Yes, you can use gill nets anywhere that you legally own the land. However, if you’re not allowed to use a particular piece of land, you won’t be able to fish there. It’s important to check before going out on the water and starting to fish using a gill net. 

Different areas and locations will have different rules on the types of bait and fishing equipment that you can use, it can’t hurt to double-check the laws of where you are.

However, the nets don’t tend to affect the quality of the water or any of the water life, so we can’t see why you can’t use this equipment.

Because of the effect that these nets can have in fast rivers and flowing water, it might be better to focus on these water bodies and see what different types of fish you can discover.

Final Thoughts

Because these nets can come in different shapes and sizes, you can choose the one that suits your needs.

They can also be used in both freshwater and saltwater environments, meaning that you can take advantage of all the fish that you want to catch. While some people may think that these nets are too dangerous to use, they work very well and are safe to use.

Gill nets are a great way to catch fish without damaging the environment. They are also a great way to keep fish from escaping when you aren’t ready to release them.

What are you waiting for? Get yours today and experience a different side to fishing!

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