Featured Lesson

Lesson 5:5 - Flashy Fish Catchers

by Scott Moeller, Aquatic Education Specialist

August 2008

example of a flashy fish catcher

Chapter 5 of the Fishing: Get in the Habitat! Leader’s Guide contains seven of the 39 lessons, all of which pertain to the proper use of fishing equipment. Fishing can be as simple or as complex as the angler chooses to make it, yet even the angler with the cane pole, hook and bobber must have some basic understanding of how fish perceive their environment and what attracts them.
This chapter focuses on how fish are attracted to color, movement and vibration, and gives students an opportunity to design their own unique fishing lure based on this knowledge. Lesson 5:5 – Flashy Fish Catchers is a great lesson that cuts across subjects like biology, physics and art, and lets students express their creativity with a fun, hands-on project that can be displayed or taken home.

Download the Lesson

Lesson Summary

Using their knowledge of fish senses, students design their own fishing lures for a selected target fish species and the water conditions that allow lures to work most effectively.

Tips & Tricks

children making flashy fish catchers

Kids making flashy fish catchers at a fair event with MinnAqua.

  • This lesson has many small craft materials associated with it. Keeping materials in small plastic reusable plastic containers with snap-on lids helps keep materials organized and when doing this outdoors, the containers help prevent materials from blowing away on windy days.
  • Having each participant use a paper plate to work on also helps keep materials organized. Participants can go to where the materials are kept and place what they need on their plate and return to their work area to assemble their flashy fish catchers.
  • Pipe cleaners are excellent for holding down materials such as feathers, felt, and fabric once they are glued onto the wooden dowel. The pipe-cleaners can remain on the dowel once the glue dries or be removed (most participants want to keep the pipe cleaners on as part of their creation).
  • Some stores, such as Ax Man in the Twin Cities, sell bulk paper with a sticky backing in metallic colors. This paper is excellent for this project. The paper is easily cut into smaller pieces by the participants and can be used to hold down items like feathers, felt, and fabric. Contact paper can also be useful for holding down materials while the glue dries.
  • Keep a garbage bay handy near the area where the participants are working. If you are working outside, be sure to have the students demonstrate their stewardship skills by picking up any materials that may have fallen on the ground or blown off the tables during their assembly time.

Diving Deeper

There are many ways to extend this lesson that the students may want to try. Fill up a pool and let students observe how their lures move through the water (if you have used waterproof glue), ask how lures could be modified to obtain certain movements, try pre-made lures to watch how they move, etc. Students may even show interest in actually fishing with their lures. To create additional art and language arts components, ask students to design an ad campaign to market their lure to anglers, focusing on the features of the lure that attract fish.

MinnAqua Lesson Connections

This lesson can be used as a supplement to, or extension of, Lesson 2:1 – Fish Sense.  In Lesson 2:1, students learn about the various sensory adaptations that help fish detect such environmental cues as vibration, color and movement.  In addition, many of the materials used in this lesson can also be used in Lesson 1:1 – Design a Habitat.

Lesson 2:1 - Fish Sense (23 pages | 5.5 MB)

Lesson 1:1 - Design a Habitat (17 pages | 1.3 MB)

Suggested Online Student Resources

Try these resources to learn even more about fish senses: 

  • Minnesota Sea Grant's Fish Sensory Systems article provides great background information about fish senses. 
  • Minnesota Conservation Volunteer Lesson "Fish Sense" has more great activities to help students understand how fish see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. 
  • Fish in the Zone is a Young Naturalists article from the Minnesota Conservation volunteer that explores why fish have particular places, or zones, where they tend to gather. 

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