Hot Trout: a game that reels them in


There is nothing quite like seeing the faces of freshmen girls as they pass around a dead fish and the young men that cannot wait to get a hold of it. There are games we play because kids love them and then there are games we play because we love to watch them play it.  This game is the latter.  It was discovered at the Youth Cartel Campference so we cannot lay claim to its conception, but then all games come from somewhere. This simple yet effective game is hot potato with fish.

Playing the Game:

  1. Choose at least 12 volunteers and create 2 groups of 6 and have them each stand in a circle on the tarp.
  2. Now, explain what they have volunteered for: Hot Trout!
  3. They must pass the fish around the circle while the music plays and when the music stops whoever is holding the fish is out.  Both circles play at the same time. (The tarp comes into play as the fish are slippery and a bit slimy and are dropped often.)
  4. Once you are down to 3 in each circle combine them into once circle and have them pass both fish in opposite directions.
  5. When you are down to 2, you can create your own way of finishing.  We duct taped the fish together for the final round just because we could.
  6. This game deserves a great prize.  A large box of Swedish fish, a battery operated singing fish, or a box of frozen fish sticks are all good choices.
  7. Hand sanitizer is for the players after the game, although they will carry scales and smell like fish the rest of the night.


  • 2 trout – yes the entire real fish not Swedish fish, it’s also important that the fish is fresh so that it holds up during the game and doesn’t smell too much yet.
  • Plastic tarp for easier clean up
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Great music (Barracuda by Heart is a fun one)

One last note, be sure to take video. The faces alone are worth re-watching at your next gathering.


Betsy has worked with students for over 24 years and has served at Cornerstone Church in Caledonia, MI for nineteen of those years. Currently, Betsy is the Director of Family Ministry while still holding the high school ministry hat. Betsy also teaches women’s ministry at Grace Bible College as an adjunct professor. Betsy has been married for 27 years with a son in college and daughter in high school. In her free time, she enjoys reading, laughing with her family, and date nights!