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Beavers, the Pesky Rodents

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  • Beavers, the Pesky Rodents

    Discovered this weekend that one of my favorite stretches of trout stream is now a beaver pond. A fairly big one. I like beaver dams and ponds in the short term, and when they're a series of small dams and ponds that create kind of a network through the woods, lots of water still running cold between small dams, lots of little pools and waterfalls, etc. I've caught plenty of good brookies in areas like that. When you get those bigger ponds, though, that back up the crick for a quarter mile -- after a while you've just got a silted-up, warmer-water sucker/bullhead fishery.

    Would you call the conservation department and ask about having a beaver dam removed, or let nature take its course? This is a stretch of public-access private property, so I suppose the decision would be the landowners unless there's something in the easement about such things being the domain of the conservation people.
    Last edited by MattM37; 04-05-2021, 05:20 PM.

  • #2
    I had a huge beaver pond on my farm in NY. That pond grew over the years. It got to the point that I was catching large mouth bass to near 5 lbs. Many of the fish had osprey strike marks on them. Osprey and eagles were frequent visitors. I killed hundreds of ducks, the flooded tagalder areas were a wood duck roost that was thick with woodies every fall. I was happy to trade a four foot wide native trout stream surrounded by brush and cattails for a wildlife mecca.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by labrador12 View Post
      I had a huge beaver pond on my farm in NY. That pond grew over the years. It got to the point that I was catching large mouth bass to near 5 lbs. Many of the fish had osprey strike marks on them. Osprey and eagles were frequent visitors. I killed hundreds of ducks, the flooded tagalder areas were a wood duck roost that was thick with woodies every fall. I was happy to trade a four foot wide native trout stream surrounded by brush and cattails for a wildlife mecca.
      Guess it all depends on what's important to you. Trout or other wildlife species.
      Myself, woodies are the ONLY duck I care about shooting. Superb eating.
      As my dad used to say, "I'd crawl through a mile of briars to snap a trigger at a wood duck!"

      lab12, in east Texas, they were referred to as a "squealer" because of their call in flight.

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      • #4
        I always loved beaver ponds. I fought them for years to keep them in their place. They kept trying to grow the pond. One of their techniques was to move the dam back to my road that I used to hay a 15 acre field on the far end of my farm. The stream ran through a culvert I put in by butting two pieces of culvert. The beavers would dam the culvert and I would clear it out. I once got sucked into the culvert and spent two hours fighting to keep my head above water for two hours waiting for the water come down so I could escape. They tried to kill me, but I still like beaver ponds.

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        • #5
          Deer routinely swim in and across my big beaver pond, but I put a lot of venison in the freezer by taking deer that moved along the edge of the pond. My new wife got her first deer with her 357 mag Smith&Wesson from a portable ground blind set up in the narrow woods along an edge of my pond. I was mostly just a five gallon pail sitter. I used my Ithaca 37 or my Remington 760.

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          • #6
            My favorite crappie pond / small lake has a good population of beavers, which are always felling trees into the water along the edge, which is great for the fishing since crappies like timber. Only drawback is the lures I lose -- those treetops underwater twenty or thirty yards offshore are probably decorated like Christmas trees with white, yellow, and hot pink jigs. Sometimes I fish near one of he houses and at least two beavers will always surface a few yards away and patrol while I'm there. Only seldom do they ever sound the alarm -- I think they're probably fairly used to people fishing out there, it's a popular spot.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by MattM37 View Post
              My favorite crappie pond / small lake has a good population of beavers, which are always felling trees into the water along the edge, which is great for the fishing since crappies like timber. Only drawback is the lures I lose -- those treetops underwater twenty or thirty yards offshore are probably decorated like Christmas trees with white, yellow, and hot pink jigs. Sometimes I fish near one of he houses and at least two beavers will always surface a few yards away and patrol while I'm there. Only seldom do they ever sound the alarm -- I think they're probably fairly used to people fishing out there, it's a popular spot.
              take a dog food can and put a bunch of holes in the bottom with a can opener. make a couple holes in the top to run a wire through. hang the can over the pond or lake and fish in that spot. Very productive spot.

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              • #8
                Beaver dams can be great when they are full of water and great spots for fish to hide but they can be very destructive to. I had some nice holes made by beavers but when the beavers aren’t there and the dam goes it rearranged the creek. Sometimes the creek never flows the same after that.

                Leave it it alone and nature will take over.

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                • #9
                  I'm guessing that the conservation dept. will remove the dams anyway, since there's only about a mile of public access on this stream and the beaver ponds (combined -- there's another series of them up the valley a bit) have filled up a lot of it, and with the swampiness already in that little valley, it's getting somewhat unfishable. Or, probably the more pressing reason, the road curves in pretty close to the streambed in a couple spots.

                  In other Central New York beaver news, I've heard that one of our local lakes now has quite the population, too. Apparently the beavers are coming right up on people's docks and lawns and chewing everything all to hell.

                  If there was currently a decent price for beaver fur, and if there were any trappers left in the area, someone could be making a good bit of money.
                  Last edited by MattM37; 04-07-2021, 02:34 PM.

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                  • #10
                    When I was working for the Canadian Wildlife Service in the seventies I built a dock on a wilderness lake where we were studying the most northern nesting White Pelicans in North America. To service the camp I built a aspen dock to moore float planes to for resupply. The beavers ate the centers out of the cleats. Carrying two five gallon pails of water and falling through the dock was not a good time.

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