Drowning Sets For Open Water Beaver

beaver chewing stick

Anticipation built to a fever pitch as I approached the pond. With each step I replayed my set that laid along the water’s edge.

Signs were unmistakable. This pond held a massive beaver and he rules this pond unrivaled. Yesterday I set a scent mound right on his territory and as I approach I saw my trap was gone.

I grasped the drowning wire and started to pull. That unmistakable weight was resisting my pull. And then it happened.

A massive, blanket sized beaver broke the water’s surface.

How To Use A Drowning Set For Beaver

Beaver are one of the most difficult targets to hold. They are strong and crafty and many trappers have pulled their drowning wire only to find an empty trap.

While it’s not possible to prevent every escape, a properly followed drowning set technique can get you close.

Open water beaver trapping is an addictive pursuit and while trap and bait selection are very important, the most important key to successfully trapping open water beaver is your drowning set.

Drowning Set Methods For Beaver

There are a number of drowning sets used for trapping beaver. While most of them can be used successfully, there is one set that I recommend.

Slide Lock System

The most popular drowning set is the slide lock system. It is fast and efficient when targeting open water beaver.

To set this trap add an L shaped piece of metal to the trap ring. The drowning wire is then attached to the other end of the L. Then attach one end of your drowning wire to a stake next to your set. Secure a heavy anchor to the other end of the drowning wire and place the anchor in deep water.

This set forces the trapped beaver to deep water where he will down the drowning wire. Once the beaver heads for deep water the L creates a kink in the wire which will prevent him from reaching the surface.

This is the best drowning set for beaver. When using this set be certain the anchor is in at least waist deep water. Beaver are strong and your anchor must be at least forty pounds. But the heavier your anchor is the better it will work.

When setting your trap, stretch your drowning wire as tight as possible. This will ensure the kink is created and ensure your beaver won’t escape.

Beaver Drowning Set Placement

While this rig is incredibly effective, you must place it properly to get at the beaver. Foothold traps should be placed in about three or four inches of water. This will lead to a forefoot catch. Water any deeper and you will likely get a hindfoot. If you must place in deeper water, use two traps set about a foot a part from each other.

Create a scent mound and place your trap downstream from it.

Best Trap Size For Beaver

There are a number of trap sizes you can use. The best success I’ve had is with a number 14 jump trap. But you can also use anything bigger than that which is legal in your area. Good options include a number 4 jump and a number 4 double longspring. These all provide enough holding strength for beaver.


Over the years I have taken many monster beaver with this set and it’s rare to find a sprung trap that’s empty when set properly. Take your time to scout good locations and with this set you will have great success.

For more beaver trapping tips check out these articles

Written by Fred

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