In my yearly trapline I run through rivers, streams and around small lakes and the occasional ditch. I am well aquainted with high water trapping, but a few years back water levels were low.
Really low. And I wasn’t sure how to tackle my usual line.
A normal water level year would produce hundreds of muskrat, some mink and racoon, and I had my strategy down to a science. But all that went out the window when the water levels went down.
What To Focus On When Trapping In Low Water
When running a trapline in wetlands my primary focus is on rats but with the water levels way down focus should be shifted to mink and racoon.
When setting up for racoon I scope out cornfields and paths running from the fields to the woods and along fence lines.
Keep an eye out for culverts, drains and ditches running along roads as these are great spots to hit as well.
Next you will want to run along any rivers within your range. Both sides if you have the traps.
Bodygrips are my trap of choice for the racoon and if you set your line right you should be in for a great haul.
The mink will tend to be found along paths leading to ditches where any water is still available. These locations can actually produce racoon and muskrats as well.
Use your tile spade and set four inch pocket sets about ten feet apart. Make your pockets around eight or nine inches deep and should be about one inch above the remaining water line.
Now set your one and a half inch coilspring traps in each pocket you made.
I like to use drowning sets or cable attached to underwater snags.
Best Low Water Bait For Muskrat Mink and Racoon
For my pockets I will bait with some cut open apple and some shad (cut the apple when you bait as it will release the most aroma when freshly cut). These are going to be irresistible as they smell and look delicious to your targets.
Muskrat will love the apple while mink will go wild for your shad. And racoons, they aren’t even picky.
These baits will also be perfect for the river sets with the apple being the right choice for the fields.
I am happy to report that this low water trapping setup resulted in limiting out. While the total muskrat take was not what I am used to, I made up for it in more mink and racoon.
Just take some extra time when setting a low water trapline and use the right bait and you will have no problem keeping yourself busy skinning a big haul.
For more trapping tips check out these articles