Maybe you've cruised past their huts on impoundments in your boat as you sped toward a distant fishing hot-spot. Or perhaps you've driven past the dams they created with their handiwork and the small ponds behind them on your way to a big lake destination. In either case, you'd do wise to step on the brakes of your boat or car and stop in to check out the tree-cutting work of your local beaver population a bit more thoroughly.
|An angler casts to a large beaver hut on a Virginia lake. Work the very outside edge first, then move in to the thick stuff with weedless offerings.|
Beavers create great bass fishing spots both on big water lakes, by the cover they provide, and when they dam up small streams and create ponds. Both spots are good bets for some great bassing sport.
Ponds Created From Streams
Often when beavers start building their huts on a small creek and then expanding them with more tree-chewing, a little spot that might have been good just for catching minnows turns into an acre pond that might grow bass to 5 or 6 pounds.
Start by checking with your fish and game department biologists and the local game warden. Maybe a sporting goods store or local trapper will also give you a tip on where beavers are abundant. Then use a topo or online map to find larger streams flowing through the area that would hold bass. Now start walking and searching until you find some of those ponds the local beavers have created.
Once you've pinpointed a few, stick with a small selection of lures and light tackle, since you might have quite a hike to reach the beaver pond. Also bring a topo, GPS, lunch, water, cell phone and survival kit.
Beaver ponds are often shallow and clear, so go with 6-10 pound line, a light to medium spinning outfit and a selection of mostly quiet, subtle lures. I like plastic worms and grubs for the deepest spots, spinnerbaits for mid-depths, thin minnow plugs and soft plastic jerkbaits for the shallowest spots.
Huts Built on Big Lakes
Big lake huts is the second type of fishing spot beavers create. Instead of making the whole body of water, as they do on the ponds, here they simply build a prime piece of cover, a type of cover that bass love to hold next to on larger lakes and rivers.
This beaver structure is typically found in coves, feeder arms and other sheltered areas of both natural and man-made lakes. The assemblage of sticks, logs, and wooden rubble that beavers pile up offers a number of cracks and crevices for bass to hide in. It also offers lots of shade. The huts also attract minnows and that makes them even more appealing.
|On small streams beavers can dam up the flow and make a couple of acre lake that can grow 5-6 pound bass.|
They're especially attractive to bass on lakes where the bottoms were bulldozed clean and all trees were removed before the lake was formed. Wood structure is scarce in these waters and bass move to the cover on these lakes like metal to a magnet.
The best way to make the most of fishing these beaver houses is to find as many as possible and mark them in a notebook, GPS or on a topo. Then on days when bass are on a "beaver hut" pattern, holding on this type of structure, you can move from one to the other.
You may only pick up a bass or two on each one. But if you know of 10 or 20 huts on a lake, you've got a pretty darn good day's fishing lined up!
Of course some huts will be even more productive. Large multiple-generation ones that might stretch for a long distance could offer up to half a dozen bites before they turn cold.
Check Creeks, Lake Arms for Huts
Look for huts in creeks and lake arms, but they can really build them just about anywhere on impoundments. The main thing is that the spot not be lashed by rough water. Pick locations where the prevailing wind doesn't blow straight in to begin your search.
Once again, checking with biologists and wardens will help identify areas with healthy beaver populations. Focus on lakes, impoundments or broad rivers in those areas.
The best beaver houses are those located near deep water. If you find depths of 8-20 feet nearby, you've likely found a prime bass holding hut. Shallower ones can produce in early spring, but for summer, fall and winter sport, concentrate on those near deep water. If the cover is close to a river or creek channel edge, that's even better.