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Old 09-21-11, 08:40 PM   #1
Fish30114
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Default Otters and fish loss

I do about 75% of my fishing in a couple of really great golf course ponds. About 10 months ago, fresh water otters showed up in the bigger of the two ponds--it's about 45-50 acres, and the second is probably 2000 yards away, is 10 acres or so, and otters showed up in it about 90-120 days ago.

There is no question that the larger fish in the smaller pond have been decitmated. There literally are no larger --2 lbs or bigger left anymore, and it used to be hard NOT to catch several fish over 5 lbs in a session, and 10-12 fish north of 10 lbs were caught there last year.

The larger lake is still holding large fish, but there is no question that there are fewer of them, and the big fish for the year is nearly 3lbs below the large fish from last year--and that's excluding one super fish, that was such an anomally, that we don't even figure it as the max fish--it was 13 lbs 9 ozs, and is the second fish over 13 lbs that was ever caught in the lake.

I am curious to feedback info from folks as to how to eliminate the otters.
What others have experienced in terms of otter decimating fish populations, and tactics that have been succesful in getting rid of the otters--killing them is definitely the preference of the powers that be BTW.

These devils are mostly nocturnal, spilling out into the lakes from their hidey holes a few minutes before or after last light.

Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 09-21-11, 08:48 PM   #2
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Lock and load.............
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Old 09-21-11, 08:50 PM   #3
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I know one thing, otters decimate the larger fish first then work their way down...as private landowners(I'm assuming they aren't public courses), they should be able to have them removed, either contacting a private "pest" removal, or your state DOW(or equivalent state agency).In most states they're protected, so contact the state. Or you could wait...in another year there won't be any fish left, and they will move on.
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Old 09-22-11, 02:54 AM   #4
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They destroyed a pond I used to fish and moved on. Used to have lots of big bass and huge crappie, hard to catch anything anymore. The landowner's wife wouldn't let me shoot them because they're "cute". What they did to all those big fish wasn't "cute" at all.
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Old 09-22-11, 06:47 AM   #5
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Otters are very hard to trap or poison. You must shoot them as soon as possible. I urge you do it tonight. If you don't then Dogmatics last sentence is prophecy.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:18 AM   #6
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I would be very careful about shooting them... most states they are still protected. I believe there are trapping seasons for them, but its only like 1 month out of the year. Definitely check with your state fish and game to be sure.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:37 AM   #7
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"River otter are a valuable furbearer resource worldwide. Georgias trapping season typically runs from December 1 through February 28 each year. Traps most commonly used for otter include conibears or body-gripping traps and footholds. A commercial trapping license is required to trap and sell river otter pelts but landowners may apply for a free trapping license to trap on their own land. River otter fur is used primarily for clothing, especially jackets and coats."

Looks like you'll have to wait a bit, or you could always contact your local Game Warden or Biologist and have them come access the damage. Most times they will issue depredation permits for nuisance species.
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Old 09-22-11, 10:20 AM   #8
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Good feedback folks, any tips for how to set up to shoot them? The landowners have gotten all necessary clearance to take them out however they choose. I have waited around with a shotgun several times, but without someone to hold a light for you that is folly. I don't think they realize how serious an issue this is, we have known about these scurges for over 6 moths now, and they haven't hired anyone to get these damn things....I KNOW they have absolutely killed all the larger fish in the smaller pond, and that in a shorter time frame than the big pond--perhaps obviously.

Is there a bait that would attract them to a trap, or that could be poisoned that would target them?
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Old 09-22-11, 08:21 PM   #9
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Bait for Otters...Fish?
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Old 09-23-11, 07:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogmatic View Post
Bait for Otters...Fish?
well....yeah, but I was thinking more something from the grocery store or bait shop
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Old 09-23-11, 07:45 PM   #11
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Pick up a whole fish from the grocery store, then nail that sucker to the bank with a 4 foot piece of rebar...and wait. I wish we could do the same thing to cormorants and pelicans.
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Old 09-23-11, 08:15 PM   #12
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You could always look the otter way.
It is however left up to the landowners,not those who benefit from its usage.
Poison is immoral and illegal,legal trapping ,shooting by those with he right or permit is the preferred method.
As a farmer or business, I can get a nuisance permit it does not however give someone else the right to get rid of the nuisance.
Was a trapper ,so not anti but if the lady thinks they were cute its her land,her land management in place,find another place to fish.
As for the golf course running around at night with a weapon could get one classified as a nuisance,let them handle it.
I have watched them prior they are cute,also lil thieves and acrobats,not to mention at times better at fishing,but all things have a time and place,some out of time some out of place.

Last edited by lilmule; 09-23-11 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 09-25-11, 02:38 PM   #13
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Otters are fish eating machines.

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Old 09-25-11, 03:59 PM   #14
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This whole thread is disturbing.

First, it's not your pond, so you don't have any right to do anything to the otters. If you do, I hope you get caught and punished to the full extent of the law.

Second, what the heck do we expect when we set the table for these wild critters? Expect them not to eat? They're just doing what otters do...they go where the fish are.

My attitude has nothing to do with them being "cute". It has to do with people demanding nature submit to their whims. It's simply not going to happen. As much as we love it, bass fishing really isn't that important, in the grand scheme of things.
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Old 09-25-11, 04:04 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nofearengineer View Post
This whole thread is disturbing.

First, it's not your pond, so you don't have any right to do anything to the otters. If you do, I hope you get caught and punished to the full extent of the law.

Second, what the heck do we expect when we set the table for these wild critters? Expect them not to eat? They're just doing what otters do...they go where the fish are.

My attitude has nothing to do with them being "cute". It has to do with people demanding nature submit to their whims. It's simply not going to happen. As much as we love it, bass fishing really isn't that important, in the grand scheme of things.
I know what you are saying Bryce and I don't disagree. But rest easy, I don't think anyone actually expects him to take a gun to a golf course and start plinking away. I guess I shouldn't speak for other but all I am saying is that the otters are without a doubt the reason for the fishing problems and getting rid of them whether by killing them or relocating them is the first step to the recovery of the fishing.
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Old 09-25-11, 06:27 PM   #16
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NoFear, first of all, I damn well do have the right, and was GIVEN it by the owners of the property. So you are WRONG first of all, and you need to check your attitude IMO. I have been asked to help figure out an approach to eliminate these otters, and I am doing so.

Your satement is equal to saying don't remove mice if they are in your environment, we have built an environment that entices them. Just silly reasoning to me. The simple fact that these bodies of water were in fact built, and are not natural, means to me, that we have more right, and even obligation to manage it, which is exactly what this is to me, the otters are not native to the area, and not part of the intended ecosystem for it, and are not an endangered species according to our state law, or something that it would be noble to preserve in our particular environement.

As to the law, trust me, the owners of this property are ADAMENT that anything that occurs is blessed by the law, a lot has been researched to KNOW that these otters can be eliminated as they choose.

A side note, just from me to you, wishing ill will to others is not a good practice, KARMA is real IMO, I don't care to hear anymore of your hopes.

As to your opinion about the importance of bass fishing, you are of course welcome to it, I do however; find it odd that anyone with your attitude is frequenting a bass fishing forum. I suggest you take 6 weeks off, reflect on it, and then quit permanently.

Anyone with good feedback on eliminating these scourges, I AM interested in hearing from. Shooting them or killing them otherwise is not out of the question, but other methods are what I am seeking, I just want to help em go away, but shooting them was pretty obvious--and the powers that be may go there before it's all said and done--I'm hoping to figure out a alternate methodology....

Last edited by Fish30114; 09-25-11 at 06:44 PM.
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Old 09-25-11, 06:50 PM   #17
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Curious question since its otters in bad vibe,they do eat fish but also bald eagles,osprey,cormorants,many of the diving ducks(why do you think they dive not just for veggies),egrets,herons,pelicans( ive seen them with keepers 15 +),raccoons,mink,bear if in the area.
Worse can happen than some fish come missing,a bald eagle made a nest by a summer home,wasnt used that summer trust me.
But all species have the right to exist,all partake of other species,but some if on private land become pests up to the landowner and state or federal laws no one else.
I sort of doubt the capability to decimate a 45-50 acre pond via one pod of otters,a 6lb large mouth is slightly faster in short bursts,just not smarter.
Assuming it was a healthy 45-50 acres that could hold 40-50 of bass per acre.
While they travel in groups are more akin to taking small fish,and like their cousins weasels start eating at the head and often not consuming the rest.
Bear arnt much different eating the high protein fat.
So unless your pond has about 100-150 headless fish laying on the bank as that is where they take large ones ,doubt if they and they alone did your favorite pond in.
Once I had a nice pond to fish at private,end of year all of a sudden couldnt catch anything decent, turned out landowner had a cousin come in and keep the 4 -6 lb bass,while it effected me wasnt my land.
But have my doubts if any one traveling pod of otters could wipe out a 50 acre pond,could put a dent in it but not decimate,they work in pairs to trap fish,not an entire group,and most of what they caught would be 1 pd or less.
The bright side they generally live about 9 years in the wild,and would prefer trout.
And if you have their permission ,legal trapping is the answer,can be via a live trap or otherwise,shooting over water flat surface isnt advisable.
In no fears and my own defense at no time prior did you state you had permission,do however suggest you have it in writing from the landowner on your person when engaging in any such removal.
You are correct its a landowner thing,they have the right to manage,within the law of your locale.

Last edited by lilmule; 09-25-11 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 09-25-11, 07:45 PM   #18
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lilmule, some good points, and interesting thoughts. A couple of errors too!

First, the otters eat the large fish first and work their way down. They have decimated the smaller pond, and had a HUGE impact already on the larger one. Folks have collected over 100 catfish heads, the otters eat all of the bass and other fish, so no empirical evidence like with the catfish, but the proof is in the pudding. The fact that over 100 catfish heads have been found in about 3 months show the level of impact they can, and are, having.

You are right, I did not state that I had permission, but in my initial post, I did refer to the powers that be and their preference, I felt that intimated that getting rid of the otters was blessed by the folks in charge. Also, in the eigth post of the thread, I specifically stated the owners had gotten clearance to eliminate them however they chose....

I have no issues recieving 'feedback' I asked for it! But I did also feel that was intimated as to wanting feedback on how to get rid of the otters!

Not managing otters will absolutely result in elimination fo all the larger fish, the biologist that stocked the pond advised the owners to get rid of them as quickly as possible, or they would have ponds with nothing but very small fish left in them. They did BTW stock these ponds when the built them by the way, so they did in fact pay for all the fish origianlly in these ponds, just a FYI... but they have not chosen to hire a professional to eliminate them yet--presumably by trapping--but killing them is an option the owners have no issue with.They have asked several of us 'regulars' to help them get rid of them however we could.

Oh yeah, thanks for a calm lucid post.
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Old 09-25-11, 07:58 PM   #19
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My only suggestion, other than my previous ones, is to perhaps try those live traps(Box traps) baited with whole fish, and set up along shore. I love otters, but agree with you Fish, the landowners should make the call.
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Old 09-25-11, 08:14 PM   #20
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Again under management,and under the landowners discretion providing within the law.
My reference to head was a general reference they will of course eat more of some fish.less of others.No reference prior either to the amount of fish killed other than a lot,certainly a problem.
Spotlighting ( infa red like as for fox,coyote)of pest species is permitted to my understanding in georgia just not of legal game,such as deer.
While they will want to take advantage of the food source most likly will move on after a few meet their end as not stupid,and between ponds is land,suggest 12 ga 7 1/2 shot wont damage much beyond 40 yards,or trapping.The light straps on barrel or scope depending upon make.
Myself im a bass fisherman but prefer to shoot game with a 35 mm camera,just dont try to enforce it on others,as my own view.
I would have written permission in my pocket from the landowners as that is often law.
Good luck with removal,again suspect after a few removed they will leave for better pickings.
In original post had you stated they had a biologist state remove and they had given permission to you in their behalf to remove suspect more input obtained towards your desire of how to remove would have come of it.What ever means it has to be legal.

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Old 09-25-11, 08:28 PM   #21
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If you had permission you should have said so. Lucid enough for you?

And as far as karma, how does dying an excruciating death from poison rate on the karma scale?

They're animals, and as such, have no rights. But what we do as human beings (some more than others) says a lot about us.

You're supposedly a sentient being, Mr. Smart Guy. Can't you figure out a way to get rid of them without killing them? Unless you plan on eating them and not just letting their corpses rot on the bottom of the lake.
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Old 09-25-11, 08:30 PM   #22
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Funny, when it comes to "karma", what would a Buddhist think of killing, let alone poisoning an otter, or fishing for that matter?

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Old 09-25-11, 08:50 PM   #23
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Kinda disagree most animals do have rights,some more so than others,like game animals they have a season in which they can be harvested,and only so many ways.
Pests arnt quite so protected but know of no state that would permit poison,aspca and animal rights groups would hop on that unfortunately with support of local law as illegal and immoral as will effect the rest of the eco chain.
I do however make mistakes or errors,more so in my old age than younger,or is it I just realize them now and not prior.
If it were me id take care of the problem quietly and within the law.
Some states even have a pro trapper available free of charge,who may or may not relocate.
In my younger days made 1500-1800 a year trapping fur bearers,and hunted just enjoy the camera more now days.
I dont hold it against my neighbor to hunt but this is my own way anymore.

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Old 09-25-11, 08:59 PM   #24
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Hmmmm, poisoning of varmits not permitted by states...might want to ask a prairie dog in CO about that one...?
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Old 09-25-11, 10:15 PM   #25
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In answer to that id say not in general,most states cruelty to animal laws would apply possibly even in col and montana,as for removal of otters most effective would be a leg hold or conibear trap,considering it is a golf course doubt if either of those could used with out raising some ire,other wise mink stoles would still be in fashion.
There are and have been some of mans not better moments when confronted with black tailed prairie dogs and black plaque among other diseases and competition for space.Also thought past tense.
Other than most consider it immoral not highly populated with animals rights activists either.They also set aside 4,600 acres in seven habitat conservation areas that they cannot be hindered in.So each coin has two sides.
Sometimes neither one being very sharp or clear.Some states often have different laws than federal and are sometimes in conflict,thus when in Rome.
Does not mean I have to agree with them,does not always make a difference if one doesnt.I didnt vote for obama.
The average person not state or federal gov that poisoned animals would get jail time (or hefty fines)in most states at the very least much unwanted publicity.

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