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River Otter: Friend Or Foe?

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Here in Palm Beach County, Florida, there appears to be a population explosion of river otters. In past years they were an occasional sighting and great fun to watch frolicking about in the local canals, lakes, and wetlands. Now I see them almost daily. Yesterday, in a local canal where I was fishing, a group of four otters were swimming rapidly in a tight circle around a patch of floating weeds. Perhaps they were herding fish, or maybe it was some other form of behavior. This morning my wife reported seeing an otter swimming about in a local residential lake. This evening while bank fishing a golf course pond, I came across a large solitary otter giving himself a vigorous dust bath in a sand trap. As I approached along the bank with my rod, he hopped into the water, did some fancy acrobatic twirls, and disappeared, probably into a submerged hole that leads to an ottery subterranean hide-out. Last month I watched a big otter stretched out on the grass by the shore munching on a LMB that must have been a four pounder. The bass bite slows when the otters are around, but not as much as one would expect. I have caught bass maybe thirty feet from a group of otters. I wonder what effect they are having on the bass population. I hope they prefer, or can catch more readily, the little dinks, and will leave the big ones for me.
 

 

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Given just a little bit of time otters will decimate a fish population.  That's what happened to a couple of lakes close to me.

Yikes!

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I have only seen one while fishing, it was in the dead of winter and I thought it was really cool, it swam right up to me to see what I was up to. I would imagine it would be pretty easy for them to catch "cold" fish. Although every time I have talked to someone who thought their pond was "cleaned out by otters" I have still caught plenty of fish. 

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  Zebra Mussels , Gobies , cormorants. Now otters ?  Get in touch with a fur trapping group to get rid of minks & otters.

 

Worst of all ? a unemployed guy / gal. Trying to get some food.  Bless the person.

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A healthy balance is fine but a "population explosion" is not good news. A family of otters moved into an afterbay that is the start of a designated wild trout stream (e.g., no plants, 2 fish limit but most C&R, artificial only, etc) a few years back, and it went from great flyfishing action with nice sized wild fish and turned into 1-2 fish/trip on a good day. My only experience with otters around bass would be Clear Lake in the spring, and the bite has always been dead for us whenever the otters are in an area.

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They'll wreck a small body of water, but not an issue on bigger ones. 

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Given just a little bit of time otters will decimate a fish population.  That's what happened to a couple of lakes close to me.

They sure will, we have them here, gators can eat a lot of fish too.  I get more pressure from the critters than I do other fishermen, lol.  Otters are not this cute cuddly animal, they can be aggressive and dangerous.  In South Florida you need to be aware of iguanas, they don't fish and 99% of the timer they are scared and jump in the water.  Every once in while you come across one that's defiant, it ain't moving !  They can be real protective of their turf, and they got lots of teeth.

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About 5 years ago there were several big Otters at MM39 on the Alley.  It was fun watching them mess with all the gators out there.  In the glades the food supply must be endless with snakes, frogs, little gators, and fish.  I haven't seen the group for years. I'm sure the python invasion has culled the otter population.

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Just seen one in my local lake the other day it was pretty big seen a lot of bubbles thought it was a turtle or beaver then I seen it in shallow water.

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I've seen one before, and they're not good. The owner of a private pond I've fished at has a solitary otter destroying his stocked fish. He's tried to trap it, but to no avail.

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My papa has always told me he hates otter's because they eat all the fish and they muddy up the water a lot.

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As said already, small waters big problems.  They are very mobile too insomuch as moving from one pond to another,usually at night.

C22

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to add to my previous post, research what happened to the Merrimac river in Missouri after the MDC introduced otters into the environment.  A big case of OOPS.  They don't do that no more.

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Green people do not know a thing about wildlife.   We should not kill the green people.   YET

 

But we should kill the otter.

 

Catch a 8 to 12 " fish   Put a nice  bunch of hooks & a wire leader on the fish as swimming bait. Hopefully the otter easts & is caught. couple of  22 slugs in the head. or shotgun to the head. Worked for us.

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Well, considering we are The Ultimate Bass Fishing Resource Guide, it shouldn't surprise you that, yes, we have information on this topic as well...

 

http://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/aquatic-furbearers.html

 

Enjoy!

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Before you go and do what cyclops recommends I would strongly suggest you should contact your local DNR about rules, laws and regulations concerning otters, you don´t want to be fined for poaching.

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Yikes!

Nuisance Wildlife Trappers - Businesses

The FWC does not license nuisance wildlife trappers. Nuisance wildlife trappers may voluntarily register to have their name and contact information added to the Wildlife Trapper List. Persons contacting FWC looking for help with nuisance wildlife are directed to the wildlife trapper list.

http://myfwc.com/license/wildlife/nuisance-wildlife/

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Once I was salmon fishing and had a 15,16 pounder on the line.  It was a really good fighter until this sea otter just came up and started playing tug a war with me.  Unfortunately, the otter won.  I wouldn't want to keep it anyways because it had a bunch of teeth marks and had otter spit all over it.lol 

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Bass have a gauntlet of predators to deal with from the time they hatch to their demise.

Heron's, egrets, gulls, osprey, eagles, cormorants, turtles, water snakes, bull frogs, otters, gators, predator fish and man.

Enjoy nature and learn that bass are a renewable resource and should be managed by your local DNR or whatever they are called in Florida. If the otter population is out of balance, call your DNR.

Tom

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Any natural creature is truly a friend when it comes down to it. That's what we are outdoorsman for after all, a great love of nature. That being said, they may eat on your bass. Eventually the otter population will drop the bass population, and the otters will die out. Then the bass population will slowly return to normal. Yes it takes time, and that sucka, but that is the natural ways of the world

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Well, considering we are The Ultimate Bass Fishing Resource Guide, it shouldn't surprise you that, yes, we have information on this topic as well...

 

http://www.bassresource.com/fish_biology/aquatic-furbearers.html

 

Enjoy!

Great article, Glenn. Thanks!

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Bass have a gauntlet of predators to deal with from the time they hatch to their demise.

Heron's, egrets, gulls, osprey, eagles, cormorants, turtles, water snakes, bull frogs, otters, gators, predator fish and man.

Enjoy nature and learn that bass are a renewable resource and should be managed by your local DNR or whatever they are called in Florida. If the otter population is out of balance, call your DNR.

Tom

I think WRB is right about this.  An otter coming into a community type pond and eating fish is just being an otter.  They may reduce the fish population some but aren't really posing any kind of a threat.  If putting hooks on that 8-12" fish is bass, at least in Florida it's being used as bait, that's illegal, not to mention the harm inflicted on the otter.  Would need a permit to shoot it if was a nuisance.  Swimming around and feeding on fish is just an otter being part of nature, 

 

Some years ago I had possum holed up in my garage, to be lawful I had to trap it then have animal control put it back in the wild.  Having 6 acres of woods behind my home a good chance that's where the possum came from, but I chose to do it the legal way.

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Where did I EVER say we used a BASS ?   It was a  Brown Catfish. 

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