Austin, I am a transplanted water trapper to the Nebraska panhandle, just moved here two months ago. I have secured permission to trap some ground and somehow managed to get a piece with flowing water. I would love to set for mink and rat but I have a problem that I have never faced before. This particular creek flows through a cattle pasture and has no cattails and a little bit of long grass on the banks. On the other side of the road, where I can’t trap, it’s your typical brushy, long grass creek banks. I am assuming I can catch a few mink running the edges and probably some coon, but how do I go about catching rats? What types of things would they eat out here? Grass roots etc? Any help on how to trap a pasture creek is greatly appreciated.
Best, Dan Turvey Jr
Hi Dan, and thank you for writing. That’s a somewhat unusual situation, but I’ve run into it several times before. The creeks that I trapped inside cattle pastures were all loam or clay bottom, slow moving waters. There is a natural propensity for these type of creeks to have undercut banks, and banks that collapsed to create island hummocks = side channels along the main current.
Both of those specific locations are what I targeted: bodygrips in channels, bodygrips submerged at undercuts or footholds dry beneath undercut banks. I’m also a big advocate of “setting on sign” for muskrats, but oftentimes these pasture creeks have nil sign even when critters are there. They are feeding on grasses and grass roots primarily, which washes away easily without leaving much visible evidence behind.
Setting the culvert area where creek passes beneath the road would be first order of importance. Setting any side channels in “bottom edge” fashion if possible, or footholds on flat rocks if shallow.
I would expect heavy catches from such locations, but a few rats from numerous small locations add up to pretty impressive catches over time :)