Otters are best known for their playful behavior and “cute” face. Everyone loves otters and just watching them forage and play is a treat. But they can present a problem for some people. Anyone with a private lake or pond with fish knows what an otter can do. Within a short period of time, most any adult otter can have a huge impact on the local fish population. This article will discuss what you can do if you have an unwanted otter eating all the fish in your local waterway

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Otters were once plentiful across most of North America. During the late 1800’s and early 20th century, these numbers dwindled dramatically. In response to this drop in population, regulations were put in place to help reduce the amount being lost to trapping and recreational hunting. For the most part, these efforts have helped and populations have thrived.


At this time the river otter is now found throughout most of the southeast, northeast and northwest states of America. Undaunted by cold temps, the river otter seems to only need unfrozen water and a good supply of fish to keep him happy. For this reason, he can become a costly nuisance for many people. Anyone with a private lake, koi pond or other aquatic habitat is all too familiar with the kind of impact a foraging otter can make. Although otters will sometimes dine on shellfish or reptiles, they love fish. And just about any type of fish. Just as long as it’s plentiful and easy to catch, otters will take advantage.



Otter LureSalmon PasteLive Trap 15x22x48 RDLive Trap 15x18x42 RDLive Trap 11x12x36 RDIf you’ve got an unwanted otter and need to do some otter control, live trapping will be your best option. Some states prohibit killing an otter so it may be your only option. The good news is trapping an otter is easy. Be sure to get a trap which is large enough to fit your otter comfortably. Adult males can reach lengths in excess of 4 feet and weigh over 30 lbs. However, most will be smaller and usually the 36 inch trap will do the job. That would be our LT111236RD.

If you think you’ve got a big male, get either the 42″ or 48″ long trap which is model LT151842RD or LT152248RD.

Placing traps along water shorelines is a great place to make a set and if you can keep a section of the trap in the water to allow a large fish to live, use them as the bait.

If you don’t have enough water close by, bait with our SALMON PASTE in the trap and add OTTER LURE along a trail leading to the trap. The lure will help alert otters that there is something worth investigating and the Salmon paste will get them to enter the trap.

Since otters have been known to travel as far as 10 miles in one night, be sure to relocate them at least 25 miles away to insure they don’t return.


Live Trap 11x12x36 RDLT 11x12x36:

Live Trap 15x18x42 RDLive Trap 15x18x42:

Live Trap 15x22x48 RDLT152248RD:

Salmon PasteSalmon Paste:

Otter LureOtter Lure:



Long Spring 3Coil 3Coil 2Coil 1.75Another method of live trapping can involve the use of leghold traps. Both Coil and Longspring Leghold traps can catch otter, keep it alive and enable you to relocate the animal. These traps do take some expertise to handle and set but are quite effective when used by someone who knows how to utilize them properly. Wildlife control companies use these traps for otter as they can make many sets and cover a lot of area. The most common size coil traps are the COIL # 1.75, COIL # 2 and COIL # 3. For the longspring, it’s the LS # 11, LS # 2 and the LS #3.

Coil 1.75Coil Trap 1.75:

Coil 2Coil # 2:

Coil 3Coil Trap #3:

Long Spring 11Long Spring 11:

Long Spring 2Long Spring # 2:

Long Spring 3Long Spring # 3:



SnareSNARES can also be used as a way to catch them alive. Like Coil or Longspring traps, Snares require some skill in order to make a good set. In other words, don’t get them thinking you’ll be able to make successful sets with little or no prior experience.




Basic Setterssafety GripperBG 330BG 280BG 220Lastly, there is a kill trap that can be utilized. Known as Body Grip or Conibear trap, these are amongst the easiest and most commonly used on otter. The BG # 220, BG # 280 and BG # 330 should cover all sized otters. These traps can be placed in a “run” or slide where otter are moving and active. Such locations are commonly found where otter enter a pond or lake. These pathways can also be found by otter “toilets”. Since otter like to defecate in the same area over and over, access points can be easy to find. Making a set with a Body Grip Trap at such locations can be productive. BUCKET GUARD TRAPS also work well since the trap can be baited with some Salmon Paste. No otter can ignore the lure of this bait. Upon entering the trap, they will meet a quick and efficient death. Be sure to use SAFETY GRIPPERS when dealing with body grip traps and SETTERS can also prove to be extremely helpful.

BG 220Bodygrip 220:

BG 280Body Grip 280:

BG 330Bodygrip 330:

Bucket Guard Trap StandBucket Guard:

Safety Grippers for Body Grip TrapsSafety Grippers:

Basic SettersSetters:


River Otters are almost a welcome guest on any property. Their playful nature, cute demeanor and high energy antics make them adored all the world over. But they can have a bad impact on your local pond or lake. If you need to trap out some nuisance otters, consider live traps since they’re quite easy to catch and relocate. Kill traps should be used as a last resort.


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