Fisher cats are weasel-like creatures normally found in the forests of Canada and the Northern United States, though they have recently proven to be unafraid of humans and often show up in suburban areas. Fishers have a history of attacking humans and their pets and love digging through garbage cans and causing headaches for homeowners. There have been steadily increasing sightings of fisher cats, also known as fishers, since 2000 – an alarming fact given their normally shy and elusive behavior.
Long, sharp teeth and claws make fisher cats dangerous predators and nasty pests. They’re opportunistic feeders, meaning they'll eat whatever they can get their hands on. This is a big concern for homeowners with livestock, gardens or pets.
Fishers can also carry harmful diseases or parasites, such as ticks, fleas, rabies and mange, so contact with them should always be avoided. These animals are most active at night, so keep an eye on your outdoor pets during this time.
Catching Fisher Cats
In the trapping world, fisher cats are known as furbearers, an animal whose fur is valued commercially. Their soft, silky fur commands high prices, making them popular trapping targets across North America.
Given their destructive behavior and valuable fur prices, trapping fisher cats is a compelling pursuit for homeowners and sportsmen alike.
There are three basic types of traps commonly used to catch fishers and all come with state-enforced regulations, such as trap size and proximity to public trails. Trapping permits are almost always required, too. Check with your state’s Department of Natural Resources to learn more about the permit process.
Bodygrip, foothold and cage traps are the primary traps used for catching fisher cats, and there are pros and cons of each. Cage traps are great all-weather traps for catching fishers and allow live capture and release, as do foothold traps. Bodygrip traps, however, typically kill their catch and don't allow live release as a humane removal method.
What Bait to Use
Fishers are omnivores, eating both meat and plant-based food. According to the National Trappers Association, their preferred prey is the snowshoe hare followed by squirrels, mice, rats, voles and shrews. Wild berries also make up a large part of their diet. Any of these foods make great bait for fisher cats.
Fishy odors, such as fish oil and skunk oil, often attract fishers. Cat food has shown to be an effective lure, and many experienced trappers recommend beaver meat for fisher cat bait.