The Fabled Fisher

By Bud Utecht



Winter and spring seem to be the best times to get pictures of fisher. This is the time they travel great distances in search of food.

Mustelids, my favorite group of wild animals. Who are these creatures? Mink, Marten, Fisher, Otter, and Weasel. These creatures are very misunderstood and quite often misidentified. They are cute on the outside but fierce predators on the inside, and make no mistake about it if you’re a squirrel you need to be afraid.


While otter are so adorable and the weasel is considered a menace to farmers the fisher seems to bring out terms of downright hate and fear. At a whopping 12 pounds this creature causes panic when seen in the vicinity of any populated area. Accused of causing every missing pets disappearance you would think they are a cross between a Wolverine and Tasmanian Devil. Ok, maybe they do take a few cats. I would assume they would love a chicken coup, although I have not heard of this that would be the extent of their havoc on domestic populations. Most pet disappearances are caused by highway accidents.

Back in the 1980’s fisher trapping was a big deal as a high quality pelt would bring as much as $150.00. Big dollars for those days. With trapping on the decline and pelts not worth what they used to be the fisher has made quite a comeback. There has not been an area that I have not been able to get some pictures of them.

Winter and spring seem to be the best times to get pictures of fisher. This is the time they travel great distances in search of food. They are strictly carnivores so anything from mice to squirrel, birds, and hare are the fishers main diet. They do have one unique prey that no other animal has mastered and that is the porcupine.

The Fisher

I get a lot of pictures of fisher on beaver ponds and along streams. It seems that early spring they are extremely active in these places. Getting a fisher picture on snow is great because of the stark contrast of the fisher and snow. It is difficult to get great pictures of them because their color is so uniform that it’s hard to see the details unless the lighting is just right. Most people think that the fisher is nocturnal but I get more day pictures of them than night. If you are placing the camera near your home then you could expect night pictures but out on the back 40 you should get many day shots as well. On several occasions I have been able to place a camera in the vicinity of the den. I will get pictures in that spot all summer. They are not nearly as attractive in the summer as in the fall/winter.

One more thing, they are a fisher not a fisher cat. Many people refer to them this way and I’m not sure where it came from but other than their diet a cat they are not.

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