Dead Spruce Lodge

Late last Fall, after a month’s absence from trout camp, my brother and I ventured up to tarp off our trailer rigs for the winter. As we usually do, we walked the property to check for sign, and naturally wandered the bank of the creek to see if we could see any trout, or their redds from the spawn. We didn’t see any trout, but we did see a few redds, and much to our surprise and consternation, we found that the beavers had built a bank lodge under the dead spruce on the bank.

The spruce has seen its share nature’s furies, losing its top fifteen or so years ago in a huge storm, and acquiring a lean of Tower of Pisa angles. It survived its decapitation, sprouting four competing growths for domination of the crown, but then started to fail. I don’t know if its decapitation contributed to its slow death, or its root ball’s loss of grip to the ground, but it’s definitely dead.

Our consternation with this Dead Spruce Lodge of the beavers’ results from beavers 20 or so years ago taking down almost every poplar on our trout camp property, so we had them trapped out. I tried to find a woodsman to trap these new beaver residents out, but because there is no money in trapping beavers, and overall lack of interest in trapping beavers simply as a past time, the beavers wintered over and have been having their way with poplars, young cherry tree saplings, and other small trees up and down the crick. Their sign is every where I venture.

Dead Spruce Lodge’s inhabitants are a mother, father and one kit, and I have had a number of encounters with them already this trout season. I’ve been cannonballed by both the mom and the dad beaver, and even the kit has done his best impression of a large beaver’s cannonball at me while I stood in the creek fishing. I’ve also watched one of the large beavers swimming underwater downstream while I was fishing a run. It looked like a big brown blimp flying underwater.

I guess Dead Spruce Lodge will be occupied for some time, or until the dead spruce keels over and into the crick, which will present us with a whole nother problem. There is one positive aspect, though, of the Dead Spruce Lodge. It’s also a great hide for big trout. A regular trout hotel.

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