A muskrat runway set is used to trap muskrats as they travel back and forth through shallow water.
When muskrats make several trips in the same area they leave behind a path or small channel in the mud.
This small channel is the muskrat runway and this runway is a great spot to set a trap.
When it comes to setting a trap on a runway you have two options that work well. First, you can choose to set a body gripping trap also called a conibear trap in the runway.
Why choose a conibear and not a foothold trap? Since the water is sometimes shallow in these runways, using a foothold trap is difficult because the water might be to shallow to drown the muskrat.
The second option is to use a colony trap which is also called a box trap.
If you choose to use a conibear the first step is to locate the muskrat run. Look for a small channel carved into the mud or look for a path in shallow water running though the grass or weeds.
Once you locate the run, set the conibear by placing a long stick through the hole in the trap's spring. Make sure the trap is snug against the stick. You can also shove a few smaller sticks in the ring to help wedge the trap.
Once you have the trap on the stick, simply set the trap in the middle of the runway. As the muskrat travels through the runway it will attempt to pass through the trap and get caught.
A #110 or #120 conibear works well for this set.
The colony trap is rectangular box constructed of wire that has a swinging door on each end.
As a muskrat swims into the trap it pushes the door open and it falls down behind it trapping the muskrat inside.
The colony trap is set below the water level so the trapped muskrat drowns.
The colony trap is a popular trap because it allows you to trap multiple muskrats at one location.
Since multiple muskrats can use the same runway, using a colony trap for a muskrat runway set is a great choice.
As you're walking through the marsh on your next trapline, keep an eye out for active muskrat runs.
They're an easy set to make and they're productive!