Where to find Minks, Martens and Fishers?
Hello, I’m planning a trip somewhere within North America and I’ve found many sites to find the more “popular” animals like grizzly bears and moose. While these are great, I’m really looking to find a place where I can find minks, american martens and/or fishers. Is there any place within Canada or the United States where all three, two or just one can likely be found? Thanks to all who can help.
youve chosen difficult mammals to find, let alone observe. Most mink i have seen have been on the intertidal in SE Alaska and Glacier Bay. Saw one fisher in my life in Idaho cruising timber in a remote area for 4 months, and it was chasing a marten to kill it in the trees. Mertin are always hit and miss. there was a fisher release in Olympic National park 10 years back..not sure how they are monitoring their success.
the previous writer had a good reply..seems like marten visiting winter bird feeder sites is best. bill
Marten are being seen at Sax-Zim Bog in northern Minnesota pretty regularly right now. A variety of other wildlife there as well, although I don’t recall hearing of any sightings of mink or fisher. The FB page for Sax-Zim Bog has photos of wildlife seen there, taken by the many birders who come there for the Great Gray and Northern Hawk Owls. Boreal Owl are nearby.
I’ve only seen fisher here on the Shawangunks Ridge in upstate NY, but I’ve not seen any in 3 or 4 years, so not a reliable spot.
I’m planning a trip to Algonquin PP to see fishers, and wolves, when they next place a deer carcass. Their winter festival is this coming weekend, so they may put something in place for the visitors, although I’ve heard the timing is more in line with the Winter school break, which I believe is in March. They had fisher, wolves and marten visit the carcass last winter. They have (or at least had) a webcam (last year).
I don’t know of a specific place where the three are easily seen, but I know of places to see them. I had a mink at Spruce Run R.A. in Clinton, NJ a few weeks ago. Maine seems to be the best place in the northeast to see all three though not easily. I have a buddy who lives there who has seen all three several times in different places. I have personally seen fisher in Maine in Owls Head (caught one) and know that Baxter S.P. in Millinocket is a good place for all three. I have had a Marten come right up to my feet a Abol Campground just off of the main road through the park and my buddy had one or two along the roads. I know mink are around Unity, ME, especially along the river near Prairie Rd. I have seen two or three in that area over the years. I have also seen several mink in upstate NYS. There is evidently a fisher in residence in East Rock Park in New Haven, CT, too. All of these are pretty much animals you see by being in the right place at the right time. Hope this helps a little:-)
You don’t mention which locations you plan to visit for the “popular” mammals, but if you are going to Yellowstone, you may be able to see a Marten, in addition to the wide variety of other mammals. Marten are reported to be somewhat common there, as are some other mustelids (esp. otter), although not fisher or mink. They are seen near the Yurt camp in Canyon Village in winter. The Canadian Rockies are also a great area for the popular mammals (and not nearly as crowded as Y’stone). I saw the rarest of mustelids – wolverine – at Lake O’hara in Yoho NP (nestled between Banff NP and Jasper NP), but dipped on the marten seen by others.
I’ve found a potentially good mustelid spot in Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe in California. American Lake is about a 6 mile hike in so it’s best to stay overnight, but in 3 nights I’ve spent there photographing pika I’ve seen Marten and Ermine. I have seen Mink at Green’s Lake in Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area near Sacramento, and I know others have as well. Green’s lake is only accessible once duck hunting season ends in February, but Mink have been reported in other parts of the Wildlife Area. Green’s Lake is also a decent spot for Otter and Beaver.
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Out of those three, Fisher is definitely the most difficult.
Algonquin Park in Ontario is supposed to be a really good bet for the Marten in winter, when they visit bird feeders very frequently. If there is a carcass out (which as far as I can tell hasn’t happened yet this year), then Fisher is likely too but certainly not guaranteed. I’ve heard of Mink sightings there but not sure they’re reliable; generally I see them randomly elsewhere. There is also a fair chance of Eastern Wolf here.
Marten is also regular in Northern Minnesota, where Fisher is uncommon but certainly possible. Mid-late winter (Feb) is supposedly best. Mink are there too, but the most interesting species here are Wolf, Canada Lynx and Northern Flying Squirrel, all of which are reasonably likely with effort.
In Northwest California, the mouth of Redwood Creek near Redwood NP is a decent place for Mink. The mountains just inland from there near Hoopa offer the best chance for Fisher in the Western US and I know many people who have seen it there, but it is nowhere near guaranteed. Marten is present too but much rarer, a bit further North. I’ve written about precise sites here elsewhere on this forum.
There are also good places for Marten in Wyoming (Jenny Lake), Montana (Cooke City-Silver Gate), and Colorado (Gould), and Mink are all over the place (I’ve seen them in CA’s Central Valley and just outside Boston) just not very predictable; both aren’t difficult to see. Fisher is a different story.