Foothold traps are easy to use and are a very reliable beaver trap. Foothold traps for beavers include Bridger #5, MB 750, CDR, and the TS-85 to name a few. All of these are good traps and will effectively catch beavers. These are large traps, because beavers have large hind feet. If you are solely targeting front foot catches you could use a smaller trap.
Watch the following video for a run down on setting a foothold for beavers.
For anchoring footholds I prefer a drowning system. I have recently become a big fan of drowning rods, but have used my share of cable drowners as well. A drowning rod is a 10 foot long piece of rebar (some manufacturers offer carbon rods) with a one way lock that the trap attaches to. There is a stop on both ends of the rod to ensure the lock will not come off of the rod. To use a rod you push the deep end of the rod into the ground in water deep enough to drown your catch (at least 18 to 24 inches deep). Then use a T bar to hold the upper end down near where you want to set your trap. Once a beaver gets caught it’s instinct is to dive to deeper water for safety. Once it reaches the end of the rod the lock catches and holds the beaver in place. This prevents a beaver from fighting the trap too long and helps ensure that you don’t lose your catch even when you get a marginal hold on the foot.
A drowning cable is set up the same way. A 10′ length of 1/8″ cable with a loop on each end and an L shaped lock that attaches to the trap. You will need some weight to attach to the deep end of the cable (a cinder block works well). You toss your weight into deep water, and stake the upper end of your cable and you are ready to set your trap. The disadvantage of cable is that you have to have a weight, which can get cumbersome carrying cinder blocks around, and on occasion you may have a beaver pull up your weight. This can result in losing your catch, or at least kinking up and ruining that drowner cable.
The foothold is very versatile and can be used in most any situation to trap beavers. They can easily be placed on slides, castor mounds, crossovers, anywhere you know the beaver will be walking yet there is water nearby deep enough to drown him. A good trick to get a beaver to plant his front feet and walk instead of swim is to break off a few pencil sized sticks and push them into the mud on the deep water side of your trap, angling away from you trap. As the beaver approaches he will swim into the sticks, which will encourage him to plant his feet and walk instead of swim.