Are Beavers a Fly Angler's Friend or Foe?

You're going to hear a lot in coming months about beavers, and the debate over whether they are good or bad for fly fishing habitat. I don't think any of the presidential candidates will be picking that one up, but fishing writers will. I'm one of them.

No doubt, beavers change habitat. Sometimes for the better. Sometimes for the worse.

On the good side, they'll back up creeks like this one, creating deeper ponds. When the weather gets hot and the streams get low, those ponds have deep spots with cool water where trout can find relief. People in the Pacific Northwest know exactly what I'm talking about.

The again, have you ever hiked to your favorite backcountry creek, where you know the trout will be rising in the same glassy pool, only to find a giant beaver lodge plopped right on top of the spot, changing the creek entirely? Then there's the issue of flooding where water is backed up.

What's your experience with all that? Good, bad, or a little of both, depending on the when and where?