Thursday, May 29, 2014

SPECIAL PLACES, THE BITE AND VINTAGE OUTDOOR STUFF

    Is it ever going to warm up? I'm starting to wonder after the weather we've had this past month. Normally, things are warming up nicely and summer is just around the corner but not this year. It has been cold and rainy with just a few nice days and that spells trouble for the grouse and woodcock that have been starting to nest and hatch out young ones. This is a critical time frame for these two species because nesting conditions dictate how many birds will be found when fall rolls around. Lets hope for some warmer weather in the coming weeks.
    This spring has been a poor one for sports wanting to get out and catch a few fish and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. The spring salmon fishery was the worst in a long time because of severe flooding and poor weather conditions. It was one of those springs that got off to a late start and the salmon fishing was very erratic and it was hit or miss for most of the season. When the fish were taking, there were more salmon hooked than grilse. The reports I got told of salmon that were in great shape and fighting hard. I guess that would be the silver lining in a season like the one just passed. For my part, I never wet a line! It's been a long time since that has happened but I had flood issues of my own that persisted for a month and I don't relish the thought of fighting high water and running ice just to get on the water. It has to warm up sometime and when it does,  I'll be there. Here at home the water is still unusually high and Moon Island is still covered with water. All the meadows are still flooded and it will be another 2-3 weeks before the water levels are down to a good fishable level. The local eel fishermen have their pots set already but I don't know how many they have been getting. I hope to get a report for next month.

    Here at home on Salmon River, the water is still quite high and this has delayed the runs of most of the species we get at this time of year. The gaspereau have only been running for a short time and that also stalled the trout run which is just starting. Shad are just barely getting started and the white perch haven't arrived as of this writing. Prime time for white perch is around June 1st and we will be fishing for them sometime after that date.
    Most years if we get the itch early for some brook trout fishing, we will head to one of the many beaver dams that dot the countryside around Grand Lake. Many of these spots have been fished for 2-3 generations of the Bauer and Hargrove families and we can still get a mess of trout and and a feed of fiddleheads to go with them. My son Curt has been showing his girlfriend Erica some of the spots we fish and she has really been enjoying her outings.
 These trout were caught quite early on May 11th of this year. They were nicely colored and lacked the silver hue of run trout. This pond happened to be an active one with a beaver house in the background of this photo but many are not but they can still hold lots of nice trout. Compare these trout with the ones in the following photo.
 The larger trout have a silvery hue to them while the others are quite a bit darker and have spent the winter in their native habitat. It isn't unusual to get a mix of trout like this in the same habitat when the pond you are fishing feeds into a larger stream or river. The next photo shows the trout all ready for the pan with the fiddleheads on the side.
 We have many locations near home that we can hike in to and catch a limit of trout. Some of these places I was shown by my father and uncles and some I found on my own. In turn, Curt has a few spots of his own that he hikes in to and can usually catch some trout. Erica loves going on these hikes and she always brings her camera with her to record the days events. Sometimes Curt and Erica take along a friend on their excursions like they did the other day when they hiked in to a small falls in Midland. The next photo shows Erica and her friend with the falls in the background.
 This falls is also the location of a swimming hole that is popular with the younger crowd. The next photo shows Erica hiking along the edge of the pond.
 This is just one of the many special spots that exist in our beautiful area surrounding Grand Lake. Many of these spots are very good hunting or fishing spots but there is more to it than that. These places stir the soul when you pause to take in your surroundings. There are places on the Gaspereau River and Pleasant Brook that take you back to another time when you stand among their dark, cool,  moss covered rock cliffs. On Grand Lake at the Key-hole, Princess Park, Indian Point and on the Grand Lake Meadows sometimes you feel like you are the only soul within a thousand miles. The next photo is one of my favorite pools on the Newcastle Stream where I did a lot of trout fishing when I was a kid.
 Some other special spots on the Newcastle Stream are the Devils Oven, the Coal Banks and MacDonald's Meadows.
 There is a tranquil rhythm that you can tap into if you pause long enough to see and listen. This is feeling the spirit of each of these places and it is something that stays with you long after your visit has ended. I like to think these places are good medicine for the soul. Here is a photo of some angry waves we took while touring Grand Lake West last week-end.
 This is just a sampling of the dozens of picturesque places that are within easy reach of visitors to our area. If you DO visit our area, be sure to bring your camera along because we live up to the claim of being the "Picture Province".

    As I've said, things are running a couple of weeks late this year and the stripers weren't co-operating in the lower Miramichi River so DFO extended the retention period and doubled the possession to two per day in the slot. There are a lot of bass running during the spring and after a meeting with concerned anglers DFO made the right decision on the extension of the season this year. Bass numbers are getting so high many anglers and outfitters fear they will negatively impact salmon numbers by gorging on smolt heading out to sea. It's nice to see a government agency actually consulting AND making the appropriate decisions in this case. Most people agree it is time to trim the bass numbers back a bit before things get out of hand.
    The sea trout are just starting to get going and it will be another week or so before they make their way up the streams and rivers. The gaspereau and shad runs are also late and this probably slowed down the trout. I have heard one soul from the Saint John area preach the same mantra each spring about the trout running before the gaspereau  and I just don't buy it. I have always held to the belief that the gaspereau run first and the trout follow based on personal observations over the years. Maybe this fellows water world is different than mine and I would welcome others observations in this area.
    The white perch run is just getting started and the pickerel bite should heat up as soon as the water drops a bit and starts to warm up.

    This prolonged cool spell has also stalled our bear baits this spring and we aren't seeing a lot of bears grazing like we usually do while making our rounds. The baits just started to get hit consistently this past week and we have some nice bears coming in. Ken loves baiting bears and hunting them and he can't resist taking one when he gets the itch. I'm usually trying to dissuade him from killing one because I want him to save them for future hunters but I know by now he's got to scratch that itch so I don't push him too hard on the issue. Ken started a new bait in an area just opened up and was actually just testing the area to see what was around. He had crossed a nice track and had opened a new bait up and placed a camera the day before and was driving in to check things out the next day when he spotted a bear near the bait about two hundred yards ahead. It looked like a good bear so Ken stopped up and started a stalk through the woods to the bait. When he got handy to the bait the bear had moved off. As Ken was standing there listening, the bear slowly made its way back to the bait to sample some of Kens special concoction he had smeared on a big pine tree. Ken said that's what led to the bears downfall. Ken took a bead and dropped that bear right in its tracks! No tracking job and a snap to load the bear in the truck for the drive back to town. Here are a couple of photos of Kens bear.
 This is a photo of Ken and I with his 2014 bear.
 This next photo will give you some idea of the size of this nice boar. This bear had a big head and will make the New Brunswick record book with ease.
 Although we didn't weigh this bear, I would say it was over 300 lbs. That is a nice New Brunswick spring bear and we have lots of them in our area. Ken is a very good guide and woodsman and you can't go wrong with him looking after you on the water or in the bush. He's also a bit of an artist when the mood strikes him.


    The following photo shows Ken with a nice piece he did last year. This large plaque is made of flaming yellow birch and was etched and burned by him over the course of a couple of evenings. Ken has made many such artifacts over the past few years but he says he only does a piece when the mood strikes him. That's too bad because he does beautiful work.
 The next photo is one of a chip carved bear done in St. Jean, Quebec. This type of folksy carving is becoming much harder to find but every now and then I come across a piece to add to my collection.
 The next photo shows an old zippo lighter I acquired from a picker friend of mine who gets outdoor stuff for me whenever he comes across it. This is a sportsman's lighter depicting a hunter afield shooting birds. This lighter is dated 1953 which also happens to be the year I was born.
 

Summer is just around the corner and if you are vacationing in beautiful New Brunswick and would like to visit any of the special places I've mentioned in this blog, please contact me through the channels provided to arrange a guided adventure you are sure to enjoy.

    This is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You....Until we Meet Again!"

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