Tuesday, May 26, 2015

TIME FOR TROUT AND FIDDLEHEADS!

    The weather is finally moderating here at home on Salmon River and, as usual, this spring was another nail biter. With the large amount of snow we received this year, we were especially vigilant around the first of May. That's usually the time of year when Salmon River peaks at our place and fortunately she didn't spill her banks this year and was more or less a "normal" freshet. Traditionally, waterfowl arrive here around the third week in March but this year they were a couple of weeks late and I noticed the first ones on the 8th of April. No doubt this was because of the extended stretch of cold weather we experienced this year.
    At this time of the year, we like to walk down to the shore at my place and watch the river as it rolls by and see what has floated in on the high water. Sometimes we are cleaning up the blowdowns and tending a small fire. This spring we were hard at it right during the peak of the freshet and had just stopped for some beverage refreshments when my phone rang. It was an old buddy of mine, Jake Doherty. I thought he called to talk about the upcoming fishing season but instead he said he was outside in the yard. I looked out towards the road but I told him I couldn't see him and he told me to look behind me and there he was floating along talking to me on his cell phone. I nearly fell over! Jake is an avid kayaker and fisherman and because of his daring nature, he decided to run from the covered bridge on Gaspereau River to my place on Salmon River during this years peak of the freshet. That float is NOT for the inexperienced or the feint of heart! Here is a photo I took after he landed.
 It was later in the evening and it caused the photos to come out a little dark. Jake told me he was quite stiff from sitting in his kayak that distance and it was still cool in the evenings. I told him to sit and visit for a bit and I would get him a hot toddy.We had a great visit and I later loaded up his boat and gave him a lift home. Here is a photo of Jake's transportation that night.
 These photos make the Salmon River look quite calm but actually there is a pretty good current going there. I wouldn't recommend this run to anybody at this time of the year but Jake is a very experienced kayaker and he seemed to enjoy himself. I will say he has more nerve than me. All's well that ends well and he made it home safe and sound and that's what counts.
 We had a pair of geese stop in for a visit and they announced their presence with some noisy honking as they warily eyed our dog. Here is a photo of Donna with the geese in the background.
 These photos were taken a few nights after Jake's visit and we had a nice sunset on that evening. The next photo captures that moment.
 
 
    The spring salmon season on the Miramichi River was surprisingly good this year. A lot of sportsmen thought because of the poor returns last year there wouldn't be many fish around. Most of the reports I got said it turned out to be a good to average season, depending on who you talked to.
I was also told by a couple of locals that there was a late run of salmon that came in and missed the counters last fall and that ties right in with the fish being in very good condition this spring. They spent less time in the river so they were quite "bright". By all accounts, there seemed to be more salmon than grilse caught by those anglers who braved some very cold days during this past season. This was the first season that was total hook and release and several friends on the river told me that there didn't seem to be as many fishermen this year, for whatever reason. Cold weather was probably a factor as well as the fact that many anglers were anticipating a poor season because of the low runs in 2014. I have been getting my reports from friends and guides so far this season because of a bad knee that makes it very hard to get around and then I got a good dose of something and was sick for the last three weeks. I'm hoping to get healed up enough to get out for some sea trout in the next week or so. They are just getting started on the Miramichi and my buddy Jake Doherty told me he got a few nice ones in the 10-12 inch range out of a small tributary of Salmon River. This next photo sums up what spring means to many New Brunswickers.
 I can't help but think back to the great fishing trips I took with my dearly departed old friend wee Alan Davidson. We did well fishing sea trout the last few years he was alive and those memories are vivid in my memory yet. Here is my favorite  photo of Alan that I took on one of our trips.
 Here is another photo of Alan with some sea trout we caught at the Trout Hole on the MSW Miramichi River a few years ago.
 I wanted to include this photo to show my readers just how big our sea trout get in in some of our larger rivers. This fish would represent the upper limit of sea run brook trout here in New Brunswick but there has been the odd one up to 7 lbs.



    The striped bass run has been kicking in big time on the lower Miramichi River and many anglers have been flogging the water with all types of gear and having great success! Stripers have been getting lots of attention lately and there is a big tournament this year with some very nice prizes. This species has been taking a lot of heat lately because of their large presence in the tidal waters of the Miramichi River. They are voracious eaters and will devour just about anything that gets in their way, including smolts and parr. You can just imagine what a salmon fisherman thinks of that! Everything has an up side and fishermen both young and old have enthusiastically embraced this fishery that has developed on the lower Miramichi River. They are easy to catch and there are lots of them around when they are running. They are being caught from shore, off of docks and from boats of all sizes. That adds up to a lot of fun!
    The Hargrove Clan took a trip over to Red Bank recently to visit relatives and had a nice visit with a bon fire and beverages in the evening. They also caught a good mess of trout and some very nice stripers. This photo shows Kenny and his dad, Wesley with a nice keeper sized striper.
 Not to be outdone, Jamie hooked into a big 14 lb'er that almost spooled him. It took him down the shore a ways but he finally horsed it in. Here is a photo of that fish.
 That is a nice striper but this species can get very large and 50-60 lb'ers  have been taken from Grand Lake and the Saint John River systems.
    The sea trout are just getting started but the warmer weather this last week in May will get things going . The gaspereau are in and the shad have started so the trout fishing should really start in earnest this coming week-end. Around the first week in June the white perch run will be in. This is always a big hit here at home and we have a lot of fun when this tasty species is running.
 
    The turkeys in our area seem to have survived last winters onslaught rather well but I suspect they had a little help in many areas. I got a couple of photos of a flock at a feeder near Chipman last month. Note the big fan tail.
 These next photos show a wider view of the flock.

 
 I received a nice photo of the albino buck that lives up around Carrolls Crossing near the Lyons camp. He was around all winter at one of the feeding stations and caused quite a sensation.
 
    The bear season is starting to heat up and already I've seen and heard some nasty stuff with regard to this years hunt. I'm not going to dignify that aspect of the newly changed bear hunt with one word. I'll just say I'm not a fan of the regulations as they are. New Brunswick's spring bear hunt is still pretty much a slam dunk and you couldn't pick a better location to hunt these black ghosts. Trophy sized black bears require a lot of scouting and then you must have the patience to wait him out. If a hunter can do those two things, your odds of taking a nice bear in New Brunswick is very good.
    I took a drive out to one of Kenny's bear baits to see if any of those big, old boars was coming in again this year and that bait was being hammered. Ken took a very nice bear off of this site but there was a much bigger one also coming in. All of our active baits have multiple bears on them. A couple of years ago we were chasing them off of the road going in and shooing females and young bears off of the bait. It was crazy! The down side of this was the large amount of bait we used at that site. It was still a great show and well worth the cost and effort. We only took one bear off of that bait and the bigger boar was still around.
    As I was driving back out from the bait I was checking, I suddenly found myself surrounded by a familiar but always soul stirring sound. To me, these singing sprites, these nocturnal nymphs evoke something spiritual in my memories of many spring evenings in the backwoods of New Brunswick. These were times of my youth and that song was still special then but not like it is now. It's the memories and times that become attached to that song that makes it special for me today. It's a good feeling. I like it and I hope you do too!
    This is Dale Bauer saying " Happy Trails to You......Until we Meet Again!"                
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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