Monday, August 31, 2015

SUMMER WINDS DOWN

    This past month the weather has been typical for this time of the year. Hot and muggy, the time of year referred to as the dog days of summer. Some years we don't have that extended hot weather that causes this uncomfortable condition but this year has held true to tradition. If you were fortunate enough to be on vacation then you probably thought the weather was great but for the poor unfortunates that had to work outdoors or indoors without air-conditioning, it was almost unbearable. Fortunately, we are getting a good rain as I write this. This rain will provide some relief for Atlantic salmon and other cold water species such as trout. Salmon and trout just can't take warm water and must take refuge in cold water pools and spots where springs are present. This puts stress on these species sometimes because of over crowding and because they are more vulnerable to predators. Fisheries managers of late have recognized this fact and implement angling bans for salmon during these periods. This is good news because Atlantic salmon are a species under constant threat these days. Salmon anglers have made sacrifices to the point that the sport is losing participants and that is not good for the salmon or the sport in the long term. It is human nature to make sacrifices for something you love and it is also part of our nature to abuse something because of greed. This is what is happening with the survival of Atlantic salmon. The lovers giving and the greedy taking. Such is the human condition. Until the money is taken out of wild Atlantic salmon we are doomed to be caught in this downward cycle. The older I get the more I have become convinced that greed will be the sin that ultimately destroys us. On a more positive note, one prominent salmon outfitter has hinted that there are talks going on between some players in the salmon fishery in New Brunswick and a new strategy is being looked at as a means of stabilizing and increasing participation in this sport. This idea has been bantered around for a while now and it must have merit or it would have died already. I hope this initiative works because all New Brunswickers will benefit from it. The number of fish returning this year is heading towards above average with a high percentage of grilse. This bodes well for the future of the Atlantic salmon fishery in New Brunswick. This photo shows me with a beautiful June salmon I landed a couple of years ago.
    The pickerel bite slowed down a bit during the worst of the heat wave these past few weeks but we still managed to get a few. Pickerel can tolerate higher water temperatures than our cold water species but the bite can slow down if it gets too high. I consider pickerel to be an underrated sport fish and it really does deserve more protection. Why would you need more than two fish a day? The current limit of ten a day is way too high and opens the door to abuse for those that choose to do so. It takes a few years for pickerel to reach their maximum size and they are relatively easy to catch . This combination of facts makes them vulnerable to overfishing. They are just too much fun to be only caught once. Hook and release works with big pickerel. If handled properly, they will live to fight another day. And another. And another. Through the years here at home on Salmon River the pickerel fishing has been quite consistent. Most of the people who fish in our area know each other and everyone endorses the same philosophy. Hook and release. This has really helped to stabilize the numbers and it's hard not to have a good day on the water. This photo shows me with a nice pickerel I got one evening He was 22 inches on the measuring board.
 I consider any pickerel over twenty inches as big and twenty-four inches is a trophy sized fish. These fish put up a great fight especially if the water stays cool. Pickerel are a rough and tough fish and you can have a lot of fun fishing them during the dog days of summer when the cold water species are suffering. I love taking beginners out fishing pickerel for the first time. These toothy predators of the lily pads rarely disappoint and it's a great fish to start kids out on because if they land one, they get pretty excited. We recently had a family from Fredericton staying with us and my son Curtis took them out one afternoon and as you can see from the smile on this little guys face, they did alright. Curtis told me that later that evening the pickerel were tearing up the surface of the cove they were fishing. Even the parents were amazed at the aggressive strike of the pickerel as they rocket themselves at the lure while it is being skittered across the surface . It never gets old when you are having action like that!
 I also had a chance to get out for an evening with my favorite fishing partner, Donna A. of Carrolls Corner near Doaktown. Donna and I have had many successful trips for pickerel on Salmon River and salmon and trout on the Cains and Miramichi Rivers. They say you are never too old to learn and Donna proved that to me during our last outing by outfishing me two to one just by having one small modification to her terminal tackle. The next photo shows me with one of the fish we caught that night.
 We both caught some nice fish that night but after I lost a huge one Donna saved the day by landing a nice twenty-three incher. This fish fought hard and I thought for sure she was going to loose it a couple of times but she prevailed and  we finally landed it. After a measurement and the obligatory photo, Donna slid the fish back in the water and we watched it lazily swim off. Here is the photo of that fish.

    I've noticed there is a touch of fall in the air as I write this bit of blog and the birds are starting to flock up. We had a good hatch of ducks this year and there are some good patches of duck oats around our area and I'm already seeing flocks dive bombing into the ponds in the evening. I expect we will have some good shooting this season. 
 Lots of feathers in this patch and I noticed a couple of black ducks hanging around. 
    The geese in our area have been feeding in the local fields and spending the night on Parkhills Bar at the head of Moon Island. This has become standard operating procedure for the flocks in our area ever since their numbers started increasing  after beings stocked with birds from Ontario. The local fields and large meadows provide good shooting for these big waterfowl, especially early in the season
    Moose season is coming right up and although we don't have any tags we will be there in spirit. The moose population is very good here in New Brunswick and a tag for any zone should provide shooting opportunities especially now with the season extension from three days to five.
    I continue to pick up outdoor related items during my travels and I was happy to find another copy of the great salmon fishing book " The Song of the Reel." This is one of several books by noted New Brunswick  author George Frederic Clarke. His books have been increasing in value as sportsmen the world over discover these relatively unknown gems of literary joy. I have read most of them and I buy every one I can find.

    Every once in a while I come across something that really thrills me upon discovering it and acquiring it for my collection. I happened to notice an advertisement for a weathervane made of wrought iron shaped as an Atlantic salmon laying over two traditional salmon flies. I was immediately interested and contacted the seller. What really sweetened the deal for me was that he would be willing to trade for an item that I had and was of no value to me. After we met and did our exchange, I was turning to walk away with a big grin on my face when the seller stops me up. He says " I forgot to mention it because I didn't know if you knew the man but that weathervane sat on the shed of the late Jack Fenety". My jaw dropped and you could have knocked me over with a feather. Yes, I knew of Jack Fenety. He was a luminary in the world of salmon angling and his chosen profession broadcasting. But it was his connection to salmon fishing and the Miramichi river and the conservation of the fish in those waters that I admired about him. After asking enough questions to at least partially verify the story, I called Jacks son and he verified that it was, indeed, his fathers weathervane. I think I will get it painted by some talented person and notarized on the base so future owners will know who originally owned it. It probably belongs in a museum somewhere. Here is a photo of that weathervane
 

    If anyone would like to spend some time in our area hunting fishing or just sight seeing, please don't hesitate to give us a shout. Until then, this is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You.....Until we Meet Again".

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