Saturday, April 30, 2016

SPRING SALMON ON THE MIRAMICHI



    We have been having normal, spring like weather here at home on Salmon River this past month and the season is progressing along nicely. The flooding was minimal this year which is always good. This was due largely to the fact we had very little snow last winter. As I've said many times, both man and wildlife benefit from this type of weather during the winter months. I'm also of a mind to think it's easier on the fish, too. I'm thinking about spring salmon, in particular. The currents aren't as strong and the dirty water and large amounts of debris that go along with it aren't there in any appreciable amount. I presume this would make a spring salmon's life much easier. I know the spring salmon were in great condition this year and many times fought as well as a bright fish. No fisherman should thumb his nose at spring salmon. Our spring fishery for Atlantic salmon can only be described as "world class." I always tell people "Where else can you go out on the first day of the season and catch multiple large salmon easily?" It's a forty minute drive for me from my home and no more than two hours for most New Brunswickers.We are very lucky to have this jewel here in New Brunswick and we must continue to protect it at all costs. This is a photo of the launch under the Doaktown bridge on the first day. It was unusually congested this year with bridge workers AND fishermen looking for parking spots.
    The 2016 spring salmon season started off slowly for me. I had put my boat in the day before the opener and the water was still quite high from the rain we had a few days before. I also noticed the water was quite murky. There wasn't too much grass and debris going because the water had been dropping for a couple of days. I was expecting near perfect conditions and the water was far from that in the area I was fishing. I fished the second afternoon for a few hours and never got a strike. That's quite unusual. I had a trip planned for the third day with my son and grandson and I was hoping the conditions would improve enough to at least provide a few hookups. It turned out to be a great day on the Miramichi River and my son Curtis landed a grilse to start things off.
It was a small grilse but it had lots of spunk and was still lots of fun to catch. We switched spots and fished the springs on the opposite side of the river. This piece of water always held large salmon at this time of year and it was no time at all when my grandson Tyler was fighting his first Atlantic salmon. What a fish to start off with! This fish jumped four feet out of the water three times and stripped ALL the line off the spool twice! I had to pull up anchor and chase it half way through the fight.
 Tyler fought this fish well for forty-five minutes and I had the net near the fishes head when the line broke. We were all a little disappointed but that's fishing and I told Ty there would be others to hook and that even the best fishermen sometimes lose fish.


  After the battle , we decided to take a break and have a bite to eat. We went to shore and found a comfortable spot on the meadow and had a nice tea break. After our bellies were full I told Curt and Ty we were going to follow a tradition that my old friend Alan Davidson and I used to do years ago. We stretched out in the meadow grass in the sun and had a snooze.
 We ended our day with a couple more hookups and long distance releases but overall, it was a great day to be on the river with the boys! 
    I also got out with Donna A. for a couple of days and we had pretty good fishing. Here's a photo of Donna with a nice grilse she landed using a number 6 grey ghost.
 The salmon were in excellent shape this year and they fought hard with lots of jumps and runs, with dogged head shakes at times. I knew Donna liked salmon fishing but It's the first time I caught her hugging one! Or maybe she's having a waltz? Whatever the case may be,she is showing the sport and that particular fish, a lot of love. Well done Donna!
 The last outing I landed four grilse and Donna landed one. That's pretty good for the end of the second week of the season. Here are some photo's of those fish



 All the fish we caught this year were in great shape and fought well. I couldn't help but think how many of the grilse we caught would have been tagged and eaten under the old retention regulations. These new regulations will result in more salmon in our rivers and that's a good thing for salmon fishermen. After all, the fun is in catching them!

Before moving on, I want to mention the passing of a Miramichi icon. George Routledge was a world class fly tier who worked out of a small shop in Renous near Quarryville. He was inducted into the Atlantic Salmon Hall of Fame several years ago and was well respected in the fly fishing community. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and the many fishermen who visited his shop each year.

As spring moves forward, we will soon be making trips for brook trout and fiddleheads. These two things really go together well and are considered delicacies here in New Brunswick.
 We make two or three trips a year to try and catch the sea trout run and get enough fiddleheads for the year. The rubber landing nets make great cleaners for fiddleheads. Talk about convenient! This next photo shows a nice silver run trout I caught a few years ago.
 These fresh run sea trout make excellent table fare and we always have at least one fry every year. This photo shows my old friend Alan Davidson with a limit of nice pan sized trout from a few years ago.

Ken, Jamie and I are starting to put out our bear baits this week-end. It will take a couple of weeks for the ground to warm up. Only then will they start hitting the baits regularly. We will be hunting in zones 13 and 18 this spring and we won't be hunting zone 17 until this fall. We are anticipating a good season because things are warming up quickly and that will get them moving around more. A few residents have tagged out already. These hunters took most of their bears by spot and stalk. This photo shows a veteran bear hunter from farm country in central New Brunswick. Darrell M spotted this bear in a cultivated field and made the shot. This was the first bear posted this season on social media.

 This photo shows another successful resident hunter who posted a photo of a nice spring bear that was taken early in the season .This lady hunter was also hunting in the central part of the province. It's always nice to see female hunters out there and being successful.
 Both of these bear were taken in April which is considered very early by most accounts. Spot and stock is a method often overlooked by many here in New Brunswick because our dense forests dominate the landscape. The fact is, if you can find the right habitat to hunt and have good glasses and a flat shooting gun you can take a bear, with a little luck. Ken and Jamie have both taken bears and seen many other while spotting and scouting. This  bear photo shows a resident with a beautifully furred bear he took with open sites and a traditional lever action rifle. Congratulations to you on taking such an early spring bear.
 The next photo shows the earliest archery bear I've heard tell of. This bear was taken on April 25th. That's very early, especially to be taken with a bow.

    Looking forward to next month, it will be more of the same great fishing with spring bear hunting coming on strong.
    Before closing I wanted to show my readers a couple of great covers from my collection of outdoor magazines. This one shows an advertisement for tobacco pipes. The next one shows a bear charging a hunter at close range.

This last one is a cover depicting a young fisherman getting ready to go fishing. Published during the WWII era.
    
If any one has any questions or is just interested in my blog and it's contents please feel free to contact me through this blog or any of the other posted contacts.
Until next time, this is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You....Until we Meet Again"

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