Saturday, July 30, 2016

THE HANDS OF TIME--THEN AND NOW

    In my last blog post I mentioned the death of someone I was quite close to and I would like to make a few comments about the life of Elva Smith. Elva passed away on May 26, 2016 after a prolonged period of failing health. She had a very strong spirit and a lesser person would have been gone long before her passing at the age of 84. Although her final years were a struggle for her, she soldiered on and lived her life to it's fullest.
    Elva was born and raised in Carroll's Crossing on the Miramichi River above Doaktown. Her maiden name was Elva Lyons and she was raised by her maternal grandparents. Her grandfather, Howard Lyons, was said to be able to pole his canoe to Doaktown and back in one day and still have time to visit some folks and have a cup of tea. Being raised on a working farm, there was always lots of chores to do and Elva developed a strong work ethic during her formative years.
    Along with doing chores around the farm. Elva also cooked at some of the sporting camps and her skills in the kitchen were well known in the area. She was raised in a family that was active in the sporting world and many of the men in the family were employed as guides. Elva liked to go hunting and fishing whenever she got the chance and enjoyed some success in her earlier years fishing salmon and trout and potting the odd grouse. The next photo shows Elva with some nice fish.
 This photo was taken back in the Forties when keeping salmon wasn't an issue. The next photo shows a lady friend of Elva's with a big salmon taken in the Carroll's Crossing area of the MSW Miramichi.
Although we think lady fishermen pursuing salmon is something of a modern trend, you can see from these photos that women have been fishing salmon and doing quite well for many years now. The next photo shows Elva out for a hunt in her younger years.
 The next photo shows Elva posing with a partridge she got on one of her many hunts with her childhood friend Harold Lyons who was a great sport and guide in his own right.
 The next photo shows a group with their fish taken on an excursion to the MSW Miramichi many years ago. I don't have any names to go with this photo but I would guess these folks were either friends or neighbors of Elva's.
 Back in the day, when these photos were taken, hook and release wasn't the style. There were lots of fish and families had to put food on the table and taking large salmon home to eat was the norm for that time. 
    My connection to Elva started through her seven Davidson brothers. I knew the whole family and was very good friends with Alan Davidson. We spent many days hunting and fishing in the Miramichi, Gaspereau and Salmon River country.
    When I was first introduced to her many years ago, I had already heard of her candor and her penchant for speaking her mind so I knew enough to mind my P's and Q's. I knew I had scored a few points with her later on when she told someone " Well, at least he works! " I considered that to be quite a compliment coming from her since I knew she had worked hard all her life. She also liked the fact I didn't judge her when she wanted to have a smoke or drink a few beers. Elva loved a good laugh and always enjoyed a good house party. Elva spent a good portion of her life travelling with her husband, Ed Smith, going from one end of the country to the other whenever Ed got a new posting. Ed was in the military and had a posting to Germany in the 60's.He was also in the Canadian Arctic and Egypt but after retirement he and Elva returned back to Carroll's Crossing. Ed passed away shortly after retiring and she remained in Carroll's Crossing and enjoyed her remaining years, renewing old friendships and travelling. Elva was very fortunate that Ed  had a good work ethic and was a good planner because she was well taken care of and didn't have any worries after his passing. 
    I'd like to thank Elva for her kindness and acceptance into her family and for my great luck in meeting her wonderful daughter. I'll always remember you with a smile.
  
    I had a great fly-in trip to Quebec late in June and had a lot of fun catching pan sized brook trout. There were four of us on the trip and we all caught fish. There were no trophy sized brookies but the numbers of 10-12 inch trout we were catching made up for it. The following photo shows the boys boarding the float plane for the hour long flight north of Bay Comeau.
 The flight wasn't too bad and it went by quickly. I was surprised by the amount of water everywhere with small lakes dotting the countryside. Here is a photo of the camp we stayed in.
 The camp was well equipped and had all the modern conveniences such as indoor flush, shower, hot and cold running water, as well as a propane fridge and stove. It's always nice to get cleaned up after a hard day on the water. The next photo shows Johnny F. and George P. relaxing at the table in the camp.
 We had the whole lake to ourselves because there is only one camp on the lake and the scenery and setting were beautiful. There was a nice sand beach right in front of the camp where we had fires in the evening.
 To give you an idea of the size of the lake, This photo shows Johnny on the opposite end of the lake with the camp in the background directly behind him.

I managed to catch the two biggest fish at 15.25 and 14.5 inches respectively. The boys made some faces but they paid up! This photo shows the biggest one next to my boot.
 These brook trout are called "Quebec Reds" and I could see why. Their flesh was as orange as a sea run salmon and their vivid coloration on the outside was spectacular! 
 These are the before and after photos of a scene that was repeated several times on our trip.
 The next photo shows Johnny F. in the background and me holding a beautiful brookie taken at the outlet of the lake.
 This was a new experience for me because I had never gone on a fly-in fishing trip before and I really enjoyed myself. Dag, George and Johnny are great sports and are a lot of fun around camp and I'd go with these guy's again any time. This last photo shows George arranging the boats on the beach before our departure.

    I have made a couple of trips to the Miramichi River for salmon and trout but the weather has been so warm this month I didn't have much luck. Scattered runs and recent pool closures have slowed the success rate down. I did manage to get a few nice sea trout but I didn't hook any salmon. These sea trout are a welcome by product when fishing Atlantic salmon. I have caught many nice trout when fishing for salmon and on several occasions these catches actually made the trip a success.

    The pickerel fishing has been pretty good lately but we have to work for them at times especially after a raise of water. As I have said many times, "when the salmon fishing is poor, the pickerel fishing is hot". If this holds true, the bite should really start to turn on in the coming weeks. My son Curtis landed five nice ones one evening including a 24 incher. This photo shows a selfie Curt took with one of the fish he landed.
 I was only out a couple of times and I really had to work at hooking a pickerel. When conditions are good, the action is usually non stop but the weather and water conditions have slowed the bite considerably. The pickerel were following and backing off before striking. When they did decide to hit, many times they struck short or made a lazy swirl at the lure. The next photo shows Donna A. trying to hang on to a lively pickerel she landed one night.
 On a note of interest, an acquaintance of mine here on Salmon River told me he landed a little 12 inch smallmouth bass on the lower river near Salmon Harbour. This species is new to Salmon River and the jury is still out on how this scenario will play out. Hopefully, this will be a positive development  and fishermen will benefit from having this species in our river.

    Ken, Jamie, Dallas and I have been scouting for deer and bear during our travels and we are having some luck finding good animals. There seems to be a few more deer around this year. Last years winter was a blessing for deer and the prospects are definitely looking up for taking a decent buck. The following photo shows a nice bear at one of Jamie's baits in zone 17.
 Jamie has several nice bears coming to this bait and sometimes it's hard to figure out which one is which. Here are a couple of photos of a nice bear with a deep, white V.
 Here are some other shots of the same bear.


 Many hunters find black bears with a white blaze on their chest to be highly desirable. The following bear photos are from the same bait.



 We have a lot of bears coming into our baits during shooting hours, all day long. Trail cams take all the guess work out of baiting bears but they are really hard on cameras if not protected by being enclosed in a bear box. 
    One curious thing that has happened at a couple of our baits is moose coming in for a visit. There must be something in our baits that smells good to them because it seems if a bait is in good moose country sooner or later one will show up. The next photo shows a cow and her new born calf checking out the bait. 
 

    I hope all my readers are enjoying their summer this year. I know here at home on Salmon River this month has been very warm with occasional thunder showers. Friends and relatives have been taking full advantage of the nice weather and my daughter passed along some photos she took from my shore over the last couple of weeks. She has a camper on a lot beside my place and these are the photos she took showing some different view points. The first picture shows a nice bright sunny day on the river.
 The next photo shows the same view with a thunder storm moving through.
 Finally, a nice shot of a beautiful sunset here in God's country.
 I can tell my readers I wouldn't trade my place for any other spot in the world. I've lived here for over 30 years and I've enjoyed every minute of it and I hope to have another 30 years to enjoy this beautiful place in scenic New Brunswick.

If any sports or vacationers would like to spend some time with us in the bush or on the water, please don't hesitate to contact me.
    Until then, this is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You.....Until we Meet Again"




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