Wednesday, August 31, 2016

DOG DAYS ARE DONE.....FINALLY!

    For the most part, this past month has been hot and humid here at home on Salmon River. We got some significant rainfall in the last week or so and that really brought things back to life again. Nearly every year our area goes through an extended period of hot and humid weather that stifles the movements of both humans and wildlife. At least one lady I know got some temporary relief from the heat by going for a swim at the falls in Midlands. Erika B is an artist who lives on Grand Lake and likes to visit the falls occasionally during the summer.. Here is a photo of Erika at the falls.
 

   The cold water salmon pools on the MSW Miramichi system have been closed for part of the month and just opened back up a few days ago. This is a smart move on the part of DFO because Atlantic salmon are very vulnerable during these periods of hot weather. The larger animals like deer, bear and moose will seek lower elevations along waterways and swamps in an effort to stay cool and avoid bugs. Movement is at a minimum and these animals will often hole up in the best habitat during these uncomfortable conditions and move mostly at night.
    After the cold water salmon pools opened back up and the fish were feeling good again and moving, the fishing really picked up. The principle outfitters up and down the river reported good catches and fresh fish running. This is all good news to everyone involved in "the sport of kings". Weather and water conditions strictly govern the success or failure on any fishing trip for Atlantic salmon. Sports and outfitters alike are at the mercy of Mother Nature and have accepted this fact and will try to make the most of this reality. The fall run will be starting soon so there is still lots of good fishing to be had. The Cains river always gets lots of attention in the fall. This small river is considered one of the best fall salmon rivers in the world. It's size makes it easy to fish and there are miles of open water with dozens of pools to choose from. This photo shows me with a nice Cains river hookbill I caught a few years ago.
 The fishing now is as good or better than it was at that time. I usually fish the middle section of the Cains river because of where I live. It's just a twenty minute drive from my place to the first pool I can wet a line in and another two pools within a five minute walk from there. It's also a great stretch to canoe in the fall with miles of deep, spring-fed pools the full length of it. That's probably the best way to experience this great little salmon river. Here's another photo of a nice Cains river fish with my old friend Alan Davidson. and a camp owner.who fished with us one night.
 Here is another photo of the same fish. These fish were caught back to back. I caught the big male first and Mr.B caught the female right behind me. That was an unforgettable Cains River evening that repeats itself every fall for the fortunate anglers who hit the run just right..
 I've been talking about the salmon fishery on the Cains river but the trout fishing is nothing to sneer at. There is a good run of sea-trout in the spring and there are lots of  good sized native river trout to be caught. In the fall the male brookies have their beautiful spawning colours. They will hit flies aggressively and they fight hard in the cold water. This sure helps on a slow day when the salmon aren't co-operating.
Here is a photo of me with a nice brook trout I caught while fishing salmon. Please don't let the dates on these photos fool you. The Cains river is under strict management and that includes yearly enhancement projects that continue to improve both the habitat and fishing opportunities for fishermen. I've fished the Cains for over thirty years and it continues to provide fantastic angling for both brook trout and Atlantic salmon. I'm sure this will carry on well into the future with continuing good stewardship.
    The pickerel bite was also off for a while and normally they are hitting with abandon. I have been trying to figure this out and the only thing I noticed different was the water has been dirtier and a little higher than usual. This was caused by runoff from some pounding rain storms during the prolonged warm spell. We are going to try to get in a couple of more trips before switching over to fall salmon as summer slowly comes to an end.

    This past month we have been covering a lot of ground and checking out our different hunting areas in zones 17 and 18. There is a lot of scouting and planning that has to be done before ever setting a bait or putting a stand or blind in place. There is a bumper crop of blueberries and apples this year so we have to work with this fact and take advantage of the increased activity in these areas. Our baits in zone 17 are in a semi-circle around Chipman on the western side of Salmon River. Some of these baits are strictly for bear but we also have baits that are placed specifically for deer. Sometimes it's hard to keep the bears out of the deer baits but we try to do things a little different with the deer baits and we can usually keep bear activity to a minimum. One thing we noticed this year was an increase in the number of young deer around. A lot  better than last year. We had a mild winter last year and not as many starved so their numbers took a nice little jump. But New Brunswick is still a long ways from having a healthy deer herd. Too many deer in the urban areas and too few in the big woods. That being said, there are still some nice pockets of deer in our hunting area and we have been seeing a few buck tracks mixed in with the does and kids. The blueberries are being hit hard by the bears and the apples are starting to fall in some of the early wild orchards. These areas are bear magnets and multiple bears will gorge on the apples until the supply is gone. Bears can be harder to bait in the fall because they are pretty well stuffed by the time hunting season rolls around so they can get a little fussy and will lose interest quickly and move on. We try to prevent this by having lots of bait and some special attractants that they can't resist. Here is a photo of a nice bear I killed one fall. He hit the bait as soon as I put it out and the first afternoon I hunted it, he came in within fifteen minutes of being in the stand.
 This bear wasn't a monster but it was still a nice sized boar to take. He had a very nice coat and was over two hundred lbs. I killed this bear in zone 17 in North Forks. He had been feeding on apples and blackberries in the wild orchards and I set the bait up near by. It worked out great.
    With the onset of hunting season, Ken and I will be going flat out for the next three months. Kenny has a moose tag for zone 18 so he will be spending a lot of time in that zone looking for a bull. Kenny is a meat hunter primarily so, like myself, he'll take any sized bull and would take a cow, if his back was up against it. I think many times hunters get so hung up on the size of the animal they want to harvest, they deprive themselves of some of the pleasure and satisfaction that should go with harvesting ANY legal game. It helps to keep things in perspective. Trophy heads represent a very small percentage of the animals in any given area. For every trophy head running around there can be several nice, average sized animals in your hunting area. I guess it boils down to "each to his own".

    We've also been seeing lots of small game while scouting. There are flocks of ruffed grouse with good numbers of birds in them. In certain areas, we are seeing a lot of rabbits on the sides of the road in the evenings. Goose and duck numbers are also up. I have a bunch of ducks feeding on the shore at my place and there is a big flock of geese resting on Parkhill's Bar every night. All signs are pointing to an exciting and productive fall hunting season.

I have a lot of fun collecting outdoor related collectibles and folk art and I like to include some items in my blog once in a while. The first item is a vintage advertising ash tray depicting a duck hunt. I would think this little gem is from the 50's or early 60's. It's in mint, unused condition.
 The next photo shows a wallet I picked up that depicts a big white-tailed buck. The leather in this wallet was hand tooled and the work is quite fine. I would say this item was made in the 60's.
I got the next item mixed in with a bunch of old papers in a trunk I bought. It's a hard board poster of trout flies put out by sportsman cigarettes. This poster has minor issues but would display well.
 I like to pick up old magazines if the front cover is interesting. The next photo shows an Outdoor Life cover of a gentleman hunting quail ...old style. This cover has it all. Age, great condition, interesting scene and the date is prominently displayed.
 Finally, I have a cheesy velvet painting depicting flying ducks. This painting is done on orange velvet so that makes it a bit more desirable....to some people. This work of art must be from the 60's. It's signed and done for the tourist trade in Mexico.
 

Ken and I are always eager to hear from sports or even the curious. To find out more details on the great activities available to visitors to the Grand Lake area. just give me a call or send me an e-mail and we'll get right to it.

    Until then, this is Dale Bauer saying " Happy Trails to You......Until we Meet Again"

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