Friday, June 30, 2017

TOO MANY SPECIES...TOO LITTLE TIME

    The weather here at home on Salmon River has finally decided to moderate and most folks are happy to see it come. Summer is officially here and the water levels are at a good level for angling and not too warm. Local anglers have been hitting the water hard this month and have been getting some nice fish.
    The gaspereau are on their way out and I have been watching large schools of them slowly dropping back into Grand Lake The shad run was a little late this year but anglers participating in the 13th Annual Monte Farrell Shad Tournament caught fish  and it was a good day weather wise. The tournament was held on June 10th this year. For some reason, bad weather has affected this tourney on several years but not this year. The water level was a bit high and a cold front had come in but there was still eighteen shad landed. Joe Tilley from the Saint John area won first place with a combined two fish total of 5.6 lbs. His young son Rowan also won the perch category. Joe also won the lunker shad category for the heaviest shad entered at 3.2 lbs. Congratulations to Joe and his son, as well as long time  tourney organizers Sam Daigle and Ralph Goodwin for a job well done! This is a great tournament that aims to spread interest in shad fishing on Salmon River and the comradery  of fishing in general. This is a photo of a shad in the net.
 This species of fish is largely overlooked by local anglers because most fishermen are pursuing trout or salmon or one of the many other game fish available to anglers in our area in the month of June. This month is a magic one for fishing and it's really hard to decide what species to fish. Hence, this months heading. I like to think if you have to have a problem, this is a good one to have! Timing is crucial for most species and if you want good success, fishermen should try to time their outings for the peak of the run,whatever it may be. For example, the shad are starting back out of the river now so the peak time to fish them would be during the first two weeks of the month. Anglers should do their research and time their outings accordingly. Try to give yourself a 3-5 day window to avoid weather events that can affect success rates. Another thing to keep in mind is the kind of weather that has occurred that spring. A late spring such as the one this year can sometimes delay peak times as long as two weeks. This is what happened with the striper run and spawning frenzy in Red Bank on the Miramichi River this spring. I didn't get over there until the middle of  this month but my fishing partner and I still managed to hook a dozen or so. We kept three for the table and the fish and chips we made was delicious.
 Donna A. and I fished with Norman Ward, long time resident and guide in Red Bank on the Northwest Miramichi River. Norm knows his territory well and is a super guide for stripers on the NWM river. He is on the water nearly every day of the spring season and knows where the stripers are and what they are taking at any given time. When we got on the fish, we started getting hits at regular intervals. I broke off a nice one using a cheap steel leader. I knew better because I didn't like the look of it when I put it on. I  did redeem myself shortly after that by landing a keeper sized bass. 

 Norman was getting lots of hits too but the first fish he landed was the smallest of the nite. We all had a good chuckle when I asked him to pose with his fish. He's caught lots of stripers that would eat that one in a single bite!

 After fishing for a while longer I hooked and released a few before keeping another one.

 Donna had never caught a striped bass and Norman and I were both hoping she would land her first one that nite. She lost a nice one at the boat but finally landed her first and the biggest of the evening.

 It was a great evening of fishing even though it was post spawn and the fish were on their way out. Norman did a great job finding the fish and even provided some proven lures for us to use. We will be fishing again next month with Norm in Red Bank for salmon. Watch for that post next month.
    The sea trout fishing has been spotty because of the runs not arriving at their usual time this year. Fishermen are catching some nice regular river trout but many were either too early or two late. This next photo shows a young lad from Minto with a 19.5 inch trout that he caught in the Newcastle Stream. Right place. Right time.
 If you look at the fish closely, you will notice it's light colouration. This is indicative of a run trout. My best trout from that stream was 15.5 inches. I was around twelve years old and I caught that trout on a fly rod using a number 6 grizzly king. For years, I would hit the run and fill my basket with nice silver 10-14 inch run trout. It's very nice to see this beautiful stream once again producing quality trout. This next photo shows a 15 inch trout a buddy of mine got this month. This one came from one of the small tributaries that runs into Salmon River.
 We have some great fishing opportunities in our area. The resource isn't pressured too much and opportunities abound. We do full and half days on Salmon River during the summer months fishing for a variety of species. Shore lunch is provided.

    The white perch run is over and we managed to get a couple of feeds right off of my shore. You just can't beat white perch fillets and home fries. Delicious! Here is a photo  from a few years ago of my son Curtis with a white perch he got while fishing with the neighbourhood dog. Howie is still alive and well but he doesn't travel as much now.
 This is a male white perch. The females are many times twice as big as that one my son is holding. Compare that one to these ones that were taken off of my shore on Salmon River.
 
    
Bright salmon are starting to enter the system and there are reports of fish being seen and hooked from Boistown to Blackville but no big runs yet. I will be in Doaktown this week-end and Red Bank next week so I'm hoping to run into a few fish. More on that next month. This photo shows a beautiful salmon I landed in the third week of June.This is the earliest salmon I have landed but many are caught earlier, especially on the Northwest Miramichi.

The spring bear season has just ended and there were some very nice bears taken again this year. There were a few over 400 lbs and that is the number generally accepted as monster category. Social media sites showed photos of some really nice bears taken from all parts of New Brunswick but the kill numbers seem to favour the northern half of the province. It could be that there is more hunting pressure in the northern zones that results in higher kill numbers in those zones.We hunt zones 13,17 and 18 exclusively and have baits in all three zones. Ken and I still have tags available for zone 17 which is a large, lightly hunted zone. We have the bears and some really nice ones in the mix. We have cameras on all our baits so we know who the regular visitors are but there are sometimes unexpected ones show up. Many times these bears are bigger boars who cover larger territories. This is always a nice surprise when checking photos or, even better,actually sitting a bait.
  Ken and I are looking for bear hunters for this fall. We have a super deal available for any non-resident hunters who would like to come to our area and take a bear in the big woods. Any hunter who wants to hunt both deer and bear can book the 3rd week in October where the two seasons overlap. Our friend from Germany,Nils and his wife Elle, did just that and had a great hunt and stay at the lodge last fall. Please refer to previous posts for  more on that hunt and other information on hunting with Ken and I. This is a photo of a bear that Jamie killed this spring off of one of Kenny's baits in zone 18. I talked a little about this bear in my last post. He was a little too brazen and he had to be taken out to continue baiting that site.

I want to invite people to contact me for information on guided trips with us to the beautiful Grand Lake area of New Brunswick. Ken and I will do everything we can to make your stay a memorable one!

Until next time this is Dale Bauer saying " Happy Trails to You......Until we Meet Again!"




Wednesday, May 31, 2017

HARD TIMES IN THE MARITIMES!

    I've finally found the time to sit down at the computer and write a bit after what has been a hectic,nerve-racking month. Things actually started going sour around April 15th. The Miramichi River took it's time breaking up and the first couple of days of the spring salmon season were a total write-off. A short window of opportunity opened up in the middle of the week , then rain and high water blew it out again. When the first of May rolled around we got our second freshet brought on by 60+mm. of rain. At this point, the situation went from inconvenient to serious. My pumps never shut off for two weeks and had to be checked on the hour for a blockage or break down. If a person had to deal with only this situation it would be one thing but when you have a busy life besides, it wears you down quickly. The only solice, if you could call it that, was the fact it could have been worse. This was quite evident when viewing news reports of the flooding in Quebec. Still, it was pretty bad here. I would say the water got as high as it could without causing major damage. I was literally surrounded by water on two sides and it stayed that high for weeks.This is a short clip showing water levels in Fredericton.
 The whole Grand Lake Basin was over flood levels and hundreds of  homes and thousands of people were affected. My stress level was raised considerably but all you can do is batten down the hatches and wait it out. After a while, things went back to normal and a collective sigh of relief could be heard in all the affected areas. This photo shows my front beach under water right to the top of the bank.
  Here is another photo of the 2017 flood. This is another photo
of the water at the Stewart-McLeod Park

 As you can see from these photos , this spring has been wet, cold and miserable. This cold weather delayed the start of stipers spawning in the lower Miramichi  by two and a half weeks. Last year spawning activity got going on May 12th.  One prominent salmon outfitter on the Miramichi River went on record as saying the spring of 2017 was the worst he had seen in his 17 years of operation. The worst water and weather conditions. He also confessed to having his lowest catch numbers ever. I must commend this outfitter for "telling it as it is". That being said, this outfitter's clients still caught some great fish. You just can't beat the Miramichi for trophy fishing. Here is a photo of a young lad with his catch from the Miramichi River.
 This next photo shows spawning stripers churning the water up at Millstream on the Northwest Miramichi  River.
.The spawning variance is now in place and angling is prohibited from the Red Bank bridge down river nine kilometers. Outside these boundaries, good striper fishing can still be had and two slot fish can be retained after June 15th.. The annual Striper Cup was held recently and the winning team had four fish totalling 70 lbs. The lunker striper came in at just under19 lbs. This controversial fishery continues to grow in popularity and draws fishermen from all points of the province and that can only help local businesses grow.
    The white perch and sea trout runs are just getting started in our area and the last fiddleheads in the more shaded areas are starting to peak through. This photo shows a feed of white perch from Salmon River.
The water is still unusually high and cold for this time of the year but better conditions are just around the corner. The first week of June usually sees good sea trout fishing on most rivers and streams and this is the time I like to be on the Miramichi River. The next photo shows a couple of average sized sea trout I kept for the pan.
 This next photo shows some commercial fishermen setting gaspereau nets in Grand Lake this past spring. This was weeks before the flood..Hard times in the Maritimes!
 

    The cold and wet spring slowed down bear activity at our baits but things are starting to pick up after a few warmer days. Some resident hunters have taken some nice bears already despite a slow start. A hunter from farm country in the central part of the province killed the earliest bear I heard of on a spot and stalk hunt over green fields. It was taken around the third week in April. This is very early,especially for having the cold spring this year. Kens nephew Jamie killed a nice boar yesterday when he was helping Kenny bait. This bear was quite stubborn and wouldn't move off of the bait so Jamie used one of his tags and removed him. This happens when you get a lot of competition at a bait site with multiple bears coming in. This is a real problem for guides trying to run baits quickly and efficiently while keeping one eye out for ugly bears. Things usually get resolved one way or the other. I'll talk more about this and other bear hunts in my next post.
    Ken and I have tags for zone 17 during prime time. Any sport wanting to take a bear with us just contact me through this web site or on facebook.
    This is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You......Until we Meet again!"

Friday, March 31, 2017

2017 SPRING--SLOW BUT SURE

  As I sit here looking out my window, I can't help but let out a little shiver. This spring has been slow getting started with cold temperatures clinging stubbornly to the winter side of the thermometer. At least the forecast is for more temperate weather heading into April . Most salmon fishermen are hoping for ice out before the April 15th opener. I was telling a friend that I like to see the ice go out 5-7 days before the first day. This usually allows the ice from the back waters and bogans to clear out and for the water to clear up a bit. A lot of hard core fishermen and guides will be out there come hell or high water but not this fellow. I've been there and done that when I was younger but not anymore. I know the fish will still be there when the ice clears out and I'll be able to concentrate on catching fish instead of dodging ice flows.
    I was checking some notes I kept from the past and seen that the ducks usually arrive here at home on Salmon River around the 20th of March. We are well past that date and there really hasn't been any significant change to the pond where they make their first stop on my property. That tells me I probably won't be fishing the Miramichi on the April 15th opener. I'm guessing good conditions won't arrive for at least a week later. I hope I'm wrong but things have been very slow to warm up this spring. When this happens, fishermen must make an intelligent decision when to venture out in hopes of hooking an Atlantic salmon. Invariably, I err on the side of safety and I will wait for Mother Nature to tell me when the time is right to wet a line. Here is a photo I took at the start of the season a few years ago at the bridge in Doaktown.
 As you can see from this photo, the conditions were good during the first few days of the 2008 opener. On good years, most boats are hooking fish and everyone is having a great time! Why, who wouldn't be happy to be out on the best salmon river in the world and catching the best fighting fish all day long? The spring fishery is a much more congenial sport than it's summer counterpart. Personally, I like the spring fishing better than the summer fishing. I like hooking and playing salmon and I don't think it will ever get old. I fished for years with my old friend and fellow guide Alan Davidson out of the old homestead in Carrolls Crossing and we always had a good crowd on hand. This is a photo of Alan with a nice grilse from a few years ago. 
Good fishing by day and festivities at night  with family and friends. We always had a good supper and after cleaning up a bit we would play cards for a while. If it was on a week-end, it wouldn't be long before the sound of a fiddle and a guitar would fill the big kitchen and the party was on! Oh, the times we had! Many of these fishermen are gone now, including Alan but those great memories remain and I relive them every spring. This next photo shows Glen Davidson with the turned up hat and long time Miramichi guide Leroy Arbeau Taking a break from the fishing
 

As I write this I've been thinking I will be very surprised if there is any fishing on April 15th . It could be up to a week late, depending on the weather. Either way, I'll be there waiting for that first tug of the season. We guide for all species native to our area and try to fish peak times for the best chance of success. After the spring salmon, we will be fishing for sea trout and white perch. Here is a photo of my son Curt with a white perch.
 This photo is a bucket of nice white perch that will be done up in fillets. Nothing better when rolled or dipped in batter and deep fried on the beach!
 

The spring bear hunt is coming up after the salmon fishing and we are gathering bait in earnest now. We will start baiting around the first of May and continue right on through until the end of June. Prospects are very good for taking a nice New Brunswick black bear this year. Ken and I think we have one of the best deals to be had anywhere. Please check out last months post for details on our bear hunts. Here is a photo of a nice bear at one of our baits.
 Most of our baits have at least one bear of this size. Many baits will have more than one. We are lucky to have a lot of bears in our area and Ken and I do it up right.

    I want to remind my readers that the time to apply for your non- resident moose licence is from now until April 30. Here is a link to applyhttps://3006.ca/DNRDraws/DNR_Web/DrawApplicationEnterInfo.aspx?DrawID=3&Lang=en Your chances of taking a nice bull are very high if you are lucky enough to get drawn.
Here is a photo of a nice bull taken by a friend from Minto a couple of years ago in upper Salmon River.
 This next photo is a cover of a magazine from my collection of a guide calling a moose during the war years.
 I really like the covers from the old sporting magazines and I try to pick them up whenever I get the chance. Here are a couple of recent finds.


 Check out the 1965 boat and motor deal. Cheap by todays' standard. 

Ken and I have been busy waiting for spring to break. It's hard to get motivated when there is still half a meter of snow on the ground and the river is frozen solid. I try to think positive and go with the fact it gives me more time to prepare for the upcoming season. Remember the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared". I learned it many years ago as a Cub Scout when I was just a kid and it has always served me well.

This is Dale Bauer saying "Happy Trails to You .....Until we Meet Again!"




TOO MANY SPECIES...TOO LITTLE TIME

    The weather here at home on Salmon River has finally decided to moderate and most folks are happy to see it come. Summer is officially ...