Wednesday, August 30, 2017

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER......ALL SUMMER LONG!

This summer has been the driest in recent memory. Terrific weather for beach goers and site seers but not so great for fishermen and the fish. With no appreciable amount of rain since June, things are pretty parched up to this point. All the rivers and brooks are at very low level and even Grand Lake is at a low point. Here at home on Salmon River, we are watching as all the different bars on the river are starting to show. This makes travelling above Chipman in even a small motor boat next to impossible. If you can make it to Parkhills Bar, you will likely have to walk your boat up over the bar. There are also re-deposited pieces of the bank lodged in low areas but at least most of these are sprouting vegetation and are visible. Ken and I have been taking it easy this summer and it has allowed us to do other chores that needed done. There never seems to be enough time in the run of a day so when the opportunity arises , we make the most of it. I put in a new floating dock that got some use this summer. The fire pit area on the beach needed work so I spent a day or two sprucing things up there. Unfortunately, there were many days this summer when open fires were banned. As I write this there is a partial ban in our area and the Grand Lake Basin. One positive point in this sultry summer has been an increase in tourism numbers right across the Maritimes. New Brunswickers are realizing what a unique and beautiful place we live in and many are travelling close to home or to neighbouring provinces. This is a good thing because those dollars stay here and nurture our local economies and the families that live here. Our coastline and inland river valleys are relatively unspoiled and support lush and vibrant ecosystems for people to explore and use. There are endless photo opportunities such as this one of a family of loons on French Lake at the lower end of the Grand Lake drainage.
 If my readers are interested in seeing some great photos of the area, check out Grand Lake Photography on Facebook. You won't be disappointed. The next photo is a photo taken from my beach that shows Moon Island on Salmon River in all its fall splendour.

 Fall is a beautiful time of the year in New Brunswick  and the time has never been better for visiting sportsmen to hunt here. Whether you are a U.S. citizen or from Europe, both these currency's provide an exchange rate that results in substantial savings for visiting sportsmen and tourists in general. As a matter of fact, I will go so far as to say New Brunswick gives visitors the best bang for their buck no matter what their interests may be. Please don't hesitate to contact me for details on the great deals we have on outdoor adventures in our area.

As I have already said, this has been a summer of endless days of sunshine and hardly a drop of rain. This effectively stalled the fishing for cold water species like Atlantic salmon and brook trout.The Miramichi River has had cold water closures at intervals throughout this summer and all scribes have been singing the same tune. No water and poor fishing. A good raise of water is desperately needed and until it comes, the salmon fishing will be hit or miss at best. Hopefully, we will get a gradual raise and the fish will come in spurts rather than racing to the spawning grounds and not looking at flies. I believe we will have a good fall season if we can just get some water. As the water cools with the approach of fall, the brook trout will leave the spring brooks and spread out more in the river system. This will provide some good angling until the season closes.

The lower water this summer has made for some good pickerel fishing. With their watery habitat shrinking daily, they get crowded into the good habitat that is left. This makes it much easier to find fish and that usually results in more hook-ups. A local gal, Whitley C., was fishing the lower Salmon River below Chipman and caught a few nice pickerel one afternoon. Whitley really likes fishing for pickerel and gets out every chance she can. I think the fish in the next photo is her personal best. She didn't measure it but it looks like it's 24 in.+. Here is a photo of Whitley and her trophy pickerel.
 The weed beds on the lower Salmon River right to Grand Lake provide great cover for pickerel and perch. On the rare occasion the pickerel aren't biting, you can switch to plan B and catch some nice sized yellow perch .You can also expect to hook white perch and sunfish. Lately, fishermen have been hooking smallmouth bass around the dock in Chipman. My neighbour and his son hooked and release what he estimated to be a 4 lb. smallmouth just up river from the dock.
    My son Curt and I were out the other night and caught a few pickerel. Most were average size 18-20 inches. I did get one nice one before we cut our trip short after experiencing engine difficulties. Here is a photo of Curt with an average sized pickerel.
 We only fished for about an hour and there was a chop on the water that put the top water bite off but I did land a nice one before we started for home. Here is a photo of that pickerel before being released.
 There is still some good pickerel fishing to be had. This will last until the fall rains start and the water cools off. We will then switch over to fall salmon and late season brook trout.Of course, the weather will have to co-operate and give us some water. Our brooks and rivers need it desperately! 

We may have had to deal with hot weather here at home but we are only an hour and change away from salt water. This is great because during the month of August the mackerel start running and the stripers are usually close by. Not only that but lobster season opens in Bouctouche and Richibucto at the first of August and everyone likes a fresh feed of lobster! My fishing buddy, George P., asked me if I wanted to join him on a trip to Richibucto to try and get some mackerel. I told him I thought that would be a great idea so we loaded up and were on our way.
    We landed at the wharf at about 8:AM and were ready to go in no time.
 As you can see from this photo, we were using a small boat and outboard for our ocean excursion but we picked the right day for it. The wind was very light and it was a blue bird day so we felt a little safer as we made our way out of the harbour.
 George had been out a couple of times before and the plan was to watch for seals and bird activity. This had worked for him before so we tried a couple of  spots on our way out to open water. On our third drop we hooked a couple of mackerel. We made a few more casts and George suggested we keep searching for a school. As we got closer to open water we spotted a huge flock of gulls and cormorants on the water and a couple of seals bobbing around on the edges. There happened to be buoy there so George just tied off on it. He took a cast and pumped it once and hooked three and the bite was on!
 I took a cast right behind him and by the time I pumped them in I had four on.
 And that's the way it went for the rest of the morning. We didn't have to cast. We just lowered our lines over the side of the boat and gave a couple of tugs and hauled in mackerel after mackerel. We quickly filled a cooler with nice sized mackerel.
 There is no possession limit on mackerel so George and I took enough to do us for a while. They are great eating and are good bait for stripers so it's nice to have a bunch for the freezer.
 The only down side to mackerel fishing is the mess they make. They are bleeders and if the fishing is good,  don't be surprised if you get splattered in the face a time or two! Here is a short video clip of George catching a nice string of mackerel later that morning. video It was just after noon when George and I started back to the wharf. We followed in the wake of a lobster boat as we travelled the 5-6 miles back to shore.
 It was a beautiful day and the fishing was fantastic! I think I'm going to start calling my buddy "Captain George". He handled the boat well, got us into some fish and got us back home safely. Good job Captain! 
    Although the best fishing is off shore for mackerel, the many wharves along the coast can provide some good fishing on the incoming tide and peak of tide. This is a great way for a small group to spend a relaxing day on the dock casting for mackerel and stripers. Timing is everything so a tide chart and up-to-date information on the runs is essential for success. There are lots of uncrowded spots to fish in any of the coastal communities along the North Shore and that's the beauty of it. New Brunswickers wouldn't have it any other way! 

Moose season is coming up next month and we have started to scout our areas in Zone 18. There are lots of moose in the areas we hunt and it really would be hard not to get a chance at one during a five day season. Dallas has a tag for Zone 18 this year and his brother Jamie is guiding a relative in the same Zone. They will probably hunt the same general area after they are done scouting and checking the trail cams. Kenny and Jamie got a dandy bull last year and they say there is still a bigger one in the area. Here is a picture of that bull.
 

We will start our bear baits at the beginning of the month. Most of our sites have been established for awhile but we usually start a few new sites each year just to keep things fresh. A bear hunt in New Brunswick is one of the best deals to be had anywhere. We have a good population of mature bears in our Zones and success is almost guaranteed. Chances are, if a hunter fails to use his tag, he is holding out for a real monster. Bears of this calibre are usually old boars and they can be as cagey as an old white-tailed buck. Like a big buck, many times the rut will bring the only chance at a big boar because they have a tendency to be nocturnal during the rest of the year. Ken and I still have tags available for Zone 17 if anyone wants a great hunt for a super price. Just give me a call or send me an E-mail for details. Here is a nice bear that Nils Otterpohl took last fall while hunting with us.
 

The prospects for deer hunting are a little brighter this year after two mild winters with  the snow pac at a manageable level. We have been seeing more deer this year and there are a few nice bucks around but their numbers are limited. Hard core hunters will still have a good chance at a buck if they have patience and put their time in during the rut. Timing is crucial when trying to intercept a big old buck when he gets rutting. That's about the only time he will let his guard down and a hunter must try to take advantage of that fact. Here is a photo of a big old buck that Jamie killed last year. This buck dressed out at 248 lbs. and that was after he had run some weight off. That's a nice buck in any country! If any sport would like to hunt with Ken and I  please reach out and we will do our best to make it happen.

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

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!"

DOG DAYS OF SUMMER......ALL SUMMER LONG!

This summer has been the driest in recent memory. Terrific weather for beach goers and site seers but not so great for fishermen and the fi...