Thursday, October 4, 2018

GOODBYE SUMMER......HELLO FALL!

 
Temperatures have finally started to moderate here at home on Salmon River and for most folks that's a good thing. This summer was quite dry and hot and as we ease into fall we are finally starting to get some rain and cooler nights.
    You know it's hot when even the pickerel refuse to bite and that's exactly what happened this August. Normally, we have great fishing for pickerel later in the summer but this year it was just too hot for too long. That's not to say we didn't get any fish. What I'm getting at is instead of having days of 15-20 fish, we were catching less fish, more like 6-12. I'll admit that even catching numbers like that is still pretty good fishing. It's enough to keep things interesting and keep the most ardent fishermen from getting fevered up! Pickerel fishing at this time of the year in low water conditions is something everyone should experience at least once. These fish are really aggressive this time of the year and many times the fisherman can see the fish moving quickly on the lure and quite literally parting the water in their effort to connect with the lure. I've seen more than one good fisherman strike prematurely during that initial rush instead of hesitating for a few seconds before striking. As I've said, it's pretty exciting. One particular day comes to mind as I write this. I took long time salmon guide Malcolm McCormick out for a half day of pickerel fishing a few years ago. Now old Malcolm had guided for fifty years or so on the Miramichi and Cains Rivers and had caught and landed countless salmon and grilse. By the end of the day, he told me that catching pickerel was as much fun as catching a grilse. He got quite a kick out of the savage attack of the pickerel when he got a strike. It was the first and only time old Mac ever fished for pickerel before he passed away a few years ago. Here are a couple of photos of Mac landing two of several pickerel that day.
 I liked old Malcolm and learned a thing or two about salmon fishing from him during the short time I knew him. If any reader would like to hear more about old Mac McCormick, just click on this link http://hargroveandbauer.blogspot.com/2013/10/the-bite-hunt-and-vintage-outdoor-stuff.html .

    I managed to get out a few more times with my good friend Jake Doherty before the season ended and we landed a few nice fish like this one.
 Jakes pickerel was taken near Salmon Harbour. This area has been producing some nice fish this year along with a couple of species we don't see very often. Here is a photo of me with a fish I landed late this summer.
Smallmouth bass are starting to show up in numbers as well as the odd striper. These fish are being caught while fishing for other species and I'm sure we will see more of these fish as the sport  continues to grow in our area. Here is a photo of Adam M. with a nice smallmouth he took this summer while fishing the harbour area.
 Adam also caught a small striper earlier in the year at the same location. A friend of mine who rents out his cottage on Grand Lake told me his guests were catching schoolies right off the dock. This is great news for the Grand Lake area and our fishery is only going to grow as we move forward into the future. Jemseg has been producing some nice stripers over the last few weeks. Fishermen seem to be having the best luck after dark while fishing live eels and mackerel. Here is a photo of a nice one caught last week by Captain George Palmer at 4:00AM. This striper was 37 in. and over 20 lbs. Nice fish Captain!

    I wish I could be as positive about the state of the salmon fishery but unfortunately there isn't a lot of good news to report. The only place that seems to be getting any fishing is in the lower part of the main Southwest Miramichi River. This part of the river always fishes better during years of low water and there are reports of some fresh fish coming in on the tides but many fear it is too little and too late for decent fishing up river and on the Cains. Salmon fishing has experienced a serious decline in recent years and some drastic measures must be taken or all could be lost. It has happened before. Just look at what happened to the Saint John River and other Bay of Fundy Rivers. I always look forward to fishing the Cains River in the fall but I don't think it will happen this year unless we get some water before the season ends on Oct.15th.

Our waterfowl season is well under way and Dallas and Jamie set up for geese on Parkhills Bar on the first day. They only got four geese and said that another group hunting across the river from them had about the same shooting. I don't believe in inflating numbers when it comes to hunting and fishing and our area is experiencing poor waterfowling this year. Ducks and geese must have water and the drought this year moved most of the birds in our area out to the big water around Grand Lake. If we can get some water,we may get some decent shooting for migrating northerns as the season progresses.
    There are good numbers of grouse in our area and one of our government agencies is looking for hunters to turn in hearts from birch and spruce grouse for examination to see if any Lyme disease is present. There are some woodcock around but drought conditions have made local birds a little scarce. Hunters will be looking for migrating birds as the season progresses this month.

Another moose season is in the books and although we didn't have any tags this year, we always have fun seeing how our friends and folks from away make out during their hunt. This years hunt had cool weather and a full moon which provided excellent conditions for hunting New Brunswicks' largest big game animal. The overall kill was down 8% and the registration station for our area in Chipman was down 15%. That being said, there were still some great bulls killed in our area and in the northern zones, in particular.  Here is a photo of one of the largest bulls taken this year. This trophy moose was killed by a hunter in one of New Brunswicks northern zones. It had 26 points and was 63 inches wide. That's a monster!
 This next bull was taken in Kent County which is a little closer to home. This moose had a very distinctive rack with a beautiful colour
 Last but certainly not least is another great bull harvested this season in the northern part of the province. This trophy bull had a spread of 58.5 inches.

These bulls are representative of the top tier bulls taken each year in New Brunswick. The quality of the trophy bulls taken here in New Brunswick is undeniable.
    The biggest bull registered at our station was killed by Martin Beers in zone 13 near Salmon River. Estimated weight of this old warrior was 920 lbs. His rack had 11 scorable points with boards rounded off considerably. it was felt that this old bull was going downhill but it was still a great trophy. No photo for this one but he's here on the scoreboard at number 3.
 This next shot shows the results of the 2018 New Brunswick moose hunt.
 Another banner year for moose hunters here at home and right across the province.Lets hope this trend continues into the future.

Ken and I have started setting up our deer stands and we are seeing signs that our herd is growing a bit. The southern end of Grand Lake has a thriving deer herd but access is difficult. We have been setting up on Crown land near these expanding herds with good results..As usual, bears are hard to keep off of our deer baits but we take it all in stride. Many times we find trophy sized bears at our deer baits and it's hard to consider that a bad thing. Our area is crawling with bears and it's just a fact of life you are going to get some at sites set up in archery season. Later in the deer season, the bears are starting to den and the problem isn't so severe. I will have some trail cam photos of some of the animals we will be hunting in my next post. Please check previous posts for photos of some of the quality animals we have in our area.
   I want to wish my Canadian readers a Happy Thanksgiving and if any Sport would like to hunt or fish with us, please contact me through the channels provided.

This is Dale Bauer saying " Happy Trails to You.....Until we Meet Again! ".
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Thursday, August 23, 2018

SUMMER 2018--HOT AND HUMID

    This summer was a very nice one for visiting tourists and beach goers but it was, once again, a terrible summer for fishing and many outdoor activities. If memory serves me correctly, this is back to back years of low water and hot days for sportsmen in New Brunswick. Salmon outfitters, in particular, have had an awful time of it and many are struggling to stay afloat. If not for American dollars invested in many of these camps, the damage would be much more extensive and obvious to folks who rely heavily on this influx of money during the salmon season.It's pretty hard to make any money if the river is unfishable, as it was in consecutive springs or if the river is shut down during the summer months, as it was this summer. Add the striper controversy to the weather problems and you have a recipe for disaster.After a hue and cry from the salmon establishment, the Feds finally caved in and granted a limited commercial harvest for natives on the lower Miramichi River. I think this was the right move because striper numbers have exploded and were expanding into territory that had not been seen in modern times. This habitat just happens to be historic salmon and trout pools in the upper reaches of the Miramichi River system. I just hope that this new commercial fishery doesn't go too far and ruin the new sport fishery that has developed for stripers over the last few years. Time will tell the tale on this new situation and I will be keeping my fingers crossed on this one. Here is a photo of me with a limit of stripers from this spring.
    Usually, when things warm up and the salmon fishing slows down, pickerel fishing comes on strong. Not this year. It was very hard to get a good bite going this summer because it was even too hot for the warm water species! It is mid August as I'm writing this piece and things are just starting to cool off enough to put the fish and fishermen back in the mood. Water temperatures have moderated and a nice raise of water has brought water levels back to an acceptable height on the Miramichi and here at home on Salmon River.I guided a couple of Westerners at the tail end of this hot spell and they caught a few fish but we had to work for them. Ryan G.of  Red Deer, Alberta was out for a half day with myself and a friend, Jake Doherty. I think Ryan landed three pickerel, while Jake and I added a couple more. Here is a photo of Jake with a nice pickerel.
 
Jake and I also fished the 1st Annual JDI Fishing Tournament. This tournament was held during Chipman's annual festival and was a big hit with all the participants. There were good cash prizes in several categories as well as a nice canoe for the draw prize. Jake and I landed fish in three categories but unfortunately we didn't make the winners circle. I did get drawn for a $50 gift certificate which was great. I can see this tournament really taking off in the future after the sponsors get a couple of bugs worked out. Here is a photo of two of the pickerel we registered during the tournament.

 I also landed a nice smallmouth bass during the tournament. This species has been appearing more and more in recent years and the talk is already going around that this species will be added to next years tournament. I caught this fish while jigging a worm and spinner through a deep hole looking for perch. I thought I had hooked a good white perch and was surprised when the bass exploded out of the water right beside the boat. Here is a photo of that fish.
 I also spent a nice half day on the water with a beautiful lady from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Kristin F. was here for a week and she loved her time spent fishing and site seeing on Salmon River. Here is a photo of me helping her land a pickerel after she broke off a huge pickerel that I estimated at over two feet long!
 She was accompanied by my son Curtis and he landed a couple of nice ones during the same trip. We left from my house and I joked that Curt could probably catch one right off of my shore before we left in the boat. Sure enough, after a couple of casts he brought a respectable pickerel to hand. Here is a photo of that fish.
 Later on, we fished one of the pickerel beds nearby and Curt landed a nice fish that taped out at 23.25 inches. Pickerel this size put up a great fight and it takes some skill to keep them out of the weeds and lead them to the boat. Here is a photo of that fish.
 This is a trophy sized pickerel in any waters and Curt caught a few this size while he was out. The next evening Kristin wanted to go out again because she was awestruck by the beautiful scenery and the abundance of wildlife. Curt took her out once again and he landed another good pickerel that she got a short video clip of. Another trophy sized pickerel. These sized pickerel aren't caught every time out but there are enough of them to keep things interesting. We can usually land a few and rarely strike out. Kristin thanked us and said she would return and next time she would bring her Mom and Dad. Hope to see you next year Kristin!
    Salmon River is beautiful during the summer and fall months and there are so many photo opportunities it's hard to take it all in. Here is a photo of Kristin taken on the beach near the pickerel beds she was fishing.
During the warm weather this summer, I travelled a lot during the evenings after things settled down and the temperature started to drop a bit..It was more about the scenery and visiting friends on the river than it was about the fishing but I always caught a few. Here is a short video clip I took near Stewart-McLeod Park which lies between my place and Chipman.

    Fall is fast approaching and we will soon be putting out our deer and bear baits. This is a great time to be out in the woods, scouting and setting up cameras and blinds. There seems to be a few more deer around our hunting areas and the bear population remains strong. Hopefully, the weather will co-operate and not get locked into a hot spell like last fall. The first couple of days of the moose season last year were almost unbearable and many successful hunters were left scrambling to save their meat. Preparation is the key to saving your moose meat (or any other big game animal). Get your game dressed quickly and into cold storage. If you have the option to hang your meat for a week, all the better. I find ageing the meat for 7-10 helps tenderize it and improves the flavour. Although we don't have any moose tags this year, we still have fond memories of our hunt last year with Brad Doherty and family. Brad took a nice bull and the meat was delicious! Hear is a photo of Brads bull.
 

If any sports or vacationers want to spend some time on our waters or travelling our hunting grounds in the Grand Lake area, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me. We will put a nice package together for you!

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE....

    It's been a while since I've had a chance to sit down to put my thoughts on line and that's no small wonder! This spring has been nothing short of a natural disaster for folks living on the Saint John River and in the four lakes region and, unfortunately, I was affected at my place near the head of tide on Salmon River. I was forced to leave my house and live in Chipman for five weeks after being overwhelmed by high water, combined with near gale force winds. If you have never gone through something like this, be thankful! It's not just the human component to be considered here. I have a kennel with five German Shepherds and two aquariums of fish. The dogs had to be moved and kennelled at a neighbours place and I lost one tank of salt water fish. At least there were no human causalities in this disaster and we are grateful for that. I ended up with five and a half feet of water in my basement . That level was only nine inches from the main floor. I didn't think it was ever going to stop raising. The camp had two feet of water in the main floor and had to be stripped out to the four foot level and redone. Aside from my personal collection of picked items, the camp really suffered the most structural damage.
    Although I suffered personal losses, my house and buildings are still standing and I am back at home. That's more than a lot of folks have going for them right now. With over two thousand homes in the affected area, many homes and cottages were totally destroyed or in a bad state of repair and remain unoccupied.
    The flooding started in Fredericton first and gradually made its way into the Grand Lake basin and the lower Saint John River valley. The following series of photos show the level of devastation caused by the 2018 flood.
 The communities of Sheffield and Maugerville were quick to follow with extensive flooding all along the old Trans Canada highway.
 This old church has seen a few flood events over the years.
 As you can see from these photos, the flooding was severe and widespread. Any communities located along water ways connected to the Saint John River suffered similar fates. The village of Chipman located on Salmon River was an isolated community for a couple of weeks, with only one road out of town through the Bronson woods. This next photo shows DiCarlo's store on Main Street at the height of the flood.
 The next photo shows Irving's planer mill in Chipman trying to hold back the flood waters with heavy sand bagging.
 Although this event caused a lot of damage, it was nice to see neighbours and whole communities pulling together to get the job done. There are always individuals who stand out in these situations. These people are many times just regular citizens who happen to have big hearts and a strong sense of community. One of these individuals is Marcus Harvey of the Maugerville area. With several flood events under his belt, Marcus was a strong advocate for the residents of his area on the Saint John River that were devastated by this years flood. His running dialogue on FB during the flood was both entertaining and informative. He also tried to keep peoples spirits up with his own brand of comic relief. Marcus was recently invited to old Government House at the request of the Lieutenant-Governor to be recognized for his good works during this years flood disaster. Here is a picture of him at home during the 2018 flood.
 I guess the moral of this story is " If life hands you lemons, make lemonade!"

    Even though we were all affected by this flood, we did get some time on the water to chase stripers on the lower Miramichi River. This fishery is nothing short of  phenomenal and I would encourage anyone who loves fishing to try to get a day on the water when the spawning run occurs in the spring. Upwards of one million fish run up the main stem of the Miramichi to the Red Bank/Cassillis area to complete their spawning ritual. With this many fish gathered in large schools in this area, it's pretty much a given there will be some takers. These stripers are very sensitive to water temperature and the ebb and flow of the tides.Fishermen who do their home-work should do well whether fishing from shore or on a boat.
    The first trip I took was with a group of guys from the Chipman area. George Palmer was the Captain on this outing. Leonard Lemon, Eddy Speakman, Jr. Campbell and myself rounded out the crew that day. We put in at "the enclosure" and spent the day fishing around Beubar Island. We mainly trolled but we did anchor a few times and casted to areas we thought held fish. Nearly all the fish we caught that day came by trolling along the shore line. The boys all used different baits but the top bait for the day was Savage Gear sand eels. This is THE proven go-to bait for stripers on the Miramichi. Pink seems to be a favourite colour amongst the fishing fraternity who frequent this area.The first photo shows George with a small striper.
 The next photo shows me with a small striper.

 Here is a photo of Jr. with another small striper.

 Most of the fish we caught that day were under legal size and had to be returned to the water. The next photo shows Eddy with one of the fish he caught that day. 
 Eddy is a well known sportsman who lives in Chipman and he has caught some nice stripers over the years. He has been fishing the striper waters in Jemseg, Gagetown and Grand Lake a lot and has some good success. His best striper to date was thirty plus pounds and he has caught many smaller than that. Please keep in mind that the Saint John River system usually produces bigger fish but hook-ups are way less than on the Miramichi River at spawning time. Eddy is a good guy to have on any trip because if something goes wrong,"Mr. Fix it" will have you up and running in no time. Thankfully, we didn't need any of his skills on this trip. The next photo shows Cap'n George with a keeper sized fish.
 I want to thank George for putting this trip together. It was a lot of fun and it gave me a nice break from the flood and all the extra work and stress that inevitably goes along with an event like this years disaster  Here is a photo of the fishermen who were fishing the channel that day. Everyone was catching fish.
 That's the beauty of this fishery. You don't necessarily need expensive equipment or a boat to get into some terrific fishing. I see young and old alike catching fish in many places along the shore. Another thing I noticed was that there seemed to be as many females fishing as there were men both on shore and from boats. I think that's a good thing!
    After having a great day out with George and the boys, My good friend Jake Doherty asked if I wanted to accompany him for an afternoon of fishing stripers . We debated taking a boat but in the end I suggested we just go to the Red Bank/Cassilles area and just fish from shore. I knew a few spots and Jake had never caught a striper before so he was pretty pumped at the prospect of catching some. We tried a couple of spots with no luck but then we struck gold in our final spot. Jake hooked a fish on his first cast and it was non-stop action until dark when we left.
 The fish we caught on this trip were larger, with many well within the slot limit and lots that were bigger and had to be returned. The next photo shows a couple of guys from Moncton who were fishing near us.
 The young lad on the left caught a lot of nice fish and helped retrieve lures for us a couple of times. Good job boys! Jake and I ended up with a limit of fish and the fillets were delicious! Here is a short video clip of Jake landing a striper . The next photo shows a nice limit of stripers from that trip.
 I want to mention a guide who has done a lot to promote striper fishing in his community of Red Bank and the lower Miramichi River in general. Norman Ward is considered the "go to"guy for stripers in the Miramichi. Not only does he produce fish for his clients but he freely shares a wealth of knowledge to beginners and seasoned veterans alike. Hats off to you Norman for a job well done! Here is a photo of Norman with Donna A.'s first striper.

    Chipman Fish and Game held their annual youth fishing tournament earlier this month. I was there with my grandson Jackson and a friend from Doaktown with her son Ben. This year J.D. Irving sponsored the tourney and provided a nice first prize for the draw. The complete camping outfit was worth over $2000 and was won by a young lady angler from Minto. I have to admit this was the first time I can remember getting skunked at a tournament but that's exactly what happened. None of us landed a fish. i couldn't believe it! I even moved around a bit trying to get a bite. No way! I guess that's why they call it "fishing" and not "catching". That's what I tell myself anyhow. Here is a photo of the food stand at the campground.
 The next photo shows Ben getting his prize from the JDI volunteers.

 At the same time that this tournament was being held, there was a pickerel tournament on Indian Lake which is part of the Grand Lake system. I didn't get many reports but I know that Will Redmond was top angler of the day. The three best fish of the day were all over 25 inches, with Will's winning fish coming in at 25.5 inches. That's a nice pickerel and represents the upper limit for this species in our waters. Here is a photo of Will with his winning fish.
 This isn't Will's first rodeo and he is well known in fishing circles in the Grand Lake area. Good job Will and nice fish!

    My friend Erika Betts from Princess Park recently got a picture of a turkey in the Ripples area. She also suffered the effects of the 2018 flood at her home. Erika gets some great wildlife shots and she doesn't mind if I use them as long as I give her credit for her photos.
 The next photo shows Erika with what she called a grumpy old toad. 
 Thanks again Erika Betts of Princess Park on Grand Lake. Erika is a multi-faceted artist who never disappoints, no matter what genre she expresses herself in. She does great tatoos by appointment. Don't hesitate to give her a call if you're in the Grand Lake area.

    In closing this bit of blog, I would be remiss if I failed to thank my friends and neighbours for all the help and offers to help during our recent flood event. It made our journey through this disaster a lot less traumatic and stressful. You know who you are and you know I mean it. I want to also thank folks who tried to contact me during this time frame for their patience and understanding. Things are starting to get back to normal here at home on Salmon River and our outdoor activities and my correspondence will carry on as usual.

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

GOODBYE SUMMER......HELLO FALL!

  Temperatures have finally started to moderate here at home on Salmon River and for most folks that's a good thing. This summer was...