Wednesday, December 17, 2008
As 2008 comes slowly to a close,I wanted to post a few pictures of some of the tremendous bucks killed this fall.Although we had a terrible winter last year,as you can see there were some survivors that were true trophies in anyones eyes! First of all,I would like to congratulate Steve Eldridge on his mind-blowing accomplishments both in the field and on the water here in New Brunswick.Steve is a forest ranger in the west central part of the province and in September of this year he caught the new New Brunswick record Muskie in the Saint John River.In doing so,he became the first fisherman to break the 50 in. mark.His Muskie was 52 in. long and this fish has been accepted by Musky N.B. as the new provincial record! The irony of this story is that the Dept. of Natural Resources doesn't recognize muskie as a game fish and here we have a DNR officer setting the NB record.As if that wasn't a big enough story,Steve turned around and killed a mammoth buck that is reported to score in the 190's Boone and Crockett! If his accomplishments aren't formally recognized in some way,then we as sportsmen here in this province are truly missing the boat. The other photos in this post are one of George Chase's new N.B.archery non-typical record buck taken this past fall.Now for those of you that don't know George,he was responsible for introducing our potential for trophy bucks to some very influential American sportsmen associated with White-tail Magazine back in the 1980's. George was also responsible for putting together the first book of N.B. Record Bucks.Again,we have a sportsman taking it to the next level,as George new full well what kind of a deer he needed to break the non-typical record and he absolutely shattered it! The other photo is one of a Mr. Prosser,a 75 yr. old farmer again from the west central part of the province with a huge non-typical he killed this past season.I don't know the official score,but as you can see,this buck is trophy calibre all the way. I have photos of a few typicals that were taken this past fall that are equally as impressive,but I don't have the space for them in this post. We are between seasons right now with rabbits occupying most of our hunting time,while we are getting ready for ice fishing to start on Jan.1st.We will have our fishing shacks all set up on Grand Lake and Salmon Harbour,complete with bait.Target species will be smelt,white fish.burbot and pickerel.Please give me a call or send an e-mail for more info. on any of our adventures and we will arrange your trip in no time. Ken and I,as well as our guides,would like to take this opportunity to wish our friends and sports a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,so Tight Lines and keep the wind in your face! We hope to see you all in the New Year!
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The 2008 deer season is now over and the projected kill was pretty much right on the money. The DNR had predicted a kill of around eight thousand deer and the tally is around seven thousand eight hundred,with two stations yet to turn in their numbers. The accuracy of the projected numbers means that the DNR has a good handle on what is happening with our deer herd and this translates into better management of the herd. We were blessed with a snow-fall the last day of the season and many hunters across the province hit the trail hard and were rewarded with some nice bucks for their efforts. As you can see from the photo in this post,Ken was amongst those lucky hunters to harvest a buck on the last day,actually in the final minutes of the season.Now many of you are probably thinking Kenny tracked this deer in the snow and bagged him on the trail. Not so. In the previous post I said the best way to get one of these Big Woods bucks is to wait for him to cross when he gets running around and thats just how Ken got him.Now if you know Ken at all,you know he has trouble sitting.But he played himself out the two weeks prior to the final day,so he decided to sit on a crossing where this buck had been travelling with some consistency during the season.I had told Ken that this buck would be killable when he got running and sure enough,Ken had only been there for about ten minutes and he blew his deer call and the buck walked out about ten yards from where he was standing.What a great way to end the season! The other photo is of Jamies buck he got this year.Now both of these bucks were the same age and weight,but Ken's had a little bit bigger rack,but they both were nice bucks. The biggest buck entered in the local big buck contest was two hundred and twenty -four lbs. Although this is not huge by New Brunswick standards,it is still a pretty nice buck. I'd like to congratulate all the successful deer hunters and hopefully this year our winter will be kinder to the deer and us two legged critters,too!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The 2008 deer season is slowly winding down and it has been a real roller-coaster of a season.The season so far this year has been a constant mix of warm,rainy weather mixed in with the odd cool frosty day.This constant fluctuation in the weather conditions did not help to get the deer moving and for the most part,up until the last couple of days,the deer have been in a regular pattern of feeding in the choppings and fields by night and bedding in the heavy woods and on the ridges next to the brooks during the day-light hours. A full moon last week did not help the hunting much either. Ken and I both agree that under conditions like these,a big bait pile will take a buck as easily as any other method of hunting. The photos in this post are of the Tolosky group from New York State and a picture of Glen Tucker,local meat shop owner,with a nice eleven point buck brought into the shop on Nov.15. Mike Tolosky and his extended family were up to New Brunswick for a deer hunt with us last week and it was very tough hunting. Their group managed to tag two small bucks,with `Pick`Tolosky,the family patriarch,getting his first deer in eleven years,as well as grand-son Josh getting a small buck also.Now these fine sportsmen came up here to hunt big North Woods bucks and Ken and the other guides put them on these big bucks but it just didn`t happen for them.I could go on at length about weather,the moon, last years winter and so on,but the bottom line is these big woods bucks are hard to get under ANY conditions. We have found the best way to get one of these old bucks is to sit and wait for him to make his rounds.If he`s not rutting,that could be a long wait. Unfortunately,the third week of the season was not a good week for the big bucks to be running. Now many paying Sports would have been very disappointed in the hunting last week because of the lack of movement and no doubt the Tolosky`s were also,but the difference with the Tolosky`s is they didn`t take their frustration out on the guides or the outfitters and tried to enjoy their hunt under the given conditions. Ken and I both agree that this group are not only true sportsmen and hunters,but a very nice family to boot! So I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike and his family for choosing to hunt with us and we would certainly like to hunt or fish with you boy`s again some time in the future. There has been a few nice bucks killed this week locally and I`m sure there will be some more nice one`s taken before the season ends on Saturday.The predicted deer kill is just about on the mark for this year,according to the DNR.Of course the kill is down from last year because of the brutal winter we had,but that was to be expected.It`s funny how Nature changes and can provide either feast or famine conditions according to her whims.This year was the best I have ever seen for bright Atlantic Salmon,while the spring fishery for salmon was the worst in recent memory.Next spring promises to be an excellent spring for black salmon because of the large runs of salmon in 2008,IF the weather co-operates. So as it stands right now deer,grouse and rabbits are down a bit right now and moose,bear and salmon are up in numbers.Whatever species you are after or if you would like a soft eco-field trip,please contact me and I will arrange to get you out there in our great North Woods and experience the beauty of this great province we live in.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
The first week of the rifle deer season is done and by all accounts the tally was down a bit from last year,but there were still a few nice bucks taken.One meat shop in Fredericton reported a very slow start to the season,but at the same time a shop record was broken for the heaviest buck,at two hundred and seventy-three lbs.Ken and I have been really travelling the bush and although we are seeing enough huntable bucks,there is a definite shortage of younger age deer.Most of the sign we are seeing is of larger animals and this falls in line with what I had predicted earlier this spring,that our brutal winter last year took a toll on the younger deer.They are just not as strong and they cannot forage well with the bigger animals.It's just natures way of ensuring the stronger breeders perpetuate the species.Ken and I flagged a couple of deer just as we were locking our guns up last nite on our way home and I bumped a monster buck first thing this morning,just as I was leaving the truck.This buck wasn't spooked bad because the wind was with me and I wasn't making a lot of noise.He just trotted away from me.He didn't blow or flag me,so he wasn't spooked.I tried my darndest to spot him,but I just couldn't pick him out of the stuff he was in.I had found this deer's track earlier in the week,after not noticing his track at first.The reason I never noticed was because I thought it was a calf moose track! This buck was crossing in the same spot as a bunch of moose and I thought he was one of them.That's how big this buck is! I told Kenny that this is the biggest deer track I have ever seen in my life and Ken said he had to agree,as he said he had only seen one other track that compared to this buck.When bucks get to this size,they are very hard to kill.The hunter must do everything exactly right or you will miss your opportunity.These big bucks are not like their younger counter-parts.They just don't make the mistakes that a younger deer does.But when they get running,they will make mistakes and the hunter must be ready to capitalize on the opportunity when it is presented.Ken and I are also seeing a lot of moose,including some real trophies.I saw two cows this week and Ken saw four,including a bull with about eighteen or twenty points.There seems to be about the same amount of hunters out in the woods,with maybe a few more migrant hunters from the northern part of the province.Last year we had a pretty good crop of deer,so naturally we have a few more hunters in our area looking to take a deer.Many times these hunters come under strong criticism,but they don't have a huntable herd in their home territories and these Frenchmen love to hunt.So until our government figures out what to do with this situation,we all have to learn to share the crown land so we can all enjoy this great sport of deer hunting.I'll be making more posts as the season progresses,so Good Luck to all the hunters out there and hunt safely.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
The 2008 deer season is fast approaching and Ken, Jamie,Dallas and myself have been scouring the woods in our hunting areas looking for big buck sign.We are seeing lots of sign and there doesn't seem to be any shortage of nice bucks around.These big woods bucks are very sensitive to human activity and Ken and I found this fact out the hard way.After seeing a buck open a scrape in one of the breeding areas,we decided to load up the area with bait,thinking we could eventually entice that buck to come in for a snack.Well,guess what.That buck wouldn't come near that site again after we set it up.But you can tell by the trail cam photos,we had a visitor.An unwelcome visitor at this time of the year.Now this is a nice bear,but that's not what we are looking for right now.Ken and I have never used trail cams before to try and get photos of some big woods bucks,and its proving to be quite a challenge.These bucks typically travel over quite a large area and its much harder to get them pinpointed for a photo.That's why most trail cams are set up on a food source.We now realize we need multiple trail cams in order to even begin covering some of the areas we hunt.Again,these bucks are covering an area of at least four or five square kilometers and you have to cover large areas of forest to figure out where they live and how they travel.We have most of our areas all figured out,but it's called hunting and you have to cover a lot of ground when hunting these brutes of the North Woods.If any readers are familiar with the Benoit's of Maine and their style of hunting,then their style can be seen to be very similar to how we hunt the big woods up here in new Brunswick.Ken and I feel we have a real advantage when hunting these big bucks because we know our areas so well,we can predict with some certainty where these bucks will be travelling.I will try to post on a more regular basis if I can in the coming weeks.I hope to have some nice deer to show in the coming weeks,so stay tuned!
Just a short post to show the readers of this blog one of the grilse I got during the last ten days of the season.This fish is showing the typical fall colors of a bronze body with red spots.Summer fish typically are a silver color with black spots.Notice the large kype or hook to his bill.This is a sure sign that the spawning ritual is coming very soon. Tight lines to all and you can look forward to a spring salmon season like we haven't seen in years,providing the weather co-operates!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Ken and I have been in the bush or on the river nearly every day for the last month or so.And we've been having some great fun,while working away at placing stands and tending baits.We had a very good shoot during our opener for ducks.The boys managed to get a mixed bag of ducks,as well as three geese.We had one new shooter,a young lad from Fredericton,and he said he's hooked.He had a great time watching Jamie's Golden Retriever,Whisky,working the wind while picking up the birds he got.That Whisky dog is really starting to come on strong.He's really got the hunt in him and sometimes that can be hit or miss with Goldens,but Whisky's got it.We haven't bothered much with partridge yet,their numbers are down a bit,but after the leaves drop,they will be easier to see and we'll start seeing a few more when we are out.The photos in this post were taken at one of our sites in the Gaspereau River country.Ken and I were in to take some bait and we were quite surprised to see some scrape activity taking place already.This is rather early for the bucks to be opening scrapes,but Ken said he had seen some rubs on some alders at another site,so I guess they are starting early this year,by about two weeks.We were expecting to see some heavy rutting activity in this area,because last year it was tore all to pieces,but this is definitly early rutting sign,even though it's just been opened up.As soon as Ken spotted that print in the middle of the scrape,he immediately said that this was the"Snow-peaks Buck".I asked him how he knew it was that buck and he proceeded to explain the convoluted network of trails that brought him to this spot,from the place where Ken had seen him last year,about a quarter mile away.Ken could tell by my expression that I wasn't totally convinced of his conclusions,especially since I feel there are at least three good bucks in this area.So Kenny was adament that I set up a scoutguard trail cam to see if we could get a photo to prove or disprove Ken's theory.I really have reservations about mucking around in some spots and this is one of those spots.But I gave in and we mounted it,so we'll see what happens.Some of our sites are set up with salt and bait,while others are not. It just depends on the stand location and usually if its a spot where the deer are passing through a relatively open area and kind of wandering across a wider area,we don't bother with bait,because there is plenty of time to get set up for the shot.In areas that are more closed in,we like the bait because it stops them up and provides a good shot.Ken and I like to have two sites for every hunter.This is almost a must because sometimes things can happen to cause a stand to go dead,so our hunters can just move on to the next one.All of our stands are placed on known crossings that have at least one trophy size buck frequenting the area.We are using a variety of stands,but one thing we try to do is make sure our sports are comfortable and safe.Being comfortable and set up properly is the key to being able to make the shot when it presents itself.Getting back to that "Snow-peaks Buck",Ken says he is quite grey in the face and has at least ten ivory-tipped points on a nice dark chocolate rack.One of our lucky hunters is going to take this deer,but I don't know if it will be at this location,but hopefully the trail cam will get us some more info.on this great trophy,as well as some of the other great bucks we are setting up for,including one that has some real potential on the Boone and Crockett scale.One of the seasoned DNR officers,a guy with twenty-five years experience,says this buck has the biggest rack he has seen in his life!If this early rut activity continues,our group from NY State is in for the hunt of a life time,as their hunt will fall right in the thick of things.So get geared up and ready for the Big Woods and all the trophy animals that our area of New Brunswick has to offer.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Once again New Brunswick moose hunters have had a very successful season.Although the season is quite short at three day's,the weather leading up to the hunt was perfect.The temperature dipped down to the freezing mark for three days leading up to the hunt and this seemed to have triggered those big bulls into the rutting mode.I was very pleased to see some great bulls harvested this year,even though we were shut out of tags.Ken travelled to his cousins place to help them on their hunt and they harvested a young four pt. bull.Although their moose did not measure up to the one's in the photo's in this post,their moose will be great eating.As I told one hunter who was registering a young bull,any moose is a good moose,during this short hunt.Moose cover large territories and they can be here today and gone tomorrow,especially when all the hunters head for the woods at the same time while setting up their camps.Some hunters concentrate on one area and sometimes one specific moose,while others try to cover as much ground as possible in a short time.Both methods have advantages and disadvantages and the two moose shown in the photo's were each taken by the two different methods,so as you can tell by the size of these trophies,both ways of hunting work well at times.The large eighteen pt.on the trailer was taken by Ben Caissie of Bronson.Steven, if you are reading this out there in B.C.,your Dad was one happy camper after downing this great animal.This is not the first trophy bull old Ben has knocked over,along with pleny of nice deer through the years.Ben told me his last bull weighed in at eleven hundred lbs.and he thought this one would rival that bull in weight.But the DNR no longer weighs the moose when they are registered.They apply a formula by taking a measurement of the nose and estimate the weight of the moose.Sometimes this method does get a good estimate,but in Ben's case,he figures DNR's estimate fell short at seven hundred pounds.I have to agree with Ben.This was one very large bull!The bull pictured in the half-ton truck was taken by Phillip Roy of Minto.This bull is a true trophy,with a great rack that wiil take its place of honour on Phillip's camp wall beside the mount of a tremendous buck he took a few years back.These two fine bulls are just a sampling of the trophies taken in the first two days of the season.I saw at least four other bulls of this calibre on the first day of the hunt while making the short drive from Chipman to Doaktown.Although there is some controversy each year about the native hunt,which usually takes place the week before the regulated hunt,DNR has managed to increase our moose herd to the point where their numbers are starting to become a nuisance in some areas.According to Sterling C.,our liason man at DNR,there were approximately twenty-five moose registered at the cache in Chipman this season.So a tip of the hat to our NB DNR for doing a tough job and making it work. On a different topic,we are getting the rain we have been waiting for,but I don't think we needed quite that much.This will move the fall salmon up the rivers and will provide some great angling opportunities in the coming weeks.We have a large group coming in for the duck hunt on Oct.1 and we should have some good shooting by the looks of things.It seems our grouse numbers are down this year.I predicted our prolonged cool wet spring would take a toll on the chicks and it appears to have done so.But there will still be enough around to provide some good shooting,so don't let the lower numbers stop you from getting out there.Ken and I have been seeing some really good buck sign while setting out baits and placing stands.If the weather stays good,it should be a banner year for those big old Northern Whitetails.Ken and I can hardly wait to get our sports out there to knock over some of these big boys that usually just perish in the big woods and are never seen again. Until next time,keep the wind in your face and go slowly! We hope to see you out there soon!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
At the risk of boring some readers,I must say this has been one heck of a year for our Atlantic salmon.It has been non-stop action for most of the season so far this year,and the fall run of fish has arrived on time.Some of the old-timers had voiced concern over the fact that the water has stayed good all summer and they feared that all the fish had entered the system and there would only be a trickle of fall fish.Not so! As I write this post,there are literally thousands of salmon,many of which are over twenty pounds,entering the Miramichi River and its tributaries.I just arrived home after a great trip with two close friends and we were not disappointed.Stafford B.of Storytown and good friend and fellow guide Allen D.of Chipman and myself had a great time raising fish and losing some,as well as landing a couple.Stafford landed a beautiful grilse,silver and fresh from the ocean.After the fish have been in the river for a while,they will start to darken down,so if you get one that is silver in color,you know it is a fresh one!I hooked and released a nice salmon of twenty lbs. and raised another half dozen fish that just wanted to take a look.Allen also had a few come up for a look,but they can be quite fussy about what they will take.Most of the action has been on small black bear hairs and large bombers fished dry.This is where your guide can make the difference in your sucess or not.The water conditions dictate fly size and pattern,and your guide should be able to assist you with your fly selection so you can increase your chances of a strike.But these fish can be very frustrating!.Can you imagine having giant Atlantic salmon jumping and rolling all around you in the pool and not getting a strike? Get used to it! It happens all the time,but with persistence and lots of patience,after a while a fisherman will be rewarded with a strike from the greatest fighting fish in the world! I have to laugh when someone starts comparing the different game fish and their fighting abilities.There is no fish that swims in fresh water that can fight like an Atlantic salmon.Period. That being said,the lowly chain pickerel provides many more hook-ups and I can honestly say I enjoy fishing for them almost as much as salmon,just because you are almost guaranteed to see some action. With a change in the air and fall slowly creeping up on us,we are getting our fire-arms ready and we are starting to do some serious scouting for big-game.My neighbor across the river held his hunt for field geese and his group harvested twenty-two geese.This is less than last years hunt at forty-eight,but they still had a good hunt.Although we have no tags for moose this year,my buddy George P. practically begged me to come to his moose camp and call for him! Don't worry George,we'll be out to visit you and I'll bring along one of the best callers around,Allen D. Allen was taught to call by an old-timer,Bob McBeth.Old Bob is gone now,but he taught Allen all he knew before he passed on and Allen in turn taught me how to call.I will have to talk more about Allen's exploits in the bush on a later post,but I will tell you Allen's biggest buck dressed out at three hundred lbs. Allen likes to take them in the neck and that's just what he did with this buck as it was running away from him looking back as it ran down an old logging trail.Allen is an excellent guide and a very good friend and I will be talking more about him in the coming weeks.The birds are starting to flock up and the bucks are starting to lose their velvet and are getting their hard horns.We will continue to make trips to the Miramichi for salmon,but we are also starting to set up for those big North Woods bucks,so keep posted aned give me a call or shoot me an e-mail for more information on what is happening in our beautiful part of New Brunswick!
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The last couple of weeks we have continued to fish for salmon and sea trout on the S.W.Miramichi.The river and its tributaries are staying on the high side,but this has provided plenty of water for the fish to run in.This has brought fish in such numbers that one of the more knowledgable guides on the river,Donny B.of Storytown,says that he has never seen salmon in these numbers in his entire life on the river.Many of the old river rats up and down the Miramichi are echoeing these sentiments.It is seasons such as these that prove once again that the Miramichi River is the most productive Atlantic Salmon river in the world.Although the river is full of salmon,hooking one can be difficult.I was with a group of six who fished below Big Hole Brook one day last week and the only one of the group to hook a fish was one of the guides.Now for those of you who are not familiar with Big Hole,it is considered one of the best pools on the Miramichi.There are upwards of five thousand salmon laying in at any given time and we had fish jumping and rolling all around us,but we could not get a strike! Atlantic Salmon seem to have a mind of their own when it comes to getting them to take. It can be extremely frustrating for fishermen not used to the elusive nature of these fish,but patience and perseverence usually pay off eventually.One poor guy I spoke with said he had fished bright salmon for years without hooking one and had quit fishing them for ten years and was back at it again,still waiting for that explosive strike that only an Atlantic Salmon can provide.There are still some nice sea trout around at the mouth of the brooks that provide some relief for those with the fishing itch.One of the nice bonuses of the rainy weather we have been having is the abundance of wild mushrooms springing up.The photos in this post are of some delicious Chanterelle mushrooms.By themselves or as a side dish,these mushrooms are amongst the best that nature provides.Ken and I make a point of harvesting several varieties of mushrooms as they become available.Besides Chanterelles,we also pick Meadow mushrooms or pink caps and Morel mushrooms or more correctly,false Morels.These mushrooms must be fried up crisp to get rid of any toxins that may upset some stomaches.I have never experienced any problems with wild mushrooms,but caution must be used when harvesting them.Go with someone who knows their mushrooms and follow the cardinal rule of mushroom picking,"Never pick or eat a totally white mushroom".By following this rule you will avoid contact with the deadly Destroying Angel mushroom.Eating even a small amount of this mushroom can prove fatal.Besides a bumper crop of mushrooms this year,the blueberries are hanging like grapes and the apple trees are hanging heavy with fruit. Mother Nature has provided a silver lining in all those rain clouds and I would encourage everyone to get out and about and take advantage of all the bounty she has so generously provided.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
We have been getting a nice mix of weather lately,with enough rain to keep water levels up and the temperature cool enough to keep the fish biting.We have had some great day's on the water lately.I had the pleasure of guiding Art Barthe of Hamilton,Ontario and his lovely girl-friend,Liz the other day and Art showed his fishing prowess under trying conditiond. We had a recent raise of water and sometimes when fishing pickerel in these conditions,they can be difficult to hook.But Art rose to the occasion,as can be seen in the photo in this post. He lost a couple of other fish right at the boat before a monster broke him off and took all his terminal tackle. I got him rigged up and going and we finished out the day with a couple more hook-ups before packing it in. Liz really enjoyed the boat ride and was fascinated with the amount of wildlife she was seeing.I have guided Art a couple of times previously,once with his son,and we have always done well hooking and releasing large pickerel in Salmon River. Art and Liz only stayed in the area for a short time because he had family commitments and he wanted to show Liz some of the attractions down here on the east coast. But Art assured me he would be back again soon and he promised he would be making some more time for the great fishing we have in our area.Hope to see you again soon Art and Liz! Any readers wanting a day or week on the water,just give me a call. I can just about guarantee you will have some great fishing! Tight Lines.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
We have been fishing salmon on the Miramichi R. for the last couple of weeks and Ken asked if I wanted to try the mouth of a spring brook on Salmon R. for some brook trout.Old Wes loves a feed of trout and we try to catch him a feed or two each year.So Ken and I struck out last evening,hoping to hook a few trout.Now,we knew that this spot held salmon and grilse back in the glory day's of the 80's,but the salmon stocks on our Salmon River were devistated along with the rest of the rivers emptying into the Bay of Fundy with the advent of the salmon farms in the Bay.So imagine our surprise when Ken hooked and landed a grilse,as well as losing another in the short time we were there.Of course,Ken's grilse was released no worse for the wear,but we were both surprised and happy to see these fish laying in at this brook.I did a little research after i got home and discovered that the Bay of Fundy rivers are getting some good runs of fish this year.This does happen fairly often when you have poor water conditions one year,the next year if the water is good,a good run of fish will follow.Salmon River traditionally had runs of four to eight thousand fish through the counter at the Castaway before disaster struck in the 80's.Ken and I are hoping that the DFO will solve this ongoing problem in the Bay of Fundy and we will once again return to the glory day's when salmon fishermen lined the pool's of Salmon River,hoping to hook one of these great fighting fish! Till next time,....Tight Lines!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
It has been really hot the last few day's,so we have been doing our salmon fishing very early in the morning and finishing early in the day.The salmon have been active from day-break until around lunch-time.Then it starts to warm the water up and the fishing gets tough.I managed to land a nice little grilse yesterday after a few days of rolling them and watching them jump all around us.Today I rolled a salmon twice on two casts,then rolled a grilse that also refused to take the fly. Tomorrow we will be fishing smaller flies,hoping to entice a fish into taking.If that doesn't work,I'm going to try some Bombers fished dry. The photo in this short post is of me with my grilse on the main SW Miramichi above Doaktown. Hope to have some more photos to follow soon.Until next time,Tight Lines!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Although we are experiencing a small heat wave right now,the fishing has been fantastic because of the raise of water last week. The Miramichi and all it's tributaries have a very good run of salmon and grilse going this week and it's looking like it will be a very good year for our beloved salmon. No wonder sportsmen from the U.S. and all over the world have been flocking to this area for decades to try and catch one of these great fighting fish! But don't let anyone tell you it's easy to catch an Atlantic Salmon.It can be sometimes,but usually not,even in good conditions and with fresh fish in the system. The photo in this post is of Donna Aguillon from Chilliwack,British Columbia.Donna loves to fish salmon and trout and I guided her yesterday while she fished the Main Southwest Miramichi.Although she was fishing open water during optimum conditions,she had a half-mile of prime water all to herself. Many outfitters emphasize the fact they have access to private pools,but the fact of the matter is they fish as much open water as they do private.Although she had fish jumping and rolling all around her,Donna could not get a strike.Not willing to admit defeat,I suggested we take a look at the mouth of a spring brook right in the middle of Doaktown. Sure enough,right there in the middle of the village at the mouth of the brook there was a pod of sea-run brook trout,with a large salmon laying down from the trout.After watching them for a bit,I noticed one would rise up and snatch a fly off the surface and settle back down into the pod. I tied on a large brown and white bomber for Donna and she proceeded to catch four nice sea-trout before all the action put them down.Usually the fish must be rested before they will take again and this was the case yesterday.But by that time it was getting quite warm,so we called it a day and finished off with a nice tour of the area. This is not the first time that these beautiful trout have saved the day after being frustrated by the elusive Atlantic Salmon. Along with all the wildlife Donna saw,including moose,eagles,ducks and lots of pilated woodpeckers,she had a great day on the Miramichi. We are also seeing a lot of buck sign while scouting for our deer hunters.This time of the year,the bucks are travelling together and we were surprised to see as many as four big bucks running together in one of our areas. Ken and I both believe it will be a banner year for taking one of these huge Northern Whitetails. The resident moose draw was just held and again the controversy over the draw is running rampant. Although the DNR has tinkered with the system to try and make it fairer,there are still many residents who have been applying for twenty plus years and have yet to be drawn.Hopefully,sometime in the near future,a system will be in place that will allow these unlucky hunters at least one tag in their lifetime. I believe a non-resident has a better chance of being drawn for a tag under the present system than a resident,so do not be afraid to apply if you are a non-resident looking for a moose hunt. All in all,this is shaping up to be a great year for wildlife and the sports who are out there pursuing the abundant fish and game we have in our area. Hope to see you all soon!
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
So far this month,June has not disappointed the sportsmen here in the Grand lake area. There have been some really good runs of fish in the local rivers and streams. There are reports of bright fish arriving on the Miramichi River system,with salmon and grilse being hooked up and down the river from Blackville to Boistown. Again this year,the sea-trout run in the Miramichi and it's famous tributary,the Cains River,has been nothing short of fantastic.Many observers say that the run of huge brook trout up these two rivers has been increasing each year,especially since restrictions have been placed on the harvesting of these special trout. I'll say it again"Conservation does Work!" I'm old enough to have seen both sides of this coin,having fished both of these rivers with my uncles and brothers back in the days when it was all hardware and live bait,with no size restrictions. Today,most sportsmen cringe whenever I mention this fact,but it was simply the times.We didn't know any better. Today I'm happy to say that we have a good balance of conservation of the resource,as well as recognizing the fact that sportsmen should be allowed to keep at least one fish for the grill or the wall.It's a win-win situation. By all accounts,the spring bear season was a very sucessful one for all sports participating in this hunt.New Brunswick is crawling with bears and each year harvest targets are not filled just because not enough hunters are participating.There is very little interst in bear hunting by local sportsmen and the outfitters are scarcely putting a dent in the population,so the numbers basically fluctuate up or down based on the bounty provided by Mother Nature. I had my son and another young lad out last night for some fishing on Salmon River.We caught a dozen or so pickerel over twenty inches,as well as white and yellow perch. We had a ball! There was lots of wildlife around with ducks and geese leading around newly hatched little ones. We also spooked a nice deer on the island when we stopped for a break. Eagles and osprey were soaring by,marsh hawks were floating over the islands looking for a snack and beavers and muskrats were zig-zagging back and forth on the quiet evening water. Ken and I really enjoy going after big pickerel.They are considered a trash fish by many of the purists in this part of the country,but on those lazy hot days of summer when the salmon and trout are laying in and won't take,the pickerel will many times attack a surface bait like torpedoe just under the surface. This is great fun for sports who want some action instead of beating the water over fish that will not take. The picture in this post is one of Ken and young Ivan R. with their catch of brook trout at the mouth of Pleasant Brook.Although Ken is a bachelor,with no children of his own,he really gets a kick out of taking young people out on an adventure and seeing the excitement of them gettin into some good hunting or fishing. We ended up with some nice trout for the pan and old Wes had a nice feed for supper. It was a day of smiles all around and memories for a lifetime. Hope to see you all out and about in our great outdoor world sometime in the near future!
Saturday, June 7, 2008
This past week there has been lots of fishing action on the rivers in this area. Salmon River and Gaspereau River have seen a nice run of brook trout and the shad and white perch are at the peak of their run up the Salmon River.On the Miramichi River,the sea-trout are starting to run and the Rocky Brook salmon are being hooked below Doaktown by some of the guides,who are fishing while waiting for the main runs to enter the river. Jamie and friend Randy-Michael were out for a couple of evenings this past week and limited out both nights. The white perch in Salmon River will school up at the mouth of the brooks and in the deep holes and the boys took full advantage of this fact.All their fish were of an average size,just right for some tasty fillets. Ken and I took two young lads from Brigg's Corner into the mouth of Pleasant Brook for a day's fish for brookies and the boy's did quite well,catching a limit of nice sized brookies for the pan. The boy's really enjoyed themselves,even though it's quite a hike in to the mouth of the brook. I took the fly rod and hooked and released about a dozen trout,while the boy's used spinning gear and worms to catch their fish. The flies are especially bad this year. Some of the old-timers say this is because of all the high water we had this year.Bug jackets or head nets are recommended if you are fishing or hunting this time of the year. The fishing is hot right now,so get out there and get in on this great fishing! Oh,and by the way,take a kid with you when you go on your adventure.Someday he or she will thank you for it.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Jamie and Kenny decided to try and take a bear this spring and they both managed to get their game early in the season and at about the same time. We have one bait site that has been hit by several bears and it has been quite a chore just keeping the site baited. The bear track in the previous post was taken at this site and it was of a very large bear. The bear that Kenny took over this bait is not the bear that made this track,but Ken's bear would still be considered a nice spring bear. Jamie had not killed a bear before and just wanted to take a bear,any bear. Jamie got his bear about a quarter mile from the bait site in a clover field about the same time Ken killed his. Although Jamie's bear is a small bear,it was his first and he was happy to get it. The boy's had a small celebration after the hunt and with the help of some friends ,including a couple of college age girls,they managed to nearly eat one of the bears before the skinning was done! These guy's do a great job doing up their meat and all hands agreed that the meat was fantastic. Although Ken and Jamie like taking large animals as well as anyone,they were raised up as meat hunters and they will gladly take a good eating animal when the opportunity arises. A young bear makes for some good eating,being similar in taste to pork ,but with a little gamier taste. Many times it is the handling of the game that makes the difference when it comes time to eat and Ken is an expert at handling game after the kill. I have never had a bad piece of meat that was handled by Ken and I don't expect I ever will. We still have some monster black bear hitting some of our sites,but you have to be patient with these bigger,more mature animals.They are just a little spookier than their younger counterparts,but sooner or later they will make a mistake. The boy's also got some nice brook trout and had some great fishing for white perch that have been running in Salmon River. Jamie and Randy Micheal both got their limit two nights in a row.If you have never had white perch fillets,you don't know what you are missing! They are absolutely delicious! I will post some photos of their fishing success in the next post. Ken and I are continually scouting for big Northwoods bucks and there are lots of them around from what we have been seeing this spring. Some hunters were concerned about the large snow pack we had this year,but Ken and I are happy to report that many of the big bucks in our hunting areas have survived the winter and are in good shape. I had predicted that the larger animals would fare better than the younger ones and this has proven to be true from our observations. So the outlook for all outdoor activities in south-central New Brunswick is very positive and I would encourage anyone looking for a good day or week in the bush or on the water to give me a call or send me an e-mail and Ken and I will get you out there and on the game!
at May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Things are starting to green-up here in central New Brunswick and that means the bears are out in the fields eating grass and sniffing around. There is certainly no shortage of big bears here in our area.The photo in this post is of one of three large boars visiting our baits in three different locations. I saw a nice bear of about 300 lbs. on a moose kill beside the 123 highway between Chipman and Doaktown the other day while travelling back from the Miramichi River. Good friend George P. told me he watched a large boar chase a smaller one off of the flat on the Gaspereau River across from his camp. One of the young lads I had working for me cleaning up after the flood said he walked out the logging road behind his house with his B.B. gun to try and get some squirrels,when out walks Mr. Bear about 50 yards from him! The kid said he turned and ran back to the house and never looked back! Speaking of the flood,this years freshet was the highest since 1973.The damage to property along the Saint John River /Grand Lake watershed will be in the tens of millions of dollars. I had extensive damage in my basement and it had to be completely gutted. We relocated to Carroll's Crossing on the Miramichi River for the last three weeks. We were over there anyway for the spring salmon fishing,but that didn't diminish the fact that it was a very difficult transition. I'm really glad to be back home and not living out of a duffel bag. I did a lot of travelling back and forth through the bush while staying at Carroll's,and I was seeing game every time I was out. Moose were running around everywhere and deer were out grazing on the sides of the roads. Lots of small game, too. The spring salmon season is done and the sea trout are just getting started. By all accounts,this spring salmon season was a poor one in comparison to recent ones. A prolonged run of ice and then high dirty water that stubbornly stayed that way for a couple of weeks made for hard fishing this year.But there should be a good run of sea trout this year as this fishery continues to improve. Although Ken and I have been very busy tending bear baits,we have also been placing salt and mineral blocks at our stand locations for deer. We were really happy to see that most of the big bucks we had scouted last year survived the winter in good shape. We have been seeing some really nice buck sign in all the areas we hunt,so there should be some nice racks running around next fall. I would encourage any readers to contact me if you would like to spend a day or a week in the woods or on the water here in beautiful New Brunswick. You can be guaranteed to take home memories to last a lifetime!
at May 22, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Spring has finally arrived here in New Brunswick and by all accounts,none to soon! Salmon River is open except for Salmon Harbour and the Miramichi River has some open spots and the locals are catching a few salmon from shore,but all the ice hasn't run ,so it isn't safe for boating yet. There are a couple of new regulations for fishing spring salmon,one being barbless only fishing.This is probably a good thing as it will save some of the larger fish from being exhausted and dying after release.The other rule change is a maximum of ten fish hooked and released per day. This is also a change welcomed by the guides and outfitters alike because many sports were coming back to camp after a great day of fishing,catching maybe a dozen fish and talking to their buddy or another guest who has caught and released say tweny fish and feeling disappointed. It was turning into a numbers game instead of a great fishing experience and Atlantic Salmon fishing is definitely not a numbers game. These fish are hard to catch and it was putting unnecessary pressure on the outfitters and the guides were getting very frustrated with the situation.This should help to put things back in their proper perspective and make for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved.Ken and I have been very busy putting out salt and mineral blocks for the deer that Mike T.and his group from N.Y.State and our other guests will be hunting next fall.We are also getting ready to put out our baits for the spring bear hunt. The photo in this post is a bit unusual,but true to form.It shows my younger brother having a little New Brunswick sushie on the famous Caines River while on one of his many trips fishing for sea-run brook trout.Tim love three things in decending order of importance.Beer,women and fishing. He certainly was an accomplished fisherman.I'm not really too nostalgic,but each year at this time I think of him fishing the lower Newcastle Stream for big trout coming up from Grand Lake and picking many pounds of fiddleheads to sell locally. Tim wasn't really much of a hunter.He didn't have that agressive streak that it takes to be a good hunter.In many ways he reminded me of an old woman in the woods.I guess that woman would be our grand-mother Boyd.She was a kind,gentle soul who could tell you anything about the local plants and animals,as well as local woodcraft.Tim was a lot like that. I miss him. On a lighter note,the numbers of fish and game in our area have never been better in recent memory and Ken and I are looking forward to having many memorable days afield in the coming months. We hope to see you all soon!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Winter is slowly winding down for another year here in New Brunswick,and none too soon! This year it seemed as if we were getting a storm every second day. The northern half of the province bore the brunt of the snow storms we had,with some areas piling up snow banks ten or twelve feet high. This does not bode well for the deer herd up north,with the deer biologist's predicting heavy losses in the northern reaches of the province. We are very lucky to have escaped the worst of this severe winter weather and the damage it does to the deer herd. The weather we had this winter affected the amount of ice fishing on the Grand Lake system.It kept even many of the die-hard fishermen home,but not all of them.In the photo for this post is one of those dedicated ice fishermen who refuses to be forced to stay at home. Louis L. from Rogersville has been retired for several years now and has routinely travelled back and forth from his home in Rogersville to Chipman and to the province of Quebec for the ice fishing.Now the trip from Rogersville to Chipman is around one hundred kilometers each way and Louis was making the trip two or three times a week. Why? Because we have some of the best fishing in the whole country,let alone the province. I said to Kenney the other day that we really don't appreciate the fantastic hunting and fishing we have in our back-yard. Louise has been fishing about five hundred meters from where Ken and I live,so I guess that would qualify as fishing in our back-yard. How good is the fishing? Well,as you can see from the photo,Louis has forty or fifty yellow perch that he caught in a few hours,and Louis does this each time he goes out. He is also catching chain pickerel,although he isn't targeting this species. Thats pretty good fishing in my book. The limit for yellow perch is one hundred per day and I can personally guarantee any sport can catch a limit any day of the week,during the summer season. As a matter of fact,I'm so sure of this fishery that I can say that any sport who books a fishing trip with us during the summer and doesn't catch a limit of perch will get to go again,for FREE! How's that for a deal? Although I'm talking specifically about yellow perch,the fishing is also excellent for chain pickerel,white perch and shad,when they are running,regular brook trout and sea-trout and of course Atlantic Salmon. The spring salmon fishing on the Miramichi is nothing short of world class! It's the only time of the year when you can routinely hook and release dozens of these mighty fish. Of course there are some days better than others,but overall it is still a fantastic fishery that can only be found in this part of the world.You can catch other species of salmon in other places ,but not the elusive Atlantic salmon with such consistency.If any of you sports would like to experience any of this fishing,single species or multiple,just contact Ken or myself and we'll have you hooking up in no time!
Monday, March 10, 2008
Whenever someone askes me what was the biggest buck I ever killed,I always say it was a nine point buck that dressed out at 230 lbs. Now that is a pretty big buck even for our standards up here in New Brunswick,but as you can see from the photo in this latest post,I've killed deer with much better head gear than the deer I always say is my biggest.The horns are big enough for entry in the New Brunswick record book as a non-typical.But that buck only dressed out at 192 lbs. and I never think of it as my biggest buck. I've killed several bucks that dressed out over 200 lbs. and I even threw the horns away on some of them because I just considered them to be average 7 or 8 pt. racks. So I guess it's safe to say that quite a few hunters consider the dressed weight of their bucks as the guage as to whether its a trophy or not. The 17 pointer that I'm holding was killed in Coal Creek, 7 kms. north of the Pioneer Lodge.This was and still is a great area for large white-tail bucks. There have been a couple of Boone and Crockett bucks killed in this area,both typicals and non-typicals. Old Charlie M. of Coal Creek has killed some great bucks in his back yard,literally. His mother,who homesteaded on Coal Creek and used to spear Atlantic Salmon every fall,killed her best buck when she was 80 yrs. young,a huge ten pt. that dressed out at 240 lbs. This buck was just shy of the B&C record book as a typical. But if you asked Charlie or his mother what her biggest buck was they always say 240 dressed,even though this buck had a great set of horns. With the winter slowly starting to turn to spring,we are getting some reports from the DNR biologists and they say we will experience winter losses of 10-12% of our deer herd.These are fairly normal figures and small deer will make up the largest share of the deer that don't make it.So Ken and I are looking forward to looking up those big bruisers that we have been chasing around and we are predicting another great deer season in 2008. We'll see you all there!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Yes,it's that time of year again.You know,flu season and the time of year when ol' wiley coyote is up to his dirty tricks.I have been out of commission for about two weeks now with a flu that kept me on my back and and out of the bush.I've just been nursing myself back to health by sipping broth and eating Tylonol.But Kenny has been out and about and he tells me that the deer are herded up now because of the snow cover and the coyotes are starting to move in on them,hanging around the edges waiting for a chance to pick off any young ones or those that are showing any weakness. I got one report from the village of Doaktown,which is about 40 kms. to the north,that a pack came right into the village and killed one of the town deer that the locals had been feeding.This is not the first time this has happened,but it's been a few years since the last time. I think when the snow pack reaches a certain level,they find it easier to move in on these town deer and pick them off. The next six weeks will be a critical time for our deer herd here and all we can do is hope for mild weather to take away some of the snow.Ken and I will also be organizing some hunts with the locals to try to thin out the numbers of those howling devils.Our motto up here is kill a coyote,save a deer. That's just the way it is.We have long held the belief that our coyotes up here in the Northeast are more wolf than coyote and recent DNA testing has proven conclusively that these animal are indeed approximately 65% red wolf, 35% coyote and 5% domestic dog. Its too bad the price of fur isn't higher,because we have some very capable trappers up here that wouldn't be long thinning their numbers out,but the price of fuel just doesn't make it profitable enough for serious trappers to go after them. One good thing the deer have going for them is they went into the winter in very good shape,as can be seen in the photo in this post.So we'll be keeping our fingers crossed and we'll be out there trying to call up some of those dirty buggers and try to provide some relief for our deer.The last two weeks of the 2008 deer hunt has been booked,but we still have some good time slots left for any sports looking for one of our big Northeastern Bucks.Just send an e-mail or give me a call and we will fix you right up.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
In a previous post during the bear hunt last spring,I said Kenny Hargrove has large hands when I took a picture of one of the large bear tracks at one of our baits.In this post I've used Kenny again to illustrate just how big some of the bucks in our hunting area are. Kenny and I decided to check out a new cut by a local timber company in hopes of getting some good photos and video tape and we wern't disappointed.This new cut is approximately 5 Kms. from Pioneer Lodge. It's actually comprised of two cuts about 3Kms. apart. We knew there were some good bucks in the area,but we were quite suprised at both the numbers of deer and the amount of buck sign.We saw about 35-40 deer at the first cut and managed to get some good video of a very large buck.This guy didn't have his horns,but we new instantly what we were looking at just by the sheer size of this deer.Although this one deer stood out from the rest,we could tell from the tracks that there was at least two or three more bucks in this area that would dress out over 200 lbs. All the deer seemed to be in good shape so far this winter. We think the deer at this cut are coming from an area of about 4-5 Sq.Kms. When we went to the other cut about 3 kms.away,there was a whole new bunch of deer using that area,including another absolute brute of a deer.The photo on this post is one of this deers track.Deer of this size are in a league all of their own.Ken and I both agreed that this deer and one other were in the 250+lbs. class. Until you get up close and personal with one of these deer,you can't really appreciate their size. We are hoping the weather will remain moderate for the rest of the winter and if it does,we should have a terrific 2008 deer season.Any sports wanting to get in on some of this action,just call or e-mail and we'll set you up on the trail of one of these big NB bucks!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Kenny Hargrove has taken lots of bucks through the years. Of course,a lot of those deer were smaller ones such as spikers or four pointers,right up to small sixes and eight point basket racks.But he has also downed some really nice ones ,especially the last few years. These bucks shown in the photo were all really nice bucks. The one on the left weighed in at 268 lbs. dressed. The 12 pointer on the right was killed on the Hargrove Homestead about five hundred yards from the house! This buck was killed early in the first week of the season,with his face right in the apples. Ken and I both believe that the first week of the season is often as good as the last week for taking one of these big bucks.If you can get them coming to bait,they will come with consistancy before the rut kicks in and they aren't as spooky from increased activity in the woods. I guess what I'm really saying here is these big bucks can be taken just about any time,if you do your homework and set up properly for them. I will be posting a photo of my best bucks in the coming weeks,as well as Duane Hargrove's best bucks taken in the last four years. It is important to note that these bucks were all taken in the last five years,not back in the 1980's when eveyone seemed to be getting a big one.Our deer herd has grown steadily over the last five or six years and now we are starting to see the results of mild winters and good management on the part of the DNR.The kill this year was the highest in many years and so far this winter the herd in our zones are managing quite well,so this should bode well for the 2008 deer hunting season. If any sports would like to book a hunt for one of these big NB bucks,just e-mail me or give me a call,and we'll fix you right up! The last week of the 2008 deer hunt has been booked,but we have prime time slots left for any deer hunters who are serious about downing one of these monster NB bucks.
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