Thursday, June 24, 2010

PARADISE LOST?....THE BITE AND OUTDOOR FOLKS

We finally got some much needed rain this month and it has put the Salmon River here at home in very nice shape. It was starting to get  dry and a lot of people were starting to get a little nervous. It's always nice to have lots of water when the fish are running because nowadays they need all the help they can get.Dark clouds are gathering over the salmon fishery on the Northwest Miramichi and a couple of its tributaries and we sportsmen can expect some rule changes in the very near future. This is a very sensitive and controversial situation that we as New Brunswickers face on the Northwest, as salmon numbers have dropped to the point where the fish are not meeting their spawning potential by even 50%! The problems clearly have to be addressed and you can be sure of one thing,it will be the sportsmen who will be biting the bullet first and hardest. Its always that way anytime a crisis arises in the outdoor world.And maybe it should be that way.After all,sportsmen and women are out there because they LOVE the fish and wildlife that they pursue and since they are deriving so much pleasure from their activities,its only fitting that they should take the lead and make the necessary sacrifices to ensure the perpetuation of the species. The other user group on the Northwest,the natives,will also have to make some sacrifices of their own. Surely,they would not like to lose such a key part of their heritage just to score some political points or to make a few bucks out the back-door.No,if the band leaders and the band members themselves have any sense at all,they will rise above the money and the political bull and do their part to ensure that the runs are perpetuated and grown to a point where the river is once again reaching its potential in terms of returning salmon. Lets all keep our fingers crossed that common sense will prevail.On a lighter note,the new Nova Scotia Government,the NDP,have come out with a press release that said that the rules for harvesting and managing woodlands in that province must be re-vamped. More specifically,the size and frequency of clear-cuts must be reduced in Nova Scotia and that's a good news story in my books.Its a great place to start and I would definitely add a couple of other changes that should be made that would help the wildlife in both Nova Scotia and at home here in New Brunswick.Here in New Brunswick,we have been managing our forests more for wood fibre and less for the well-being of our wildlife.This is evident in the low numbers of our deer on the crown land and the low numbers of song birds.Large clear cuts and spraying defoliant have contributed to these low numbers in a significant manner and should be looked at very closely by the managers,whoever they may be. Big business runs the show here in New Brunswick and we are all painfully aware of the priority of big business-profit,before all else.Just look at the Gulf coast in the US if you want to see what greed will do to our natural world. Hopefully the powers that be here in New Brunswick will wake up and make the changes that HAVE to be made in our forests to ensure that ALL user groups are accommodated.
Bear season is winding down and most of the hunters I talked to were seeing a lot of bears this year.That's good news for any visiting sports hoping to bag a big New Brunswick boar.The trail cam photo above is one of a nice boar that we caught visiting an old dump site in the mine cuts that some people were using.The amount of sign at this spot was crazy,so Ken and I set the camera up to try and get a photo of the nice one we knew was visiting there.We were quite surprised at the number of large boars we had at our sites this year.I guess it pays to do your home-work when selecting bait sites. As of late,bears haven't received much hunting pressure here in this province since most New Brunswickers would much rather hunt their beloved white-tails than bears any day.But with our deer numbers being down the last few years,many native sons have started pursuing this great game animal. I know Ken and I met up with a few new, younger hunters who were just getting started into the sport. It can be a pretty easy,relaxing hunt if your willing to put some miles on and do your homework.Ken and Jamie both took nice average-sized bears just buy driving around scouting and glassing the clear-cuts and fields. Ken was holding out but when he remembered that the bear biologist was coming to speak the next morning,he thought he would take a young bear that was feeding on a winter-killed moose and take it to the seminar so the speaker would have a specimen right there to talk about and examine.Things worked out great and the bear biologist had some good information to pass on to all the attending sportsmen.One fact that surprised both Ken and I was the distance a big boar will wander during the rut and sometimes when targeting  certain food sources. According to the biologist,a big boar will sometimes go as far as eighty kilometers! That's quite a little jaunt!This photo shows me with a white perch taken one evening while fishing with Ken and my good friend,Stephen Doherty and his lovely daughter,Chelsie.Every spring around the first of June,friends and family gather for our annual Perch Party.When the white perch are running strong and the first big spawners come up from the lake,we all get together and catch a bunch of perch and fillet them all out and have a big feed and a little party.It's great fun and the food is always good!This photo shows Ken with a bucket of perch and a pile of fillets he just did up before we headed back home for the party. We like to do the fish up right out on the water,if we can. It's much cleaner and the mess either goes over the side of the boat for chum or in the bait bucket to be used for bear bait. The big news on Grand Lake this year is the landlocked salmon jumping all over the place! We haven't tried fishing them yet,but a couple of buddies have been catching them on small spoons and small black flies,either casting or trolling.From the reports I've been getting,these fish are averaging 20 in. and are making a lot of leaps that are clearing the water by 3-4 ft. This is a real good-news story. Our salmon stocks in Salmon River and its tributaries have been decimated by the fish farms in the Bay of Fundy and this stocking of 6500 fish is going to create some good fishing opportunities that have been lost over the last several years.I just hope that we can get a re-stocking program going for the Salmon River sometime in the near future because we have lost a great fishery since the creation of the salmon farms in the Bay. There was a tremendous run of gaspereau  in Grand Lake this year and the Salmon River was literally choked with tens of thousands of these sea run fish.We have found over the years that the big pickerel bite will slow down at this time because there is just too much food around for those big guys to feed on. The river is just starting to clear out,with huge schools of fish slowly dropping back down the river to the lake on their way back to the ocean. Those big picks. will soon be on the prowl looking for an easy meal and Ken and I will be waiting for them! The word from the commercial fishermen was that the run this year was the biggest in many years,with some saying it was the largest they have ever seen! Its nice to see any species thriving  and our brook trout seem to be doing very well,with many reports of trophy sized sea-run fish in the 6-8 lb. range. I know our local brooks and streams have been producing well the last couple of years and I hope this trend continues in the future.
The Chipman Fish and Game Club held its annual fishing derby last week-end and there was a good turnout of fishermen,both young and old and a good time was had by all. This photo shows Ken and my grand-son,Tyler,weighing in some of his fish.Ken was helping out by weighing the fish as they came in and although Ty didn't win the big prize this year,he did pick up a new life jacket for entering the most species,so he was pretty happy about that. The derby was held at Bruce McLeans Campground on Salmon River this year and everyone got to see a  black bear that the DNR had captured in a live trap.For many,it was their first look at a wild bear and there were some kids with big eyes and open mouths who were amazed to see a black bear up close and personal. Bruce has a nice facility and I would encourage anyone who is looking for a nice campground to stay at to check it out.I know one thing,the fishing is very good right off the shore at the campground,There were tons of fish caught and a wide variety of species were taken during the derby.I mentioned earlier in this post that I was out fishing with Stephen Doherty and his daughter Chelsie and this photo shows Chelsie holding a small shark while on a trip to the Caribbean to study sharks as part of her biology course at university.Chelsie is one of those young girls that any parent would be very proud of and I know that Stephen and Wanda realize what a good student and citizen they have raised in Chelsie.She is not only a good student,but she works two jobs and gives freely of her time volunteering for various organizations.I've known Chels since she was a baby and I can tell you right now you won't find a nicer young lady anywhere.Did I mention that she is also the reigning Miss Petite New Brunswick and will soon be competing in Ottawa for the Miss Petite Canada crown? So Chelsie not only has the smarts but ,as you can tell from the photos,she has the good looks to go with those smarts.Chelsie currently works for the DNR out of Fredericton and whatever her career choices are in the future,you can be sure she will do well in whatever field she chooses.This photo shows Chelsie swimming with a huge shark while on her trip south and I'm here to tell you,that girl has a lot of spunk too!Good luck in the future Chelsie! The Salmon River is in great shape for boating and fishing and Ken and I will be doing full and half day trips this summer that are very affordable for anyone who wants a nice day on the water.We provide a nice shore lunch on these outings and the fishing is fantastic,as well as the scenery.So give me a call or send me an e-mail and we will arrange to get out there on the water here on the beautiful Salmon River. So long for now and 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...