Friday, July 22, 2011

ATLANTIC SALMON, THE MOOSE HUNT AND MORE VINTAGE STUFF

    We are now into the middle of our short Maritime summer and the weather has finally started to warm up a bit. The Grand Lake area has received enough rain each week to keep all the brooks and streams filled up and that's good for fish stocks but not necessarily good for angling. One thing I do know for sure is the high water has brought in runs of Atlantic salmon since the first of June that haven't been as good in the last thirty years or longer. Although the water stayed on the high side,the upper Miramichi pools fished well as there were good numbers of fish entering the system each day. For those guides and sports dedicated enough to put the time in on their favorite stretch of water,they were well rewarded for their efforts. During the month of June and the early weeks of July,many sports limited out early and had some time to just relax and enjoy being out on one of the greatest salmon rivers in the world! What a treasure we have in our beloved Miramichi and Restigushe Rivers. We sometimes take these national treasures for granted and I hope all lodge owners,guides and sports will remain vigilant to any change that could harm these precious salmon rivers. One dark spot on New Brunswicks horizon is the large oil and gas companies that are test drilling for deposits over a large portion of our province.I don't know a lot about this process but many people in the know are very concerned about the prospect of what is known as fracking being used to extract the natural gas from the shale deposits. Whenever I hear of these new ventures,a red flag pops into my head and the first thing I ask myself is this. Is this good for the environment and is it good for the people of New Brunswick? On both counts in this instance I think the answer is no! Yes,big business benefits and yes,the government will get nice royalties from the companies mining the gas but what's in it for ordinary New Brunswickers? From what I can see,not a whole lot. I always think back to the days when the salmon farms were first put in the Bay of Fundy and what a devastating effect that had here at home on Salmon River. The effects were almost immediate and myself and other concerned sportsmen watched a whole ecosystem practically destroyed by big business and their bad decisions made hand in hand with both the provincial and federal governments blessings! All in the name of jobs and tax revenues. But at what cost? I often wonder if we would have let these fish farms in the Bay if we had known what a negative impact it would have on our wild salmon stocks. I know I would be against it because I watched first hand how our salmon stocks in Salmon River plummeted from annual runs as high as eight thousand fish to just a handful in a short time period. The Gaspereau River and some other small salmon streams in our area suffered a similar fate. What really galls me is the fact that the government allows these farms to continue to operate knowing what a negative effect this is having on our salmon rivers that are connected to the Bay of Fundy.I am glad to see a study is being conducted to put a dollar value on our wild salmon stocks because at the end of the day,it is money that gets everyones attention. That fact is probably the main reason that the Northumberland Straight was spared the same fate. Thank God for that! The following photo shows me with a nice grilse I tagged last week on the MSW Miramichi. I do tag a few fish every year but I would also support a reduction in tags to four if it was needed to save fish stocks. I also support the DFO in its decision to close most of the Northwest to hook and release to help shore up stocks in that system.
Nova Scotia is now in the process of licencing one of the large fish farmers to set up a farm near the St. Mary's River. This project is being appealed in the courts and we can only hope that common sense prevails but again,money speaks loudly in our poor Maritime provinces so don't be surprised if the NS government goes ahead with this environmental nightmare.Keep your fingers crossed!
    With the weather starting to warm up and the water finally getting down to a normal summer low,the pickerel bite has started to heat up here at home on Salmon River. I love fishing pickerel as much as any other species just because you are almost guaranteed to get some action when the conditions are right. Some sports think smallmouth bass are the cats meow in warm water habitat but I beg to differ. If I had to choose between the two species,I would take the pickerel every time. The pickerels savage strike,especially on top water lures,is hard to beat for a sheer adrenalin rush! August is normally the best month to fish pickerel but water conditions dictate when the bite really turns on. The water has to drop and squeeze the fish into a smaller area in order to provide the best possible angling opportunities for this species. We have some real hot spots close to home and two foot trophy fish are taken on many of our outings. The following video shows one of the lures we have good luck using when angling for pickerel on Salmon River.This set-up has worked well for us for many years now but when the fish are taking,you can catch them on just about any lure in your tackle box. I have taken as many as forty fish during a three hour session using this rig so I know it works well especially when the conditions are right. Just minutes after taping the short clip of the lure we use here on Salmon River,I took a cast into a likely looking spot and hooked a trophy sized pickerel. Here is a short clip of me landing that fish. As you can see,the fish was caught on the same lure I just talked about. Ken and I had no measuring tape that day but we later measured it at twenty-four in. on the mark I made on the boat seat.Pickerel of this size are caught on a regular basis in our area when the conditions are favorable but most fish will average at twenty inches. These fish provide lots of action on days when other species are in survival mode and are very hard to take. I guess that's why Ken and I like fishing them so much!
    There is great joy in the Hargrove camp the last week or so ever since the boys found out that ol' Wes,the family patriarch,was drawn for a moose tag this year. Now Wes is about eighty years young but he still tends his garden and puts up his wood so we're pretty sure he'll be up to the task of finding a moose this September. One thing I know for sure,he will have lots of help scouting because Ken, Dallas,Jamie and myself are just chomping at the bit to get out in the bush in zone eighteen to help him find a moose. One of the boys will have the second tag just in case but we all hope Wes gets this one by himself. Wes has taken his share of moose through the years and that includes a couple that would be considered trophies but he has already said he just wants a good piece of meat and the horns are secondary to him. I can understand Wesley's thinking because a tag is so hard to draw and the three day season doesn't give a hunter much time to be choosey. So many things can go wrong on such a short hunt that good moose hunters always have a plan 'B' just in case things get bugged up. By that I mean other hunters hunting the same area or woods workers moving into the area or any other such problems that might arise. We always have at least three different locations scouted out just in case we do run into problems. You can bet we will be hunting for a trophy but we will be taking the first moose we see because thats the way the boss,ol' Wes,wants it. Here is a photo of the clan on a previous moose hunt that ended successfully.
We will have two good callers on hand during this hunt as well as Dallas, who is an expert at handling these large animals.Anyone who has ever taken a moose knows that the work starts as soon as the moose hits the ground and many times the weather is warm so you have to know what you're doing and you have to get the hide off and the meat processed in a hurry so it won't spoil. I can hardly wait for this hunt and I know the rest of the boys feel the same way. I will be giving updates as the next couple of months unfold and hopefully we will find Wes a nice bull to pull the trigger on this September.
    I have been finding some nice vintage items in my travels and it never ceases to amaze me how much stuff there is kicking around when you have an eye open for this kind of thing. Flea markets are a good source to check out,as well as yard sales and auctions. I also have pickers who know what I'm looking for and they bring me stuff on a regular basis. I enjoy collecting outdoor related goods but I have a real hard time parting with things,even when offered good money for them. I guess that is my downfall,if you could call it that. I keep telling myself that this is a retirement project but if I can't bring myself to sell this stuff,my heirs are going to get a nice windfall of beautiful items when I pass on. I'm sure they will know what to do with it and if they don't,I have an auction house already named in my will that will sell the stuff off for a very nice sum of money. In the meantime I will continue to get pleasure in finding these collectibles such as the ones in the following photos. The first photo shows a very nicely carved eagle done on a slab of cedar. It is signed P. Polchies and I assume that this person is Native American because I recognize the name to be Native. I would age this item as being done in the Seventies or Eighties.
The next item in the following photo is a framed three D picture of an osprey swooping in on a chipmunk. Aside from the fact that this picture is done in 3D, It is an anomaly because an osprey is a fish eater and normally wouldn't bother with a squirrel or other land based prey. For some odd reason, I like this type of thing,even if most people think it's kind of cheesy. I would say this picture is from the Seventies.
And last but not least,I have included a photo of a very nice antler bottle opener that I picked up at the flea market in Shediac. This opener was made in England and features a nicely scrolled tang holding the antler handle. I would date this item to the Forties or Fifties.
    Ken and I will be travelling the Salmon River doing day trips that include fishing,swimming and watching for the many species of wildlife we have in our area, so if you want an affordable day on the water,just shoot me an e-mail and I'll make the arrangements for you to spend some time with us in Gods Country! 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...