Monday, August 22, 2011

SALMON WARS,MOOSE HUNTING AND VINTAGE STUFF

A photo taken from the Priceville Bridge last fall.
    Summer is slowly winding down here at home on Salmon River and the large volume of water we have continues to play havoc with our outdoor excursions. I'm not going to complain about this situation because I would much rather see lots of water in our river systems than a drought. It has really helped the salmon and trout stocks but it has made it much harder to catch the warm water species such as pickerel. With the high water we have this summer,the top water lures have not been working as well and we have found that good sized spoons will work much better but you will have to try and cover  more water because the fish are spread out over a much wider area. Although the water conditions continue to be excellent for the salmon and their pursuers,the catching has dropped off this month because many of the fish have been in the system for a while and they tend to get a little fussy on the take.
This photo shows Donna A. of Carrolls Crossing fishing in Carrolls last fall.
    I got a very disturbing report this month from the Carrolls Crossing area above Doaktown.Now I frequent this area quite a bit during the spring and summer months and I know a lot of the locals that live in this area and they are all a pretty good bunch of lads up that way.As a matter of fact,a few can be said to be good Christian people who wouldn't dream of doing wrong or hurtful things. One of these gents, who shall remain anonymous,is a life long Christian who also happens to love fishing and has been fishing the open water in his area for well over thirty years.This gentleman and his son were out in their boat fishing a pool that is open to the public, just as they had done for years prior, when a couple of guides from a salmon club based in the area showed up. This club has been in the area for many years and they own some very good water in the area of the club,as well as good water in other spots along the MSW Miramichi. In years past,when the water conditions are such that the fish are moving a lot rather than holding,the members of this club would sometimes come to the open pools to fish rather than fishing their own private waters.Why they do this I can only speculate on,but I'm assuming they feel the fish are taking better in the open water rather than in their private water. Many of the locals feel this is unfair but most grit their teeth and try to be cordial to the guides and their sports.After all,it IS open water and that means it's open to ALL fishermen! These two brothers who guide for the club,one who is the head guide for the salmon club,was carring NO FISHING signs and proceeded to post this open water! When the local protested that he couldn't lawfully do that,the guide said they owned the adjacent land and they were posting the water to keep out the 'outsiders' but seeing that the local had fished there all his life and lived in the area,he would allow him to continue fishing.When the local protested that the water was open to all fishermen,the guide said OK,you aren't going to fish either! The local said ' You will have to call the police and physically drag me off of this water before I'll leave' and believe it or not,this guide did call the RCMP,who showed up a short time later. After hearing both sides of this story and calling the local DNR office,the RCMP said the local was indeed within his right to be fishing that pool and the signs were taken down. I know this local personally and I also know he is a mild mannered gent who lives a Christian life but I hear he was so mad he was about to burst a vessel. I have to admit that I too was absolutely outraged at the antics displayed by this supposedly professional guide who was in full knowledge of the actions he was taking.At this juncture,I can only say that I am very glad to have missed this little drama because I just don't have the stomach for it at this point in my life.Let me state right now that if I employed two guides who behaved in this fashion,they would be fired on the spot! They displayed bad manners,as well as being downright dirty! I'm getting angry just relating this story but I felt it should be told just to illustrate how easily things can turn ugly on the water. I want to also state that not all lodges in the area behave in this fashion.As a matter of fact,one outfitter in the Macnamee area goes out of his way to keep the peace with the locals and many times has offered up a days fishing on their private water to locals that have done him a good turn.And that's the way it should be! There is nothing worse than having a day on the water or in the bush spoiled by some oaf who doesn't have the good sense or manners to conduct himself like a gentleman while pursuing his outdoor sport. These kinds of antics aren't restricted to just the salmon waters.I recently read a bit of blog from a writer who was fishing pickerel near Chipman who had another party crowd him while fishing from his canoe.Why would you pull up within fifteen feet of another boat when there is,quite literally,acres of very fishable water around you? The simple answer is ignorance! There is often another human trait that comes into play while afield and that is GREED,the deadliest of all human sins. Many times greed leads to another undesireable human trait and that is bullying.Most of the open water has at least one guy that thinks he owns the pool and always throws his weight around,especially to any new comers.All this does is ruin someones day and sully the name of good sports who are just trying to have a pleasant day of fishing. As I end this rant,I would like to remind the readers to try and remember the big picture.It isn't the sport fisherman who is the enemy of salmon.It is big business trying to make big money, whether inland or offshore,that poses the greatest threat to salmon stocks in our rivers and we must remain vigilant to their destructive practices in their pursuit of profits.
    On a more positive note,the salmon runs continue to be good in most rivers and I am glad to report that I have seen more salmon in Salmon River this year than in the last twenty! I can only hope that this trend continues and we see more fish in the future here at home. Just last week I looked out my window around 9:AM and saw a huge salmon jump that left a ring as if someone dropped a fifty pound stone into the river! I'm assuming that some of the 30-40,000 land-lock salmon that were stocked in Grand Lake will make their way up the river.One of the bioligists said a certain percentage of these fish would just naturally travel up the river system,perhaps not to the headwaters but up several miles from the mouth at Salmon Harbour. A couple of years ago,Kenney and I were fishing the mouth of  Sisson Brook and Ken got a landlocked salmon and missed a second one.We were quite sure they were landlocks because there had been recent stockings  in Grand Lake and the body profile is much leaner on the landlocked salmon because they are not going to sea to feed up in the rich salt water environment. It was also mentioned to me that trout fishermen fishing at Big Forks stream were catching a lot of salmon parr,so that tells me our river isn' dead to wild atlantic salmon runs yet and we still have breeding adults going up Big Forks. If there are salmon still in Big Forks then a lot of the other feeder streams should still have a few. It would probably be a good idea to take a count sometime if for no other reasnon than to see where the Salmon River stands today,in terms of numbers,as compared to former traditional numbers that were taken in yearly counts over thirty years ago.I had access to the run numbers for several years running years  but the last time I tried to find them,the secretary at the cache couldn't find it on the computer but I do remember that the numbers were 6-8,000 for Salmon River and thats not counting the Gaspereau River which has its own run of salmon. Back in the late 70's and early 80's many local salmon fishermen filled their tags right here on Salmon River and her tributaries and only took an occasional trip to the Miramichi or the Cains River in the fall,just for a change of scenery more than anything else. It would really be something to see those days again and you never know,Mother Nature has a way of healing herself,all we have to do is do our part as stewards of the land to help her along.
    My son Curtis was out on the lower Salmon River a couple of weeks ago guiding a Cape Bretoner stationed in Gagetown. Sgt. Cain had some experience fishing for trout and salmon but had never gone pickerel fishing and after listening to some of his army buddies talking about how much fun they had catching them,he asked Curt to take him out for the day. He couldn't have picked a better guide for this species. Curt grew up right on the shores of lower Salmon River and he's fished these things since he was a baby! As I said earlier,the fishing has been challenging for pickerel this year because of all the water but Curt was up to the task and the Sgt. caught enough pickerel that he had a big smile on his face when they landed back that evening.The following photos show Sgt. Cain landing a few pickerel.
Sgt. Cain did a tour of Afgahanistan recently and I was amazed at the level of maturity this young man showed.He said he had a great time and he     would be back again soon for another day out on the water.Ken was also out guiding a young couple from Collingwood,Ontario. Lucas Parker and his lovely girl-friend were vacationing in the area and wanted to do some trout fishing and Lucas's girlfriend really wanted to see a moose.Ken told them he knew a spot where they could catch some pan-sized brookies and probably see a moose during the trip. They packed up lunch and all their gear and headed for the upper Gaspereau River. After fishing a few spots and catching some nice brookies up to twelve inches long,Ken took them to a spot on the Gaspereau that has a lot of moose and sure enough,he rounded a turn and there was a nice ten point bull moose standing off in the clear cut.This young bull was quite co-operative and stood around and let Lucas walk up on him and he got some great video footage. A short time later,three bears ran across the road in front of them,so Lucas'girlfriend got to see some animals up close and personal. After landing back home and having a nice lunch,it was time to sit back for a bit and just relax a bit with your favorite beverage and reflect back on the days events. Both Lucas and his girlfriend said they had a great time and they thanked Ken and told him they would try to be back again next year.Unfortunately,Lucas' girlfriend was running the camera and the video footage and photos went back to Ontario with her but if I get it sent to me,I'll edit this post and insert the footage and photos of their trip.
    We have started to do some scouting for the up-coming moose hunt and the signs and numbers of moose we are seeing is encouraging. There is certainly no shortage of nice bulls in zone 18,where Ol' Wes hargrove has his tag. We have three very good spots within an area of about 50 sq.mi. and we will call and travel between the spots until Wes gets the shot. There are some real trophy bulls travelling in our area but I would expect we will see a younger satillite bull coming in to the call. Then again,if lady luck is with us and we hunt hard, Wes could be pulling down on one of those big old bulls that we know hang around in our chosen hunting area. We are all getting excited and we will do everything possible to get a nice moose in front of Wes. We may have another tag for our zone if Duane Hargroves son-in-law isn't training for a new exercise in the Canadian Armed Forces. We're keeping our fingers crossed in hopes that the young fellow can get the leave. We'll scout as if he is coming and the worst that can happen is we will have more spots for Wes to check out. I'll be sure to get lots of footage and photos of our moose hunt and I will include them in my next post in September.
    The annual duck hunt follows close on the heals of the moose hunt and Jamie has been at me to get out to the marsh and look things over. Every year it is the same ritual.Jamie and Dallas chomping at the bit to get out in the marsh and slog around seeing what we have for ducks. And me saying"What's the rush? We can just sit down front on the beach and watch the flights in the evening to see what's coming and going and what kind of numbers we have''. Then the boys will usually humor me and sit for a few nights and watch the flights as they come in to feed. I've participated in this little ritual for the last twenty-five years I've lived here on Salmon River and I never tire of it.Hopefully,we will be doing it for many years to come because we really have a great time on our duck hunts.From the look of things,there should be lots of birds around because there was lots of water during the nesting period and all summer, for that matter. We have a couple of flocks of geese practically feeding in the yard and we will have to get our neighbour, Floyd,to cut his field just before the opener to try and keep them in the area.We usually get a crack at them and I would expect this year will be no different. This photo shows me walking the island near our hunting spot on the first day last year.
    I have some nice little vintage items to show my readers this month and there is no shortage of goods out there,if you go to the right spots. One of these spots is the annual Flea Market in Sussex that was held recently. I always find tons of stuff at this sale and my main problem is being able to carry the stuff around for half the day! One of the items I found this year was a very nice vintage fishing board game called''HOOK-EM!'' It has great graphics and is in very good condition for the year,which is 1947.Here is a photo of that game.
I collect all kinds of board games but I don't come across hunting and fishing board games so I was very happy to get this item.
    The next item shown is a nice trout planter or nick-nack holder.This item is called lustre ware because of the shiney wet looking finish applied to the pottery. This piece was made in Japan in the 50's and is marked Shafford,hand- painted.
The last item I have to show is a pair of duck book-ends. These book-ends were also made in Japan in the late 50's or early 60's and is marked ESD,hand-painted. What I really like about these book-ends is the super condition they are in considering the type of paint and the delicate construction.The paint on this type of item has a tendency to flake and it is prone to chipping because it is quite fragile.
In closing for now,this is Dale Bauer saying ''Happy Trails to You,Until we meet Again!''

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