Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011--THE YEAR IN REVIEW

     We are closing in on the New Year and I like to look back on the past year and try to evaluate how our different seasons went and how we fared afield here in the beautiful Grand Lake area. As you can see from the photo above,there is no shortage of beautiful scenery and great photo opportunities in our area.This photo was taken last fall at the height of the changing of the leaves to their fantastic fall colors. It was taken from the beach in front of my home on Salmon River and to say I live in paradise would be an understatement. Many times, Ken and I both forget what a wonderful place we live and work in at home here on Salmon River. It seems that many times a person becomes so used to living in a certain place that one has to remind themselves just how unique and special that place is. I know, speaking for myself,all I have to do is look through some old photos and I find myself with a big smile on my face,marvelling at the sheer beauty and wildness of our home here on Salmon River. In my post last month,I said that 2012 will be a year of change for Ken and I, so I hope the readers of my blog will stick around and see what's new each month in the coming new year.
    The year started off well for our crew ice fishing on Grand Lake and Salmon River as soon as we had enough ice to safely travel with a vehicle. We don't take any chances with thin ice at any location we fish and we like to see six inches of good ice before we get out there putting up our shacks and tents. We fish out of shacks on Grand Lake and sometimes we use temporary shelters when fishing the more sheltered bays and coves in Salmon Harbour. There are several species to pursue on Grand Lake but we usually set up for smelt,whitefish and burbot,using a variety of baits. When fishing Salmon River and the Harbour for pickerel and perch,we use worms,grubs and bead head jigs for the perch and live minnows or a piece of oily fish with a spinner for the pickerel. We like to set some lines and work one or two.Multiple lines raise your chances of a hook-up dramatically so we use as many as the law allows us. The following photo shows Kenny hoisting up a nice burbot from Grand Lake. Ken has caught them much larger than this one but he says this size makes the best fillets for fish and chips. We always keep a few to deep fry because they make such delicious battered fish.                                                           
    The next photo shows Ken with my son Curt and his girlfriend Erica with some nice pickerel taken right on the edge of town at McLeod's Park.
This would be a typical catch after fishing for a few hours in the afternoon.
    As you can see,we have had some good success ice fishing in our area and this is a great way to spend a day outdoors during our long New Brunswick winter.
    When our winter finally broke,the Miramichi River started to run and we began to get ready for our annual trek over to Doaktown for the black salmon opener on the 15th of April. We had good fishing again last spring with many grilse and salmon being caught during the season. The following video shows me catching a nice grilse last spring near Sutter Pond in Carrolls Crossing. It remained good fishing for most of the season because there was lots of ice around to keep the water temps cool.As I said earlier,the fishing stayed good well into the season and the sea trout arrived right on schedule to provide some good fishing at the mouth of the many brooks that flow into the Miramichi River. The bright salmon runs that normally start in June,started in late May and never let up until the end of a season that many will remember as one of the best in recent memory.There was an abundance of large salmon interspersed with some nice grilse that came in on every raise of water all summer long. The water temps stayed good and with lots of water,it was a great year for the salmon making their spawning runs up the Miramichi and all her tributaries. The following photo shows me playing a nice fall grilse on the Cains River in 2010.   If there was a highlight during our seasons last year,it would have to be the bright salmon fishing that the large runs provided for the many ardent salmon fishermen from around the world. Any sport who made the trip to the beautiful Miramichi River for a weeks fishing last year was not disappointed both in numbers of fish seen and hooked. The many large spawners that made up the largest part of the runs bodes well for this magnificent fishery in the future but the keepers of this great resource must be ever on the hunt for new and better ways to improve the size of the runs and their health and well-being if these great game fish are to survive in the future.
    The brook trout fishing this past year was very good,as this has been the case for some years now. Since the allowable catch has been managed more closely,we have seen both sea-run and regular brook trout numbers increase and we are usually able to get into good numbers of both of these species at the right time of the year. Speaking of timing,it's everything when fishing many of the species here in the Grand Lake area and our guides know when and where to intercept the different species as they make their pilgrimages up our various rivers and streams. The following photo shows me with a nice brook trout taken on the Cains River.    We also pick up some nice trout while fishing for spring salmon on the Miramichi River. Each year,sports will pick up some trophy sized sea- trout from the lower stretches as they make their run up the river in May.The next photo shows me releasing a nice trout while fishing for spring salmon in the Carrolls Crossing area.
    The pickerel bite was off a bit last summer because of an abundance of water in the system all season long. I've mentioned in my blog before that if conditions are good for salmon and trout,chances are the pickerel bite will be off and that was the situation we faced this past summer. The beauty of fishing for pickerel is if you know your stuff,you can usually coax a fish or two into taking something,even if you have to try a few different lures to entice these great game fish into taking. My view on pickerel fishing is that it is an underutilized sport fish here in New Brunswick,largely due to the fact that most sports are concentrating on Atlantic Salmon and brook trout. This is too bad because sports are missing out on some great action during the low water later in the summer. The next photo is one of my son Curtis fishing with Sgt.Cain on Salmon River.last summer. It was tough fishing but Curt is a great pickerel guide and he got the Sgt. into several nice fish.
    If any hunt up here in New Brunswick could be termed a sure thing,it would have to be the spring bear hunt. This past year we had multiple bears on our baits and some of those bears were trophy sized. If any hunter wants to take a nice average sized bear,New Brunswick is the place to hunt.Of course,if you are after a trophy sized animal,the hunter will have to wait it out and hope the larger bears show themselves during daylight hours. Ken and I have a couple of little tricks we use to get those big boars to show themselves. Ken guided for a native lady in northern Ontario and ran one hundred baits for her and she taught Ken a few good baiting tricks  that her father taught her when he was running the show before she took over after her father retired. Not all baits are created equal and you can trust that Ken and I are doing things up right at our bait sites in order to bring in those big boars.The next photo shows a very large bear at one of our baits in the Gaspereau River area.
    My highlight for the past season was being invited to guide Wanda Doherty on her 2011 moose hunt. I've known Wanda and her husband Jake for most of my life and we had a great hunt that included good friend and fellow guide Allen Davidson as well as Wanda and Jakes daughter Chelsey. I want to tell my readers a bit about Chelsey and her very interesting life she has had so far. Chelsey is the type of girl that loves adventure and travelling and meeting new people. This Christmas Chelsey is in Malaysia competing in the Miss International Tourism competition,representing Canada. Now Chelsey didn't get to this competition by being a couch potato who thinks a pretty girl just has to stand around and,well,look pretty! No, not this girl! What I really like about Chelsey is she will roll her sleeves up and work right along with you to get a job done. Chelsey maintains a good grade average at university and works part-time for N.B. DNR.She really enjoys her work and has made a big impression on all the folks she works with and I can see a great future for this young lady no matter what path she takes. The next photo shows Chelsey swimming with some sharks while working on a project in the Bahamas.
    The next photo shown is one I took of Chelsey relaxing for a bit after we loaded her mothers moose to transport it to the Cache for registration. As you can see from this photo,Chelsey is as comfortable in the bush wearing blue jeans as she is wearing those fancy gowns while modelling on the fashion runways around the world.   I had a great time hunting with the Doherty's this past moose season and I wish Chelsey all the best in her future endeavours.
    I hope the readers of my blog enjoyed my look back on the past year and I would like to take this time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and Happy New Year! from Ken,Jamie Dallas and I here at home on Salmon River.
    Anyone looking for an adventure in the Grand Lake area,please give me a call or shoot me an e-mail and Ken and I will arrange a trip for you that you will enjoy here at home 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...