Friday, March 19, 2010

MARCH-----IN LIKE A LION...........

This month started off with a small blizzard that left behind a foot of snow north of the Cains River,but folks here in the Chipman area were lucky,we had mostly a rain event. All indications are for an early spring and I would say we are about two weeks ahead of schedule in terms of temperatures and snow melt.We had a real good winter here in New Brunswick this year,which is a welcome change from the previous two winters.Very little snow and an early melt-off has certainly been kind to our struggling deer herd.All indications are that the deer came through the winter in very good shape and this bodes well for a strong fawning season.This will help our deer numbers to start to increase and we sportsmen should be doing everything we can to help them during this difficult period.
I have a very sad report to make in this post and it's one that I hoped I would never have to make.Poor old Whiskey dog was struck by a truck as he went to the mail -box with Wes and sadly,went to his reward.I hunted over Whiskey last fall on what was his best day afield. I wrote about that day in a previous post and I must say,I was very impressed with his performance.Although he was only three years old last fall,he really came into his own and was learning how to use his nose to full advantage when finding the ducks in the tall grass. Needless to say,he was turning into an outstanding hunting dog.But,in life,stuff happens and you just have to move on and remember old Whiskey dog for what he was--a great hunting companion and pet. Jamie and Ken didn't wait very long to find not one pup,but two from the same litter to begin training in the hopes of giving them a good start by next fallThis little guy here doesn't know it yet,but he's going to be living the sporting life all his live long days.Jamie is already playing with him using a wing and the little guy is certainly game!I'm sure Ken ,Dallas and Jamie will have these new dogs in top shape in no time.The boy's really like the Golden Retrievers and I wouldn't be surprised if they start breeding their own line at some point in the future.I really like them because of their easy going nature and their smarts.They are also a very affectionate and somewhat soft breed,so a gentle hand is needed to bring them along.We had a very good year ice fishing on Grand Lake this year and we caught some really nice fish.This photo shows Ken with one of the biggest burbot we got this season.It was thirty-one inches long and weighed about six or seven pounds.We also caught a lot of nice pickerel in one area as can be seen in this photo.Overall,I would have to say it was one of the best seasons we've had in a few years.We caught burbot, smelt,whitefish,pickerel,land-locked salmon and brook trout.Thats quite a few species and all taken within an area about one acre in size. Pretty good ice fishing by any standard and we look forward to doing it all again next year.
With this early spring weather,many sportsmens thoughts are turning to the opening day for black salmon or kelts,as they are known by.This fishery is one of the finest opportunities to catch an elusive Atlantic salmon.These fish have been living under the ice all winter and when the ice finally goes out,they start to feed ravenously in preparation for their migration back to the sea.The smelt run coincides with this annual trek back to the sea and the salmon gorge on this high quality forage fish that will provide them with the strength to make it back to the feeding grounds.A good guide will know the resting areas that the salmon favor during this time and great sport can be had,as long as the weather and water conditions co-operate.A few of the top fly patterns for fishing spring salmon are the smelt,renous special and black ghost,to name a few.These are my personal favorites,but there are any number of flies as good or better than the ones I've named.A good rule of thumb to follow when fishing kelts is to fish close to shore and pay special attention to any pools that provide a break in the current.Also,make sure your fly is down deep enough,as many times the fish are laying in deeper water.This year,many old-timers and outfitters from the Miramichi area are predicting an early ice out.Some sports think this makes for a poor fishing season if the ice goes out too early,as they feel the fish will start moving out as soon as the ice goes.Others feel that the fish will stay around until the water starts to warm up and the smelt start running strong.Personally,I like an ice free opener,that way I can concentrate on fishing and not dodging ice cakes.We take a maximum of three sports per day at this time of the year.Remember,this is a one on one guided fishery and usually the fishing is so good,we have a hard time finding guides that want to work.They all want to fish instead!Many times I hear the month of March referred to as a "dirty month"because of the nasty weather we sometimes get in this part of the country or a "dead month"because there isn't much going on outdoors yet.But I like to think of March as a "get ready"month.Yes,it's time to get boats and motors painted and tuned up and all the rods and reels given a once over.There is just too much to do to leave anything to the last moment.The Mighty Miramichi is not a place to be with equipment that is not in tip top condition and we pride ourselves with having good gear that works well.This is also the time to start preparing bait sites for spring bear.The prospects for taking a trophy bear in our area are very good this year and Ken and I are keeping tabs on a couple of real old smashers.Hopefully,we will have some trail cam photos of some of these trophies so the readers of these posts can see the quality of the animals in our hunting area.Kenny shot one of the earliest bears in our area last year and it was a beautifully furred animal that was a very nice trophy.For our spring bear hunts,we have a maximum of four hunters per week in camp and remember,we will continue to offer a "book three,the fourth goes free"deal again this year.This makes this a very affordable hunt if the cost is distributed amongst the hunters or it's a great incentive for someone to put together a hunt and recieve a free hunt for his efforts! So to you sports who have been putting off that bear hunt or salmon fishing trip,I say get out there and get at it.Just give me a call or send me an e-mail and we'll fix you up in no time at all and we will see you here in beautiful Chipman New Brunswick in 2010.


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