Sunday, April 18, 2010


March of 2010 was out like a lamb,with some very good weather from the end of the month until well into April.This made for an early ice-out and the water rose and then went on a steady drop which is continuing as I write this.The water conditions on the 15th of April,the first day of fishing season,were similar to summer conditions,only slightly higher.The water

was very clear and when boating,the man at the helm had to know the river,because it was starting to get treacherous.The photo above shows a sport netting a nice grilse just up river from the highway bridge in Doaktown.Many fishermen don't realize it,but when the water is low,like it is this year,there is a lot of good holding water right in the middle of Doaktown and correspondingly a lot of good fishing right in town.For years now my good friend,Glen D.of Doaktown,has always fished within site of his house and has had no trouble catching fish.Glens whole family are well known sportsmen and guides from Chipman and the Carrolls Crossing area.This is usually the area I stay at and fish in when I'm on the Miramichi.
This is a photo of of Glen and Leroy A.,long-time guide on the Miramichi, taking a smoke break after a morning of fishing .Normally,the first of the season is reserved for fishing with family and friends and this year was no exception.I fished with Glens niece on the first day and then fished with Glens brother Allen and a couple of other buddies fromChipman.I can tell you now that the water conditions were near perfect but the weather was brutally cold!You really must be dressed for these conditions because it can spell the difference between a good trip and a miserable one. The wind was out of the north and east mostly and if you know the little rhyme,you also know it doesn't make for the best fishing conditions.But that being said,the first day was nothing short of fantastic!Donna and I caught fish until our arms ached! It seemed as though one of us or the other was playing a fish at any given time.We played two huge salmon for a total of two hours before the hooks fell out.One salmon in particular was the biggest Atlantic salmon I have ever seen in my life!Donna hooked this fish early on the first day and I knew soon on in the ensuing fight that we would not likely land it.It was just too big!I had to pull anchor and follow it three times to try to get line back.We only got this fish back on the casting line once,the rest of the time it was half way into the backing and taking more before we would pull anchor and chase down some line again.Finally,after a hard fight for an hour,with no sign of giving an inch,the hook just fell out of its mouth.I told Donna I thought this fish was five feet long and weighed fifty pounds and I don't think I was exaggerating at all!Now some of you readers may say"Sure,we heard those fish stories before!"but I got a good look at this fish,as did Donna and it was an absolute mammoth!.I got it to the surface twice,where it came up and wallowed for a moment and then with a flip of the tail,disappeared again and started stripping line.I estimated its tail was at least ten inches wide!I also hooked another salmon shortly after losing that one that I played for an hour and the hook wore a hole in his mouth and fell out.This was also a very large salmon,but nowhere near the size of the first one!This photo shows me with a nice salmon,one of four I caught on the third morning of the season.If you look closely,you can see the fly that I caught that fish on over my left shoulder riding on the water.I could have easily caught my limit of ten fish on both of the first two days of the season.I quit fishing in the afternoon of the third day.I was still catching fish,but the wind started blowing and  it was bitterly cold,so I called it a day and spent the afternoon socializing and having a few beverages and laughs with some old friends.That is one of the most enjoyable parts of these annual excursions to the Miramichi River.The good friends and company and the many stories and tall tales that go with any of these trips really add to the enjoyment had by all.It was a rather odd start to the season because of the conditions and it was very interesting to see how the different guides and sports adapted to these unusual conditions.The ones who didn't choose the right gear and flies many times went fishless.I talked to one guide and I asked him how the fishing was and he responded,"It was terrible". This was on the third day and I had already caught four salmon and lost a couple of others and had numerous hits.I also talked to a couple of acquaintences and they also said they had some tough fishing.I tried to find a common denominator in both of these experiences and the one  thing these gents had in common was their flies.I won't go into this any further but with a predominance of large salmon in the system,you have to be on your game or you won't be IN the game! I also caught some nice native brook trout.All these trout had their regular colors and did not have that shine to them that the sea-run brookies have.This photo shows one of the trout I released while salmon fishing.In total,I caught fifteen fish over two and a half days.Twelve of those fish were large salmon over thirty inches.The other three were grilse.The fish this year were in very good condition and fought very hard.This spring ranks right up there in terms of fish caught,but it was very cold and you had to be rigged up right or you just couldn't stand to be out there very long.This is another photo of a nice salmon with the fly still in the corner of his mouth.It was a great start to the fishing season and we will be fishing for salmon for a few more days,but the fish are starting to move down river already,so the fishing will drop off quickly up river,while the lads down in Blackville will get fishing a little later in the season.One very good site for up- to- date river reports is . Colford writes this blog and provides some very good information on the fishing conditions on the Miramichi and her tributaries.We will be gearing up for the sea-run brook trout in the middle of May this year.Normally,we don't start looking for these fish until the third week in May but this year everything is a week or two early,so we will start fishing the sea-trout a little earlier.We have a few bear baits out already and Kenney said he had a hit on one of the beaver carcasses he has out. There are a lot of bears around,including some real old smashers.These older bears are well educated and do not act like some of their younger relatives.You must wait them out and often they won't come to the bait until the last light.Sometimes they will not come in until total darkness and then the only thing a hunter can do is change the bait site to a new location nearby or hunt him in the morning and try to catch him on the bait then. Sometimes none of the tricks work and just like some big bucks,these old bruins become almost unkillable.Ken and I will be going after some of these big bears this spring and we will be trying every trick in the book to get them to come in during day-light hours.This is a trail cam photo of one of the bears we will be hunting this spring.We got a photo of him coming to a deer bait we had out and he is a good sized bear.He also has a very nice white V on his chest ,as can be seen in the next photo.If anything,our hunting area has an over-abundance of bear and getting just any bear is usually no trouble.But again,if you want a big one,you have to hunt accordingly and be prepared to go home with an empty tag if Lady Luck doesn't shine on you.TROPHY ANIMALS DON"T COME EASY! If they did,there wouldn't be any challenge to it and I guess it wouldn't be called hunting anymore,would it! The opportunities are here in abundance,whether you are fishing for the King of sport fish,Atlantic salmon,or hunting for trophy black bears.Here at Hargrove and Bauer we will do our best to put our sports in the thick of things,so don't hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an e-mail to arrange your trip to the North Woods of beautiful New Brunswick! Until next time,Tight Lines and Straight Shooting to all!


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