Tuesday, April 30, 2013


    April is always a great month around these parts because the fishing season opener falls on the 15th and everyone is usually chomping at the bit to get out and cast a line. For me,it's really all about the black salmon fishing. What I really love about fishing black or spring salmon is the fact you can usually go out on the opener and actually catch fish.Big fish.That can't be said about a lot of other species. Of course, the water conditions are paramount to success and rising or falling water levels can make or break any excursion for salmon,black or bright. This year,the first day the conditions were good although the water was a little low and it made it somewhat hard to get around. The water may have been low but it was as clear as a bell and flowing at a stable rate. This makes for very good fishing and this year was no exception. Most people fishing in the Doaktown area managed to hook a few fish but,as was predicted,there was not the numbers of fish as last year. Then again,the runs of 2011 were extraordinary so good fishing was predictable for the spring of 2012.After the terrible runs of 2012,I was surprised at the numbers of fish that were around this spring.Some locals had said that there was a good run of salmon came in after the counters were down for the year and it looks like they were right. The good news is fishermen were catching a high percentage of msw salmon and that bodes well for the Miramichi River system. This photo shows what the river was like in Priceville on the day before the opener looking up river from the bridge.
 As you can see, the rips on the bars are showing and these spots can be prop killers if you don't know the river. Most fishermen didn't venture too far in search of fish and just fished around handy to their put-in area. I did see a few guides going with their sports but these guys know every rock in the river and they know how to navigate the river in all conditions. Or at least they should.
    On the second day I was fishing with Allen Davidson and the wind came up. Now,anyone who knows me knows I hate fishing in the wind. Apparently Allen hates it too because he suggested we head for higher ground and leave the fishing to more ambitious fishermen and tour around a bit and chat with some river folks.Allen caught four grilse and two salmon on the first day. He caught them all on a smaller bucktail tied by the late Guy Silliker and that fly worked like a charm. For my part,I caught two grilse and a salmon and lost another. I got my fish on a blue and grey marabou. This photo shows me with the salmon I caught on the first day.
 Unfortunately,my fishing partner was under the weather and couldn't fish but she came out for a while just to get out. It's probably a good thing she didn't stay out too long because we found out a couple of days later she had pneumonia. I'll have to give her credit for having the spunk to even go out for a short while. Here is a photo of Donna taken last year when she was in much better health.
 As you can see from these last two photos,the water conditions were very similar from last year to this year.The main difference was there were a few more fish around last year as compared to this year. The wind came up on the second day and continued to blow until the week-end. Friday of the first week proved to be a good day but the fishing didn't last on the week-end because of the water conditions.
    As I am generally a fair weather fisherman I didn't tough it out when the fishing turned poor. Instead I toured around checking out some smaller streams and found most were unfishable due to high water conditions. This photo shows the Newcastle Stream from the Wallbridge Road.
It's plain to see from this photo the water was high and fast. A friend from Minto,Adam M.,said he tried the stream that Saturday that the photo was taken and he said he was just wasting his time. He said wading conditions were terrible and he nearly got dunked a couple of times. I can't stress enough the fact that guides and sportsmen alike must remain vigilant while on the water during the spring fishing season. I just read an excerpt from a local writers column about a gentleman from Blissfield on the Miramichi who injured himself quite badly while heading home after a days fishing. My good friend and guide Allen Davidson was out with Steve D. from Cold Lake,Alberta fishing in the Carrolls Crossing area and had a close call. They had pulled up to the shore and Allen was having problems with the anchor and as he and Steve were fiddling around trying to straighten things out,Steve lost his balance and went overboard. Luckely the water was low and they were on the shore but Steve still went completely under water and managed to claw his way up on the shore. Talk about a rude awakening! I missed Steve's dive because I was landing a fish but they whooped over to me and when I got over to them they could hardly stop laughing long enough to explain what happened. What turned out as a funny incident could have been fatal if they had been out farther and the water was its usual spring height. Everything turned out alright but it drove home the point about how care must be taken at all times to prevent a disaster from happening when out on the water in spring conditions. The next photo shows Allen and Steve trying to get straightened out after Steve's swim.
 No harm done and the boys headed in for the day and Steve got into some dry clothes.  Not to be deterred,Steve went out the next day and landed four nice salmon and hooked another that he didn't land after playing it for an hour. In case you may think Steve is a greenhorn on the river,he has been on the river many times and is a very experienced outdoorsman. This proves that even experienced river folks can get in a mess very easily so be careful out there!
    We got out for another  fish later in the afternoon yesterday on Sunday,the 29th, and I had some great luck right off the hop. I made about three casts and hooked a salmon but he didn't stay hooked long. That's fishing. Undeterred,I took a couple more casts and hooked another one. I seen the flash in the water as the fish took the fly and turned. I tightened up on him and felt his weight as he took a run and when I tried to snub him up, the fly parted from the leader at the knot. I was a little flustered by now but I knew they were in the taking mood so I dropped down a little and after a few more casts I felt the weight of a fish. I felt like I had this one hooked good and as I was thinking that thought,out of the water came the salmon,flipping end for end at least three feet above the surface of the water. This salmon stayed on and I landed it after a great fight that took me half way into my backing. The next photo is of the salmon I landed late yesterday afternoon.
 The spring salmon season is winding down for us and we may make it out one more time before we pack it in and switch over to other species. The sea-trout and fiddleheads will be coming along within three weeks or so and we will be making trips on the msw Miramichi again this year. Timing is everything in this game and prime time can vary from year to year,depending on the weather and water conditions. We keep a close watch on the conditions and we do quite well each year on these trips.
    I have been running back and forth to the Miramichi the last two weeks and I left Ken on the bear detail. He has been busy putting baits out and we are getting hits at a few of our spots already. Ken said he has at least one trophy sized bear hitting. Ken said the old boar ploughed right into the meat right off and Ken figured he would have a sore stomach for a couple of days because he said he didn't see any plugs around. Our sights get lots of traffic with a few having as many as a dozen different bears. There is no shortage of bears in New Brunswick and certainly not in the Grand Lake area! As I've said before,it's not a question of getting a chance at a bear but whether the sport can wait it out for a big one to come in. If you take the first bear that comes in most times you will be taking a younger bear.That's just the way it is. Ken and I know this game well and our trail cams give us a good idea when these big boys are coming and going. Don't be shy about booking either a spring or fall hunt for black bear. Archery hunters are welcome and we have bait sites that are set up specifically for hunters who prefer to hunt with a bow. I will post some photos of some of the bears hitting our sites as I get them from the cams. Ken and I will be going full bore for the next six weeks or so. Too many species priming at the same time! It's a tough deal but I think Ken and I can take that kind of punishment any day! The next photo shows a nice, average size bear that Ken took a few years ago.
 Personally,I would be happy to take a bear this size but if you are a true trophy hunter,you would have a good chance to take a larger one IF you have the patience and are prepared to go home empty-handed if the big one doesn't come in.
    I have a couple of nice items I picked up at an estate sale last month that have an outdoor theme. I'm always on the lookout for outdoor related items and there always seems to be lots of stuff to pick from.Of course the purse strings can only be stretched so far so I try to get good value for any money I spend. I think I got a good deal on the first item I'm showing. Its a folk art picture made entirely of metal with black paint to accentuate the subjects. The two pointers seem to be fashioned from copper while the frame looks to be made of aluminum. I'm not sure of the year this picture was made but if I had to guess I would say the Fifties..
 The next item I got was a nice little wood carving of a leaping salmon. I think this was made to hold a small ash tray. It is signed by the artist and I would say it was made in the Sixties.

    If anyone reading this bit of blog is looking for a day or a weeks vacation in our beautiful area of New Brunswick,please don't hesitate to give me a call or send me an e-mail for more information on how to book an adventure with us. Until next time this is Dale Bauer saying"Happy Trails to You,Until we Meet Again."


    Spring has finally arrived here at home on Salmon River after what could be described as "a good winter" for this part of New...