Although most people are hoping for warmer temperatures, this winter has been great for the ice fishermen. Most of the locals have been taking full advantage of these cold temperatures and have been hitting the hard water with enthusiasm. One of my fishing buddies decided to put a shack out on McLeod's Pond this year and he had a little help from a couple of other friends. This location proved to be a good choice because the village of Chipman kept the area ploughed and sanded and that helped with getting off of the road and getting on and off the ice. There is certainly lots of ice with about two feet measured on the pond. This is a photo of George P. in his shack that I took when I stopped in for a visit.
At the other end of Grand Lake, Matt Banks and his fishing buddies were running around pounding holes in a couple of different areas but final settled in at a spot on Maquapit Lake. Matt and his buddies take their ice fishing serious and have a permanent shack set up on Grand Lake and use a good portable to travel around to other areas. These guys are rigged with electronics and live bait and a good knowledge of the four lakes area so they usually do quite well on their fishing excursions. Matt and the boys fish for a variety of species but seem to like pickerel fishing probably because pickerel will usually co-operate when you find them and offer up the right bait. Here is a photo of Matt with a very nice trophy sized pickerel taken at Maquapit Lake.
The New Brunswick Big Game Club held an antler show and scoring session recently at the bowling ally in Chipman and it was very well attended with over three hundred people through the doors. This was a fund raiser for the Chipman Fish and Game Club and the Chipman Bowling Ally and according to the organizers it was a great success. There were lots of volunteers on hand to help with scoring and many other chores but because of the large number of racks brought in, some didn't get scored but any heads that looked promising were given priority because the club wanted to get as many new additions for the book as possible. The last count I heard was thirty new moose and deer heads were entered into the New Brunswick record book. That's pretty good considering the size of the geographical area they were drawing from. The best in show went to Bob Northrup with his father-in-laws non-typical deer head that was taken in the Bronson area. This head was taken by the late Bill Davidson who is a former Mayor of Chipman and a brother to my good friend Allen Davidson. Billy's rack scored in the 180's non-typical which is a pretty good score but Allen scoffed and said that deer didn't hold a candle to his 302 Lb. dressed buck that he killed many years ago in Cumberland Bay. Allen said that the deer was so old his horns were starting to rot! I seen a photo of this deer that Allen had and the deer was on the back of a big old Pontiac car and it was hanging over both ends and it dwarfed Allen who was posing beside it. If I can ever get a copy of that photo I will post it on my blog. The next photo shows some of the nice deer heads brought in for the show.
The government recently announced it is providing a substantial amount of wood to be made available to the big forestry companies for harvest in the near future. This announcement was greeted with mixed reviews because the wood is coming from buffer zones and deer yards because that is about the only wood that's left that hasn't been utilized. I'm not going to get into the whole thing because I have worked in the industry for longer than I care to remember and I'm not a hypocrite so I'll just say if you want to do any research into the subject don't look to the mainstream media but look at YouTube and the Internet if you want to get the facts on this issue.
Looking forward, I am recommending would-be spring salmon fishermen watch the weather forecasts and keep an ear out for what the locals are saying concerning the timing of ice out for the Miramichi River. We have already cancelled the week of the 15th and if I were a betting man, I would be looking to the end of April for the spring break-up if I were a sport planning a trip this spring. Ken and I have some very nice bears waiting safely in their dens for the weather to warm up and rouse them from their deep sleep. Again, I would expect the season to be a week or two late in getting started so please keep this in mind when booking a hunt this spring for bear here in New Brunswick. I have my eye on one particular old boar that has BOOK written all over him.
If any sport is looking for a guided trip for any of our species at a very reasonable cost please shoot me an e-mail or give me a call at my contact information and we will iron out the details for a trip to the beautiful Grand Lake region for the adventure of your choice.
Until then, this is Dale Bauer saying 'Happy Trails to You.....Until we Meet Again!'