Monday, June 30, 2014


    We are finally getting some nice weather here at home on Salmon River and the water is slowly getting down to a good level for fishing. It's been a while coming this year and the general consensus is things are running about 7-10 days late. Good fishing for most of the early species was disappointing at best but most sports can take a little pain as long as there's a promise of better day's ahead.
    Even if the bite is off, our little part of New Brunswick is a beautiful place to be in the summertime. Having Grand Lake and Salmon River just minutes away is a big plus for visiting tourists because of all the beautiful areas to explore. A drive along Grand Lake west and the Saint John River will provide visitors with many photo opportunities at every turn. The fertile flood plain provides nutrients for a backdrop of lush vegetation teeming with fish and wildlife. Simple sunsets become a thing of beauty in this country so often, locals just take it for granted.
 In my last post I mentioned a few specific places to visit but the whole area surrounding Grand Lake is very scenic and is often overlooked as a destination. The main reason this area is often overlooked is because of a lack of infrastructure and touristy things to do. I don't really see this as a negative because it speaks to the areas raw, undeveloped natural beauty that is becoming more desirable to tourists as time goes on. Do your homework, come up with a game plan and discuss your wants with your guide or outfitter and your visit to Grand Lake will be a memorable one.

    As I mentioned, the fishing has been slow coming around this year and the salmon are just getting started on the Miramichi and her tributaries. Reports of very few fish in the system and even fewer hook -ups had some anglers worried but a fresh report had around seventy fish in one day in a trap near Chatam. This seems to indicate the fish are coming in but are a little late this year. Lets all keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. The larger sea trout have made their journey to the headwaters but there are still lots of 10-14 inch trout around. Many times these sea trout will provide some action on a slow day of salmon fishing and sometimes end up in the frying pan. At least the ones I catch do.
    We have been fishing white perch for the past week or so and have just started to catch some of the bigger ones. Jamie and Brooke were over and caught enough for a feed one evening.
 In this photo, Jamie is showing a good sized white perch for filleting.
 We have found that evenings and dark, cloudy days provide the best action but if they are running hard, decent catches can be made at anytime of the day. I fished a couple of evenings this past week and caught a nice feed with little difficulty. Although I was targeting white perch, I was catching a lot of other species along with the white perch. The next photo shows a few nice perch along the shore.
 I usually don't keep any yellow perch I catch but if I get any good sized ones I'll sometimes keep some and put them on the stick with their white cousins. The next photo shows the size of white perch that makes a nice fillet and it doesn't take a lot of them to get a feed.
 I was down one evening and caught a feed of white perch and a nice pickerel that I kept and I made a short video clip while I was fishing from shore. The white perch will be around for a while yet and we will be getting some for the freezer. They keep well if the fillets are pre-cooked and frozen. The fillets are easily heated up in the micro-wave or conventional oven and served alone or with whatever accessories you prefer. We all like them here at home so they don't last very long.
 This photo shows a plate full of fillets ready for the pan.
    The Chipman fish and game club held their fishing derby again this year at McLeans Campground on Salmon River and forty participants braved very wet weather and caught over two hundred fish of many different species. The two big winners were Bailey Herbert of Fredericton who caught the most fish and registered twenty fish and little Tyson Sypher won the prize for the biggest fish caught with a forty-seven cm. pickerel. There were other categories and all the kids got prizes and a lunch. This is a fun tournament for the kids and is usually very well attended but the weather can play havoc with outdoor activities and angler numbers were down a little from other years. This is a photo of the winners of the derby.
     The rain also played a role in keeping anglers at home for the annual Monte Farrell shad tournament on Salmon River. The tournament had to be cancelled because of heavy rainfall and a three foot raise of water and when it was finally held the rain arrived again. I was talking to Ralph Goodwin, one of the tournament organizers and he expressed his frustration in having to deal with such poor weather conditions. He told me that many anglers from away had planned specifically for the date and could only come on that week-end but Ralph said around seventeen die-hard anglers hooked nine fish and the tournament was a success in spite of the conditions. I took a photo that Sam Daigle, another tourney organizer,  had posted on a forum that shows the winners with some of the shad they caught.
 As usual, anglers from Minto were well represented in this tournament and as you can see from the photo the winners circle had Minto anglers at the forefront. Good job boys!
    We have been seeing good numbers of ducks and geese with their young and it looks like it was a successful nesting season for these species in our area. The high water this spring actually helped waterfowl numbers because it hampers the predators ability to reach vulnerable ducks and geese on their nests.
    Although many sports were fearful the wet, cold spring would hamper the nesting abilities of the grouse and woodcock, reports to the contrary have been coming in. Drumming numbers appear to be up this year and we have been seeing some nice broods of grouse chicks during our travels. Grouse have the ability to nest a second time if they have been unsuccessful the first time and I'm guessing this helps sustain their numbers during a difficult spring.
    The bucks and bulls are sprouting soft horns and it always amazes me how quickly their horns will grow throughout the summer months. We had a brutal winter and a long cold spring but we were pleasantly surprised how many deer survived that crucial time of the year. It's a real struggle for our white-tails in this part of the country because we are on the northern fringe of their range and winter mortality can be high on bad years. Our crown lands are managed almost entirely for production of wood fibre for saw mills and pulp mills and this usually spells bad news for white-tails and most of the deer we saw on crown land this spring were in rough shape. The number of available doe tags have been reduced and we expect to see lower kill numbers overall this year.
    Moose numbers remain high and the provincial government is looking at extending the hunt to five days from three. This is generally being welcomed by the hunting fraternity but this change isn't official yet so we will just have to wait and see how this all plays out. Many hunters believe this is an election plumb that is being held out as an offering for the coming election this fall. I say it will take a lot more than that to keep the Tories in office after this election.
    The spring bear hunt has just ended and although the season got off to a slow start, overall it was a good season with some very nice bears taken. The biggest one I heard of was taken by a well known hunter from the Zealand area near Fredericton. This bear was an old bruiser that weighed in at four hundred and twenty-four lbs. and had a twenty inch skull. That's a big spring bear in any country. Another sport took a bear with his bow that dressed out at four hundred and five lbs. This hunter was using an outfitter from the western part of the province and its quite evident that you can take a trophy sized bear just about anywhere in the province. New Brunswick's bear population remains high but I see more and more locals pursuing spring bears and they are taking some nice ones. It's also encouraging to see women hunting bears or filming the hunt. I find that many women love to participate and watch the animals and the hunt even if they don't pull the trigger. This is a photo of the Zealand bear.
 Ken took a nice boar last month and I posted pictures of it in my last blog entry. The bear that Ken took was just one of the nice ones that we had at our baits this spring. We've been running some of our baits for several years and over time these baits will be hit by multiple bears of different age classes. It's not hard to tell when you have one of those big boys hanging around. He will leave his signs and an experienced guide will know right off just how big the bruin is. The next photo shows a cam picture of one of the nice bears at our bait sites.
 This site had a couple of big boars and a nice sized sow with one cub. This isn't at all unusual especially if your bait sites are chosen with care and tended regularly.
 We have lots of nice bears in our hunting area in New Brunswick and the population has been increasing in recent years. The DNR has been wrestling with the idea of giving two tags per year but that is still being looked at. I'm hoping it stays the way it is because we have it good right now and I fear if we tinker with the numbers, it could come back to bite us in the behind.
    I have been picking up lots of vintage outdoor related items all winter and I have selected some to show my readers. The first photo shows a couple of nice prints of a pair of red-winged blackbirds and what I think is a flycatcher. The males have very striking colors and their lyrical song is a joy to hear. I have lots of them around home and I enjoy watching them every summer.
 These two prints are dated 1958&1959 but I don't think they were produced until the early 1960's.
    The next item is a very nice piece of chalkware depicting a white-tail buck. This item is marked Wade and I believe it is an English manufacturer who produced this type of ware for the tourist trade as souvenirs  because this one still has a tag that says Moonlight Inn, New Brunswick.
 I would date this item to the 1940's.
    The last item I have to show is a piece of folk art carving by maritime artist Marty Ladds. Marty does very nice work in a variety of mediums and I picked this up a few months ago from a picker friend.

    Summer is here and the fishing is starting to get good so I'm urging everyone to grab your fishing rod and head for some of the great fishing to be had in the Grand Lake area!
    Until next time, this is Dale Bauer saying ''Happy Trails to You......Until we Meet Again''



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