Wednesday, August 30, 2017
This summer has been the driest in recent memory. Terrific weather for beach goers and site seers but not so great for fishermen and the fish. With no appreciable amount of rain since June, things are pretty parched up to this point. All the rivers and brooks are at very low level and even Grand Lake is at a low point. Here at home on Salmon River, we are watching as all the different bars on the river are starting to show. This makes travelling above Chipman in even a small motor boat next to impossible. If you can make it to Parkhills Bar, you will likely have to walk your boat up over the bar. There are also re-deposited pieces of the bank lodged in low areas but at least most of these are sprouting vegetation and are visible. Ken and I have been taking it easy this summer and it has allowed us to do other chores that needed done. There never seems to be enough time in the run of a day so when the opportunity arises , we make the most of it. I put in a new floating dock that got some use this summer. The fire pit area on the beach needed work so I spent a day or two sprucing things up there. Unfortunately, there were many days this summer when open fires were banned. As I write this there is a partial ban in our area and the Grand Lake Basin. One positive point in this sultry summer has been an increase in tourism numbers right across the Maritimes. New Brunswickers are realizing what a unique and beautiful place we live in and many are travelling close to home or to neighbouring provinces. This is a good thing because those dollars stay here and nurture our local economies and the families that live here. Our coastline and inland river valleys are relatively unspoiled and support lush and vibrant ecosystems for people to explore and use. There are endless photo opportunities such as this one of a family of loons on French Lake at the lower end of the Grand Lake drainage.
If my readers are interested in seeing some great photos of the area, check out Grand Lake Photography on Facebook. You won't be disappointed. The next photo is a photo taken from my beach that shows Moon Island on Salmon River in all its fall splendour.
Fall is a beautiful time of the year in New Brunswick and the time has never been better for visiting sportsmen to hunt here. Whether you are a U.S. citizen or from Europe, both these currency's provide an exchange rate that results in substantial savings for visiting sportsmen and tourists in general. As a matter of fact, I will go so far as to say New Brunswick gives visitors the best bang for their buck no matter what their interests may be. Please don't hesitate to contact me for details on the great deals we have on outdoor adventures in our area.
As I have already said, this has been a summer of endless days of sunshine and hardly a drop of rain. This effectively stalled the fishing for cold water species like Atlantic salmon and brook trout.The Miramichi River has had cold water closures at intervals throughout this summer and all scribes have been singing the same tune. No water and poor fishing. A good raise of water is desperately needed and until it comes, the salmon fishing will be hit or miss at best. Hopefully, we will get a gradual raise and the fish will come in spurts rather than racing to the spawning grounds and not looking at flies. I believe we will have a good fall season if we can just get some water. As the water cools with the approach of fall, the brook trout will leave the spring brooks and spread out more in the river system. This will provide some good angling until the season closes.
The lower water this summer has made for some good pickerel fishing. With their watery habitat shrinking daily, they get crowded into the good habitat that is left. This makes it much easier to find fish and that usually results in more hook-ups. A local gal, Whitley C., was fishing the lower Salmon River below Chipman and caught a few nice pickerel one afternoon. Whitley really likes fishing for pickerel and gets out every chance she can. I think the fish in the next photo is her personal best. She didn't measure it but it looks like it's 24 in.+. Here is a photo of Whitley and her trophy pickerel.
The weed beds on the lower Salmon River right to Grand Lake provide great cover for pickerel and perch. On the rare occasion the pickerel aren't biting, you can switch to plan B and catch some nice sized yellow perch .You can also expect to hook white perch and sunfish. Lately, fishermen have been hooking smallmouth bass around the dock in Chipman. My neighbour and his son hooked and release what he estimated to be a 4 lb. smallmouth just up river from the dock.
My son Curt and I were out the other night and caught a few pickerel. Most were average size 18-20 inches. I did get one nice one before we cut our trip short after experiencing engine difficulties. Here is a photo of Curt with an average sized pickerel.
We only fished for about an hour and there was a chop on the water that put the top water bite off but I did land a nice one before we started for home. Here is a photo of that pickerel before being released.
There is still some good pickerel fishing to be had. This will last until the fall rains start and the water cools off. We will then switch over to fall salmon and late season brook trout.Of course, the weather will have to co-operate and give us some water. Our brooks and rivers need it desperately!
We may have had to deal with hot weather here at home but we are only an hour and change away from salt water. This is great because during the month of August the mackerel start running and the stripers are usually close by. Not only that but lobster season opens in Bouctouche and Richibucto at the first of August and everyone likes a fresh feed of lobster! My fishing buddy, George P., asked me if I wanted to join him on a trip to Richibucto to try and get some mackerel. I told him I thought that would be a great idea so we loaded up and were on our way.
We landed at the wharf at about 8:AM and were ready to go in no time.
As you can see from this photo, we were using a small boat and outboard for our ocean excursion but we picked the right day for it. The wind was very light and it was a blue bird day so we felt a little safer as we made our way out of the harbour.
George had been out a couple of times before and the plan was to watch for seals and bird activity. This had worked for him before so we tried a couple of spots on our way out to open water. On our third drop we hooked a couple of mackerel. We made a few more casts and George suggested we keep searching for a school. As we got closer to open water we spotted a huge flock of gulls and cormorants on the water and a couple of seals bobbing around on the edges. There happened to be buoy there so George just tied off on it. He took a cast and pumped it once and hooked three and the bite was on!
And that's the way it went for the rest of the morning. We didn't have to cast. We just lowered our lines over the side of the boat and gave a couple of tugs and hauled in mackerel after mackerel. We quickly filled a cooler with nice sized mackerel.
There is no possession limit on mackerel so George and I took enough to do us for a while. They are great eating and are good bait for stripers so it's nice to have a bunch for the freezer.
The only down side to mackerel fishing is the mess they make. They are bleeders and if the fishing is good, don't be surprised if you get splattered in the face a time or two! Here is a short video clip of George catching a nice string of mackerel later that morning. It was just after noon when George and I started back to the wharf. We followed in the wake of a lobster boat as we travelled the 5-6 miles back to shore.
It was a beautiful day and the fishing was fantastic! I think I'm going to start calling my buddy "Captain George". He handled the boat well, got us into some fish and got us back home safely. Good job Captain!
Although the best fishing is off shore for mackerel, the many wharves along the coast can provide some good fishing on the incoming tide and peak of tide. This is a great way for a small group to spend a relaxing day on the dock casting for mackerel and stripers. Timing is everything so a tide chart and up-to-date information on the runs is essential for success. There are lots of uncrowded spots to fish in any of the coastal communities along the North Shore and that's the beauty of it. New Brunswickers wouldn't have it any other way!
Moose season is coming up next month and we have started to scout our areas in Zone 18. There are lots of moose in the areas we hunt and it really would be hard not to get a chance at one during a five day season. Dallas has a tag for Zone 18 this year and his brother Jamie is guiding a relative in the same Zone. They will probably hunt the same general area after they are done scouting and checking the trail cams. Kenny and Jamie got a dandy bull last year and they say there is still a bigger one in the area. Here is a picture of that bull.
We will start our bear baits at the beginning of the month. Most of our sites have been established for awhile but we usually start a few new sites each year just to keep things fresh. A bear hunt in New Brunswick is one of the best deals to be had anywhere. We have a good population of mature bears in our Zones and success is almost guaranteed. Chances are, if a hunter fails to use his tag, he is holding out for a real monster. Bears of this calibre are usually old boars and they can be as cagey as an old white-tailed buck. Like a big buck, many times the rut will bring the only chance at a big boar because they have a tendency to be nocturnal during the rest of the year. Ken and I still have tags available for Zone 17 if anyone wants a great hunt for a super price. Just give me a call or send me an E-mail for details. Here is a nice bear that Nils Otterpohl took last fall while hunting with us.
The prospects for deer hunting are a little brighter this year after two mild winters with the snow pac at a manageable level. We have been seeing more deer this year and there are a few nice bucks around but their numbers are limited. Hard core hunters will still have a good chance at a buck if they have patience and put their time in during the rut. Timing is crucial when trying to intercept a big old buck when he gets rutting. That's about the only time he will let his guard down and a hunter must try to take advantage of that fact. Here is a photo of a big old buck that Jamie killed last year. This buck dressed out at 248 lbs. and that was after he had run some weight off. That's a nice buck in any country! If any sport would like to hunt with Ken and I please reach out and we will do our best to make it happen.
Until next time, this is Dale Bauer saying " Happy Trails to You....Until we Meet Again! "
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