Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Trail Cams

The trail cameras are hung and taking pictures.  I have been very happy with the Cuddeback addition this year.  Here are a few pictures.  Stay tuned for lot's of action coming up.  Bear season is open, goose season is open, fall fishing is just beginning and lots more on the horizon!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Muskie Frenzy

This past weekend we explored some of the far reaches of the North Maine Woods, and were rewarded with some fish.  The size may have been on the small side, but the fight wasn't as these small toothy critters rewarded us with some aerial acrobatics and put up an impressive display.  We were fortunate enough to land 8 muskies in the upper 20 inch class and lower 30 inch class.  The largest was 32", but it was enjoyable just the same.  In addition to the 8 we landed, we had several other follows and lost a couple of others.  One of the fish was heavy enough to snap the tired leader, taking with it one of my favorite lures, but like every favorite, a spare is mandatory!  I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.  Lots of video footage soon to come as well!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Fishing Time!

I will keep this short and to the point and let the pictures do the talking, but the last couple of weeks have been full of fish from brookies to muskies.  It was the time to set personal records.  My wife Heather's uncle Joe came up to visit (you might remember him from my striper fishing trip) and he landed a beautiful 14" brookie, which was his largest brook trout.  It is always nice to see a smile with a fish!  Not to be outdone, Brent came through with a 45.5" muskie that set the record for the largest fish to come to my canoe.  Enough talk … more pictures!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Long Beards … Or at least a beard!

They say that the third time is the charm, but last year was my third year chasing turkeys in Maine and I can't say that it was a charm.  This was the fourth year and it was definitely going to be the year I got one  I called to book the camp and was told we were more than welcome, but they weren't seeing many turkeys which they were attributing to winter kill.  Thanks to Troy White for the honesty even when it could have cost him business.  Only slightly discouraged, I piled all things camo into the truck and pointed it south picking up a friend, George Haley along the way.  We arrived mid afternoon on the day prior to the season opener.  We had spent countless hours prior to our arrival scouring maps and aerial imagery to aid in our scouting.  Several phone calls secured us access back onto promising private land we had previously hunted on and we were ready to connect with some turkeys.  Our first stop was extremely promising as we crested a knoll and there in the center of the field were five turkeys.  Two were toms, two were jakes and there was a lone hen.  Weighing the male to female ration we liked our odds and filed the necessary landscape details into our memory bank before continuing to cruise the country side in search of a plan B location.  We were fortunate enough to meet up with some friends who are locals, Lee and Terry Day who have watched these birds all spring, and were generous enough to show us lots of promising locations.  We found a few big toms, but they all seemed to have a hen with them and my past experience has been less successful with henned up toms.  After developing a plan B, C and even D in case something jeopardized plan A, we opted to resort back to our original location as the odds still seemed to be the steepest in our favor.  After waiting until darkness cloaked the landscape we snuck out along the edge of the field and set our pop-up blind in a strategic location.  We then navigated back along the tree line as cautiously as possible to prevent spooking any birds roosted nearby.  Satisfied with our prep work, we went back to the camp and filled our bellies with cheddar bratwurst and macaroni and cheese before hitting the pillow to dream about earth shattering gobbles until the alarm did shatter sleep around 3:00 a.m.  As the aroma of coffee slowly filled the camp, the anticipation filling our heads finally gave way to grins on our faces as our camp clad bodies emptied the camp and got into the pickup.  We drove slowly along the pot hole filled road and sipped as much of the scalding hot coffee as physically possible until we reached our destination.  Leaving the warmth of the pickup we set off into the cold, drizzling blackness that enveloped everything and made visibility zero.  Following the outline of the trees skylined, we found the blind and pacing twenty yards set our decoys into a pattern that seemed realistic to us though we are not avian experts.  Shortly after we had settled on our hunting stools inside the blind we saw a couple of other hunters moving into the same field we were in. We flashed a light at them to make them aware of our presence and they must be commended for doing the ethical thing of backing out and finding a different spot.

The first hour was extremely quiet, with only a couple of distant gobbles to insure us that there were turkeys in the same county.  Then I noticed a turkey working slowly towards us feeding as it came.  First glance showed it to be a hen, but I thouroughly glassed her and tried to wish her into a tom, without success.  As she reached 40 yards, she worked into the woods and the next 20 minutes was quiet.  Then we heard quite a ruckus of yelping and cutting coming from behind us in the woods.  Letting loose with a gobble and a series of hen yelps and cuts we finally had her attention, and then real close a gobble.  It was so loud I thought I could hear the blind flapping.  I had no sooner leaned to peer out the window when a big old tom came in on a dead run right to the nearest jake decoy.  He proceeded to go into full strut pose and strut in a circle around the decoy.  Now I was in a predicament, because where he opted to hold up was in my blind spot where there was no window in the blind.  The shot lined up perfectly for George and I whispered, "Take him, I'll get the next one."  His response was to level the tom with a perfectly placed shot to his head at 10 yards.  I looked over at George and after a silent celebratory high five we continued calling in hopes of luring in another bird.  Those efforts were unsuccessful and as we gathered George's bird, I couldn't stop admiring it's beauty.  Kind of ugly at first glance, once up close their head takes on a whole other level of detail and intricacy making it interesting.  The other feathers have an almost iridescent sheen to them as the shimmered in the early morning sun.  We loaded the beauty up and headed to the tagging station, where we admired all 19.6 pounds of him and his 9.5" beard and 1" spurs.  He was an awesome bird, but was all beat up, presumably from fighting for dominance.  After tagging that bird, we continued on a quest get me a bird.  After multiple spot and stalks and an extremely exciting calling scenario in thick woods, I was still bird less at 3:00 p.m.  Opting to go back to the blind to sit for a couple of hours in hopes the disbanded birds might move back through the area, we settled in for what we were sure was a long wait.  Five minutes later though, we had a gobbler interested and every time we would call he would gobble back.  After half an hour of this, we were quite focused on the task at hand when George turned the opposite way and said "Turkey!"  Sure enough, I spun and saw the bright red head bobbing up through the adjacent cut headed our direction.  He was spooky though, and I don't think he liked the looks of our gobbler decoy, but his 4" beard was plain as day to me and he was in range!  Easing the shotgun into position, I waited what seemed like an eternity, but was probably 5 seconds for him to clear a stump, before my index finger tightened and the long barrel roared as the turkey flattened to the ground.  I had a turkey!!!!  I was so excited, the fact that it was a jake didn't dampen that enthusiasm one bit.  We both had a turkey on opening day, out of the same blind, within 15 yards of each other, it was an amazing day.  Enjoy the pictures and the next post should be up shortly!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring at Last!

I can't believe it has been so long since I last posted, but as the old adage goes, time flies when you are having fun!

Brook Trout, Coyotes, Deer and lot's of snow removal have filled in my time since I last posted.  There will be lots of action to come in the near future as well, with sun filled afternoons finally starting to make a dent in the four feet of snow currently on the ground and Open Water fishing is officially open if you can find any.  For those of you looking to wet a line I can confirm that the Mud to Cross Lake thoroughfare is flowing freely, but I would expect it to need a rise in water levels to get fish moving.  If you are really itching to wet a line that might be your only option for another week or two!  I have muskie on the brain and will let you know as soon as there is a fishable locale!  I have also put a really nice pair of Chippewa boots through their paces during one of the harshest winters we have had lately and they have perfumed beautifully.  I will be writing to tell you about them shortly!

A weekend on Madawaska Lake produced some frying pan brookies, but no monsters were iced.  A real nice fish made a big run out to deep water, but managed to spit the hook before we could put eyes on him.  It was a nice day despite trudging through the knee deep fluff and bottoming out the auger with 3' of ice!

Tim Cyr did his part to help the deer herd by taking out this big male coyote.

Lot's of action planned in the near future as we start catching fish and chasing long beards!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ice Fishing…Nice Start to Season 2014

I was able to get my feet on a little hard water this past weekend and do some exploring.  A friend of mine Tim Cyr invited me (OK maybe I invited myself) to fish a body of water that was new to me.  Always intrigued by the unknown I readily accepted and plans were made for some fishing action.  As my feet left the sure footing of land and started onto the solid sheet of ice, the first rays of sunshine began to break over the ridge to my right and a smile crept into the corner of my mouth as the anticipation built.  The sound of our plastic tote sleds sliding along the ice sounded deafening in the early morning quiet and somewhere down the lake, augers broke the silence with their unmistakable drone.  Picturing what the bottom structure of the lake looked like beneath it's icy surface, we picked our "perfect spots" and each grabbed our augers to drill down into the depths.

A couple hits of the primer bulb and on the second pull the Jiffy roared to life and the Stealth blades made quick work of the 13" of ice and I was soon rewarded with a geyser of water from the auger bit.  I had only set two traps when the first bright orange flag leapt skyward signaling line being pulled from the reel.  A quick battle revealed a beautiful 14" brook trout still brightly colored from the fall spawn.  Since it was so early into the fishing trip I left him in the water and gently removed the hook from his lip before watching him slip back to the cobble bottom and dart away.  Tim was soon rewarded with his first brookie of the day and from there the action was steady for the first couple of hours.  A beautiful female salmon around 23 inches gave Tim a run for his money when she tangled around a stick and he had to pull the stick and all through the hole before landing the fish which after a quick admiration was released to spawn another day.  The same tip-up an hour later produced a male salmon that pushed the 25" mark with a large hooked jaw and beautiful coloration.  This fish was also released after a quick measure.  After releasing this fish, I decided if I was fortunate enough to catch a similar fish I might keep it for a mount as it would be my personal best salmon.

I was not disappointed when a short time later my flag went up and I landed a beautiful 12" brook trout.  I decided this one would become table fare and reset my trap.  As I headed back to where I was jigging I decided to check the bait on a trap on the way by.  The bait was a little lower than I preferred so I reeled in a couple more turns on the spool and set the trap back down.  I had no sooner set the trap down than the flag bounced up and the reel started screaming out line.  As soon as I gave a tug on the line I knew I had a good fish on and when I finally got him to the hole, my thoughts were confirmed as his massive outline went by the hole.  After an extended tug-of-war I finally got his massive head started up through the hole and Tim was ready to grab him behind the gill plate to finish pulling him out.  The head of the fish grabbed my attention as we flopped him onto the ice.  The deformation that male salmon go through during the spawn is amazing and this one had thoroughly deformed his head structure.  A massive hook protruded from his lower jaw and his upper jaw was rounded to fit perfectly.  This was an awesome catch and I want to thank Tim for taking me to his "secret spot" on ******** Lake (Also thanks to Mado for rearranging your plans to accommodate me!) so that I could catch my best ever salmon.

I also have some video footage of that day coming up so stay tuned!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Seasons Efforts

I just thought I would share a picture of my fur that I was fortunate enough to catch this year.  It was the best year I have had on the water thus far with 2 mink, 3 otter, 10 beaver and 33 rats.  The marten numbers were brutally low.  Everyone I spoke with said they weren't seeing any pine marten sign anywhere.  I think these little fellers have been hit hard the last couple of years, due to the higher prices.  As I stopped in to Ben's Trading Post on Friday to drop off my fur, the number of trappers lined up surprised me.  In talking with Ben, the number of trappers was way up, but the number of furs each trapper brought in were down.  I am sure this is typical of most years following high prices at the auctions as it gets lots of people excited to get out and catch fur and adds quite a bit of competition.  I have to say that while the money is nice, it is the love of it that keeps pulling me back year after year!

White Spot on a Beaver

Stay tuned for some upcoming ice fishing!