Thursday, September 29, 2011

Final Hoorah on the Fish River

Encouraged by last night's limited success, we set off for our final trip down to the Fish River for the season in hopes of landing a "wall worthy" salmon or trout.  Heather and I were joined on our escapade by her parents. My father in law, Gary, was armed with his fly pole in hand and a secret arsenal of his favorite flies tucked in the pocket of his worn fishing vest.  During our short walk to the water's edge, Gary recounted tales of his past journeys to some of these same fishing spots when he was my age.  Meanwhile, my mother in law, Doris, was scouring the landscape for any signs of wildlife.  She was rewarded, or should I say startled, by a large frog that decided to scamper across our path.  We soon discovered that the river that we had all to ourselves last night had become a popular destination for several other area anglers on this overcast evening.  A couple of the parties were leaving as we neared the riverbank and one of the locals stopped to chat about his success, or rather, lack thereof.  Slightly discouraged, we trudged on, but the sheer pleasure of being outdoors quickly lifted our spirits.  Upon arriving at a favored casting spot, we wasted no time getting our lines wet.  After a mere three casts, Heather had a solid strike.  She quickly re-cast a fourth time and was rewarded with a beautiful 12 inch male trout clad with his fall spawning colors.  Doris snapped a few pictures and we released the fish to patrol the dark depths once again.  Heather's excitement drew the attention of a nearby presumably fruitless fisherman who watched with what appeared to be envy.  The score- Heather 2, Chris 0.  A short while later, one of Gary's secret weapons disappeared from the surface in a swirling flash.  He guided the battling fish to shore only to be discouraged by the fact that it was a chub, but delighted to have felt his fly pole come alive with the unmistakeable tug of a fish.  The last catch of the evening went to Heather who was casting from a perch high above the water which allowed her to witness a chub stalk and consume her trusty lure.  She was elated by this event.  Score- Heather 2, Chris 0 (chub don't count).  Darkness quickly settled upon us and we decided to call it a night.  Check out the photos from our evening below.  

Chris landing yet another of Heather's fish
Close up of the beautiful colors!
Unhooking him
The proud fisher-woman

The little fighting chub

Heather's trophy chub (that she won't touch)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fishing Season Winding Down

So as the leaves begin to turn to their brilliant autumn colors, it marks the ending of one season, but also the beginning of another.  General water fishing season ends on the last day of September, and bird hunting starts on the first of October.  For this post, I want to focus on the ending of the fishing season.  It has been a tradition of mine for the last several years to pay a visit to the gorgeous Fish River for the final week of the season.  This year, the amount of rain that my area received, has kept me at bay from many of my traditional haunts, but there has been one pool that keeps tugging at the back of my mind.  Something about it's location told me that it should still hold fish and be accessible by foot.  My wife and I decided to head down tonight, since there is only a couple of days left in the season, to see if my theory would hold true.  After a short walk down to the river, I could hear the water roaring over a set of ledges that I was hoping to be able to fish from.  The volume of the roar told me that the water was far higher than any other time that I had fished this locale.  As we pushed through the final trees shielding our view of the river, the sight confirmed my fear, and there was a standing wave over a foot high on the piece of ledge that is my traditional casting spot.  Not to be discouraged by that, my wife and I quickly rigged up our poles.  As I tied on the first of many lures, I caught a white glimpse in the back eddy at my feet.  After further inspection, it was a nice 12" brook trout that had not survived the perils that it had been dealt.  I took this as a good sign, and quickly cast my lure into the current line.  And repeated that procedure over and over.  The fishing was slow!  We had cast for over an hour, and the sun was starting to set, when Heather finally hooked into a nice fish, and played it long enough for it to make one quick run, and then it somehow managed to shake itself off.  From our quick glimpses it looked like a very nice fish.  Discouraged by the loss, but rejuvenated at the same time by the action, we intensified our casting.  It wasn't long before Heather managed to hook another one, and was able to successfully land this fish, which was a beautiful 15" female brook trout.  Score 1 for Heather and 0 for Chris!  That was all of the daylight we had for tonight, but thanks to Heather we managed to pull through without being skunked.  See  the photos below!

Chris getting the poles rigged up
 Heather casting one of hundreds of casts
 Landing Heather's brookie
 Heather and her fish
 Heather wasn't a fan of the uncooperative, flopping fish

Monday, September 26, 2011

First Day of Moose Season 2011

The first week of the Maine moose hunt is under way, with less than desirable weather for moose hunting, as the thermometer hits 70°!  The mornings should be rather cool, which brings some hope, although it has been bringing heavy fog as well.  There are lots of trophy bulls being tagged despite the warm weather.  One of my co-workers and his girlfriend were able to harvest a nice trophy bull, first thing of opening morning.  My dad’s cow tag remains unfilled at this point and time, but I will keep you posted on their progress.  They really struggled with the heavy fog this morning.  Below is the story and associated picture of my co-worker Bud and his girlfriend Sarah’s hunt.
The trio walked silently along the old road, and just as their wristwatch showed legal shooting, a cow moose materialized out of the early morning fog.  She was walking out of an old logging yard, and their presence startled her as she turned to trot down the old road.  The trio froze, and they remained surprisingly calm even though the anticipation of a bull following her was high.  They hardly waited any time before a second moose appeared, and hopes soared high as their eyes fought against the fog to distinguish antlers, but there were none.  This moose was also not fond of their presence, and also began to trot down the road.  Bud left out a soft, guttural grunt to mimic a bull, and the sound had no sooner crossed his lips than the third and final moose appeared.  His location, a mere 75 yards away allowed for them to instantly determine this was definitely a “shooter” bull.  Bud muttered under his breath to Sarah, “Take Him!”.  She wasted no time in setting her shooting sticks in position, and resting her .308 on the sticks.  Bud readied his rifle for the “just in case” shot and watched the scene unfold through his rifle scope.  Sarah brought the crosshairs to rest on the bull’s shoulder, and calmly squeezed the trigger.  Bud saw the bull flinch and he could tell from the bull’s reaction he was hit hard.  Sarah chambered another round, and the bull started to take a step, so they decided to both fire an insurance shot, and as the guns barked, the moose reared and fell to his final resting place.  Another glance at the wristwatch showed that it was only five minutes past legal shooting time, and their hunt was over.  Looking at each other in disbelief that it was really over, they walked cautiously up to the downed beast, and after admiring the animal in all of its’ magnificence, offered each other congratulations.  Then the work began, which was minimal due to the location of the moose, which was only about 5 feet from the old road.  The final statistics on the trophy bull was 907 lbs. field dressed with a slightly non-typical 52” spread rack.  See the preliminary pictures below.


I wanted to give everyone an idea of what the objective for this blog will be.  I want this to be a place where I can share with everyone all the hunting, fishing or trapping adventures that either myself or one of my friends partake in.  I will try to include pictures of these outings whenever possible, because as they say, “A picture is worth a thousand words."  I live in Fort Kent, ME, and grew up only an hour south of my current location in the agricultural area of Woodland.  From the time I could walk, I was always begging to tag along on the hunting and fishing adventures of my father and grandfather.  My dad took me hunting, and from a very early age worked to instill the code of ethics that go along with being a good hunter, and it is a code that I try to live by all of the time.  My grandfather was a diehard fisherman, and was patient enough to take me out on a regular basis.  I often joke that I cut my teeth on the gunnels of an Old Town XL Tripper.  So, both hunting and fishing were in my blood right from the start, and as I got older, I started going trapping with my uncle.  It didn’t take long before I was hooked on that as well!  Since then, I have spent every chance I get doing something related to one of those activities, and I continue enjoying them whenever possible.  I wanted to pursue a career that allowed me to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, so I went to school to be a forester.  Demands of my job don’t allow me to be outdoors much during the week anymore, but that just means my drive to be outside on the weekends is even greater which is when I will gather my exciting stories to share.  So that is an explanation of why I call myself both a ridge runner and a river rat!  Stay tuned as I share stories and pictures, so that you don’t have to just take my word for it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Blogging Website

So I have decided to finally publish a blog that will allow me to share my nonsensical ramblings with the world in hopes that someone might actually understand, or possibly even relate to the topics that are near and dear to my heart.  The name for the blog actually comes from a co-worker who thought it summed up in short order the group of people that I call my friends.  It means essentially that we run the ridges and are nothing short of rats on the river.  We have no claim to fame, but are rather a group of everyday people who make their living and their pleasure off what nature has to offer.  The outdoors has been a part of my life as long as I can remember, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you, my readers.  (However few of you there may be!)  Stay tuned for accounts of my outdoor adventures!