new brunswick Archives

Fishing The Oromocto River With Casey

lynx headshotCasey and I headed to Oromocto on Friday June 27th to see what we could catch. We were not quite sure how high the water might be and if the last couple of days of rain had muddied up the water.

Yes the water was muddy and visibility was next to zero, maybe a foot to two feet at the surface. I don’t think we caught anything in the Saint John river or the Oromocto river. The few fish we did catch were in back waters that were less dirty.

A highlight of the day was the lynx swimming across the river. it was my first encounter with a lynx in 60 years. Very cool. I almost missed it because I was taking photos of an Osprey above us. Casey got my attention and pointed out the lynx.

Back To Fishing

I caught the first fish of the day which was a very small perch and likely it shouldn’t have counted so I caught the second one as well just so there was no question. I catch a lot of first fish because I’m not the one driving the boat. So thank you Casey for all those first fish of the day trips.

We caught a few average size pickerel and oh yeah I caught a 20” pickerel which is nothing to brag about but it was the biggest fish of the day.

striper

I would have gladly given up the biggest fish of the day to have the fun striper Casey caught in one of the back waters or lakes we fished along the Oromocto river. Probably went back in there to get out of the muddy water.

two bald eaglesWhile I am fishing I am also looking for things I can photograph. When I am looking one way Casey lets me know if I am missing anything behind me. So when I saw a bald eagle fly over and land on a branch and then a second one come in and land right beside and give it a kiss I didn’t miss the shot.

They only stayed like this for a few seconds when the eagle the right flew off. I followed it with my camera and took a few photos. When I looked back the second one was just taking off in the same direction. I had to get my mind back on fishing.

jamie fishing bassI’m one of those people who wake up at 4am and can’t get back to sleep. Not much to do at 4am so I usually make a coffee and upload photos to Google+ and Facebook.

A few minutes after 5 Facebook notified me of a message waiting. I checked to see who would be up at this time and saw that it was friend, fishing buddy and birthday boy Jamie Trenholm checking in to see if I’d like to some Smallmouth bass fishing on the Canaan river.

I was definitely up for some smallmouth fishing and responded quickly with a ‘YES’. Then I proceed to gulp down a quick breakfast of granola and banana. Then another coffee and I was wired to go. Hadn’t been fishing with Jamie since last year.

On The Road Again

When we first hit the road it was cloudy with fog in fields and low areas. Once the sun made an appearance the fog vanished in just a few minutes.

foggy fields
Foggy in Low Lying Areas

I was looking at something on the right side of the highway when Jamie saw a Whitetail deer about to run across the road but as fast as he could say deer it turned and darted back into the woods. All I got to see was a white tail’s butt disappearing into the woods.

I chattered all the way there so it seemed like we got to the Canaan river in record time.

We don’t take long to jump into our waders. Took a few seconds to be sure we had all we needed like our fishing gear and munchies and about five minutes later we were at riverbank. Jamie asked if I want to cross the river of fish this side and I graciously let him walk across the river.

jamie crossing canaan river

Jamie is taller than I am by at least 3 or 4 inches so I would have been up to my waist in that current. Glad I decided to stay on this side.

my smallmouth bassOnce Jamie was on the other side we were ready to start fishing. I made as many bad casts as I could waiting for Jamie the birthday boy to catch that first bass but sadly it was me that caught it.

The increase in water level made the current really strong which of course the bass use to their advantage. This made even a smaller bass feel like a monster. So much fun.

Then I hooked into a second fish… Come on Jamie I’m starting to feel just awful. Ooops that one was a big fat Chub.

Yes that Chub still counts as a fish Jamie.

Just a couple of seconds after I released my chubby Chub I heard a splash on the other side of the river. Jamie had his first smallie on the line. You can see his first catch in the top left corner of this post. Nice catch Jamie.

We continued heading down stream and Jamie hooked into another nice smallmouth and a few minutes later he landed his third bass. Happy birthday Jamie. All three were bigger than the bass I caught.

There was a point down river where the water was shallow enough for us to cross the river again so Jamie came over to the north side and I waded over to the south side.

No sooner had was switched sides when I heard this huge splash. I looked over half expecting to see Jamie coming up from under the water but it wasn’t him. He just hooked into a 20” or better smallmouth and it was jumping and splashing.

I tried to get my Canon camera aimed to where the fish was but he was just far enough away and the sun was so bright on the camera screen I couldn’t get it in focus but as it turned out that was the same time this bass snapped Jamie’s line.

Oh man that can be such a let down, especially on your birthday.

We both saw it jumping and clearing the water so we had a good look at this smallmouth bass and it was huge.

I caught a few more Smallmouth Bass about the same size as the others I had landed and released. But about an hour later I made a cast to a nice calm pool between the current and the riverbank and the water exploded.

I’m pretty sure that this was the same bass that Jamie had lost earlier as I don’t usually see bass this size. He made a couple of jumps and then he was in the current and pulling out drag.  I reached over to loosen the drag but I was too late and he got off the #5 Black Mepps I was using. 

NOTE: I started with the Black #5 Mepps and never changed it. A great little lure for these conditions.

Once we reached as far as the current was going to allow us to go we headed back to the car and then home. What a fun way to spend a Sunday morning.

jamie with smallie

Casey And I Fishing Salmon River at Redbank

culvert redbankI’m a little late reporting on a day of fishing chain pickerel with Casey Hayward. By the next morning I was again thinking about yard work and getting my vegetable garden ready for planting and our day of fishing went hiding in the back of my mind.

As we have learned in past years when the water is high the fishing can be tough as they have so much more area to swim in.

After trying a few of the normal locations we would usually get fish without any strikes we decided that we might do better in a back bay with shallow water which would be warmer.

So we headed through one of the culverts at Redbank and headed back into an area Casey would never get his boat on a normal year but with high water we had little trouble getting way back in where normally it would require a canoe or my trusty float tubes.

These are the same culverts where I smashed my camera a couple of years ago. Sucked to ruin my camera but what a great excuse to buy a bigger badder camera like the Canon Powershot I got.

culverts

I had my new Nikon camera strap around my neck so if I had to steady the boat as we went through I would be able to do it with free hands. My other camera had a wrist strap which I used all the time so as NOT to drop it in the drink. Didn’t think about smashing it into a steel wall.

We caught pickerel and had a great day on the water although we didn’t catch any monsters. I did catch a feisty 24” pickerel and was the only photo we took of fish all day. Still early in the season so this guy will put on some weight for the next one to catch it.

24 inch chain pickerel

As usually I don’t remember how many we caught but I do remember that I caught the first fish which was the biggest fish as well as the most fish. So I guess actual numbers don’t really matter.

Ice Fishing And Catching Smelts Without Hooks

smelts for februaryCasey contacted me yesterday morning to see if I wanted to head out to Shediac Cape for a few hours of ice fishing. I had been out getting a shot of the sunrise when he called but he left a message and I caught him before he left.

Last time we were out it was a calm day and close to zero so it was pleasant on the open ice but yesterday was a bit windy and that can take the fun out of things pretty quick for me so I was glad we had access to a fish hut.

ice fish huts
Love how some guys paint their ice fishing hut

When we arrived at Shediac Cape there were 4 or 5 guys already drilling through the ice for some ice fishing but they didn’t stay too long once the wind started whistling. A couple of the guys had been there longer as they already had about a dozen smelts on the snow.

They didn’t last long once the wind picked up to the whistling point.

walk straightBefore I was too far from shore I snapped a couple of photos of the shoreline. That’s when I noticed that our path out on the ice looked a lot like we’d been drinking or that maybe we were blindfolded and then sent out of the ice. Very staggered trail.

I don’t know about Casey but I felt like I was walking in a straight line.

Casey was hauling a small sled behind him to hold the things he wanted to bring with him.  I had a big cooler that held everything I wanted plus it makes a great seat.

Had The Right Rig This Time

The last day we were out I was using a rig that had hooks that were just a little too big for these smelts and was catching zero smelt with it. Casey on the other hand was catching smelts one after the other. That was until Casey gave me one of is rigs and I started catching some smelt myself.

Yesterday we were using the same rig which Casey had setup with the smaller hooks.

Basically the rig starts with a red piece of yarn at the top with a couple of tiny baited hooks about 6 or 8 inches apart followed by another piece of red yarn at the bottom of the rig. A little bell weight was attached to the end to help the rig drop in the water and to keep the rig hanging straight down.

Clear View of The Bottom

found a flounderI like the idea of having an ice hut to use, especially if the weather is nasty of it’s too friggin’ cold. But another big reason for me is being able to see down the hole to the bottom of the bay.

When there were no smelt in the area we could still watch the minnows and at one point we even saw a flounder come in for a closer look. We teased him a bit but couldn’t get him interested in the bait although he was interested in the weight on the end of Casey’s rig.

Would have been nice to get him on a piece of yard so we didn’t hurt him so I could take some close up photos.

Another thing I like about being in a hut is being able to see how the smelt react to the bait and how the yarn attracts them.

By the time the action stopped we had 22 smelt and all but 2 of them were on the red yard. Never had a hook near them and they wouldn’t let go of the yard so we could lift them right out of the water and into a waiting bucket.

sunrise through the side window of Casey's truckJenny and I had our Thanksgiving dinner Sunday and so did Casey. So Monday Casey and I went pickerel fishing at French lake.

The temperature was moving between 3 Celsius and zero which presented us with a lot of fog on our drive.

The fog was heavy in places but most of the drive the fog wasn’t an issue. We did drive through one section of road that was so fogged in I had to sit on the hood of the truck and cut our way through it.

When the sun came up we could see the fog light up with a yellow orange glow but couldn’t see the sun.  At one point I could see the sun through the fog but had to try to turn enough to get a shot of it through the back driver’s side window.

sunrise through the side window of Casey's truck
Foggy TransCanada New Brunswick Morning

French Lake In The Fog

deer

There are trees along the side of the road leading to the boat launch and deer love munching on apples so we were looking for some whitetail deer. We were not disappointed as they were just crossing the road heading back into the bush again.

Casey's truck at the waterI got out of the truck so I could get a couple of pictures of Casey backing his boat ‘Casey 10’ to the water. It was definitely the strangest looking launch point I’d ever seen and looked more like Casey was going to drive off a cliff going backwards.

I couldn’t see any lake or trees, just fog with that endless look to it.

I walked down to the water where I could only see a few yards from shore. out onto the lake was hard on the eyes as the fog was lit up by the sun and such a bright white. Couldn’t see anything other than a 10 or 15 strip of water along the shore the rest was just fog.

sun fog waterWhen we arrived at French lake we couldn’t even see the water for the fog. I walked to the edge of the water and could only see about 20 or 30 feet out into a white wall of fog.

The air was calm and kind of cold so I was glad I my winter clothes but it was always a different kind of beautiful. The sun was trying to break through the fog so it made for some great photos.

The huge fog bank sitting on top of us was great for photos but hard to see any distance around us so I’m glad there was little to no boat traffic.

Best Fishing Day of The Year

First I have to say this year was a pretty cool year of fishing for me as I caught my first striped bass and my first muskie. Now having said that I had the best day of fishing as far as numbers and size of pickerel.

100_0425As you can see by the blood on this pickerel they were most aggressive and made no hesitation in striking our baits.

I tried getting the bait out of this guys mouth but he wasn’t about to give it up. From this guy on we worked as a team removing hooks so that pickerels wouldn’t be harmed.

Just like in humans when there is water and blood there always looks like more blood than water.

I think it was less than 15 minutes and both Casey and I had our first fish in the boat. Casey got his fish first which is always the goal when we first start out for the day. Then it’s a matter of numbers and size.

Casey caught the next pickerel which was bigger than the pickerel I had just landed so it was time to pack up and go home while Casey was in the lead with first fish, most fish and largest fish.

In no time he was up to 5 pickerel to my single pickerel. That’s when he said he was going to kick my ass fishing. The challenge was on and I don’t like to lose a challenge. From that point on my focus was on knocking his fish of the hook before it got in the boat.

My biggest pickerel of the day was less than an 1/8 of an inch off 25” but Casey caught one that was right on 25” and earned biggest fish of the day.

casey 25 inch pickerel
Casey’s 25” Chain Pickerel

By the end of our day of fishing French lake Casey had landed and released 23 fish. I may not have measured up for the biggest fish of the day but I did manage to boat 35 including the biggest perch I have ever caught.

release a bassAfter a week of rain it was so nice to see and feel the sun again. I was also great to get out fishing with Casey. It’s always a good day, even if the fishing is slow.

Sunday turned out to be a beautiful day, even a bit hot for the end of September but the skies were high and bright with zero clouds to block some of the sun. Made for a tough day of muskie fishing.

The little smallmouth bass in the top left images was the catch of the day. The only catch of the day actually and it was caught on the end of my rod so I got first fish of the day, biggest fish of the day as well as the most fish of the day.

We were trolling close enough to the shoreline that I was able to make some casts close to the bank and trees. I pulled a chain pickerel out of the weeds but then it stopped. All I got to see was his shape.

Casey had a nice fat smallmouth smack his bait and then jump out of the water. He hit the water and stayed on for about 4 seconds. It would have kicked my bass’s ass.

So it wasn’t much of a fish catching day but it sure was a purdy day.

Rivers of Fog

fogI don’t care to drive through fog but I do love to see fog. Not sure why but I’ve liked it as long as I can remember.

Sunday was a foggy morning in the low lying areas but we didn’t drive through any fog. The fog that was visible as we were driving was either off the road or above the road.

The fog in the image on the left was right across a bridge we drove under.

Below is a picture of the fog over the river as we drove past Oromocto. I never seem to get a shot up close of fog like this because we are usually included in the fog. Nice to see it over the river like that.

fog
Fog on the River at Oromocto

Canada Geese Sounding Off In The Fog

canadagooseI looked down over the dam as we drove over it and there was no fog but above where the launch point was it was so foggy you couldn’t see the other side.

There was no fog onshore and so quiet I’m sure we would have heard a bird fart. The quiet is always something is special in a world made up of so many noises.

I was taking a few more pictures and enjoying the silence when it was broken by a loud HONK and then another and another. Next a Canada goose came out of the fog. Ten seconds later a second goose emerged from the fog then another and finally a forth Canada goose came out of the fog. They were all spaced about 6 or 8 feet a part in single file.

I guess the honking was so they wouldn’t loose touch with each other.

canada geese in the fog

It was only a few minutes and that towering cloud of fog just disappeared except for right along the shoreline where the tree were blocking the sun. Love casting into spots like this.

IMG_0429

Saw a lot of scenery and a great day thanks to Casey and his trusty boat.

September 19, 2013 Landed And Released My First Muskie

my first muskie
Caught And Released My First Muskie At 61

September 19, 2013 is one of those days I will smile about every time I remember it and yeah I will probably tell total strangers on the street about it. Why, because it’s only once you catch that first muskie and I was lucky enough to catch a 31 inch muskie and not a 24 inch one. So it became my first muskie and my biggest fish ever, in more than 50 years of fishing.

OromoctoCasey invited me along for a day of muskie fishing on the Saint John river at Oromocto New Brunswick. We have fished here together before and I have fished with Jamie here. The  Oromocto area is such a pretty spot, especially once Autumn has arrived on the scene.

This day most of the trees were still full of green leaves so the ones that were starting to change really stood out.

Like this tree I saw when we were getting ready to launch the boat. One red tree in a sea of green leaves.

IMG_6981
One tree out of dozens has made the change to Autumn colours.

Eagle Eyes Staring Back At Me

baldheaded eagle on Saint John riverWe had a fantastic day with calm water and not a cloud in the sky other than a few wispy ones that gave no shade at all.

I put my sun hat on to keep too much sun from frying my brain, again. My new hat also helps keep the sun out of my eyes better than my ball cap does.

There were a few bald eagles around but they usually take off before I’m in position to get a good shot however today we were able to get a bit close.

There were two of them on this limb but one took off before I was able to get a picture of them both. All I got of that first eagle was a shot of his tail feathers as he flew up river to another tree.

Casey slowed the boat right down as we approached and went right under it. So glad the water was calm so we weren’t bobbing around at all. I took a lot of pictures as we approach and went under the eagle but it never moved.

Each time I take a picture the view screen goes blank so for just a second each time I thought the eagle was going to dive out of the tree and knock me over backwards.

Oh, Did I Tell You I Caught My First Muskie?

lunch breakWhen my friend Roland would be fishing he would use sentences that started with ‘Did I Ever Tell You…” or “Have I Told You Today…” Well I was saying that to Casey for the rest of the day. Glad the didn’t duct tape my trap shut or tell me to take a bus home.

I moved to New Brunswick from Ontario 30 some years ago but never learned that we have muskies living and breeding in New Brunswick waters. Since I learned that fact I have wanted to catch a muskie so it’s been on my wish list.

I have now checked that item off my list and now I will focus on catching more and maybe some that are bigger than my first.

Here are some pictures from our day on the Saint John river.

oromocto bridge reflecting on water

I must have taken 30 pictures of this bridge over the course of the day. It just looks great from so many angles and the reflections in the water always look cool.

IMG_6714 IMG_6697

I love going fishing during the work week as there is usually less boat traffic on the river. This day was perfect with hardly any traffic. We did see a few other fishermen on the water, like this guy who looked like he was in the tropics. He must be out a lot and needs to protect his healthy skin.

red bass boat

They were on the other side of the river so I zoomed in on them. We didn’t talk so I have no idea if they were catching anything or not or even what they were fishing for. When he was casting it looked like he had smaller lures so I’m guessing he was fishing for chunky smallies.

water planeWe saw this plane circle and prepare to land on the water. I took a couple of pictures and then clicked record. I had the perfect angle for to watch him come in and land.

Again the water was calm so there was no bouncing around.

Just as he was about to hit the water he disappeared behind some trees. Oh man what a drag we weren’t on the main river at this moment and I didn’t realize it. So it kind of looks like he just crashed in the trees.

tree with red leavesWe didn’t catch a lot of fish, just a fat little smallmouth bass and of course my first ever muskie at 31 inches. Did I mention that before? Ha Ha

All too soon it was the end of our day and time to pack up.

I thought I would end with another tree that has changed colour before all its neighbours.

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