A Hot Day Of Pickerel Fishing But Not Really A Hot Day of Pickerel Fishing

hotThe drive to Chipman seemed like it was going to be a foggy one but the fog was always just up the road ahead and by the time we reached the Canaan river the fog as gone. It was still cloudy though.

It was good to have the cloud cover as there was no wind at all. That only lasted a short while and then the sky was clear of clouds other than what you see when a plane flies overhead.

Once I saw the clouds disappearing it was time to pour on the sunscreen. I came home with only one tiny spot I missed that was burned. It’s that little spot the gets burned when your shirt sleeves move up and down your arm.

Some Days The Wind Is A Welcome Friend

It was one of those days when the wind was truly a welcome friend, even though it has a tendency to turn off those top water fish which are my favourite kind of fish. It also pushes off the spots we want to fish so we either have to use the anchor or the trolling motor.

The trolling motor is fun but this day it seemed to NOT be getting any power even though the power was there. So I was anchor detail for the rest of the day. But that was good as it was Casey that seemed to be doing most of the catching.

fishing spotI’m getting ahead of myself. First we stopped at a location we pass every time we go to Chipman. I have fished this area from my float tube so I’ve never gone very far from the bridge and never had any luck there.

We stopped and walked down to the launch which is normally blocked with downed trees and debris that gets blown onto the short. It’s usually so bad that you would never be able to launch anything more than a canoe, kayak or float tube.

new spotWhen I fished with the float tube there was usually about four of us but never saw any action and would quickly pack up and head elsewhere.

We were so impressed with just how clean this spot was that we had to at least give this spot a try so Casey backed the boat down and in a few minutes we were fishing for pickerel.

There weren’t many weeds here yet but we figured there would be pickerel here and headed out to give it a go.

caseys boat in the water
Who Ever Cleaned This Spot Up Needs A Thank You

fat pickerelI have never had a good feeling about this spot but was excitedly anticipating a day where the pickerel would be jumping over each other to get to our offerings.

Sadly that wasn’t to be.

It was a couple of hours before anything at all and then it was Casey with a fat chub. We then fished for another hour and it was again Casey but this time he landed a nice fat 21” pickerel.

That was it… Nothing else even looked at our bait. 

I’m not sure what it is about that location. Maybe later in the season when it’s really thick with weeds we’ll have to give it another try. But now it was time to get out of there and head to Chipman.

angry pickerel
Wouldn’t Want My Hand Caught In There

The fog that was over head making it look cloudy soon burned off and the few clouds that remained didn’t stick around for long. Once the fog burned off the wind picked up but I didn’t get upset with the wind because it was getting hotter by the minute and the breeze made it easier to handle.

meI’ll admit I’m a top water guy and I’m always happier when I can fish top water baits and see the action. When it’s as hot as it was I accept the wind and adjust.

This trip I was prepared with my new wide brimmed hat. It’s not quite a sombrero but close and it kept the direct sun off my tender head.

The fishing was tough and the fish were acting very strange. Maybe the barometric pressure was squishing there head and messing with their vision because they sure were coming up short on the strikes. I think they needed glasses.

At the end of the day we both had 7 fish. The two biggest was Casey’s 24” pickerel and my 23 1/2” pickerel.


Pickerel Fishing French Lake With Casey

fishingfrenchlakeFriday Casey picked me up for a day of fishing French lake for some of those feisty chain pickerel. We had both checked the weather network and Friday was suppose to be hot with 20–30 km/hr winds.

Actually the sun was so strong that the wind was a bit of a blessing and some relief from the heat.

I wasn’t about to forget sunscreen again so I while we were trolling to our first fishing spot of the day I put on lots of sunscreen and arrange my fishing gear. I did miss a spot, right were I would button up the top of my shirt and today it’s bright red and itchy. A good example of the pain I would be in had I forgot sunscreen, again.

French Lake

Fishing started rather slow. I was thinking the weather and rain had dropped the water temperature a bit and might take a couple of hours to heat up again to get those pickerel active.

I Think I Need More Electrolytes

While watching the weather channel to see what kind of a day to expect I heard a section on drinking something to replace electrolytes lost during activities and sweating.

Well when I go fishing I put every ounce of energy I can into it and pay for it the next day. I tend to feel like I had been drinking booze for the entire day so the following day would always be liking enduring a hangover, even though I never drink alcohol on the days I go fishing.

I mentioned it to Jamie the other day when we were fishing the Cannan river. He told me he doesn’t bring water and would rather bring Gatorade instead. So I decided I would try that myself and brought two large bottles of Gatorade.

Well it didn’t seem to make a difference as I felt like I had a hangover all day Saturday, although I don’t have headaches, just that completely burned out feeling. The thing is I am willing to go through the suffering the next day because fishing is just so much fun.

Casey looked at the Gatorade and said it looked like I put too much water in my grape coolaid and it tasted like it too.

What’s Up With The Pickerel

We fished for quite a while and never saw a pickerel and any fish move at all.

I think with the weather and rain we’ve had in the past week the water temp had probably dropped and the pickerel were waiting for the sun to get high enough to warm them up. It didn’t take long before we started seeing some movement.

When they did start moving they would turn for the lure and then stop. They weren’t quite energetic enough yet.

I Love Red Senko Style Worms

I like using confidence baits and if the fish are active I try lots of other lures to gain even more confidence baits. So, I started with the trusty Senko style 5” red worms. I’ve caught hundreds and hundreds of pickerel using it and it’s definitely a confidence bait.

The thing is once the pickerel started getting active they were only grabbing the tail end of the senko and then of course when I tried to set the hook they would shred the end of the worm. It was still fun to see they were getting more active as the day went on.

first pickerel of the day on french lakeCasey mentioned adding a stinger hook to see if that would help and of course that was just about the time I landed the first pickerel of the day.

Yeah it’s not very big at 19” but it had fins and was in the boat and I wanted a picture for my blog as well as claiming that first fish of the day.

For my U.S. visitors you can find some red worms that will work great on eBay. Check them out.

For those of you who are Proud Canadian here is a sample for you.

Not Much Competition For Water

I really like fishing during the week days, Monday thru Friday as most young fishers are working. I think we only saw 4 boats all day. So we had plenty of elbow room any where we moved to.

Both Casey and I were now getting a lot of action and having a blast, although we still weren’t landing much. They would either not be hooked or they would get right into the weeds and get off. We didn’t give up and go home with our tails between our legs though.

As they got more aggressive I started getting more of them to the boat and lost a few at the boat but also landed a few. I think the fact I was in the front of the boat, standing on the deck gave me a bit of an advantage because I could hold the pickerel higher in the water so they were getting into less weeds.

Getting Those Pickerel Out of The Weeds

Casey had the boat positioned so that we would cast to the weeds and try to get the pickerel to come out of the weeds to take the bait but they weren’t having any of that. They were tight in the weeds and didn’t want to leave the protection.

I think the sun was to intense or perhaps it just makes them to vulnerable to birds of prey, but whatever the reason they weren’t coming out, even for a juicy red worm.

Then Clouds Formed or Moved In

I am not sure how long we had been fishing but I had about 6 pickerel when the sun was blocked by a huge set of clouds. It was an immediate relief for us as it was getting intense out there.

Clouds Were A Blessing Today

Immediately the pickerel started coming out of the weeds, a little. It was like the difference between night and day and they became as aggressive as I remember them being. I managed to land two more pickerel before Casey landed his first of the day.

I was glad to see him finally get one as I know how much I hate getting skunked.

They actually became so aggressive they were jumping out of the water and right over top of the baits. I think they needed glasses or something, but it sure was fun watching them leap from the water.

Then just as fast as they clouds hid the sun they disappeared and the pickerel stopped just as fast. They were right back into the weeds and reluctant to leave them. So we kept fishing the weeds. I landed a couple more as did Casey.

It was getting hotter and hotter, to the point I was soaking a towel and putting it under my hat and down my back. That felt so darn good and brought my body temperature down to a more comfortable level.

The score was James with 8 pickerel, Casey with 2 pickerel. My biggest to this point was 22” so I had the most and the biggest. Casey of course wasn’t finished.

caseygetbiggestpickerelofthedayI believe I was at 10 pickerel and Casey was at 3 pickerel when he hooked into his final fish of the day and it looked like a good one.

We were both pretty excited and when it jumped the excitement level jumped as well. Casey was sure it was more that 25” long.

I of course was telling him it was likely 22” inches, teasing of course and when I tried to get it in the net I did every thing but. It just seemed to get out of the way every time I tried. I was feeling bad as I was sure it was going to get away and I’d be walking home.

So glad I didn’t let it get away because it’s a heck of a walk home. Casey landed and measure it. It was a 24” chain pickerel and was the biggest fish of the day, so far, because I wasn’t done yet.

The score was now 8 to 4 in my favour.

I caught a couple more and then another. I was at 12 pickerel for the day but my best was still only 22”. Casey landed another puttingh his score for the day at 5 pickerel but had the best so far. Then a huge pickerel jumped clean over my bait and was gone.

I tried for some time but couldn’t get him to return.

Casey was getting a lot of strikes but deep in the weeds, just like I was. Just couldn’t get them to the boat through the weeds.

pickerel number 13I tossed out a frog and dragged it across the top of the weeds bringing a few pickerel closer to the boat and then went back to the red senko and hooked into another nice sized pickerel.

Casey netted it like a pro, the first try. I was excited that it might just be the same size as Casey’s best of the day, but it was 23 and an 1/8th, not quite enough. That was fish number 13 and our final fish for the day. At the end of our day the finally score James 13 and Casey 5 chain pickerel.

zoom on the moon
Using a Canon VIXIA HFR32

bass fishing lures

Had the opportunity to go smallmouth bass fishing on the Cannan river with Jamie last evening and had a great time as usually.

I was a little concerned as I only remember I didn’t think about bringing any rain gear until we were on the road and it started raining. Just got to excited about going fishing I guess, so much like a kid, a sixty year old kid at that.

I never stopped chattering from the time he picked me up until the time he dropped me back off at in Moncton. But then again he only called a half hour before he picked me up so I had not time to calm down. Okay the truth is I do talk an awful lot.

Jamie and I have fished on the Cannan together a few times but this time he took me to a new starting point. I love it when people take me fishing and I learn of new spots.

We walked through a farmers field to get to the spot and I was reminded of trout fishing on Smith’s Creek near Sussex, New Brunswick. And getting out and walking back we just headed across another farmer’s field to the road and walked back to the car on the road which reminded me of fishing Stoney Creek Brook and taking the train tracks back to the vehicle.

It’s much easier than fighting your way back up stream at the end of the day and so much quicker.

Jamie and friend Glenn had been fishing the Cannan last Sunday but they came with their fly rods.

It’s so much fun smallie fishing with the fly rod. We decided to take our spinning gear and will give the fly rod a try another day. I had to save my fly casting arm for gardening this week.

fish on

Once we were through the field and the row of trees along the river bank we were ready to start fishing.

Jamie had been telling me about the hundreds and maybe thousands of shade that were in the river so I was kind of hoping I would hook into one to see what kind of a fight they would put up.

I thought I had one on because I knew it wasn’t a smallmouth bass but it was still putting up a bit of a fight, just not much of a fight. I thought it was a shade and immediately thought they weren’t such great fighters. Turns out it was a fat old chub.

I saw a few jumping around like salmon but never managed to hook any.

Then Jamie had a strike right next to the shore line where there was a bit grass hanging over the water. Love those spots. It didn’t hang on so he cast back in just as I made a cast on my side of the river.

first smallmouthI yelled “Come On Fish!!” as soon as his lure hit the water and it was hilarious that at that exact time a big old smallmouth smacked my popper and the fight was on.

No it wasn’t Jamie’s fish, he was too far away. But it sure was fun as he was a great fighter and jumped clear out of the water to give us a look. Jamie caught the image above just as he went back into the water.

I had smallie #1 for the evening. So far, James, 1 fat chub and 1 nice smallmouth bass. Jamie, one strike, no fish.

We saw a couple of baby Sand Piper, I think, swimming to shore to run away with Mom. They were so tiny they were hard to see on the water or on the stones as the tried to catch up with Mom.

cannan river turtleThen I was walking along and notice a rock was moving across the bottom. Hey hold on rocks don’t usually move all by themselves, so I looked closer. It was dirty Cannan river turtle on the bottom getting out of my way.

Forgive the poor quality image but this guy was under two feet or more of water I had just stir up. After taking a few picture he turned toward me so I got out of his way and moved on.

A few more Shade jumped and we kept moving and fishing every point on the river.  I had a couple of pickerel dart out, leaving a nice wake, but didn’t want the popper enough to smack it. They were the only fish I saw coming from the bank. The fish I saw and caught all seemed to be just about 30 feet from shore.

Then BAM another strike. It was another chub but hey it fought well and it was a fish. I would rather it was a big ole bass but… James, 2 chub, 1 smallie. Jamie, still waiting.

second smallieI fished a little further and hooked into another smallie. He liked to jump just like the first one and was a lot of fun, maybe not quite the fight the first guy had but he’s half the size.

I don’t mind them jumping as it makes it more exciting. It’s a drag when they jump and get off but I’m not in a tournament and still get the fun. Although I did land this guy meaning…

James, 2 nice smallmouth bass, 2 fat chub and a turtle sighting. Jamie, well I was thinking I might be walking home.

I would love to have had a stick bait with me as the water was perfect for walking the dog lures. I have to get out and pick a couple up. Smallies and chain pickerel love smacking top water stick baits.

I think I should mention and thank Jamie for letting me use one of his poppers. It did a great job. I had only brought one popper and it didn’t get any action. Glad Jamie was willing to go fishless this day just so I could have a great time. Thanks Buddy.

Fishing Pickerel on French Lake Cut Short

Jamie and I left a little early this morning so we could arrive at French Lake right about day break so we could have a nice long day on the water for our first time on French Lake.

Sunrise on French Lake
It was a gorgeous morning with lots of mist on the water.

The first thing we did when we arrived was to just stand there and admire the awesome view we had. The water was calm, like a mirror, with whisps of mist here and there. A memory I won’t soon forget.

The moon was still high in the sky as the sun came up. A little too high to get in the picture I took but it just made the moment even more precious.


We took the canoe off the roof of the car and piled all our gear into to.

Jamie even brought his trolling motor as this lake is huge compared to the waters we usually fish. It would be too much paddling and not enough fishing otherwise.

Jamie had been here a few weeks ago with his brother in law and had a pretty good day, so we headed to the same spot to see how it was.

Well the fishing was a little tougher than we expected. I was getting a few follows, a couple of strikes but none of these pickerel were coming back for a second try.

I have never seen pickerel act like this before. They usually keep coming back until they are either caught or they get a good poke with the hook and retreat into the safety of the weeds. Very strange day of fishing.

Why Were The Pickerel So Strange This Day?

A lot of reasons for how the pickerel were acting came to mind but really I was confused as to why they were acting so different this day.

I was thinking it was because we were on French Lake where they get a fair bit of pressure plus it was a long weekend, it’s also back to school and the end of summer for a lot of people so the pressure could have been more than usual.

The water temperature had dropped to below 60 degrees, that may have been part of it as well.

The wind picked up shortly after sunrise and before we knew it the waves had picked up enough that they were slapping the canoe. It was quickly becoming dangerous and even though we both swim and were wearing our lifejackets we didn’t want to have to swim.

So we headed to back to the launch site and moved to Chipman to try a few spots there that get more protection from the wind.

It was now much later and warmer by the time we were on the water at Chipman. The water temperature had risen but the pickerel didn’t change, they still only gave us one opportunity to catch them and then they were gone.

We had a hard time finding water in the weeds that wasn’t effected by the strong winds and kept moving all day, trying to keep in coves and inlets that were protected but the wind seemed to be coming from all directions.

my-pickerelWe had a few follow to the boat but once they got a look or a little taste of the bait they gave up and turned away.

I managed to catch a couple of pickerel but they were pretty small.

They were still better than what we had been catching to this point which was just air.

Maybe they would have made a good sandwich but still fun.

A little later I hooed into one that was much bigger than the others. I even got it into the canoe so we could take a picture.This one was a bit more respectable.

You can see behind me that the water looks calm. It was rare but the wind would stop every once in a while, just long enough for the water to get calm enough for us to move away from the shore but they were few and far between.

After a day in the strong wind and weeds where the paddling becomes work it didn’t take long to wear me out so when I got home, a little after 8pm, I was ready for bed. I didn’t even bother to have anything to eat.

I was telling Jamie about a kid’s movie I had watched the day before. It was called ‘The Good Witch’. There was a little girl having bad dreams of monsters that asked her how to get rid of them.

The good witch told her to make sure she didn’t dream about fuzzy bunnies that night and told her to keep saying it. I will not dream about fuzzy bunnies, over and over.

The little girl woke up the next day and had only dreamed of fuzzy bunnies, and no monsters.

Well I was blessed and dream of monsters all night. Some were scary monsters but I managed to get them all in the boat and released safely.

I woke up happy, excited and ready to go again.

Chipman Waterfront Campground on Salmon River

Chipman-WaterFront-CampgroundTestimonials are great to have and word of mouth can be like gold if the experience is good. I could tell the fella who introduced us to Chipman Waterfront Campground was certainly happy with his experience.

I have been fishing the Chipman area for pickerel for more than 10 years and love it. The only thing is that we always end up driving back home at the end of the day.

Now that I know there is a campground and a well kept campground I might add we will be able to stay over night and get two days fishing in before heading back to Moncton.

As the guy was telling us about camping over night he told us about the fishing and how the campground owner, Bruce, had some canoes, lifejackets and even a couple of paddle boats.

He was saying how they had gone out from the camp site and had a lot of fun catching pickerel right there.

Well he immediately had my attention. I asked him for directions and found that I have driven past this place many times in the past 3 years and never saw it.

When I get fishing on the brain I don`t see anything else.

It was a very windy day and we had been working hard to keep fishing the weeds but we needed a break, well our arms and back needed a break.

So we headed back to Chipman from Redbank and turned right at the train tressel. Coming from highway 2 we would have made a left just before going under the train tressel.

We drove across the bridge, up to the school which is less than a minute and took a left. I think it was about 2 minutes from there. Easy to find and it has a nice big Canada Flag to get your attention.


Looking in from the road you can only see the lane in and not the campground which makes it more private. I didn`t hear any car or truck noises while we were in there either.

As we drove in and turned a little corner there it was and the first thing I saw of course was the water and the weed beds across the river. I wanted to jump right out and start casting.

The owner Bruce came out, with a big smile, to greet us.

We talked for about 15 minutes and he told us about his campground. You can tell it is something he has a passion for, just like me and fishing.

I was impressed and instantly liked Bruce. I think the fact that everything was so well kept and clean helped with that first impression and I feel strongly about those first impressions.

I was a little distracted by the river and the weed beds I could see. I hope Bruce didn`t think I was ignoring him or being rude.

I could tell you what I saw there but because Bruce has a web site about his campground I would like to let him tell you about it. So take a minute or two and check it out. Chipman Waterfront Campground.

Our Last Day Fishing Chain Pickerel For The Season

Fishing Chain Pickerel in Chipman, New BrunswickFishing season here in New Brunswick was quickly drawing to a close, a time of year that always brings a tear to my eye. As dedicated fishers Jamie and I weren’t willing to let the season end without getting out just one more time.I am semi-retired, our son is in his 20s and lives on his own, I work from home and my wife has always been the best when it comes to me going fishing so I can pretty much go fishing at the drop of a hat. Most of the time my clients give me plenty of notice when they want me to do something for them and time isn’t usually an issue at all so I am always ready to go fishing, especially for Chain Pickerel.

Now Jamie on the other hand is a husband, father of twin girls, a school teacher and a hockey coach so he is more than just a busy guy which can make it rather tough to find an entire day to dedicate to fishing.

The last day we were fishing we planned one more day out but it hindged on whether Jamie could fit it into his schedule. It would be tough as the Thanksgiving weekend seemed to be the only slot available before the season closed.

I hadn’t heard from Jamie and time was running out. I knew he was busy and didn’t want to bother him especially if he wasn’t going to be able to go, why torment him, right. I even put all my fishing gear away for the year and tried not to think about it.

On the Thursday the 9th I got an email from Jamie asking if I was still interested in going fishing. I laughed out loud when I read that as I am always interested in going fishing. He either thought that was funny or he just hasn’t known  me long enough to know just how fanatical I am about fishing.

Fishing In The Wind

Over the years fishing pickerel here in New Brunswick I have found that when fishing the weeds for pickerel the slightest breeze can put them off and make an otherwise beautiful day non-productive. It also makes it a lot tougher to fish from a canoe and maintain your position out from the weeds.

Most days here start out very calm and as the day progresses the wind tends to pick up and then just before dark it usually calms again.

I was sure hoping Saturday wasn’t going to be like Friday as Friday started windy and just got more and more windy as the day progressed.

Well I woke up Saturday at 5am and immediately looked out the window to see if it was calm but it wasn’t. I could already see the branches moving when they are usually dead still at that time of the morning.

It was a bit depressing but our backup plan was to fish for smallmouth bass if it was too windy for the pickerel.

Jamie picked me up and we headed to Chipman. I spent the entire time watching the tree tops to see how the wind was doing, hoping the closer we got the less wind. We arrived and saw that there was a little ripple on the water.

I know we could fish the open water all day and catch pickerel but we both love the action in the weeds. When you cast to the weeds and the water explodes or you see a huge wake coming at your bait, well there is something about that that makes pickerel fishing in the weeds so darn exciting.

Over the years I have noticed that the slightest breeze can bring the action in the weeds to halt, immediately. Even though the water in the weeds can remain calm, if the breeze isn’t too strong, it still move the weeds enough to turn them off. As soon as the breeze stops the action starts again.

The wind also plays havoc with the canoe and even using an anchor you can’t keep the canoe facing the way you want. Well I can’t seem to get it to any ways, so I like those really calm days for ease of canoe control and plenty of top water action.

The wind picked up and died down over and over but every once in a while it would get windy enough to make it really tough fishing the weeds and maintain control of the canoe, even with an anchor. A number of times I suggested we leave and head to our bass fishing spot, but then the wind would die down and the pickerel would go nuts again.

Eventually the wind stopped and the water became like glass. Perfect for fishing the weeds and the pickerel didn’t disappoint us, the action was none stop all the way to dark.

We spent 10 hours in Jamie’s canoe and a great day. It did take me about 10 minutes to stand up straight after getting out of the canoe.

I am already looking forward to and planning for next year’s fishing season.

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Fishing with a New Buddy

JamieI think Jamie and his twin girls had a great day of fishing Smallmouth bass. Here is another little post from Jamie.

After talking to James and sharing the day I had with my girls I asked him if he would like to go fishing for the day. I know it is hard to believe but he said yes.

I strapped my canoe on my car and picked James up early in the morning and we were off to try to catch some pickerel and bass. I went to Cassidy Lake earlier this summer and caught a few small pickerel so I was excited to go to some water that had pickerel that would be more plentiful and larger in size.

We arrived at the location and of course we were both excited to get fishing that we fished off shore for a few minutes. James had one follow his lure after just a few casts which got my heart pumping. We put the canoe in the water and made our way to where James said he normally fishes.

I had an excellent time trying to catch these fish. It was great fun watching them chase after the lures in the water. I quickly realized that they are quite a predator. We caught a few, but that did not matter, as I told James it was just as much fun watching them chase and hit the baits. If not by the end of this fishing season, I am truly hoping that James and I will be back to try for some more pickerel very soon.

The day was actually very winding and it came to a point where we decided to leave and try for some bass. We loaded up our gear and the canoe and in a short time we were fishing bass. This was non-stop action for about three hours, I would say we caught and released about sixty bass. They were not monsters but that made no difference to me at all as I am someone who just has a great time catching fish no matter the size.

James was a great help teaching me how to fish in the weeds for pickerel. I am hoping to practice lots more very soon. I am very thankful that an evening surfing the internet led me to James’ fishing site. It led to a great day with my girls and also to another great day fishing for pickerel and bass with a new fishing buddy!


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