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April 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


The Sportsman Show

Parking Wars - at DHMC.! The driver of the car on the right had to crawl out the back hatch. Fun to watch, frustrating if you are the one that can’ find a spot…The poem on the right was written by my buddy Ed Earle (Bridgewater, Vermont) after the Outdoor Show…

Volume 6 Issue 4

Table of Contents

ARTICLES Editor’s Back Porch Eight Years in the Wilderness Traveling Outdoorsman Taxidermy Trails Mass Meanderings Riverbank Tales FishTales and other Drivel Lock, Stock & Smoking Barrel Family Tracks Kid’s Corner Bone Collections Lessons form the Outdoors The Trap Line On and Off the Trail Forest Forward Tails from the Trail Southern Side Up From the Back of the Canoe A Waterfowler’s Perspective Thoughts on the Out of Doors Coastal Zone Behind the Sights Searching for Nature’s Treasures Guided by the Light, or.... Gazette’s Book Review Pic’s Gone Wild

On The Cover

The New Hampshire & Vermont

Outdoor Gazette Publisher/Editor: Fred Allard Graphic Design: Dan Millet

Page 4 6 8 9 10 12 13 14 16 18 19 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 38 39 40 42 44 46 47

Send correspondence to: The Outdoor Gazette 1166 Court Street Haverhill, NH 03765 Tel: (603) 989-3093 • Cell: (802) 738-6755 Web: www.theoutdoorgazette.com e-Mail: fred@theoutdoorgazette.com Graphic Design By: Think Different Design 12A Grandview Drive Berlin, NH 03570 Tel: (603)-752-9838 Cell: (978)-855-9227

The OUTDOOR GAZETTE

is printed monthly by Seacoast Media Group Portsmouth, New Hampshire ISSN Number 1941-9805

Legal

The Outdoor Gazette, with all of their agents, officers and employees, accept no responsibility for any or all injuries or damages that may result from interpretations of articles or advertisements within this publication. The opinions expressed by contributors to The Outdoor Gazette are their own and do not reflect the opinions of the The Outdoor Gazette in any way. No part of this paper may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of The Outdoor Gazette LLC. Copyright, The Outdoor Gazette LLC. All Rights Reserved

Tyler Daisey of Orford New Hampshire with a 21 inch brown trout that he caught on the Conn. River while walleye fishing.- Pink arrow contest details inside this issue- Steelhead rainbow trout like this one, will soon be jumping falls to spawn at the Willoughby River in Orleans, Vt. Vermont’s trout fishing season starts April 14th. The Outdoor Gazette

The Sportsman show was a weekend event. Sportsman and woman, came and went. It was held this year at “The Fireside Inn”. Two big rooms, for the venders to set up in. That Fred Allard knows how to put on a show. You can see the excitement on his face, it has that glow. There were taxidermist and antler art. Hunting and fishing trips, together or apart. We had raffles for Guns and a Bow. Different seminars throughout the show. We had trapping, trail cameras and a guy selling scent. You could buy a canoe or a kayak from a very nice gent. Turkey callers selling their calls. Several deer heads lined the walls. Fred was running a special for the “Outdoor Gazette”. Big savings on a subscription sounds like a good bet. We were there to support Fred and our cause. We talked about Traditional Bows and our flaws. For all of those that didn’t get to go. You missed a very good “Sportsman Show”.

Submissions

Do you have an interesting story to tell? It could be about a fishing trip with Dad or Grampa, maybe a hunting trip with some buddies or just about exploring nature with Grammie. We are always looking for good stories/pictures to publish in our paper. If you have a story that you think our readers might be interested in, then give us a call at 603989-3093 or send a copy by mail or email to fred@theoutdoorgazette.com.

April 2012

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Editor’s Back Porch Bringing back some old Ideas

Well with all the talk at the Outdoor Show of plans for this upcoming fall’s deer season, I decided to reprint the Outfitter’s Review Column about my hunt with Buffalo County Outfitters. I have received many emails and phone calls and talked with many folks at the last 2 sportsman’s shows I’ve been at, about my experience with Scott and his crew. The Outfitter Review Column will now be a regular event each month for the Outdoor Gazette and so will the Trophy Spotlight segment. You wont believe the monster being profiled in the May issue. …Back to the outfitter column, stay focused Fred! The next Outfitter Review is a combo article actually, it will tell you all about the place we stayed but is also about my best deer and deer hunt ever. I can’t wait to share it with all of you. Also coming up after the May review/story, will be a couple months of Bear Outfitter reviews.

If you ever want to try spring bear hunting these 2 pieces will certain-

By Fred Allard

Pink Arrows? They are quite manly you know, and they can also win you some cool prizes. Most importantly the proceeds from the

I can’t wait to tell this story next month...The Outfitter Review Column and the Trophy Spotlight column return to our pages in May. Photo by Ben Hudson.

ly interest you. (BTW I could use a hunting partner the first week of June if you are interested, e-mail me for price/details.)

Pink Arrow Contest will benefit the Hunt of a Lifetime program. So, basically you purchase an arrow shaft from the Outdoor Gazette.

Create a masterpiece/arrow with the color theme of Pink. Submit your finished arrow back to the Outdoor Gazette before or at the 2013 Twin State Big Game and Outdoor Show. All the arrow entries will be displayed here and judged and prizes awarded to the winners. A check from the proceeds of the contest will be presented to the Hunt of a Lifetime program, also at the show. So support Hunt of a Lifetime and let your creative juices flow, do it with your kids…so many ways to have fun with it and support a noble cause too. Fred Allard lives in Haverhill, NH with his family. He is a Bowhunter Education Instructor, a scorer for the Northeast Big Buck Club, the New Hampshire Antler and Skull Trophy Club and the Vermont Big Game Trophy Club. He is the President of the Montshire Traditional Bowhunters. Fred can be reached by emailing fred@theoutdoorgazette.com.

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The Outdoor Gazette


Letters to the Editor

Hi Fred - I read Alex Cote’s article about deer management. I disagree with his desire to have an antler restriction. I live in Errol.

We have very few deer up here and when we had that antler restriction, it turned most of us into sitters. I am a tracker, still hunter, and occasional sitter if its after work or just before dark. I only hunt with a longbow. Personally, I don’t give a damn about horns. A fawn shot with a longbow that you have hunted on foot is a trophy to me. He mentioned sup-

The Outdoor Gazette

porting our biologists. In February at he meting about baiting all we had there was a bunch of guides who spoke in favor of

baiting. If we truly want big bucks in N.H. here are a few suggestions: 1. Get rid of baiting, especially late season when the bucks coming out of the rut are especially vulnerable to a pile of grain. Baiting is resulting in posted land and it is changing deer patterns. In addition, up here, it is causing deer to become very nocturnal. Hunters aren’t hunters anymore,

they are deer farmers. They bait, feed deer in the winter, and some up here feed in the summer to keep them on their posted land. 2. One man-one deer - This rule for Coos county 3. Get rid of radios - I see guys using them to drive deer. When I was young we would yell if we jumped a deer. That meant that the jumper would not see it again. I know these are kind of radical, but when you think of it, it is just turning back the clock to when our grandfathers hunted. The horn porn we see on TV has ruined traditional deer hunting. Every year there is a new camo pattern everyone has to use, new bows that make all others obsolete, new gizzies, and the list goes on. I wear some camo, but mostly plaid. I use brush blinds or a ghost blind if I feel high-tech. Once snow hits though, I like to walk. The average deer hunter just wants a crack at a deer, and as a groundhunter, I find it impossible to count points when a buck jumps up from his bed in front of me and I am trying to get

April 2012

an arrow into him. I shot at a monster buck twice this last Dec. and can’t tell you what horns he had. I was trying to pick a spot before he bolted from me. All I can tell you is that his body was huge. In closing, I enjoyed your trapping article. I trap and hope that Randy Barrows will include some trapping tips in future articles. Thanks for reading this Bob Lord Errol, NH

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8 Years in the Wilderness Spring has Sprung

Spring has sprung here in the North Country. It is about a month earlier than usual, but I am not complaining. I am sure it will allow Martha and I to start some of our projects early this year. Perhaps it will even allow us to finish all that we planned to do this season. The last few days, Martha and I have tried to ice fish on the pond, but when the temperature is in the high 30s or low 40s, there is way too much slush on top of the ice to make it even fun to try to chase flags. I have a feeling that the ice fishing season is winding down, and it will be impossible to get out on the ice in a week or so. I am not complaining as we have had a full season of it. I can say that I was out on the pond almost every decent day this past winter (and a few days that were not decent). As I am sitting at my desk writing this month’s column, I occa-

By Tom Rideout

sionally look up and out the window. The sun is just coming up over Sturtevant Mountain behind the house and lighting up the pond. Our bird feeder is very active first thing in the morning,

lem finding food. We haven’t had any exotic species, just the regular chickadees, redpolls, goldfinches, nuthatches and an occasional blue jay. Pretty soon it will be time to start on our firewood. This past summer, we planned just about

Argentina, the perfect winter vacation destination for serious fisher people. but the visits slow down during perfectly on the amount of firethe day. I am not seeing as many wood we would need to get songbirds as usual, and I am not through the season. I think if it sure of the reason. It could be had been a colder winter, we that because of the lack of snow might not have had enough. many of the birds have no probLooking back on past winters, they seemed to have dragged on and on. However, for some odd reason, this past winter went by faster than I can ever remember. In past winters, I always headed to Argentina for a few weeks during the winter. It being their summer there allowed me the opporExperience fantastic wing-shooting tunity to get away from the cold. Back in the 80s, I visited in Western Maine! Argentina more often and for longer periods. One year, my • 35 years experience friend Jon Knoop from New • Accommodations available York, and I spent over a month traveling and exploring the coun• References available on request try. We focused our trip on the Patagonia area as we searched for the best fly fishing areas. During those trips, we made a lot of friends, which eventually led me Master Registered to guide some fishing parties Maine Guide there. I must confess that the rivers in Patagonia offered some of the best fly fishing for rainbow, brown and brook trout in the world. On our first trips we searched for monster fish. We found them To m R i d e o u t mostly in the boccas (which are the inlets and outlets of the lakes). for more information call This was sight fishing, as these monsters cruised these areas looking for food. Back in the 1980s we would see several big fish a day, or visit our website at but they were difficult to catch. We soon turned our attention to the rivers and focused on dry fly

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April 2012

fishing for fish that averaged three to four pounds. On good days it wasn’t uncommon to be able to catch three or four dozen a day. As is my nature, I was always looking for places off the beaten path. With some direction from our friends, Jon and I traveled the back roads and goat trails, following rivers upstream and then taking smaller tributaries until we got to their headwaters. We found some remarkable water and some of the most impressive fishing to be found anywhere. In the 15 or so years that we fished in Argentina, we saw many changes. The most dramatic was the closing of many of the rivers to public fishing. When we first went to Argentina, we would stop at any estancia (ranch) and asked for permission to fish the rivers that ran through the properties. We were never refused. In many cases we were give a ring of keys that fit every gate in the ranch and were asked to return them when we finished. Over time, as word got out about the fabulous fishing, Americans and American companies came to Argentina and started buying up the fishing rights to the rivers. When we first went down to Argentina, there were public campsites on about every river. On our last trip, we found only commercial campsites where one had to pay for the camping. It did not allow you the right to fish nearby rivers. To do that, one either had to pay the owner of the property or a guide who had the exclusive right to fish the river. One of the best ways to fish the rivers, especially the larger ones, is to float them on drift boats. The only access to rivers are the public roads which run along river valleys and the river. Many of the rivers do not have roads along them because of the steep mountains and ridges that channel them through the arid terrain. So we would find sections of rivers that had a road alongside it for a while where we could put in a drift boat and then find another road downstream somewhere where we could take it out. One river, the Alumine in northern Patagonia, had sections of river that had no roads for miles. One particular section we enjoyed Continued on page 7 The Outdoor Gazette


A Shift in Strategy for Merrimack River Atlantic Salmon Restoration

CONCORD, N.H. — The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department won’t need as much volunteer help this year stocking millions of inch-long salmon fry (young salmon) into the Merrimack River basin because of an exciting new development. About the same number of fry will be stocked, but fewer rivers are being targeted because Fish and Game does not want to stock on top of fry that may have hatched in the wild. Last fall, adult salmon were released into the Souhegan, Baker and upper Pemigewasset rivers, and successful spawning was confirmed by monitoring radiotagged fish and counting redds (salmon nests). The shift in strategy was inspired by a record number of 402 returning Atlantic salmon counted at the Essex Dam fish lift downstream in Massachusetts in the spring of 2011. Similar increases were recorded on salmon rivers fishing allowed us a three day float trip from our launch site to the next takeout downstream. I have always had it in the back of my mind that one day when I retired I would spend all my winters in Argentina and then return to western Maine in the summer. I have been offered a small piece of property to build a bungalow if I should desire to do so. It is right on the Colon Cura River, which is one of my favorite rivers. I know it is a pipe dream, but what is life if one can’t dream? Looking at it sensibly, I enjoy living here on Sturtevant Pond too much in the winter to ever want to leave. Perhaps sometime in the future I will go down for a week or two so as to visit old friends and experience some of that great fishing. It would probably be during one of our worst

throughout Maine and Canada. The increase in numbers allowed Fish and Game to take some big steps toward answering questions about natural salmon reproduction. It has been 35 years since the first salmon fry were released in the Merrimack River watershed under the current Atlantic salmon restoration program, which is funded by the federal Sport Fish Restoration Program. Before 1976, Atlantic salmon had been missing from the waters of the Merrimack since the first attempt at salmon restoration ended more than a century ago in 1895. The original salmon population had been extirpated by dams built in Lawrence and Lowell in the early 1800s. Optimism ran high in the early days of the modern program. Targets for adult salmon returns were set in the thousands. The program became a catalyst for habitat restoration, land conserva-

from previous page winters so the trip would break up the winter. One thing I am concerned about is how I would hold up. There is a lot of hopping rock to rock and wading in swift currents. Even when I was younger, it took a toll on my legs. I am not sure how I would hold up today. But as I always say, “you never know until you try.”

Tom Rideout is the former editor of NH Outdoor Gazette and was the owner of Bosebuck Mountain Camps on Aszicoos Lake in western Maine for 17 years. He has held a Master Maine Guide’s license for more than 35 years (hence the 8 years in the wilderness) He and his wife Martha operate Sturtevant Pond Camps in Magalloway, Maine and operates Pakesso Guide Service, which specializes in upland bird wing shooting . You can reach Tom at tom@sturtevantpondcamps.com

tion and fish passage projects throughout the Merrimack watershed. Yet the goal of achieving a sustainable salmon run has remained elusive, with an average of 121 adult salmon returning to the Merrimack River each year. The restoration program holds the first 300 returning Atlantic salmon at the National Fish Hatchery in Nashua, where their eggs are used to produce the millions of juvenile salmon that are stocked throughout the Merrimack River watershed each year. Until 2011, this target was only exceeded once, with 331 salmon returns counted in 1991. Salmon returns have typically been low because populations throughout North America are in decline. Poor survival in the ocean has been a major obstacle to salmon restoration efforts throughout the region. This remains true despite the closing of an ocean fishery off the western coast of Greenland, where Atlantic salmon congregate before migrating back to their home rivers. Determining the potential cause, or causes, of declining marine survival is a major focus of current research. “If ocean survival is cyclical, then it is reasonable to believe that

salmon restoration can succeed,” said Matt Carpenter, a fisheries biologist who coordinates New Hampshire’s salmon restoration program. “However, if there has been a fundamental shift in the North Atlantic ecosystem because of a changing climate or other factors, then salmon restoration may not be possible.” It was with this uncertainty about the marine phase of the salmon’s life cycle in mind that regional anadromous fisheries planners began, in 2010, to rethink the strategy of the Merrimack River Salmon Program. A common theme has been scaling back hatchery production and shifting focus toward evaluating the potential for natural salmon reproduction in the watershed. This looks especially promising in the Souhegan River, where a recent dam removal has made salmon spawning habitat accessible for the first time in the history of the program. Releasing adult salmon and evaluating their ability to spawn in the wild, rather than waiting until we reach a minimum target of 300 fish before breeding adults are released, will tell us whether the Souhegan River conContinued on page 43

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The Outdoor Gazette

April 2012

Page 7


Traveling Outdoorsman By Glenn Dunning The multi-season hunter’s guide to daypack management

While thumbing through a catalog last night I realized that I might need a new daypack. Probably not a purchase I will make without research and adequate procrastination. After-all, most hunters can be a little finicky about such an important item on the gear list. Why do I need a new one? Two reasons; my love/hate relationship with my current pack and I don’t have a compression pod. I know, it sounds like something attached to the space station, right? Let’s break it down to purpose and function. Most would agree that for hunters to be prepared there are certain things that we should carry into the field. The copy writers at Cabela’s work overtime to create reasons why we need new products that fit in our packs and contribute to our hunting safety, comfort, success and overall coolness. A quick study of the stuff I carry reveals glimpses of what the typical obsessive/compulsive multi-season hunter considers necessary. The primary purpose of a good daypack is to hold all the special items that are now required for almost any trip into the woods. And, the corresponding function would be holding them in some type of organized manner. This is one area where “old faithful” comes up short. The zipper on my pack creates an opening extending halfway down each side. This allows easy access to the stuff on top like my sandwich, an empty juice pouch and one orphan glove. The other equally vital contents collect at the very bottom of the dark, inner chasm where even fairly large essentials, like my grunter, become invisible and can not even be distinguished by feel. It drives me nuts! “I know my grunt tube is in here, I can’t see it but certainly it’s

big enough to be able to put my hand on,” as I grapple around in that place where the sun doesn’t shine. I have dumped my whole pack upside down more than once to find something that eluded detec-

tion in any other way. A guide I had in Newfoundland had a pack where the zipper went all the way around the outside. Laying the pack on its straps, you unzip the entire main compartment flap and lay it back to expose the contents, like opening a suitcase. Great feature, not that guides carry a fraction as much stuff as most over-equipped clients. How big should a daypack be? Some of my friends still head out with nothing but the clothes on their backs, knife, rope and weapon. Me? I like to always be

Eddie Nash & Sons Inc.

prepared for an all day hunt, as well as deal with any number of possible circumstances. The late season hunts are the toughest, by then there is 3 months worth of various seasonal gear in the pack. You’re sitting in a ladder-stand looking over a midwest corn field and the wind is blowing 40 miles an hour. Your hands nearly freeze, while with gloves removed, you’re trying to find that last package of peanut butter crackers hidden down near the bottom of the abyss. I pulled my pack out of the closet last night to inventory those items that reside there permanently as they will need to fit into any new pack I buy. Here’s what falls into the essential gear category in no particular order, which is how it is organized: Outside pockets: pack saw, pruning nippers, Primo’s cancall, 3 year old half full bottle of Tink’s, extra glasses, assorted bow hooks and hangers, flashlight, pint size bottle of scent eliminator, pee bottle, my compass and an old pack of matches that you couldn’t light with a blow torch. Main compartment: Rangefinder, rattle bag, 4 packages of hand warmers, quart size Ziploc bag containing band aids, gauze and space blanket, extra sox, extra glove(s) and knit hat, several folded up paper towels, lens cleaner wipes, small Leatherman tool, bug net, a couple emergency light sticks, extra bow release, cheap plastic fluorescent vest, roll of surveyor’s

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April 2012

tape, 30 feet of parachute cord and my beloved drag rope of the last 25 years. “What?? That’s not that much stuff !”… The sad part is, that list doesn’t include the other gear you’ll need like; layered clothing, optics, extra bullets, my oversize, heavy duty thermos, GPS, cell phone not to mention, food. The pack already weighs 15 pounds and after adding that stuff, it’s closer to 20. How is the compression pod going to help? It will allow me to add another 5 to 10 pounds by strapping either my gun or bow right to the pack. The pod is a hinged compartment on the back to the bag that swings open on one side, you lay your weapon on the pack and the pod pocket lays over it, is fastened and pulled tight. They really work pretty awesome but, in reality, the only time my rifle is not in my hand is when I’m dragging something and that isn’t all that often. Still to consider are the various camo pattern options, evaluating the need for hydration bladders and don’t even start on whether my daypack needs Scent Lok. For all its misgivings and antiquated features, my current pack has traveled with me so many seasons & miles; in the back of floatplanes, hung over saddle horns and tucked under the seat of countless tree stands. Can I get by another year without all the new space-age features? Who knows, I just really wish I could find my grunt tube; it’s in here somewhere. Glenn Dunning lives in Brookfield, Vermont and owns TUNDRATOUR Consultants, a travel agency specializing in North American hunting and fishing adventures. He is also a member of the New England Outdoor Writers Assoc. Glenn can be reached by phone at 802-276-3317 or via his web site at: www.tundratour.com

ROSCOE BLAISDELL Official Measurer Boone & Crockett Club Pope & Young Club NH Antler & Skull Trophy Club Maine Antler & Skull Trophy Club

22 Scribner Road, Raymond, NH 03077

rblaisdell1@comcast.net

603-895-9947

The Outdoor Gazette


Taxidermy Trails By Rodney Elmer Short term solutions to long term problems

I was attending the annual Vermont spring deer meeting by the dept. of Fish & Wildlife. Sportsmen's concerns for the deer herd ran the usual gamut. Coyotes, posters, poachers, doe permits, winter severity seemed to be the main complaints. The general thought that the Dept. was inaccurately guessing and predicting seemed present also. A new biologist has been hired finally. The meeting was well attended. As I listened to the seemingly short term solutions to long ter m problems mixed with greed and finger pointing my son's future deer herd needed speaking for. It seems to me that the weather has been super, unusually crazy. The state's most critical habitat, the yarding areas, consist of old over story with little browse under or near them. The state's new successional forest areas are at an all time low. Tree recruitment of many species like cedar, hemlock, balsam fir has been adversely affected by a deer herd kept to close to carrying capacity for years. The state yards will be tested more if consecutive deep snows following mild years allow for large highs and lows in these cycles. When you teach a new driver, they tend to look just over the hood, not down the road very far and the car swerves a lot. That seemed to be the way the crowd was trying to drive the dept. More of the same short term solutions for quick fixes. Kill coyotes! No doe permits! We want more deer! It's your fault! Admit there is a problem! IT IS TIME FOR A

FRESH LOOK! TIME TO SEE THE FOREST FOR THE TREES! SO,,,LISTEN UP! The vast majority of our trees are Hardwood, with 9"

the average diameter. Beyond the reach of deer! Add to this, Houses, roads, lakes, rivers, fields, cities, interstates and the like that make up the rest of the land that deer can't really use, what's left?. As snow piles up and they are forced into shelter wood only areas for extended periods, already over worked, It compounds the same problem further! I just can't sit there and tell the scientist "We don't need any permits!" They issue permits to SAVE TREES! To keep them from over browsing the young new yarding areas that our children’s deer herd will need! If you drew a map of yards and of new successional forest, statewide, that would be a pretty pitiful map! Those tiny places are of the UTMOST importance! They need protection and enhancement! Our children’s deer herd needs our help not, hindrance! Now it is time for you to become a true sportsman and stop being so short term greedy. Value a land that

will support it's healthy and abundant deer herd through tough times I'm sure are ahead! What can you do? A new association has started to aid landowners, the deer herd, and it's habitat's. Ver mont Whitetail Association is a notfor-profit state-wide organization that was established in 2012 by Todd and Clint Gray. The Ver mont Whitetail Association is open to the Sporting Community of all ages who care about the future of the whitetail population and whitetail hunting in the state of Vermont. The Association focuses on the following goals: 1) The quality and quantity of our deer herd. 2) Help to preserve deer habitat within the state 3) Pass on the heritage of deer and deer hunting to future

With over 20 years of experience in taxidermy, we pride ourselves in our ability to preserve your trophy to look as it did in its natural habitat. We work annually on about 300 mountings and presentations of many varieties of wildlife; deer, bears, moose, coyotes, fox, fisher, turkeys and more. We also work on animals from other parts of the globe including Africa. In addition to being entertaining, the stories of the hunters who are our customers provide information allowing us to suggest possible ways to present and mount the trophies that they have bagged. Our high quality work can be seen by our many repeat customers that seek out our services. The presentation of your trophy can be head wall mounts or full body depictions. We are also the State of Vermont Dept. of Fish & Wildlife Big Game Reporting Station. A specially designed outdoor scale system with tall vertical clearance is also provided for easy weigh-in of all species.

The Outdoor Gazette

at 802-485-7184

Call Rodney or Theresa Elmer

Official Measurer Boone & Crockett Club Pope & Young Club NH Antler & Skull Trophy Club Maine Antler & Skull Trophy Club

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Rodney Elmer and his wife Theresa own and operate Mountain deer taxidermy in Northfield,Vermont.

MOUNTAIN DEER TAXIDERMY

ROSCOE BLAISDELL 22 Scribner Road, Raymond, NH 03077

generations The mission is to sustain and improve the whitetail herd and population within the State of Vermont. To work collectively and have a voice in all government related issues that will affect the future of the whitetail in Ver mont. To promote and improve the hunting experience within the state and work to make Ver mont a more desirable state to hunt. To provide education to members and others by sharing information. To promote, recruit, involve and educate youth. To promote safety and high ethical standards when harvesting whitetail and all wildlife species and request that all of our members adhere to legal and honest practices.

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April 2012

Page 9


Mass Meanderings By David Willette

Catch and release fishing takes hold

The phrase “catch and release” is relatively new to the fishing world, at least in its present form. Thirty years ago the saying was pretty much unheard of, especially around these parts. The old school fly-fishermen have been practicing catch and release for decades. It took an old school guy, Al Les of Adams to get the first catch and release section on the Deerfield River established. There were many doubters of this policy back then, but now catch and release fishing is here to stay, and growing more popular every year. Without catch and release, there wouldn’t be a single bass left in Berkshire County, or anywhere else for that matter. There are a few benefits to catch and release fishing, the most obvious one being that the fish gets to live and fight another day, perhaps giving some beginner a thrill of a lifetime. The second advantage to this type of

Page 10

fishing is that it’s good for your soul. When I didn’t practice catch and release, I always felt a lot of pressure when I had a fish on the line, I wanted to land it as quickly as I could, especially if it was a

Catch and release-Proper handling is critical to the survival of fish.

big fish. Maybe to some people, this is part of the fun, the pressure of landing a fish. I‘ve found personally, that I am much more relaxed now, when fighting a fish, because I don’t care if I land it or not. I actually prefer if it falls off in the water before I have to handle it.

Speaking of handling fish there are definitely do’s and don’ts when it comes to letting fish go, and certain fish like bass are much hardier than trout. With trout, a fisherman has to be extra careful when handling fish it to avoid injuring it. If you’re going to release a fish, you should always handle it with wet hands. A dry hand to a fish is like a wet hand on yourself- only on a fish the dryness is detrimental to its health, as it removes a fine coating on the fish. When handling fish try to keep the fish and keep it in the water as much as possible. Fishing nets are a no-no when it comes to releasing fish, as the netting can get caught in the gills causing serious damage. Another bad thing to do is picking up the fish by its stomach to show your buddies. That’s like squeezing it with it massive bear hug. Always lift a fish by its bottom lip, and only briefly if you must. While fighting a fish from shore, you may kick up some dirt or silt causing the water to get very cloudy. When this happens, bring your fish to clear water, usually upstream so that the fish can start swimming more easily. Releasing him in dirty water is like walking through a smoky room after you’ve just run a mile. Give the fish the best chance you can to survive. The fish will be very tired after its battle with you. Don’t just plop the fish back in the water, (like they do on TV). Lightly hold the fish by the base of the tail, and slowly work it back and forth, just enough to make its gills open and close slightly. Remember, this fish is exhausted, and to throw a disoriented, tired fish back into the raging current doesn’t give it much of a chance of surviving. The fish will pull away from your hand when it’s ready and swim into the deep water. Not all fish are meant to be released. Stock trout for example are put in the water with the philosophy of “put and take”. The state puts them in and we take them out. Most of these fish don’t have the natural ability to survive very long, “hold over” to the next year. This doesn’t mean you can’t release these trout as well, though. Some will survive.

April 2012

Not all types of fishing are conducive to catch and release either. Spin and fly-fishing are the two best methods that give the fish the best chance of survival after being released. Although a flyfisherman will usually play his fish for a longer time because he uses very light line, sometimes this is detrimental to the fish because it can build up lactic acid, which is not good for it. The spin fisherman can help the fishes cause by de-barbing his hooks, or perhaps changing his treble hooks to a single hook. It is much easier and quicker to release a fish from a hook that hasn’t any barbs. I’m afraid the person that fishes with bait doesn’t give the fish much of a chance of survival. First of all when a fish bites down on a lure or a fly, it knows right away that it’s been duped. It’s like finding a bone in your filet, you notice it and you immediately stop chewing. Not so with bait. Sometimes when a fish hits bait, it doesn’t even know that a hook is holding it in place, and the fish swallows it down to its gizzard. The only way to save this fish is to cut the line and leave the bait, hook down in the fish’s throat. Many studies have shown that the survival of fish caught with bait is less than five percent. So if you’re going to utilize catch and release, don’t fish with bait of any kind. There should be more catch and release areas. Last year a new section was opened on the Housatonic River. In a few years you’ll see a dramatic rise in large fish in this river. I wish the state would make the Hoosic River catch and release, or at least artificial lures only. The Hoosic could be a fabulous trout stream, even with all the junk in it. Besides, Hoosic River fish shouldn’t be eaten, so why keep them? You don’t need much equipment to become a catch and release fishermen, just a small pair of needle-nose pliers and the right mindset. The pliers are easy to find, the mindset may take a little longer, but once you get it, you’ll never keep another trout. David Willette is a free-lance outdoor writer who lives in Western Massachusetts. He can be contacted through www.coyotewars.com The Outdoor Gazette


The Outdoor Gazette

April 2012

Page 11


Riverbank Tales by Bill Thompson The Opening Day Story

The alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4:30 in the morning. It took a minute to free myself from the dead weight of the large black lab lying across my legs. I staggered downstairs, let the dog out and started the coffee maker. I was followed closely by Janet who was wide awake and already starting to load her gear into the truck. The thermometer read 30 degrees and the first light of the new day was just breaking over the horizon. I picked up my gear which had been laid out the night before, next to the back door, and loaded it into the truck. A few minutes later we were pulling into the parking lot of our favorite trout pond. We were the very first to arrive and for a moment we stood beside the truck staring out over the pond, enjoying the silence of the false dawn. The sky was beginning to lighten up. Most of

the pond was covered in a thick cover of fog. We were beginning the ritual of rigging up our rods when we heard the sound of a

Janet Thompson with an opening day Brook Trout... Photo by Bill Thompson

truck coming down the dirt road and the light from their headlights soon became visible. The occupants turned out to be our friends Jed and Russ. We talked for a few moments as we finished

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Page 12

tying on our flies. They headed over to the landing to launch their canoe and we walked down to the water. No sooner had we reached the shore of the pond when a small boat powered by a

stealth electric motor came out of the fog. The occupants of the boat, two men and their dog, waved as they glided by us and disappeared back into the fog. I guess we can’t claim to be the first to actually fish the pond, but we were the first there and we’re sticking to our story. I unhooked the fly from the hook keeper, flipped it into the water and began the familiar rhythm of casting. Janet had taken up a position a few feet to my left and was doing the same. The cold fly line stung my fingers as I retrieved the fly and ice began to form in the guides of the rod. A pair of mallards drifted out of the fog and watched us for a moment or two before returning to their morning business. Two Canada geese flew by and said good morning to us. Off somewhere in the distance a pileated woodpecker tapped out his good morning in what I believe to be Morse code. An osprey flew over later, but he remained silent. Suddenly the rod stopped short and the first brook trout of a new season had struck my fly. I was very careful in the way I played him; not wanting to loose the first of the year. He gave a good account of himself, but at last I bent down and using my forceps, gently removed the fly from the connor of his mouth. He was brightly colored and I admired his attire before he slipped back into the depth of the pond.

April 2012

A second trout was landed a few casts after the first and up until this point Janet had not had a strike. I graciously walked over to her and gave her one of my secret flies. This did the trick and soon she was busily landing her first trout of the season. We both continued to catch trout; however, it was not long before Janet was landing two to my one. I switched flies in an effort to even the score and quickly caught two on the new fly, but by now she was way ahead of me and neither one of us had kept count anyway. It is amazing how fast time goes by when you’re having fun. At 7:30 we had to call it a morning in order to get the shop open. Not a bad morning all and all and despite not being a “morning guy” and being dragged kicking and screaming by my wife down to the pond, I must admit I had fun. Opening day of the trout pond season has become a ritual of sorts in our family. The fourth Saturday of the month of April can not come soon enough for us. For the last thirty years or so we have celebrated the event at the same little pond; not far from our house. Most of the shore line is privately owned, however there is a public access where small boats may be launched. We have come to love this little pond as much as the owners. We are not alone in this and over the years a cast of like-minded characters come to this same pond to savor the delights of yet another spring and the promise that comes with it. The story above is pretty much typical of what our opening day is like. This April, on the fourth Saturday, I hope that you too are on your favorite trout pond celebrating the start to a new season. Originally from Maine, Bill Thompson, with his wife Janet, lives in Freedom and owns North Country Angler fly shop in North Conway. He has been fly fishing for more than 30 years and is a licensed NH Fishing Guide. He has fished all over New England, in Canada and out West, but claims the Saco as his “home river.” He also writes a column for a local paper as well as articles in national fly fishing magazines. Bill’s email is bill@northcountryangler.com. The Outdoor Gazette


Fish Tales and other Drivel

By Dick Baker

Connecticut River Walleye have SEX on their minds!!

Wow! It’s been a wonderfully easy and short winter and it looks as if it will be a warm and long spring. I’ve packed my ice fishing gear in the cellar and brought out my spring rods and tackle box. No big surprise is the large array of jig heads , many to be donated to the bottom of the Connecticut River! Yup! The Connecticut water is warming up and the walleye are moving upstream with sex on their minds. The thousands of walleye that spread out in secret hiding holes later in the year will be gathering and moving as far upstream as possible. They will eventually find a deep hole next to their favorite spawning site and begin to feed while they wait for the water temperature to get up to the magic 45 degrees. They will still be a little cold and lethargic but they will be found in numbers. The best method will involve live bait and slow motion retrieve. OK! So your first project is to locate annual spawning sites. Walleye spawn in rocky gravel bottom from 2 to 20 feet deep. This won’t be in the heavy current but it will need some current or good wave action to keep the eggs free of silt. Spawning normally begins when water temperature reaches 40 degrees and will end about the time when the temperature exceeds 50 degrees. The best spawning sites are used annually, with actual spawning taking place from sunset until midnight. If you aren’t lucky enough to know a successful local fisherman you might find it helpful to contact NHF&G biologists Gabe Gries or Jason Carrier (phone 603-3529669 or email gabriel.gries@wildlife.nh.gov or jason.carrier@wildlife.nh.gov ) . In 2009 Gabe and Jason completed an April walleye inventory study at Bellows Falls and Vernon Dam. Pre-spawn walleye are also going to be found in the same location year after year. That will be on a 30ft. deep flat that is out of the

main current and just downstream of the spawning area. If you fish from a boat these fish will be obvious on your fish locator. They will show up as solid marks about two

structure. I’ve been told that 99 percent of the river walleye will swim upstream as far as possible before stopping to deposit their eggs. For that reason I often find

Comfy day on the shore of the Connecticut River. You won't catch many walleye this way but sometimes its irresistable!!....photo by Dick Baker

feet off the bottom. At the outlet of a VT. stream I once was confused by what I thought was a mass of walleye. I fished over them for two hours until I caught one on a whole crawler and realized that they were suckers. Suckers generally show up very tight to the bottom while walleye will hold further off the bottom and actually give a better return signature. WHERE- The two most famous of NH’s spring walleye fisheries are below Vernon dam at Vernon Vt. and upstream at Bellows Fall just north of Walpole NH. Both areas have limited small boat access but shore fishermen often do well too. Both sites produce lots of trout so you’re not limited to the whims of finicky walleye. The 2009 census recorded many rainbow and brown trout and even some big brook trout caught while bouncing jigs and crawlers in search of walleye. Although spawning walleye might be found at any of the small creeks and streams that enter from the VT or NH side of the Connecticut the preponderance of the pre-spawn walleye will be found at the bottom of the first upstream

myself, near home, fishing the waters above Woodsville, NH upstream to the small, Dodge Falls hydro-electric plant opposite the old Rygate paper mill. It’s a beautiful and secluded place to fish and produces some of my biggest yellow perch of the year. The sad story is that the best walleye fishing is the VT shoreline just south of the old paper mill and dam. Some mean spirited landowner has posted the entire stretch. You can toss a stone from the public roadside, over the posted signs and splash it into what used to be a great shore to sit and wait for a walleye to take a weighted crawler or shiner. It’s still accessible if you take the risk of launching a canoe below the hydro-electric dam and fight your way down and across current to the VT shore. I’ve done it before but I’m always hesitant because the flow is directly related to the whims of the huge Comerford Reservoir hydro-electric dam several miles upstream. If you try it. remember to wear your life vest on and don’t try to anchor in the current. WHEN-There is little doubt that the most productive walleye fishing

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is during the first hours after sunset or a couple of hours before sunrise. I love to fish these hours during the summer when I can even set up camp along the river when the evening temperatures are balmy. But, after a long winter of frigid and windy weather on the ice, I like the idea of fishing the first 50 and 60 degree days. They seem so warm in comparison. A 50 degree April day can quickly become a below freezing evening as soon as the sun disappears. The mornings are even more so and require all of the clothing layers that I wore while standing on a foot of ice. I have the ultimate respect for those hardy fishermen who don’t even show up at the spring walleye sites until the edge of dark. But, I do catch walleye during the day and I only require a couple for my evening meal. HOW- After many years of stalking Conn. River walleye my tackle and methods have become very simple. My 4”X 6” plastic box contains a dozen jigs in sizes 1/4 oz. and 1/2 oz. Colors can vary but I’m attracted to bright green and bright yellow and green. These will be fished with night crawlers. I know shiners can be a super bait but I don’t like carrying a bucket and 2 gallons of water around the slippery shoreline rocks. The remainder of my box contains a half dozen yellow/green #2 floating jig heads, a packet of small golden swivels and a dozen 1/41/2 oz. bell sinkers. When I’ve located a fishy looking spot with a reasonable current turning into a calm backwater my chore is to hook the head of a whole crawler onto one of the floating jig heads. The floating jig head is about 18” below a small swivel with one of the bell sinkers sliding free above the swivel. I cast this colorful and tasty treat into the near edge of the current and release line until it has gone deep and swung out of the current and into the calm backwater. Now, I

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Lock, Stock and Smoking Barrel By Stan Holz Background checks, for better or worse

Buying guns through any licensed firearms dealer, in any state, involves going through a background check. Since 1968, anyone buying a gun from a dealer has had to fill out the well known “4473” form before taking a gun out of the shop. This form lists the purchaser’s name, address, physical description, birth date, and type of identification used. It also has a series of questions regarding any misdemeanors, felonies, or mental issues in one’s personal history. On November 30th, 1998, the Brady Law took effect. This new law required that gun purchasers not only fill out the 4473 form, but also go through a background check to insure that answers to the questions about any criminal history were honest and correct. After a pretty rough start, the system actually started to work very smoothly. Called the National Instant Criminal Background

Check System, or NICS, this nationwide call-in service handles thousands upon thousands of

gun checks every day of the week … seven days a week and 24 hours a day. Most buyers get their approvals within minutes, a few can be delayed for up to three business days, and even fewer are actually denied. NICS is a completely free service; there is no

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charge to the dealer, and no charge to the customer. Since 1998, any misdemeanor involving domestic violence is cause for an outright refusal. Prior to 1998, only felonies or restraining orders could stop a purchase. Most of the denials we see in gun stores are because of this type of misdemeanor, where the buyer simply wasn’t aware of the fact that the law had been changed. This law, when passed, had no grandfather provision, so anyone who ever had a domestic violence misdemeanor is now effectively prohibited from ever owning a gun. While NICS is a free and efficient service, not every state chooses to use it. In New Hampshire, the state insists on processing all handgun sales through its own offices. I’m not sure exactly what the original logic was for this decision, but it operates through the Permits and Licensing Division of the New Hampshire State Police in Concord. Typically, anywhere from one to four people man the phones in Concord and handle all incoming calls from dealers in New Hampshire. Although the staff is personable, I have never been a big fan of New Hampshire’s way of doing background checks. From my point of view as a dealer, the problems would seem to outweigh any advantages that in-state background checks may offer. Over the years, gun sales have been very strong and are on an upward trend. More and more people are getting into the shooting sports, collecting, or buying guns for self-defense. The staffing at the New Hampshire office has not increased. This means that on many days, the few people working there are simply overwhelmed by the volume of calls. Sometimes upwards of 150 background checks must be processed

in a single business day. The NICS office is staffed with hundreds of people; the NH office is not. What happens all too frequently is that a simple call for a background check, something that should take only minutes to complete, can drag on for 30 minutes, an hour, or even longer. Sometimes there’s just nobody available to take calls, so an answering machine is left on to take the information. Usually the messages on the machine are picked up, but not always. I have found myself calling back after an hour or so has gone by only to find that nobody ever listened to my message. People shouldn’t have to wait hours to get a response…. it’s not fair for them or the dealer. At gun shows, I know of dealers who have lost thousands of dollars in sales because of delays in getting approvals for handgun purchases… people won’t wait indefinitely before their patience runs out. I myself have had several instances where I closed my store at 5 PM and came in the next day to find the approvals on my answering machine. My customers were of course, long gone. Many of New Hampshire’s gun dealers have gotten very frustrated with the state’s way of handling background checks. Why does New Hampshire insist on staffing an entire office, with associated salaries, benefits, and other costs, when the federal system will do it for free? This recently came to a head with the introduction of HB1220, a proposal to stop the state from doing background checks and letting it revert to NICS. Unfortunately, after a preliminary review, it was deemed “inexpedient to legislate,” and killed before it even got to committee. A lot of dealers, myself included, were very disappointed in this early outcome. There is currently an attempt to bring Continued next page

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April 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


can take the other rod and tie on a 1/4 or 1/2 oz. jig. I slide the hook through the head of a whole crawler. The weight of the jig will depend on the speed of the current because you want the casting distance but you also want the jig to be just heavy enough to sink to the bottom but drift slowly downstream. The important thing is to keep one eye on the drift of the heavy jig while carefully watching the tip of the rod with the floating jig. Walleye can remove an entire night crawler while the rod tip shows a barely noticeable jerk. After a day of trying to concentrate on both rod tips you might well come home cross eyed. It’s hard to emphasize enough that whether it’s the heavy jig or the floating jig, the walleye will only give you the slightest hint that it has taken the bait. You will be intently watching the high tip of the drifting jig while using your peripheral vision to do the same with the rod that is in the holder. Past experience has shown me that, if the floating jigs rod has shown some action, but you were too occupied to instantly grab it, you might just as well bring it in and put on a new crawler. Because walleye are famous bait stealers you will ofen be told to use only a half night crawler. That is OK when you have located a pod of fish and the bite is hot. But, when you are searching for your first walleye you need to give them something too tempting to resist. If it turns out that you are losing the tail of the hanging crawler on every cast than back HB1220, but there is significant opposition to it from both women’s protection groups and police groups. What is the problem? After conversations with several of my state representatives and senators, I found the source of the problem. The main argument against HB1220 is a claim that the NH background check office has denied 200 potential gun buyers who had active restraining orders issued against them. It has been claimed that NICS would not have picked up these restraining orders. Why not? Because, apparently, the NH courts have not always been entering restraining order information into the computer system in a manner which is acceptable to NICS. So the information winds up being forwarded to state and local police, but not to the national crime information system. Why, I asked, couldn’t those The Outdoor Gazette

you might assume you have found fish and need to offer them less crawler and more hook. I carry two rods with me because I like to fish the floating and sinking

A perfect limit of Conn. River walleye. 3 fish less than 16" and one over 18". These fish ended up in my fantastic batter and Butter Flavored Crisco!

jig heads in the same location. Both rods are 7’ medium action spinning rod spooled with 6lb Berkley XL monofilament. I’ve tried braided line when drifting in a boat but I’ve had little trouble hooking fish with the old fashioned and much cheaper monofilament. I have found that a bright colored line helps me watch for subtle walleye bites. Sometimes all I notice will be the sag in the line quickly straighten when a fish takes the bait. Nearly all of the local fishermen that I have watched fish with two rods set in rod holders. It’s a great way to get a day on the water while you set back on the shoreline. But most of these fishermen seemed more intent on being able to use a huge sinker to shoot a gobbed up bunch of crawler a hundred feet into the middle of a backwater. I’m sure they catch fish but although walleye feed near the bottom they, entries be corrected and entered properly? I received no explanation other than comments about how difficult correcting anything in the courts would be. Why, I persisted, couldn’t the police agencies that have this information simply enter it in an acceptable manner? Again, I didn’t get an explanation. This seems to be a problem unique to New Hampshire. Many states do all or some firearms background checks; and do those checks smoothly and in a timely manner. I don’t really know why the system we have in this state is so inconsistent, so frustrating, and so slow. It seems to me, as a dealer, that we really only have two choices. Either get this system up to speed so that it is capable of handling the volume of incoming background check requests, or say “enough already” and give it back to NICS – who already handle all our long gun checks quite

Walleye-Continued from page 13

like most fish, tend to look forward and up for their food. A big weight and crawler sunk into the bottom silt is more apt to attract yellow perch or suckers in the spring. If I’m out for a day basking on the shoreline or I’m taking time to set down and enjoy a couple of my wife’s overstuffed ham and cheese sandwiches I will put out two of the floating jig rigs. It’s sometimes more productive because I find it easier to keep my eyes on the tips of the two side by side rods. There is no question that walleye fishermen finds more success if they have a boat. A fish finder can be a great help because it allows you to search not only for fish but continually check water temperature. Even though walleye may be hiding in water 30 to 40 ft. deep they will show up as obvious arches about 2 ft. off the bottom. A boat will also let you cover lots of potential feeding and staging sites as well as provide a stable and controlled drift platform from which to vertically jig baits. But the shore-bound anglers shouldn’t be moored to one location next to his six pack of beer and folding chair! They should be covering a variety of water along the shoreline at different locations along the river. They should also be more active when casting jigs and carefully bouncing them through a variety of currents and back flows. Successful walleye fishing isn’t a matter of fishing in one spot and waiting the walleye to come to you. OK, eventually it might get you a fish or two nicely. There have always been suspicions that NICS stores information about gun purchases, even though that is strictly forbidden by law. Understand however, that no gun information is ever given during a background check. The buyer’s information is provided, but nothing else. There can be no “secret” government gun registry, because that information is simply not given. Another fear expressed to me was about the government shutting down NICS to stop gun sales. But, if that ever could happen, the states couldn’t do their own background checks either since they all rely on NICS. I really see very few concrete reasons to keep doing any firearms background checks in the state. I would strongly agree that the flaws in our reporting of restraining orders must be corrected but, once done, I see no reason that we shouldn’t take advantage of a

April 2012

if you have the right bait and presentation. I don’t give much credence to the old saying, “the fishing is great but the catching is bad!”. I’m a serious fisherman and a good day is usually good because I’m catching fish. If you have unsuccessfully fished a location for an hour, then you should be moving along shore or even driving to a new spot. Fishing new spots makes for good adventures and you might also find fishermen who are into a hot bite or willing to share helpful tips. In any event the walleye are moving up the river and they will be storing up food to prepare for some hard spawning nights. So change the line on your reels and pick up some new jigs and a couple boxes of night crawlers. I haven’t checked my back lawn but I bet the warm days have brought the crawlers out in the evening already. If you want more info about walleye fishing you might shop for tackle at Wal-Mart where they have the new IN FISHERMEN book Walleye Wisdom. I think I will buy it for my son so that he can read it and take me walleye fishing in his cool Tracker fishing boat. Dick Baker is a forester working in northern NH and Vt with an office in Littleton, NH. Writing for several New England sporting magazines is just an excuse to get his wife, Mary, to let him go fishing or hunting. At the Baker house the lawn grows tall and the house needs painting. Dick can be reached at bigfishrcb@yahoo.com

from previous page

fast and free government service. There’s simply no excuse for making people wait for what can be hours, when NICS can do the same job in minutes. If someone can come up with a fix for the broken New Hampshire background check system, I’d be all ears. The staff there is great, but they can’t do the job because of an awkward and outdated system and limited manpower. Fix it or get rid of it, but don’t make the dealers and gun buyers in this state suffer because of it. Stan Holz lives in Whitefield, NH and, with his wife Sandy, has owned and operated Village Gun Store there since 1974. He invites everyone to stop and visit. Aside from his interest in firearms and shooting, Stan is also involved in amateur astronomy, photography, ham radio and scuba diving. He can be contacted by emailing him at saholz@myfairpoint.net.

Page 15


Family Tracks By Brian Lang

One Cast

The roar of the water rushing through the big pile of boulders filled my ears and the spray of the falls moistened my skin as I crept along the smooth rocks to get in just the right position for a cast. Lined up just right, I tossed my little spinner right up into the soft spot next to the plume of white water pounding into the head of the plunge pool at my feet. A few cranks of the reel took out the slack, and I could feel the blade churning in a steady buzz along the seam of fast current pouring through the section of tantalizingly deep water. The rod bent with the quick thud of a fish, and just as quickly straightened back out. “Awww, missed him!” I muttered and repeated the cast. As my spinner flashed its way toward me into the tail of the pool, I spotted the sleek camouflaged shape of a fish just behind it. It turned with a flash and darted

Page 16

back into the deep foamy section of the pool. “Man!” I exclaimed to myself, “He’s gonna take it!” I cast several more times, and he

followed it once or twice more, but never made contact with my lure again. It was a pretty good trout. I guessed 13 or 14 inches, a really good fish for this small stream that went through my

property. Pressed for time, I tried to pick my way (in sandals) across the rocks to give myself a slightly different angle. With a swift and ungraceful splash, I slipped and

found myself on my side in the refreshing cold water, with a sharp pain in my hip and leg from crashing onto the rocks. I gave up on that fish and retreated home. I was only about 200 yards from my house. My wife and children were waiting at the house for me as we needed to leave to take the kids to a doctor’s appointment. I limped my way down the road, my khaki shorts dripping wet. I came up the driveway to my wife asking “What the heck happened to you?” “I fell,” was all I replied, and dashed in the house to change for our trip. My antics were in pursuit of an experiment I was conducting that summer in which I would attempt to go fishing, every day, even if it was only for one cast. It was ambitious, to be sure. I dreamt it up one day while fishing with

April 2012

worms from a nearby dock with the kids. I realized that even a few casts for sunfish with worms counted as a day of fishing, and was certainly better than not fishing at all. It gave me the same happiness, one cast with a worm or a whole day stalking with a lure or fly. I am blessed to have a small trout stream on my property, and there are a few nice pools within quick walking distance. I thought, even on the challenging days I can hop down to the water and make one cast. So I put a note up in the kitchen that read “GO FISHING TODAY”, and checked off the date every time I went. Many days it was just that, one cast. I ran down on the way to work and threw a lure in quick, catching nothing. Other days I went longer, as I normally would. My son, Ben, would ride in the kid carrier on my back and I would wet wade down my little stream and fish for brookies, being extra careful not to slip! On one such trip, I caught a trout on the first cast, proof that it could truthfully be all that was needed. I would hold the little trout in my hand and reach up behind my shoulder for Ben to see, and he’d stroke the cold, smooth skin with his chubby little finger. Inevitably in my quest to fulfill my goal, a one-cast jaunt would turn into several casts, resulting in an episode such as the beginning of this story. If I hadn’t committed to making even one quick cast, I never would have had that experience or chance at that fish. Continued next page

The Outdoor Gazette


The Pink Arrow Contest To Benefit the “Hunt of a Lifetime “ program. Purchase an arrow shaft for $25.00. Build it with the primary color pink. Return it to the Outdoor Gazette or bring it to the 2013 Twin State Big Game and Outdoor Show next March. All entries will be judged at the show. Prizes for winning entries to be determined. Proceeds for “Hunt of a Lifetime Details on our website www.theoutdoorgazette.com For just a couple of minutes, in my mind I could have been on some far off wilderness trip with not another care in the world. Some days I went on more regular trips away and caught some fish. Other days fishing were while we were on vacation. But the most special moments and action seemed to come unplanned, on the quick little casts thrown in between everything else. One day I fished my stream for a little while and just before quitting made a cast directly in front of my house. I saw a flash behind the lure. I went back to the house, got my fly rod, and crept back to the water. I swung the fly in a seductive, gentle arc through the pool where I saw the fish flash and he nailed it! The wild, foot long brown trout vaulted into the air and made quite a commotion

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in the small pool. Of the 50 days that summer I considered myself counting, I fished, to some degree, 18 of those days. Not even half, so I guess on paper I failed, but I know that if I hadn’t challenged myself to try, I wouldn’t have wet a line anywhere close to that many days and I would have missed a few memorable moments. Later that summer my family and I were visiting with my parents on their boat in Lake Champlain. We were anchored just off shore from a beach in shallow water enjoying lunch, swimming, and sun. At one point I was sitting on the back of the boat, looking at the water, when I spotted a fish. I watched it a moment and realized it was a very large bass slowly swimming over the flat, sandy bottom in the

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retrieve, and was rewarded when a split second later he pounced on it in a swirl of bubbles and was hooked. He jumped several times at my feet, throwing water on my bare legs and almost hitting the boat before I grabbed him by the lip as I laughed out loud. It had been perfectly unpredictable and was my best fish of the summer. And it only took one cast. Brian Lang lives with his wife, Michelle and two children Megan and Ben in Reading, VT. Brian grew up in VT and started enjoying his outdoor pursuits at a very young age. He is an avid hunter, fisherman, camper, and hiker and hopes to give his kids the same wholesome upbringing he enjoyed in the New England outdoors. When he's not outside, he works as an MRI Technologist. He can be reached at Bclang78@gmail.com.

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bright midday sun. There were even swimmers in the water not that far away, and the fish seemed really out of place. “Dad,” I hissed as I pointed in the water, “there’s a bass right there! Do you have a rod?” And he did have one, stashed right by the steering wheel and loaded up with a jitterbug. I flipped the bail as I eased my way back onto the swim platform and spotted the fish, not 20 feet away. I made a soft cast that landed a few feet in front of and beyond the cruising bass. I started to retrieve the lure and it bubbled and wiggled seductively in front of the fish. Immediately the bass saw it and accelerated to the surface with quick little swipes of its tail. He followed along behind the lure, nose almost touching, for several feet. With shaky hands I managed to keep up a steady

from previous page

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April 2012

Page 17


KID’S KORNER

Emma Courtemanche, 6 years old from Elmore Vermont, ice fishing during the annual Lake Morey derby (Fairlee, VT). She placed 4th in Bass division. The biggest was 3lbs12oz.

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April 2012

The Outdoor Gazette


One step inside Brian’s Archery and you will know that Brian Brochu, owner, is not just an avid archer but an accomplished bowhunter as well. Brian’s Bone Collection and Pope and Young awards, adorn the walls of his well known archery shop in Barrington, New Hampshire.

The Outdoor Gazette

April 2012

Page 19


Lessons from the Great Outdoors By Martha VanderWolk

Learning Science

Five years ago, when Tom and I first started the Outdoor Gazette, I decided to write a column about my two obsessions: education and nature. Over the course of my sixty years, these two things have always been a major part of my life. It always baffles me when I discover that other people not only couldn’t care less about them but actually resist them. I am currently struggling with a student who is totally resistant both to anything having to do with what she perceives as “science” and, apparently, to learning. My struggle comes from the fact that she is supposed to be learning science—from me. She doesn’t want to, she virtually refuses to, but she has to in order to graduate. And apparently, my insistence that she actually learn something about the natural world is really ticking her off. I have tried being gentle; I have tried prodding. I

have tried explaining. I have finally decided that I just have to threaten her with not getting

credit if she continues to refuse to open her mind up a tiny crack. This is not a phobia about learning science. The learning

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phobias tend to only appear in the fields of the arts and mathematics. These subjects, children are too often told, require a certain kind of natural talent and

people who don’t have those talents aren’t capable of learning them, so they might as well not try. I confront these phobias all the time and, in fact, have made a specialty of helping people get over them. I have seen lots of people who just aren’t interested in other subjects—history, language, science—but they don’t believe that they are incapable of learning them; they just don’t like them for any of a variety of reasons. I run into these attitudes in students of all ages, and have all kinds of tricks for getting them interested in subjects they think they don’t care about. But rarely do I run into this kind of resistance. There has been plenty of critique of how science is taught to and, therefore, understood by people. Most of this critique grew out of the feminist movement of the ‘70s and ‘80s when women who were interested in studying science felt excluded and rejected by their male colleagues. They were reacting to the too common assumption that women didn’t have whatever men thought it took to be legitimate “scientists.” Maybe the present aversion to studying science is a form of backlash to the women’s movement. I have heard young women say that they felt guilty about not going into science when they clearly had an aptitude for it, that they were somehow made to feel

April 2012

that they owed it to women in general to take on what had been considered “male” subjects. But these were women who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s, and who had encountered the kind of teaching that Sheila Tobias critiques in her classic book, They’re Not Dumb; They’re Different, about how women are driven out of science, beginning in college classrooms. I primary teach children and adults. It is fairly unusual for me to teach traditional-aged college students. But this is one of the latter, people who were born in the early ‘90s. I have been told by the few students of that age I know who love science that they get a lot of flak from their peers about their interest in science: they don’t just think they are nerds, they think they are really weird for having any interest in anything having to do with the natural world. Something has to be different about how children were taught science over the last twelve or fifteen years or about how children experience the natural world for a whole generation to have developed an aversion to learning about it. We have obviously totally failed at developing in this generation of students any concern for the universe, the earth, or its creatures. Or we have convinced them that the study of such things is a terrible chore, something that is not worth the effort. I can’t imagine much of anything that could be any sadder. I was not trained as a scientist. In fact, I am not a scientist, according to any definition of what “scientists” do. I am more of a “naturalist.” I managed to pass biology in high school despite the fact that I was massively allergic to formaldehyde and couldn’t attend class. I took chemistry but didn’t find it very interesting. Ecology, as a discipline, was not yet taught at the high school level, and in most places still isn’t. I didn’t take any “hard” science as an undergraduate at all (ecology was still considered “soft science” in those days). But I have always cared deeply about the natural world and have always been interested in learning about it. I learned “science” in my life from living in the woods, gardening Continued next page The Outdoor Gazette


‘Rest of River’ Remedy Proposal

BOSTON - Massachusetts environmental officials have postponed the original informational meeting scheduled for next week and will, instead, host a public information session on October 12 to outline the Commonwealth’s proposed plan to remediate PCB contamination in the Housatonic River in western Massachusetts and accept comments on the plan. The meeting will be held from 6:30-8 p.m., at Lenox Town Hall, 6 Walker Street. Officials from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and Division of with my grandparents, figuring out how to build and repair things, studying the sky and weather, cutting down trees and working with wood, living with animals—and every time I learned something about it, I wanted to learn more. I don’t see any of this in these kids. “Science,” to them, is what is taught in school, and they don’t seem to go outdoors. I’m not asking this woman to do experiments or even go outside (she is an urban dweller). She says she is interested in food, but it’s all very abstract to her. She says she wants to learn about “food justice,” and the fact that healthy foods are not readily available at affordable prices to urban dwellers. Great! What are “healthy foods”? What makes the food that is available to them and that they can afford “unhealthy”? Why are some foods better for you than other foods? How and what are humans supposed to eat to maintain healthy bodies? These are questions of science. Yes, she says, she wants to answer these questions, but she doesn’t want to “do science” in order to answer them. I tell her that she doesn’t have to “do” science; she doesn’t have to carry out experiments or the kinds of vast longitudinal studies that nutritional researchers and agronomists do. Other people

Fisheries and Wildlife, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) will be on hand to discuss the Commonwealth’s proposed remedy for the Housatonic’s “Rest of River” segment. After extensive review of remedies proposed by the responsible party, General Electric, the Commonwealth determined that none of the proposals meets the desired cleanup goals without causing irreparable damage to the ecology of the river and nearby floodplain. The Commonwealth has developed a remedy that fully

from previous page have already done all that, she just has to learn about and understand what they have done in order to come up with their answers. But she’s not interested in learning about that, she says it’s not in a language she—or anyone else she knows—understands. I try to put it in words she understands; she still says she doesn’t understand. Her mind has shut down. It all sounds to her like the grown-ups in a Peanuts movie— wha, wha, wha. I just don’t get it. This is the kind of reaction I have only ever seen in dealing with true mathphobes. In mathematics, they at least have a legitimate argument that there is a completely different symbol set that they have to learn. Science is written in English—boring, impersonal, passive-voiced English, it’s true, for the most part—but it’s still English. I have tried every trick I’ve learned to use in my fortyplus years of teaching, but nothing is working. Something is terribly wrong.

protects public health and at the same time takes into account the unique ecological resources in this area of critical environmental concern. The state’s remedy would include excavating Woods Pond to remove approximately 286,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment, removing PCBs from 33 acres of floodplain to meet human health protection standards, avoid excavation in highly sensitive rare species habitat when unnecessary to meet human health goals, and instead use

Martha VanderWolk owns and operates Sturtevant Pond Camps in Magalloway, Maine with her husband, Tom Rideout. A lifelong educator, she currently teaches in the Sustainable Business and Communities Program at Goddard College. She can be reached at Martha@sturtevantpondcamps.com.

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April 2012

other controls such as fish advisories and outreach programs, and transport all excavated material off-site and deposit it in a licensed out-of-state hazardous waste landfill. At the October 12 meeting, state officials will present details of the remedy, answer questions from the public and receive input on the state-sponsored remedy. For more details on the Commonwealth’s remedy plan, turn to: http://www.mass .gov/dep/cleanup/sites/housat onic.htm.

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Page 21


The Trap Line By Randy Barrows

Getting a License

Welcome back. Hopefully I piqued your interest enough to get you at least a little interested in trapping. Before we get into the thick of things, let’s have a little history on trapping. Trapping started in pre-historic times. People back then trapped to survive. Food and clothing were the main staples back then. The fur trade of the early 1800’s saw many people trap to the point of some animals becoming nearly extinct. In Vermont alone, during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, loss of habitat and overharvesting of fur bearers led the state to enact trapping regulations that would protect both of these resources. As I said last time, trappers of today are very heavily regulated, which is good for us and the resources. There is something about the stories of man long ago that sparks the interest of trappers today. Nearly gone are the days

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of running a long line, alone all winter. Just yourself and Mother Nature. Living off the land; putting up enough fur and food to get through the entire year.

requires all first time trappers to successfully complete a trapper education course. In this course, you will learn about ethics, responsibility, history, wildlife management and environmental awareness. You will also learn

Today’s licensing of trappers helps manage wildlife populations at healthy and sustainable levels

Sounds fun, wished I could have experienced it myself. But enough of this. Let’s get you started. The first issue to deal with is getting properly licensed. Since 1991, the state of Vermont

new skills through personal experience so that you can pass on the tradition to other new trappers! If you were a trapper prior to 1991, and have proof of a previous license, you can be exempt from taking the course by showing the proof you have. Next by contacting the Fish and Wildlife Dept., you can request a trapping furbearer’s student manual along with a trapper education independent study workbook, the paperwork part of the course. In the student manual, you will find a total of 75 pages, which consist of twelve chapters. These are the code of ethics, trapping furbearers, furbearer resource, wildlife management, trapping law, trapping ethics, trapping safety, B-4 YOU GO TRAPPING, Furbearer Histories/tactics, sets, fur handling & best management practices. Also included are photos of traps, sets, sizes of stretchers and recipes. More on the “eat what you catch another time.” To complete this independent study, you have to read the whole manual. This takes an hour or more, depending on your reading habits. When completely done, grab your workbook, which consists of 14 pages, and take the test. You will find, as most do, that you will have to “read the book again”. This is not a “walk in the park” as many think. Once you have read and tested yourself, it is time to sign up for a field day. A list of trapper instructors is kept at F & W and they connect you with an instruc-

April 2012

tor in the area that you will live in. If there is none, you may have to travel to another county. On field day, the following must happen: 100% completion of all answers to all questions in the workbook. A required registration sheet filled out. Bring both forms to field day. The workbook is your ticket to class. If you loose the book, or do not finish it, don’t show up. You will be asked to leave. Attend all of the field day. Pass a written test with 75% or better. Demonstrate maturity and responsibility toward trapping and the resource. Does this sound strict? Oh, it is. The instructors do this for free, and do so gladly. We really dislike trying to teach someone who can’t follow rules or does not seem to care. A lot happens on this day, so schedule and purpose will rule the day. A few more things for field day you will need: Digest of laws. Pens and pencils Outdoor gear: this happens rain or shine, warm or cold. Hip boots are good for the water trapping segment. If you are under 16 years old, a parent or guardian must stay thru registration, preferably through the day. Lastly and most importantly, bring a happy face and plan on getting wet and dirty, all while having fun. Once the paperwork part is complete, it’s off to the woods and water. By the end of the day, you will know how to do feedbed sets, float sets, channel sets, bank hole, trail, obstruction sets, picket sets, spring run and scent mound sets, under ice beaver sets, toilet sets, weasel, cubby, raccoon, scent post, flat, dirt hole, spring hole, slant pole or running pole scent, and cage and box sets. You will be able to identify different types of traps and learn about every single piece of equipment you will need. Learn how to trap, how to handle fur, how to release non-target animals, how to dispatch trapped animals, along with the history and biology of every fur bearer. I t Continued next page The Outdoor Gazette


Remove Bird Feeders to Avoid Tempting Bears

WAITSFIELD, VT – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department says it is receiving reports of black bears emerging from their winter dens and looking for food. As a result, the department is urging people to take down their bird feeders to prevent the bears from getting into trouble.”We are receiving reports of bears getting into bird feeders,” said Fish and Wildlife’s Col. David LeCours. “People can help now by removing any food sources that may tempt the bears. That includes taking down bird feeders and not

feeding birds until December 1.”“Also, don’t leave pet food outside, wash down your barbecues after using them, and secure your garbage containers,” he added.

“And above all, never purposely leave food out for bears. Feeding bears may seem kind, but it is almost a sure death sentence for them.””Help keep bears wild,” said LeCours. “We care about these bears as much as anyone. Having to destroy one that has become a threat to human safety is not a pleasant experience, and we know that moving them to another location doesn’t change their behavior. They continue to seek food near people because they have learned that it works.”Vermont law prohibits a person from killing a bear that

patch trapped animals, along with the history and biology of every fur bearer. I t sounds like a whole lot for one day, but it is really not that bad. We strive to make you successful, and do what we have to do to get you through this. We will offer all we know (except where we trap); and if it takes another day, oh well. Our goal is to welcome you to the ranks. Once the course is completed, you will receive a card stating so, and then you can go to the F & W Dept and purchase

your license. Trapping licenses cannot be bought at regular license vendors. Now that you have a license, you have the responsibility to learn all you can before you start. Join the VT Trappers Assoc, National Trappers Assoc, Furbearers Unlimited, Fur Takers of America, etc. All of these groups offer tons of info, including how to’s, supply dealers, etc. The trapper and Predator caller magazine is the trappers Bible. The internet can head you in the right

direction as well as videos, books, and magazines. So you are on your way. Next time I will go over every piece of equipment you will need for trapping. The list is long, but the cost is low compared to some sports. Once the equipment is done, we will go through sets, what works, what does not. Then is the handling of fur, from skinning to auction. It’s going to be fun!! Welcome aboard. Until next time, keep your waders patched, and your lures in

The Outdoor Gazette

March 2012

has been attracted to any artificial bait or food such as bird seed. The fine for doing so can be as high as $1,000. Bears often eat seeds in the wild, so a birdfeeder chock full of high-energy seed is a concentrated source of what a bear considers natural food. And they are smart. Once bears learn to obtain food around people’s homes, they will be back for more.To learn about black bears, go to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept’s website www.vtfishandwildlife.com and look in the Library section for the Black Bear Factsheet. from previous page the shed. See you on the trap line……. Randy lives in Milton, Vermont, has trapped in Vermont for 43 years, is a hunter Ed Instructor and an Advanced Trapper Instructor for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Randy and wife, Diane & their family, own and operate Arrowhead Trapping Supply. Randy is also a Vermont State Licensed Fur Dealer. They can be reached at Critrgitr@msn.com or 802-3557496, on facebook or at www.arrowheadtrappingsupply.com.

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On and Off the Trail By Ken Monte

What’s In a Name?

We’ve all heard of them, watched them on TV or on video. “Team Realtree” has set a standard of hunting success that we often try to emulate. I say come and join my team, “Team Fakebush.” I was on a bow hunting trip in Missouri with a real group of characters when the “Team” was started. We were staying with a good friend in the southwest corner of the state which is not known for producing the deer that Missouri is famous for. We drove out straight from Vermont in two vehicles. The whole trip took around 26 hours. In one truck was myself and Ed. In the other was Fred, Scott, Josh and Greg. I had gone out the year before with the couple that now lived there and had a great trip. I missed one small buck the very first day out but saw a buck almost every day we hunted including one real

big one that just wouldn’t come close enough for a shot. Our expectations for this trip were high. We hunted the very first evening we got there and scouted and set stands most of the next day. We all toured the Black Widow Bow factory where our friend now worked and if I remember correctly one of us even ordered a new bow that week. Ken Beck, who was then the owner, came back from a trip to Kansas with a giant buck with matching split G2’s. That got all of us psyched and dreaming of giant Midwest whitetails. Like I said before, our expectations were high. It was about halfway through the trip that we finally realized that our dreams of giants maybe were not going to happen. We had to re-evaluate what we were looking for. We started thinking about how to set up

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stands to target the many does What’s in a name though? We we were seeing instead of the started it as a joke but it stuck. bucks we were dreaming of, but I’ve come to think that there is a little “Team FakeBush” in all of us. Every one of us has had to shift gears and change what we were looking for and there is nothing wrong with that. We can’t all shoot a giant buck every time we go out and neither can the guys on the hunting shows. We can all have fun while we are out there trying. So what if things don’t quite work out. We didn’t end up getting a deer on that trip but we will remember that trip long after many more successful trips we have taken since. Maybe that’s one of the problems with the hunting shows today. They make us think that we have to get something for it to be a successful day hunting when it’s everything that goes into the hunt that makes it successful. Next time you are on a hunt somewhere and things don’t seem so be going quite the way you thought they would come Fred with the Black Widow bow he join us on “Team FakeBush.” ordered on the inaugural “Team We might not always get the Fakebush” trip and a southwest biggest deer or the most game Missouri fox squirrel he took the fol- but we definitely have a lot of lowing year....photo Ken Monte fun trying. not seeing. After a couple of days we even Ken Monte lives in Arlington, VT. He started watching hunting shows works with his whole family at the for advice. After watching Village Chocolate Shoppe in VT and The RealTree, Fred turned to me Bennington. and said we weren’t even good Chocolatorium in East Arlington,VT. enough to be RealTree. We Any time not spent at work is spent were only FakeTree. I said we somewhere in the woods, usually with weren’t even good enough to be his longbow and a quiver full of arrows trees, we were only bushes. And close at hand. Ken can be reached at so was born “Team Fakebush.” ken@theoutdoorgazette.com.

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April 1, Opening Day for N.H. Landlocked Salmon/Lake Trout Fishing

CONCORD, N.H. — Anglers are expected to be out in force on April 1 for the start of the openwater fishing season on landlocked salmon/lake trout-managed lakes in New Hampshire. After an exceptionally mild winter, there will be vast amounts of open water in the lakes region of New Hampshire for early season landlocked salmon anglers. Because of the much-reduced snowpack, river flows should also be excellent for early April fishing. Fall netting results reveal a strong age-3 year-class of salmon, which will dominate the catch. “The mild winter kept ice-fishing pressure low, and this will likely translate to better opportunities for the open water angler,” said N.H. Fish and Game Large Lakes Biologist Don Miller. New Hampshire Fish and Game manages 15 lakes for landlocked salmon: Big Dan Hole Pond, First and Second Connecticut Lakes, Conway Lake, Lake Francis, Merrymeeting Lake, Newfound Lake, Ossipee Lake, Big and Little Squam Lakes, Sunapee Lake, Lake Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam Lake, and Nubanusit Lake. Pleasant Lake in New London also is managed for land-

The Outdoor Gazette

locked salmon, but is classified as a trout pond, with a 2012 opening date of April 28. Anglers should seek out high-

flow areas in the Winnipesaukee River system, which drives the early season salmon fisheries in Winnipesaukee, Opechee, Winnisquam and Silver lakes, for a chance at “drop-down” salmon (and rainbow trout). Traditional areas include the Lakeport Dam/Opechee Lake, the Winnipesaukee River through Laconia to Dixon Point at Lake Winnisquam, and Lochmere Dam at Silver Lake. The Newfound River in Bristol offers great fly-fishing-only water that can often produce drop-down rainbows and salmon. Additionally, several popular Winnipesaukee shore fishing locations exist at the Merrymeeting River (fly-fishing-only, barbless, catch and release), and the mouth of the Merrymeeting River as it

enters Alton Bay, downstream of the famous stone arch bridge. Other good sites to visit include the Weirs Channel in Laconia, Long Island Bridge in Moultonborough, Governors Island Bridge in Gilford, Smith River inlet at Wolfeboro Bay, and Meredith and Center Harbor town docks. At these locations, everything from smelt, shiners and worms under a slip bobber to small jigs will take salmon, as well as rainbow trout. This time of year, salmon are successfully caught by trolling with everything from spoons (such as DB Smelt, Sutton, Mooselook, Top Gun, and Smelt Gun) to traditional streamer flies (for example, Maynard’s Marvel, Pumpkinhead, Mickey Finn, Joe’s Smelt, and the countless Grey Ghost variations), and an early season favorite, live smelt or shiners. Most early season fish are caught from the surface to about 15 feet down, with everything from planer board set-ups to the simplest of monofilament flat lines 50150 feet behind the boat. When the wind kicks in, drifting live smelt or shiners in the waves can be highly effective. Since 2011, only single hooks for bait while trolling

April 2012

are allowed on certain salmon/lake trout lakes, including Squam, Newfound, Sunapee, Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam lakes. Please refer to the 2012 N.H. Freshwater Fishing Digest for a complete list of waters. To ensure the future of highquality landlocked salmon fisheries, anglers must take extra care when releasing salmon, as the percentage of hook-wounded fish continues to be a problem. Hook wounded/scarred fish are significantly shorter and poorer in body condition than non-hook-wounded counterparts of the same age. Using rubber nets and proper release techniques (for example, don’t “shake” fish off the hook) — and releasing lightly hooked healthy salmon, while choosing to harvest previously hook-wounded fish – are ways to minimize the negative effects of hook wounding, thereby increasing the number of trophy salmon available in the future. To that end, N.H. Fish and Game is encouraging anglers to take the Landlocked Salmon Anglers’ Pledge, a cooperative, volunteer effort to help sustain quality landlocked salmon fisheries in New Hampshire’s large lakes.

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Forest Forward By Chris Mazzarella

The Acorn Enthusiast

Bad Reputation The other day I spent the morning observing a dozen or so blue jays in Bradford, Vermont. These guys have been given a bad reputation among birders for their bullish

behavior around feeders, and their fearless territorial aggression. They’ve been known to harass cats, dogs, and even humans for getting too close to their nests. After only a few minutes of watching blue jays, you’ll notice that they can be rather cantankerous around

each other as well. In my opinion, this is precisely what makes them a joy to photograph. Throw some seed around an attractive backdrop, and just wait for the action to begin.

It may take a few tries to capture these birds in the heat of the moment, but I think you’ll find that you have many opportunities to keep that shutter firing. I like to dial in a fast shutter speed and focus on the subject with the most pleasing background. Pay close

attention, and try to predict the direction they’re headed next. I frame the suspected spot and wait for take off. If my prediction was right they’ve landed nicely in the middle of the frame allowing for the split second delay of my finger. You’ll often catch them with seed in tow, perhaps leaving a trail of snowflakes in their quite possible that blue jays wake. were pivotal in the rapid northward dispersal of oak trees Seed Sowers after the last Ice Age. So before you go cursing Blue Jays keep themselves busy rummaging through leaf those jays for scaring off your litter, carefully selecting the finches, grosbeaks and cardivery best seeds and nuts. They nals, you might want to reconare partial to acorns and do an sider and thank them for those incredible job caching them beautiful hardwood floors in throughout the forest. A single your living room.

blue jay can cache 5,000 More About Forest acorns up to 2.5 kilometers Forward from the original source. A study by W. Carter Johnson Forest Forward is a Vermontand Curtis Adkisson observed 50 blue jays caching 150,000 based wildlife photography acorns in just 28 days. Unlike blog focused on capturing the chickadees, blue jays are not so beauty of our region’s wildlife. adept at recovering all of their stockpiles. Their hard work results in the spread of the healthiest acorns throughout the forest, often in moist fertile ground. The Oak Woodland Conservation Workgroup claims that “An industrious group of jays can mount an acorn airlift that is nothing short of incredible, moving a forest worth of trees every autumn.” In fact, it’s We are dedicated to promoting conservation and stewardship. Forest Forward is excited to be contributing extended versions of our blog posts here in The Outdoor Gazette. Please visit our site for more articles like this and the most current high resolution wildlife photography in the region. While you’re there, be sure to leave us a note and tell us your thoughts.

Page 26

April 2012

Brian Chadwick is the owner of " Chadwick's Trail Cams", a division of Chadwick's Digital out of Orange, VT. Visit his website at www.chadwickstrailcams.com or you can reach him at cell 802-793-8398 or work 802479-2767. The Outdoor Gazette


Vermont’s Spring Trout Fishing Opens April 14th Catch & Release Fishing allowed on nine stream sections now

Vermont’s traditional trout fishing season opens Saturday, April 14 this year, and anglers are looking forward to spring fishing for brook, brown and rainbow trout in the Green Mountain State’s lakes and streams. Until then, eager anglers can capitalize on year-round catchand-release trout fishing opportunities on nine river sections. The following Vermont river sections are open for year-round trout fishing using artificial lures or flies. All trout caught must be immediately released where they are caught. Black River - From the Connecticut River boundary upstream to the top of the Lovejoy Dam in Springfield. Lamoille River - From the Lake Champlain boundary (top of Peterson Dam in Milton) upstream to the top of the hydroelectric Dam at Fairfax Falls. Lewis Creek - From the Lake Champlain boundary upstream to the State Prison Hollow Road (TH #3) bridge in Starksboro. Ompompanoosuc River - From the Connecticut River boundary upstream to the Union Village Dam in Thetford. Otter Creek - From the Lake Champlain boundary upstream to top of Center Rutland Falls in Rutland. West River - From the Connecticut River boundary upstream to the Townshend Dam (Townshend) to Connecticut River boundary iver boundary upstream to the top of the dam at Brockway Mills Falls in Rockingham. Winooski River - From the Lake Champlain boundary upstream to the Bolton Dam in Duxbury and Waterbury. “With the incredible weather we’ve seen this spring we know anglers are keen to wet a line,” said Vermont Director of Fisheries Eric Palmer. “Considering water levels and temperatures, these river sections are very fishable between now and the traditional start of trout

season in April.” Vermont is known for excellent fishing opportunities for wild trout, and some of the biggest brown and rainbow trout are

Anglers also are reminded to use sinkers that are not made of lead. It is unlawful to use a lead sinker weighing one-half ounce or less while fishing in Vermont.

Steelhead rainbow trout like this one, will soon be jumping falls to spawn at the Willoughby River in Orleans, Vt. Vermont’s trout fishing season starts April 14th this year. Photo by Cathy Merrill caught during early spring in Weighted fly line, lead-core line, many rivers throughout the state. downrigger cannonballs, weight“Willoughby River steelhead pro- ed flies, lure, spoons, or jig heads vide a popular spring fishery in are not prohibited. Planning a the Northeast Kingdom at the Vermont spring fishing trip is Village of Orleans,” said Palmer. easy. The Vermont Fish & “These steelhead are on their Wildlife Department has a 2012 spring spawning run from Lake Vermont Hunting, Fishing and Memphremagog, and they Trapping Laws and Guide that always attract a lot of interest, includes maps showing lakes and partly because they can be seen streams as well as fishing access jumping the falls in Orleans.” Vermont’s 2012 stocking schedule is available on the Fish & Wildlife website (www.vtfishandwildlife.com) under the “Fishing” category. The site is interactive, so you can enter the body of water, town or species of fish and see what fish will be stocked. Lakes and ponds are first to receive fish in the spring, while rivers are stocked later after the high water run-off has passed. As an added bonus, Vermont’s catch-and-release bass fishing season in lakes starts the same day as trout season on April 14 and continues through June 8. Only lures and flies may be used, and bass must be immediately released. The Fish & Wildlife Department is cautioning anglers that the use of felt-soled boots or waders in Vermont waters is prohibited in order to prevent the spread of the invasive algae called didymo.

areas and public lands. It also lists the fish species found in each body of water and it includes fishing regulations. Copies are available where fishing licenses are sold, or from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Tel. 802-241-3700. You also can download sections of the publication from their website. The Vermont Outdoor Guides’ Association offers help in locating fishing guides and some overnight facilities on their website (www.VOGA.org). Additional help in finding a place to stay overnight can be found at (www.VermontVacation.com). Fishing license fees are $22.00 for adult residents, $8.00 for residents 15-17 years of age, $45.00 for adult nonresidents, and $15.00 for nonresidents 15-17 years old. One, three and seven day fishing licenses also are available for nonresidents. Children under age 15 do not need a fishing license in Vermont. Licenses are available at agents statewide and from Fish & Wildlife’s website www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

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Page 27


Tails from the Trail By Allan Tschorn

The Armchair Nutritionist

The “Last Great Race” is done for another year. It was an exciting two weeks to follow. Dallas Seavey pulled off a first place finish that was of family significance as his father Mitch, 2004 Iditarod Campion, was running the race as well as his grandfather, Dan, at 74 years old. Dan has always had a keen interest in the Iditarod trail and was instrumental in staging the first Iditarod. Dan was the only musher in the 40th race that ran in the first Iditarod in 1973. I became keenly aware through some of the videos and information available on the Iditarod website this year that the Iditarod is to canine health care and nutrition what NASCAR is to the automotive industry or NASA is (was) to the technology industry. Just about all commercially produced dog food has somehow been influenced by this race. Mushers in the Iditarod will figure they need 65 calories per dog per mile that they run, plus about 2,000 calories for basic body

Page 28

maintenance and organ function per day. The challenge becomes to get that high a quantity of meaningful calories in the dog without simply dumping whale blubber and fish oil down their throats. An average Iditarod dog

suming about 50 Big Macs a day. Sled dogs have been the topic of nutritional research for a couple of reasons. First, there is believed to be a metabolic switch that activates after just a few hours of running that allows them to rapidly burn a large quantity of calories with no health side

Dinner time at the Tschorn’s.... Photo by Allan Tschorn. will consume somewhere around effects (not diabetic, not obese) 12,000 calories per day. To put from such a large caloric intake. that in perspective, that is the Of course, calories are required equivalent of a grown man con- for energy to run, but the proportion of caloric intake to body size between canine and human is truly astounding. Secondly, these athletes seem to actually get stronger and build muscle the further they run. Human marathon runners will burn available energy in the form of carbohydrates, then fat. When there is no more available energy or fat in human athletes, muscle begins to break down. The research in sled dogs has attempted to look at how or if an insulin sensitivity exists, the ability to run continuously without tiring, depleting their muscles fat and sugar reserves, and their ability to convert fat to energy. Not only does this have implications in the pet food industry, but the information is of interest to biologist in understanding the ability of migratory animals to move seemingly endlessly for long periods of time. There are many aspects of running dogs that captivate us, but there is one aspect that is both humbling and sobering - You get exactly out of your team what you put into them. I am referring here to both food and time. Time spent socializing, interacting, establishing your bond and running those training miles is directly related to the performance realized at the peak of the season. We seem to exist at a time where every aspect of our lives has gotten too busy, we April 2012

move too fast – we have to find short cuts, leverage our time and become more efficient. In running dogs, there are no short cuts, there is no computer program, there is no app at the iStore to download, and there is no sum of money to substitute time spent establishing a healthy relationship with your dog – sure, you can buy a good sled dog, but they won’t work out as well for you if you fail to put in the time establishing that mutually beneficial bond. The same holds true for what we put in them nutritionally. There is no substitute, short cut or “free lunch” for a nutritionally sound and appropriate diet. And if you have been following the news lately about the “pink slime” in beef products meant for human consumption, you might want to continue reading from both a human and canine perspective. Sled dogs are bred to be very efficient users of their calories, and the foods we feed them are the result of years of research on how to most effectively deliver extremely high caloric meals in nice neat meaningful packages (a.k.a.- kibble). Two concepts I would like to pass along are to feed the absolute best food you can afford, and if you’re not reading the label on your dog food, you should be. One of the more common misconceptions about dog food is that you can’t afford to feed a quality food. I am not going to mention any foods by name, but rather offer some of the information we have used in a casual format, and encourage you to do some of your own research and evaluate what might be the best scenario for your particular situation, whether you have a single pet or a kennel of working dogs. And to those who think they can’t afford a quality food, I challenge you with the question “Can you really afford not to feed a quality food?” Next month, what to look for on the label and how to make your own dog treats. Ken Monte lives in Arlington, VT. He works with his whole family at the Village Chocolate Shoppe in Bennington, VT and The Chocolatorium in East Arlington, VT. Any time not spent at work is spent somewhere in the woods, usually with his longbow and a quiver full of arrows close at hand. Ken can be reached at ken@theoutdoorgazette.com. The Outdoor Gazette


New Hampshire Hatcheries Gearing up for Spring Fish Stocking

CONCORD, N.H. — Now that our surprisingly warm and short winter has come to an end, New Hampshire Fish and Game Hatcheries Supervisor Jason Smith can’t help but get excited about open water angling, and more specifically, trout fishing. Fish Culturists at New Hampshire’s state hatcheries have had another great growing season, and stocking trucks are ready to get rolling in April. In fact, some of the state’s southern waterbodies received fish in late March. New Hampshire hatcheries have close to 1 million catchable-size trout ready for this season. “Anglers – including me — are champing at the bit, but despite the early warm weather that’s allowed us to put a few fish in already in southern areas, we’re expecting to stick fairly close to our normal stocking protocols,” said Smith. Smith explained that even if brooks appear to be at “fishable” levels, most trout species are reluctant to bite until the streams reach temperatures in the high 40’s. “We don’t want to stock too early and risk potential high-water events later in the season that could wash out our stocked fish,” said Smith. “We’re fortunate to have Conservation Officers in the field that can monitor water conditions and make slight modifications to their stocking schedules when required.” One potential adjustment could come if warm temperatures persist and the water warms up quicker than usual late in the season. “If that happens, we may have to condense the stocking season a little bit by stocking more frequently once the season gets going,” said Smith. “This will allow stocked fish to better acclimate and later seek out habitats that provide thermal relief from rising temperatures.” “The early ice-out is helpful in

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that it gives stocking trucks access to trout ponds to ensure stocking prior to the designated trout pond season opening on the fourth Saturday in April,” said Smith.

Tom Paschal lifts a brail (net) of trout at Twin Mountain Hatchery. More than a million trout will be stocked for New Hampshire anglers this year.

Many ponds north of Concord still have some ice cover, so pond temperatures should remain relatively cool even under these unusual spring conditions. Raising a million trout each year is no small task. New Hampshire’s hatchery system, funded by fishing license sales and federal Sport Fish Restoration funds, includes six facilities across the state. The Berlin Fish Hatchery provides the three primary trout species to the North Country, including Coos County and the northern reaches of Grafton and Carroll Counties. The Twin Mountain and Warren hatcheries provide trout to the White Mountain Region. The Warren Hatchery also will provide roughly 850,000 Atlantic salmon fry for stocking as part of the ongoing Merrimack River Anadromous

Fish Restoration Program. Powder Mill Hatchery in New Durham provides trout from the seacoast through the Lakes Region and into Carroll County. Powder Mill Hatchery also provides the Lakes Region with rainbow trout and landlocked salmon for New Hampshire’s large lakes program. April 1 is the opening for salmon season in lakes managed for landlocked salmon. Avid salmon anglers are encouraged to help sustain this fishery by taking the Landlocked Salmon Anglers’ Pledge (visit www.fishnh.com/Fishing/salmon_ anglers_pledge.html). In the Southwest region, Fish and Game’s Milford Fish Hatchery has gained the reputation of growing “the big ones,” and with good reason. Well water provides favorable growing temperatures for trout year round, giving this hatchery a slight advantage over other facilities during the winter months. New Hampton Hatchery is responsible for providing trout from central New Hampshire up to the White Mountains. In June, fingerling brook trout raised at New Hampton Hatchery will literally take flight, as they are stocked by

April 2012

helicopter into remote ponds in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. These remote ponds provide a special opportunity for those who wish to get off the beaten path and spend a day hiking and fishing in the White Mountains. “Remote pond fishing is a great experience and one of my favorites,” says Smith. The fishing season for designated trout ponds, including remote ponds, opens on the fourth Saturday in April (April 28, 2012). To help fund the remote pond aerial stocking program, the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire has established a dedicated donation account. Those who enjoy this experience and wish to contribute to the remote pond stocking program can donate online at www.nhwildlifefoundation.org; be sure to specify “remote pond stocking fund.”Now that we have a jump start on spring, Jason Smith and thousands of other New Hampshire anglers are eager to welcome the open-water fishing season. Visit www.fishnh.com to find boatloads of fishing information, fishing reports, stocking updates, and to buy your license online.

Page 29


Southern Side Up By Alex Cote NH Spring Fishing “where to”, well sort of......haha

Back in the mid to late 70”s, I thought that I had seen it all. I use to fish the annual opening day ritual like hundreds of others at the Merrymeeting River in Alton. It was let us say, “Wall to Wall chaos“! Then, every 20 minutes or so, someone would get the bright idea to paddle through in a canoe! There would be people lining the shoreline attempting to cast their secret fly in hopes of hooking a spring salmon and some not so bright individual would try their luck from a canoe. I was one of those dumb arses one year! Before you get to upset with me, keep in mind; it was back in the mid 70’s that I ticked off the world, that WAS A LONG TIME AGO! If I got under anyone’s skin back then that by chance is reading this now, I am truly sorry, I was young and foolish in those days. Unlike today, I’m simply foolish! In the mid 80’s, I made a trip to Alaska. I fished the Russian River. I have to say, I have never seen anything quite like it since. That is truly the definition of combat fishing! There were people elbow to elbow. But, you could damn near walk across the water on fish! Anyway, those early years on the Merrymeeting were mere child’s play compared to the Russian experience! The point is, you can experience some pretty darn good early season fishing and find the water somewhat uncrowded and fish willing to latch hold of your artificial offerings. It only takes

a little effort. The fisheries are no longer limited to salmon as it was back in the day. With the state stocking significant numbers of Rainbow, Brown and

the feeder streams support feed of any type, period. Many of these feeders are simply seasonal, spring run off streams. The best locations are those that run

Brook trout in most of the “Big Lakes” for the past two and a half decades, the fisheries has now become far more diverse. Increased seasons have taken the pressure off of the old April 1st opening date, except for salmon anyway. I remember as a boy, the streams didn’t open for trout until the third of fourth Saturday in April. As long as there wasn’t any significant high water, at least the brooks and rivers were stocked anyway. This is where the tricky part comes in. The easy part is to find the streams and tributaries that feed the lakes. The challenge is to find those that sport a smelt run. Over the years, I have found by trial and error, that not all of

all year. Or at least well into late June and early July when the” Dog Days of Summer” are likely begin. In many cases, the smaller the stream, the better! What I have personally discovered is the smaller ones 99% of the time are spring fed, so that means an annual stable food supply enticing the fish to congregate here all year long. The spring being the most attractive due to the annual smelt spawning runs. Although there are still some underlying tones about the smelt populations’ overall health, they are still present. Although I have not been unable to confirm the actual status first hand, there is evidence that supports that

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there is some concern by officials. That evidence is supported by the limitations put on the harvest of fresh water smelt in itself. For a number of years, the Salmon Unlimited folks made several trips a year to New York State for precious salmon eggs and planted them in traditional spawning beds in streams through out the lakes region in an effort to increase the smelt populations in the big lakes. It was also during these years that the Salmon size and overall numbers of fish checked and stripped on the annual “Salmon Sunday” were both decreasing at an alarming rate. The reason, at the time, was believed to be directly related to the depletion of the rainbowsmelt population. Like issues that have been previously discussed, there was an agreement amongst the state and special interest groups (no offense meant) such as Salmon and Trout Unlimited that there was a definite change in forage populations but there was never a clear cut reason defined as to why. But, because of the apparent decrease in salmon numbers, this is what led to the stocking of rainbow, brown and brook trout! Blessing in disguise, maybe? At the time, as with most decisions Continued next page

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made by Fish and Game, there is a certain group of critics. I seem to recall the outcry then was that the added species would only add to the forage problems, in other words, eat more smelt. Well, the end result is simple, the proof is in the pudding I guess. We now enjoy a pretty darn good program that supports excellent salmon populations and a bonus trout fishery sharing the same waters. You can’t beat it; it has turned into a win/win situation. Not being a purist by any means, my favorite method of fishing is by fly rod. Not to offend anyone but there is a certain persona I guess that we as fly fishers seem to generate! We are perceived as snobs, stand offish, and filthily rich! To that, I say Ha! I may be a snob, (to anti hunters anyway), I am stand offish, (to certain political nonsense), but RICH, come on here, now give me a break! But, in the words of Meatloaf, I guess two out of three ain’t bad! Thanks Meat for your words of

encouragement! I even go as far as tying my own flies! So, with this being said, I have no intention on going into what to use and don’t use for equipment. I will say that the majority of the spring fishing that I enjoy is done in fly fishing only waters. I use smelt imitation flies in the single hook form size 6 and 8 long shank. My fly tying equipment came over on the May Flower and I ‘m sure the numbers have changed but I have a pile of Mustad #9670 hooks that I’m partial to! The only thing that I will divulge is, don’t be afraid to change colors! The further north you go, the brighter the colors should be! Now comes the part where you have been reading along and you are expecting me to give you some fishing hot spots, RIGHT? Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to do that. I will however give up some of the areas that I love to frequent though. That is going to have to do! Starting to the north, The Connecticut River is a good place to begin. The

Connecticut River runs into and out of 4 lakes with a lot of good water in between. Some is tough to get to but well worth the extra effort. Newfound lake, Merrymeeting Lake, Lake Sunapee, Masacoma Lake, Pleasant Lake, Massabesic Lake, Pleasant Pond all support a good spring fishery. Not all is fly fishing. Where legal, live bait is a good start. Salmon eggs are right up there as is Power Bait. Like fly fishing, color adds to the key ingredients of success and failure. But isn’t there a phrase or two that go something like “A Bad Day of Fishing is Better than A Good Day at Work”? Or, “That’s why they call it Fishing, Not Catching”? On a similar note, while up to the North Country this winter, I had the good fortune to meet a young lady that just so happens to be a Certified FFF Fly casting instructor. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, what a great gift idea for the misses! A day of casting instruction, maybe some quality time on the

April Hunting and Fishing Solunar Tables

from previous page

water, and who knows where that will lead? Maybe a new fishing partner or maybe it will prove to be more work that the misses is interested in and she’ll go away and simply leave you alone! Maybe even some quality water time for yourself. But don’t expect Dianne to give up her secret spots to you, NO, NO, NO, SHE’S SAVING THOSE FOR ME! You can contact her at: Dianne Matott, 603-538-6053 or emigrantmt@aol.com. Alex Cote resides in Deerfield New Hampshire. He is on the Pro Staff for Northwood's Common Scents! He is also a scorer for the NHASTC. Alex and his son spend as much time outdoors as possible and he only works when he has to.

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From the back of a canoe Opening Day= Cure for Cabin Fever

On March 8th I was on a river nymphing; a year ago I was skiing. Technically being a leap year it’s a day off but in 2011 I skied until the end of March which is not happening this year. I skied the 12th and put the skies away; a foot or two of snow could bring them out but that’s not likely given the long range forecast. From the summit of Gunstock looking out on Winnipesaukee there was a ribbon of open water running from a cove out to a point with spots of open water and black ice covering a large area of the lake. Back to fishing; the temperature was 68 and the water was 41. I thought the water would be cooler with snow still on the ground and melting from eleven inches on the 2nd. Maybe the water would have been a few degrees warmer without the snow, but 41 early in the season seemed great. I was wearing breathable waist waders and was comfortable with just fleece and smart wool socks. 5mm neoprene waders are great for winter fishing the Salmon River in New York or New Hampshire when the water’s in the 30’s. But when the water gets above 40, breathable waders are good unless it’s one of those overcast grey windy days we sometimes have. My first pair of waders were rubber hip waders. I don’t know how many patches they had until they finally bit the bullet. When neoprene came out everyone thought they were the cat’s meow. They are still popular and used by anglers in cold water and by duck hunters. Wearing

them on a warm day or walking any distance is like being in a sauna, which is the problem with neoprene; if you’re soaked you can really feel the cold. Breathable waders were a major improvement but were a step

By Jim Norton

rocks over to see what’s hatching, but sticking a paw in 40 degree water is not something I’m prone to doing. Our first beginner class is over a month away in April and the water is still pretty cold, and we’re pawing for nymphs. My partner Gerry and I switched to rubber bottoms verses felt for our

“Flies and a Smile”, was captured by the author at one of the many outdoor shows he attended this past season.....photo by Jim Norton

back to the never ending repairing leaks cycle. If I get two seasons out of a pair of breathable waders it’s unusual. I have about 15 pairs for client use which last longer but it’s a never ending battle of patching. Last summer I bit the bullet and picked up an expensive pair (less, thanks to a guide’s discount) of waders. Time will tell if it was a good move, however, they have a guarantee and so far have been great. Seeing stoneflies in early March has nothing to do with the reality of catching something on a dry fly but to a fly fisherman, insects flying around are a psychological boost if nothing else and usually an adrenalin rush thinking about fishing dries. I’m always turning

own use. In the April class last year Gerry slipped twice and went in with rubber bottom boots. From a safety aspect, felt is a better product. Gerry has since put star cleats on his boots which he says work great. With the drift boat I don’t wear cleats. I have two pair of rubber bottom boots and I may put cleats on one pair. Korkers makes a boot with interchangeable soles so you could use felt or rubber or a combination of cleats on felt or rubber. In Vermont, anglers cannot wear felt bottom boots so if you’re fishing the Connecticut River and accessing the river from the Vermont side and using felt it’s probably a violation. The Vermont legislature enacted the

law to help curb the spread of aquatic invasive species such as whirling disease of fish and didymo, microscopic algae more commonly known as “rock snot.” Using a wading staff is the safest way to go whether you use felt, rubber or cleats. I never wade without one. The only obstacle to a wading stick for some anglers is ego. It’s March 13th and in the high 60’s. Working on the column I received a call from the friend I was fishing with on the 8th. The water is up to 46. He got a few rainbows today which we were catching on the 8th. I don’t know what he was using today but then he was using a # 14 Teeny Nymph with a dropper and I had a #14 Pheasant tail flashback nymph. Over the winter they were taking size 16 & 18 nymphs fished as droppers. A few degrees change in the water temperature even in the winter can make fish more active. They were in faster water looking for food, maybe stonefly nymphs which the Tenny and Pheasant tail resemble. There were no outbreaks of cabin fever reported over the winter but some anglers experienced mild fever like symptoms such as excessive web browsing and purchases, and hours at shows and sporting goods stores. I’ve accumulated a lot of hooks and tying material over the winter; great expectations sometime exceed the labor supply. But the fly supply is in great shape, probably a direct correlation to skiing ten days this year. I’ve stuck to tying every day, one for the year end mailing and at least six to replenContinued next page

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Turkey Hunting Workshop - April 21, 2012, in Holderness

CONCORD, N.H. — A free workshop covering the basics of hunting wild turkeys is being offered by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department on Saturday, April 21, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Owl Brook Hunter Education Center at 387 Perch Pond Road in Holderness, N.H. Pre-registration is required. Space is

limited. To sign up for the workshop, or for more information, call 603-5363954.“Whether you’re new to turkey hunting or a veteran looking for some new techniques, this course is for you!” said Tom Flynn, manager of Fish and Game’s Owl Brook Hunter Education Center. At the workshop, Dave Priebe, a Hunter Education instructor and

Quaker Boy Turkey Calls pro staff member, will cover the basics of turkey hunting, turkey calling and turkey hunting safety. Fish and Game Wildlife Programs Supervisor Mark Ellingwood will talk about the natural history and behavior of wild turkeys. Participants also will be given a demonstration on shotgun patterning at the range.

ish the supply. That’s a minimum of fifteen dozen a month. By the end of May I should be in good shape. Tying in the summer is not what I want to be doing. By the time this issue arrives most will have been bitten by the opening day bug. Preparation may be as easy as stopping to pick up a container of worms and heading for a local stream or hauling out the boat and gear and getting everything ready to go. I always equate baseball and fishing as activities that start in the spring. Kids riding around with baseball gloves or fishing rods on the handlebars of their bikes kind of go together. There may be more kids and adults riding bikes this year with the cost of gas. Local bridges and easy access spots are the hot spots for streams

and rivers and boat launches for lawn chair enthusiasts. It doesn’t make any difference what you use or where you go, the enjoyment of getting out the first time of the season is worthwhile. Unfortunately every year there’re anglers that are too eager and end up capsizing on lakes and ponds or falling in rivers. I’ve talked to a few anglers who have capsized and pulled a few out. No one expects to capsize and it only takes an instant before it’s too late. I’ve done a lot of presentations, tying classes and shows over the winter and talked to a lot of anglers. At the Fly Fish New Hampshire show on Saturday I was tying Wood Duck & Orange streamers. It was just about closing time when a father came by

with his daughter age eight and son age twelve. The daughter never took her eyes off the vise as I tied several flies. They went around the corner and returned about the time the show closed with a vise and kit of tying material. The daughter wanted to tie a fly. The vise was a clamp on and would not fit on the table so I let her use my vice. The only material I had were for the streamer and Alder Fly, neither easy to tie for a beginner. She tied the Wood Duck & Orange and it came out pretty well and the boy tied one that looked great. On Sunday she was back with her dad and a box of flies she tied. Dad said she tied from 5pm to 10pm and ate while tying. She tied a fly at the United Fly Tyers booth and with Dan LaPointe of Dan’s Fly Shop. Dan

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April 2012

No lunch will be served, but there will be a short break for those who wish to bring a bag lunch or snack. New Hampshire’s spring gobbler season runs from May 3 through May 31. The state’s youth turkey hunting weekend will take place April 28-29, 2012. Hunting licenses and turkey permits can be purchased online at www.huntnh.com. from previous page said she wanted to know how to put dubbing on a fly and picked it up the first time and could even tie a whip finish with her fingers. There wasn’t anyone who saw her at the show that wasn’t impressed. Jim Norton is a native of New Hampshire and author of the book Granite Lines. He enjoys fly-fishing & tying, bird hunting and a variety of other outdoor activities and is also a registered NH fishing Guide. He can be contacted at www.nhriversguide .com Jim a native of New Hampshire enjoys fly-fishing & tying, bird hunting and a variety of other outdoor activities and is a registered NH fishing Guide www.nhriversguide.com and author of the book Granite Lines.

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A Waterfowler's Perspective By Brian Bouchard

The Off Season

Although there are many places where I can hunt this time of year in Vermont I usually find myself chasing coyotes and working on my “To Do” list. There never seems to be a free day that doesn’t require me to do something that gets me ready for next season. Quite frankly I like it that way. My passion for hunting and being outdoors drives me to create a “To Do” list that is never completed. When I’m not pursuing game I like to sharpen my skills as an outdoorsman. I love to take our two black labs, Tyson and Remi, into the fields to work them as retrievers and trackers. They love it as much as I do and can certainly out last me. The time spent outside scouting for signs and working the dogs will never become a chore. It has its way of clearing one’s mind of the crazy world around us. This is what lures those of us, who consider ourselves the outdoorsy

types, into the woods. It’s the escape from it all for just a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks, while on our outdoor adventures that we crave. I like to take time in the off season to hone up on my calling skills. I’m sure I sound a little crazy to the neighbors blowing a duck call in February. To avoid this, I often head into the woods with my dogs taking along my duck, goose, and turkey calls. I have seen this work to call in coyotes and fox. They are just as baffled by the quack of a duck in winter and are just curious enough to come check you out. When the weather prevents an outdoor calling session I will gather up all the pictures from the past season and organize them into albums by different hunts. Although I’m pretty particular of how I handle my gear I still like to check all my hunting gear

to see how it held up last season. all the ingredients Saturday I like to make sure the decoys that morning so we can make dinner sound like maracas get repaired Saturday night. Then we invite

Time spent with friends. The author with his two labs, Tyson and Remi, killing time in the “off season”.....photo by Brian Bouchard

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or replaced. I pull out what I’m going to need for the upcoming spring turkey season well in advance to ensure all the gear is there. I always enjoy reading about the sport I love or one that I would consider trying this year, i.e. trapping. You obviously enjoy this as well seeing you are reading my article which is just one of many wonderful articles in this Outdoor Gazette. I also like to watch episodes of my favorite outdoor show picking up a few pointers and learning about the other places to hunt all over the world. It’s never too early for me to plan next fall’s hunting trip by mapping out where I might go and with which hunting buddies. One thing we always talk about but we never seem to make enough time for is to pull out of the freezer Friday night some game meat that we harvested. Then find a new recipe, pick up

April 2012

over all the hunting buddies and their wives, put together a slideshow of last year’s hunts, sit back and enjoy. This year we will make the time for this I promise. There are so many things to do in the off season that it will go by much quicker than you think. Soon we will be back to leaning against trees trying to call in the big Tom. Not long at all until we are climbing in and out of the blinds to pick up the downed birds. More importantly, in just months the laughs and new memories with our family and friends will begin again. I have been hunting deer and predators for over 30 years. Turkey for 15 years. Waterfowl for the past 10 years. Owner of Fields Bay Outfitters. I Live in St Albans VT with my wife Michele and our 2 sons Dillon & Kyle and our 2 labs Tyson & Remi. The Outdoor Gazette


2011 “WINNI DERBY” Winners

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April 2012

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Trail Camera Photo Contest

Clint Schwarz- New Ham

pshire

nt in this New Hampshire se , an na Ca of er ir Scott Po together, ght they should stay series of pics. I thou very cool. so here they are....

New Hampshire Scott Poirer- Canaan

Scott Poirer - Canaan, Ne w Hampshire “fighting like cats and do gs�

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April 2012

w Hampshire The Outdoor Gazette


2012 Trail Camera Photo Contest

Send in your trail camera pics, and for every picture that is published in The Outdoor Gazette you will get one chance to win one of three Trail Cameras. 2-Winners will be drawn Randomly and announced in the Jan. 2013 issue. Plus 1-Winner, Owner of “The Trail Cam Pic of the Year”, will be chosen by the Outdoor Gazette staff and folks on our Facebook page. The “Pic of the Year” will be on the cover of the Jan. 2013 issue! New for 2012’s contest---Do you have a picture of a trophy buck or huge bull moose you want to share, but are afraid to give up it’s location. We will post your pics anonymously, with as little info as you like. Your secret is safe with us!... HaHa!.... Really it is!

2011 Trail Camera Photo Contest , and the Winners are ;

2011 Trail Trail Camera Camera Picture Picture of of the the Year Year is is 2011 Dan Green Green from from Lyme, Lyme, New New Hampshire Hampshire Dan Random Winners Winners -- Thomas Thomas Flynn Flynn from from Holderness, Holderness, New New Hampshire Hampshire Random and Mary Mary Emery Emery from from Enfield, Enfield, New New Hampshire Hampshire and

It’s a Granite State Sweep!

2010 Contest Winners - Paul Nault of Gorham, New Hampshire for the Trail Camera Picture of the Year. Random winners - Kevin Skinner of Newport, New Hampshire Bob George of Newport, Vermont......It’s a “Newport” Sweep

Send photos to:fred@theoutdoorgazette.com with the subject line “TC Photo Contest 2011”

The Outdoor Gazette

April 2012

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Thoughts on the out-of-doors by Gary W. Moore April Means Pussy Willows, Peepers, Gobblers, and Fishing

Trout and salmon fishing opens throughout the state on April 15 this year. Conditions should be better than normal because of the lack of snow we had this past winter and the record-setting high temperatures during much of March. Those who can’t wait for April 15 can find other opportunities. There is no closed season for trout and salmon on Lake Champlain, and due to its size, the possibilities are endless. On the opposite side of the state, the Connecticut River is open to trout fishing from January 1 to October 15. Included are Vermont rivers upstream to the first highway bridge. Vermont anglers can fish for trout year round on nine sections of rivers which offer catch and release trout fish-

the Fish & Game website catch some nice fish. h t t p : / / w w w. v t f i s h a n d By the end of April the wildlife.com for details on waters warm sufficiently so that the fishing is usually very good statewide. If you are new to an area, pick up a copy of Delorme’s Vermont Atlas or some topo maps and do a bit of exploring. Finding your own hot spots is half the fun. Local sport shop staff and those at the bait dealers can be a big help. Vermont has so many good trout waters that you need not venture far to find quality spring fishing. Very little expensive gear is needed as the water is cold and the fish have yet to head for the depths. Trophy trout and salmon are often taken right at the surface this time Turkey time is just around the corner....photo by Terry VanVeghten of year. While you are fishing watch Ompompanoosuc River, what portions of the river are and listen for early signs of Otter Creek, West River, open. Just after ice out is one of spring, pussy willows, peepers White River, Williams River, and Winooski River. Check the best times to fish trout and gobblers. waters. The fish seem to feed very actively for a few weeks Opening Day Memories and will be found near the surface. Trolling lures and Opening day of trout season streamer flies is very effective is seldom very productive as as is live bait. Just as the ice is the waters are apt to be high receding from shore, night- and cold and the fish letharcrawlers can be deadly. gic, but serious anglers must Simply cast to the edge of the fish on that day. Following a ice and then tug the line long winter, dreams of open allowing the bait to drop into water fishing become a reality the water. that we enjoy no matter what Rivers and streams require the conditions or the catch. more patience early in the We know both will soon get season. Anglers must fish better and that spring will slowly and deep to entice the come and that the grass will often lethargic trout. Those get green. who spend the time and know One of my earliest and most Continued on page 41 what they are doing generally ing. They include sections of the Black River, Lamoille River, Lewis Creek,

Interested in QDMA?

A few of us Connecticut River Valley whitetail chasers are too and we want to form our own chapter of Quality Deer Management Association right here in Vermont and New Hampshire! If you are interested send an email to fred@theoutdoorgazette.com with QDMA in the subject line for more information. QDMA, bringing better deer hunting to your back yard. Page 38

April 2012

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The Coastal Zone Captian John Curry By Captain

The Silver Kings of Cape Cod

The Herring are in! Growing up near Cape Cod was like living in colonial New England. Instead of Paul Revere riding through the night alerting patriots of a possible invasion, our fishing network would ride our bikes from house to house shouting, “the Herring are in”. This meant two things, spring was officially here and the striped bass where not far behind. Herring have been a part of New England’s culture from the time the Mayflower hit Plymouth Rock. As a kid growing up we would head to a dam on the palmer river that was called the Shad Factory. In the 1940’s and early 1950’s the shad and herring where so abundant that this site had an active canary. I recall warm spring day’s literally grabbing fish with our hands at the

ten foot surf rod and three ounce sinker with half of a herring usually was all it took. The best

methods for landing those spring striper are to target them near their staging areas as the tide moves herring into their runs. The good news is that you don’t need a boat to score on big stripers during the spring herring runs. One of the most popular and productive spots is the Bournedale Herring Run on the Cape Cod Canal. This historic run is managed by the US Army Core of Engineers as part of the Cape Cod Canal Recreation Area. Come mid-April through midbase of the dam and fish ladder May the fishing can be incredible to drop in five-gallon buckets to with many thirty to forty inch fish bring home for bait or fertilizer. taken on heavy to medium weight Yes, you heard right fertilizer. It’s spinning gear. Most anglers use an old New England trick to get Sabile’ herring imitations hard your crab-apple tree to blossom nicely. Just put a few herring around the roots and of course any corn patch would be planted with one seed kernel and one herring. The main reason why we labored with buckets of herring on each handle bar was for the stripers that were sure to be prowling the coast right on the baits and there are many varieties heels of the migrating food sup- of swim baits that mimic river ply. Back then we never thought herring. of or had the means to try and The use of live or dead herring keep the fish alive so we would has been banned for a few years use them as cut bait or “chunk- now for a various reasons so artiing” as we say down the Cape. A ficials are the only way to go.

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Time your fishing with a west tide (the canal has an east or west tide instead of the traditional high and low tide) as the stripers come up through Buzzards Bay to

intercept the herring which enter the canal from the east end of Cape Cod Bay. Cast your lure as you would for river smallmouth’s and let it sink just a few feet below the surface before starting your retrieve. The herring’s migration starts from hundreds of miles off shore in some runs and this takes a toll

April 2012

on the fish. The stripers are looking for those weak and tired fish that swim just below the main school. So give your swim bait a few seconds then a strong initial jerk followed by a very staggered retrieve. This has produced many a “keepa” as we say if the fish is over the minimum length of 28 inches, but be ready if that 40 pounder hits like a bus headed to Fenway Park! Cape Cod has many historic herring runs and this natural event truly marks the start of the fishing season each spring. Look for a future article from me regarding river herring conservation and fisheries management. Capt. John Curry grew up in Rehobeth, MA and summered on the Cape mainly in the Bass River area. He has over 30 years of fishing and boating on Cape Cod and Rhode Island waters. Currently living in W. Yarmouth and summers in Bourne. He runs a sportfishing business on tha Cape, visit his website www.capefishing.net.

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Behind the Sights By Charlie Chalk

The Powder Horn

Madison Grant in his book “The Kentucky Hunting Pouch” said “Probably no single accouterment associated with the Kentucky rifle can even approach the powder horn for its practical use, diversification of treatment and personal relationship with its owner. Among all of nature’s products, none is more admirably suited to the needs of the hunter than the cow horn. It is impervious to moisture, usually has a curvature that fits the body, is easily worked, and is in plentiful supply. When prepared for use, it provided a basic container that responded to the hand of the artisan or farm boy with equally proficient results. The difference in powder horns lies chiefly in their age, associations, fundamental shape and the artistic treatment given them.” It is true; the horn is the most useful and interesting accessory you can make for your muzzle-

loader or to hang on the wall. You can make it simple and plain or elaborate enough to be a work of art; it is up to you. Historically, horns from the 1700’s were high-

engraving called scrimshaw. This engraving was sometimes simple, consisting of single line artwork or maps or it could be elaborate maps or complete stories or poems carved into the horn. By the 1800’s, the horn had

Original American Matching Set. Sets are rarely found and these are from Brandon, Vermont.

ly engraved with rings and panels. They also exhibited folk art

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changed to a simple, un-carved utilitarian style. Scrimshaw work had vanished or was simply the owner’s name. To build a horn takes a few basic tools; a drill, saw, small piece of glass for use as a scraper and a hammer. You will also need a block of pine, a small piece of wire and a pot, big enough to boil the horn. You will obtain your horns from online retailer, or from a muzzleloader supply catalog. Buy the sanded horns; as they will save you some time by being partially finished. The first step and most critical, is drilling the spout hole in the small end. Begin by measuring the depth of the hollow portion should find that the last inches before the tip would be solid. If the solid portion is over two inches, you will find it difficult to drill all the way through, with normal length bits. You are better off to cut off all excess length over the two inches. You now have a flat tip to drill a 6” bit into.

Careful alignment should bring the drill into the hollow portion. Drill slowly to avoid overheating and cracking of the horn. At this point, I should mention that anytime you heat the horn, by drilling or boiling, you will get a “unique” odor. In fact, boiling is best done with the windows open and not in your best cooking pot! You now want to thin down the horn thickness by scraping. A broken piece of window glass works as well as anything, using the glass at a 90 - degree angle to the horn. If the horn was extremely thick, a rasp will start the job and the glass will finish it nicely. Your final goal will be a horn thin enough to see through with a glossy exterior. Some additional file work on the tip area will bring this back to a fine point surrounding the hole you have drilled. This area will also need a ring filed around it to hold the leather-carrying strap. If you want to be artistic, you can copy photos of original horns or I will be glad to send you some ideas from my library. Most first time builders are better off with simple horns and then continue to improve their carving on future models. You can always give them away to friends as you progress onward. Now that you have a basic, scraped horn with a pouring spout, it is time to fit a wood base plug. You probably do not have a perfectly round base, but you can make it round by boiling the horn. Boiling for about an hour will soften the horn enough to flex it your hand. You will want to make a plug to fit the opening snugly. The exact size of plug is found by measuring the exterior of the horn at the base edge. (circumference) Divide this number by 3.1, subtract the horn thickness, and you have the plug diameter. Make a plug of pine or hardContinued next page

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April 2012

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pleasant memories of opening day occurred back in the mid fifties when Dad deemed me old enough to go with him.

The morning is indelibly engraved in my memory. Soon after daylight we drove to the north end of Lake Morey to fish the little brook that enters the lake near Lanakila. The morning was cold and the fog wafted through the area, but I was happy to experience my first opening day. We did catch a few small trout, but it was the experience that was important to me, not the catch. I felt that I had passed a milestone and the morning is as clear to me nearly sixty years later as it was then. Back then the trout season opened later and thus the conditions were different. The trout season in Vermont wood with a slight taper. This plug can be carefully driven into the base and the horn set aside to cool. Later, the plug can be removed, end sanded to a flat or dome shape, depending on what style plug you would like, stained, and refitted into the horn. The plug will be held in place by small pins made of wire, which are spaced around the circumference and driven in flush. I use beeswax to seal any minor openings around the plug and make it watertight. All that is left to do is whittle a spout plug and attach a leather-carving strap. The strap is attached to the ring

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ran from the last Saturday in April to September 30. In 1974, the season was lengthened considerably to its present second Saturday in April to the second Sunday in October. Another pleasant experience from my childhood involves the pre-1974 opening dates. A section of the famed Willoughby River in Orleans opened on the second Saturday in April and was the only water open to trout fishing for two weeks. It thus attracted anglers from all over the region who stood in the frigid ice-choked waters in hopes of landing one of the big spawning rainbows. I never fished the Willoughby as a youth, but I remember visiting my aunt and uncle who lived in Orleans at the time and standing on the bridge on the road to Brownington watching the anglers. Dad and Uncle Huck would tell fishing stories, most of which were probably just that, and I would dream of a future time when I would be old enough

from previous page around the neck of the horn and usually held by a tack or wire staple on the base plug. There you have it, a functional powder horn like our fathers used. Building your own accessories is an enjoyable way to pass the seasons until we can again return to the woods and range to fire up our “smoke poles”.

to fish the Willoughby on opening day. West of Rangeley is an Enjoyable Read Robert Romano has done it again with West of Rangeley. His latest novel about the Rangeley, Maine region is as enjoyable a read as his previous book, North of Easie. Sal, Bailey, and many of the familiar characters are back and joined by Whitney Parker, a badly wounded Afghanistan war vet, and Eddie Goodfellow, another veteran with one artificial leg. Romano is an avid angler who spends as much time as he can with his wife and dogs at their camp on Aziscohos Lake from which he fishes the waters around Rangeley. Thus his descriptions of fishing and the places he writes about will seem real to readers who have spent time in the area as so many of us have. His novel takes on subjects such as development destroying pristine areas, land prices being driven so high natives can no longer afford to live

Continued from page 38 where their families have for generations, and such social issues as racial prejudice. With Whit Parker, Romano brings home the terrible price some of our young men and women have paid for volunteering to serve their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. Romano’s characters are colorful but not so different from many that we all know. He brings them to life as he does the settings in the story. Reading West of Rangeley made me feel as though I was part of the story. Shadows in the Stream and Fishing with Faeries are two of Romano’s earlier novels which I also greatly enjoyed reading. I look forward to the next of the series Romano is working on. In the meantime, I will head to Rangeley in May to fish and maybe run into one of his characters.

Syndicated columnist Gary W. Moore is a life long resident of Vermont and a former Commissioner of Fish and Game. He may be reached by e-mail at gwmoore1946@myfairpoint.net or at Box 454, Bradford, VT 05033.

Charlie Chalk is an outdoor writer and has a background as a professional Firefighter and is a member of the American Mountain Men, an organization that emulates the life of the fur trappers of the 1800's and their survival on the land.

April 2012

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Searching for Natures Treasures By David John

What are Nature���s Treasures?

What are nature’s treasures? I suppose each one of us outdoor wanderers has our own idea of what a treasure is. I have been bringing back treasures from the woodlands for many years. Half of the furnishings in my house are from the woodlands. Most of my Christmas tree decorations are from the outdoors. I am a compulsive collector and gatherer of outdoor stuff. I like the word “stuff,” as it covers all. Stuff from the woodlands include rocks and small stones, bark, pinecones, fungus, beaver sticks, mosses, bones of animals, dried wild flowers, burls, witches’ brooms, antlers, birds’ nests, hornets’ nests, even aged silver-colored stumps or roots of trees. River rocks or rocks from streams, along with driftwood. Berries for decoration and twigs such as red osier. Then there are the edible treasures all free for the taking. The blue- and blackber-

ries, elderberries, chokecherries, mushrooms, spruce gum, fiddleheads, the strawberry and high and low bush cranberries, wild

Some of my “Nature’s Treasures” ....photo by David John

apples and the fox grape, different kinds of nuts, such as beech, hickory, wild hazelnuts and, in some places, butternuts. When I was young, my mother would ask me in the spring of the

Antlers for Sale! Call David John 603-381-000 or 207-486-9352

You sell what?

257 257 Wilson’s Wilson’s Mills Mills Rd. Rd. Errol Errol NH NH 03579 03579

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year to go get her a mess of trout and a feed of cowslips. I have done this many times in my life. Cowslips grow in wet areas and are also called marsh marigolds, with a yellow flower. Back in the

40s and 50s, there were no greens to be had during the winter, so when spring came, many families would be seen gathering dandelions, fiddleheads and cowslips. And if you were young and feeling lethargic, Mom would make you a spring tonic with the liquid from cooking the greens. I guess mother did know best, as what she gave me for a spring pick-meup is now the in thing. Cod liver oil was a morning ritual. Also, she made sure I got my blackstrap molasses. All from nature’s treasures. Along with the cowslips and the trout in the spring, she looked forward to a vase full of pussy willows in the center of the table. And now, in the spring, I put pussy willows on her grave. One thing I enjoy picking up is driftwood and beaver sticks.

April 2012

There are some areas on certain lakes that hold treasures of driftwood in huge amounts. Now to some, a pile like that only looks like a mess, like someone shook out pick-up-sticks. I will say that those of us who pick up nature’s treasures have an eye for treasures. When we look into that pile, we see décor. Driftwood stumps that are silver-colored and gnarled have tons of character in each piece. I try to imagine how long it took for each piece that was once a living tree to get to that point of lying on a sandbar, bark long ago peeled off by whatever means, soaking in water for years, beaten by waves, runoff, wind and sun, frozen and thawed, and finally beached. Then it is picked up, brought home and resurrected into something we treasure. It is like that no matter what we bring home. When I kayak with Tracy, we always pull up to a rocky shore, and when we come back, our kayaks are loaded with stones, some as small as a nickel and some as large as a football. It’s amazing how much a kayak will hold as long as the weight is equal throughout. The small flat stones the size of pennies and quarters are glued to driftwood frames for pictures. Some can have magnets glued to them to hold recipes or whatever. There is no end to decorating with small, large and huge stones. Whenever I ride the logging roads, I usually bring back rocks to add to the garden to make raised beds or to add dimension to the garden. I like rock gardens. Continued next page

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Continued from page 7

tains habitat that is capable of supporting a sustainable salmon population if marine survival improves. “It was encouraging to see that marine survival did improve, at least for salmon returning in 2011,” said Carpenter. Fish and Game will continue to monitor the progress of salmon breeding in the wild in the Souhegan and other rivers. In two

years, biologists will be able to sample for juvenile salmon, called parr, in areas where successful spawning was recorded. “This will allow us to measure the reproductive success of salmon that spawned naturally in the watershed,” said Carpenter. “Within five years, we should have a better understanding of what to expect from salmon that are

allowed to run the river. This information, along with trends in ocean survival, will ultimately determine if successful salmon restoration can be achieved for the Merrimack.” In northern and western New Hampshire, there will be a significant reduction in fry stocking for the Connecticut River Salmon Program due to flood damage at

the White River Hatchery in Vermont during Hurricane Irene. Most of the fry will be stocked to the south, in Massachusetts and Connecticut, where juvenile salmon will have to navigate fewer dams on their migration out to sea. New Hampshire Fish and Game biologists will stock a small amount of fry in the Keene area, but will not need volunteers this year.

Flat rocks make great stepping stones for walkways, and squarish stones for a fireplace. When I go visit my Amish friends in Lancaster, PA, sometimes I bring rocks to them so they can use them to decorate their gardens. Of all the thousands of acres they farm, you couldn’t find a stone in the fields. You must have noticed around New England the everincreasing sales of stones in all shapes and sizes, huge granite slabs. All at hefty prices. I like to get my treasures from the woodlands. Birds’ nests and hornets’ nests seem to get scarcer every year. With all the cutting going on, and older ones growing up, there are ample saplings and brush for songbirds to nest in. But recent memos say the songbirds, hummingbirds and butterflies are on a big decline. Habitat being cut off and heavy use of pesticides in countries where these birds migrate to are taking their toll. And hornets’ nests are hard to find. I used to pick up a half dozen to a dozen each spring. Now, if you find two or three, you’re lucky. One of my favorite treasures from nature is the beaver stick, beaver plug or beaver chain. And as the birds, butterflies and bees are declining, the beaver and their ponds are flourishing. I am amazed at the beaver ponds I find while antlering. A lot of roads I use to get back in the woodlands are shut down because of flood-

ing by beavers. Beaver sticks can be used all around the homestead and garden areas and inside the house. It is how the eye sees them as to what use they can be put to. Now that I have a computer, I get a lot of emails about my column. The last one asked what my favorite animal was in our woodlands. I did not have to think long, as my favorite animal is the red fox. A more beautiful animal would be hard to find. And the pups are the cutest. A couple of years ago, there were a half dozen dens around Wentworth Location and Magalloway. You would find them around culverts and side roads, and when the pups are young and not knowing fear yet, you can get very close for nice photos. Take a fox, a red fox on a sunny day standing on a snowy landscape, and you have one beautiful picture. I remember when the coyote was getting entrenched in our woods, there were those who said the coyote would eventually kill off the fox by eating them and eating their food. Not so; the fox are well established and are holding their own. There are many, many sightings of fox. And the cousin of the red fox, the grey fox, is also a good looking animal with his grey coat and reddish ring about his neck. The date as I write this article is March 12th. The ground around here will be completely bare by the 18th. How long can this last?

The bears down below Errol should be out now prowling around. And some have told me they have seen raccoon out. Will the smelt run early this spring? This weather is really early to have day after day in the 50s. It’s funny because you have the feeling next week’s forecast will have an evil nor-easter bearing down on us, and below zero weather is still a possibility. I really enjoy this beautiful warm spring weather but can’t get comfortable with it this early. In other words, even though I am cleaning up around the lawn and putting down screens to let fresh air in, even though cooking outside on the grill in a t-shirt is enjoyable, the snowblower still stands ready, as does the shovel. The winter clothes still hang by the door.

David John roams the hills year-round, bringing home the moose antler and other nature’s treasures. You can email him at DavidJohn1943@gmail .com.

from previous page I think that out in the open cuttings where the snow is gone, the coltsfoot isn’t far away from blooming and the frog eggs will come early. I know it sounds crazy to some folks, but at this time of year, I can smell spring. The month of April will bring on the full Pink Moon. I love walking the cuttings now as every little thing is exposed until the leaves and grasses bloom. And there won’t be any bugs for another month. I hope. Some reports say this could be a big year for the tick, Asian lady bug, and other bothersome insects. That’s the reward for a mild winter.

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Box 162 RR#1 Doyles, NL A0N 1J0

April 2012

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Guided by the Light or is That a Train Coming? Wulff at the door

I thought I’d write a little about Lee Wulff, arguably the most influential man in the history of fly fishing. Lee was born in Valdez, Alaska in 1905. He claimed his mother got him interested in fishing by using a bit of bacon on a hook (a practice I sometimes employ when no one is around). He was trained as an artist in Paris and, later, as an engineer. He devoted his life to fly fishing and his many accomplishments took the form of: inventions; paintings; photography; lecturing; authoring books and magazine articles; and, film making. He was also a bush pilot but only because it gave him the ability to reach distant fishing locations. He died in 1991, at age 86, while flying to renew his pilot’s license. The most important aspects of

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his life were the contributions he made to the sport. For example, he invented the fly fishing vest.

Until then, the creel carried equipment as well as fish. Lee needed more capacity so he started by cutting the sleeves off an old wool shirt and used the material to make extra pockets.

By Tony Lolli

Depending on who you believe, it was either Lee or his mother who did the sewing. It was functional but not long lasting so he switched to canvas. Lee invented the common practice, for right-handers, of reeling with the left hand so the stronger right hand could hold the rod. A couple of my fishing friends, apparently, never heard of this and they continue to switch hands as soon as a fish is hooked. It's quite a sight to behold on the rare occasion when they hook a big fish and then try to change hands while the fish runs out line. Lee also invented the exposed rim fly reel for palming as a way to control the runs of larger fish. This works well unless you get your thumb in the way of the spinning spool but we can't blame Wulff for that. Lee was quoted as saying, "game fish are too valuable to be only caught once." He lived up to this belief and began releasing Atlantic salmon in 1933 at a time when prevailing practice was to kill every Atlantic salmon that was landed. This gave impetuous to what we now know as catch and release fishing. He pioneered light rod fishing, demonstrating that lighter rods could be used for large game fish. In fact, he caught at least one Atlantic salmon on a reel without the use of a rod. Some of his lesser know accomplishments include fighting a tuna for 13 hours, and fighting a 700 pound Blue Marlin off Costa Rica only to have the hook pull out after one and a half hours – he was age 85 at the time. The best I can hope for when I reach 85 is to be shot by a jealous husband. Many fly patterns bear his name and he invented the Wulff series. They were the first to employ hair for wings and tails. Before then, most dry flies were slim because if a fly was too bulky, feathers did not have the buoyancy to support it. Wulff observed that dry flies with feather wings and tails of feathers did

April 2012

not last long. His solution was to use buck tail or deer hair for tails and wings. Fish preferred the bulkier flies that looked more like the naturals. Regarding durability: Wulff caught 51 trout on one Gray Wulff. My friend Jim once caught one trout on 51 flies. The first patterns included the Gray Wulff, White Wulff and Royal Wulff. When asked what the Royal Wulff was imitating Lee said, "Strawberry shortcake, something great big and juicy." In other words, it was an attractor. Lee never used a vise when tying. He simple held the hook between his left thumb and index finger. The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum (www.cffcm.org), in Livingston Manor, NY has a size 28 variant tied by Lee without the aide of a vise. Back in the 1970’s, I recall seeing a film of Lee tying an Atlantic salmon pattern that called for Silver monkey guard hair. There was a close-up of what appeared to be a Silver monkey pelt. As the camera drew back, it became clear that Lee was sitting next to a live three-foot tall monkey. Lee waited until the beast turned away, reached over, and, yanked out a clump of hair. The monkey was not amused. He whipped around (the monkey, not Lee) and bared his four-inch fangs. (I hate when that happens.) Then he lunged at Lee. To his credit, Lee managed to jump back without spilling a drop of his favorite drink, scotch and milk. Good thing Lee wasn’t tying a pattern that required Polar bear – he might have ended up as the bear’s lunch. Tony Lolli is from Cabot, VT. His book, Go-To Flies: 101 Pattern the Pros Use When All Else Fails is available online from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. Tony Lolli is from Cabot, VT. His book, Go-To Flies: 101 Pattern the Pros Use When All Else Fails is available online from Amazon and Barnes&Noble. The Outdoor Gazette


The Gazette’s Outfitter Review Buffalo County Outfitters - Mondovi ,Wisconsin

By Fred Allard

I flew in to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Oct. 22. Why, as Minneapolis is only a one and a half hour drive from my destination of Mondovi. Milwaukee was the closest airport in WI with Southwest service, so I booked. I should have checked the map. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Minneapolis, although in Minnesota, is much closer. Anyway I had a smooth flight to Milwaukee rented a car and had a nice, peaceful, 4 hour drive to Mondovi, highlighted by a stop at Gander Mountain. On my drive, to say my hopes were getting high would be an understatement. At each passed by road kill, my hopes soared higher, especially after seeing a beautiful, what looked like an 8 point, laying beside the road. As my son Devin texted me, after I told him about it, “you should have brought a saw!”…Is that legal? I need to check before my next trip to the Midwest. LOL. Upon arrival at Buffalo County Outfitters, I was greeted by Scott Kirkpatrick, his brother Brian and some of the BCO guides. The lodge is what every hunting lodge should be. Spacious, full of beautiful Wisconsin deer heads (including a mount with a pair of sheds that score over 200 inches, found in the area) a large screen TV in the living room for watching football, the outdoor channel, and in this case, the world series. What a come back in game 6 by the Cardinals… My hunt was scheduled to start on Monday. Sunday was free to shoot my bow, get my license, etc.. Scott, Brian, Mitch (one of the guides) and I, spent the morning hanging stands for a camera crew coming in to film the week after I left for home. We were out and about at mid morning. We saw some does in a cut cornfield. Then a six-pointer making a scrape on the edge of a bean field at 10 am. At 10:15 we saw a monster cross between two fields of standing corn…good sign that the bucks were feeling a little frisky, and this week had potential. After hanging stands, I rode in to Au-Claire with Scott and Brian to pick up another hunter at the airport, Bob from New York…We headed back to camp. At camp we met all the other hunters and Scott had his weekly “get started” meeting with all of us. The meeting laid out all his expectations of us and The Outdoor Gazette

what we could expect from him and his guides….Then it was in to town for a bite to eat at Buzzy’s; a sports bar /restaurant and local hangout. Great food, and atmosphere…man those folks are rabid Packer’s fans. Never seen so much green and yellow in one place! Day 1 of my Hunt; I sat in a stand called the “License Plate Stand” at the backside of a cornfield, over looking some trails. Scott, Brian and the guys like to name their stands; they had found an old license plate near this stand site, thus the name. The wind made a

see they were all bald eagles. They passed by me many times throughout the day as they cruised the river bottom for some lunch. A nice 8 -point buck showed it self at around 8 am. He looked to be a 2-year-old….Scott goes over how to differentiate shooters from nonshooters at his beginning of the hunt meeting. This buck definitely fit the 2 year old criteria…hard for a northern New England Deer hunter to let a 170 pound eight point walk…but I did. I also saw 2 does that morning. The rest of the day was quiet, windy and cold; made for a long day in the treestand. My lunch was gone by 11. No deer moved the entire day until 5:30 pm. I saw another doe and then a spike buck at around six pm… Ducks and geese were also numerous along the river and kept me entertained as I waited for Mr. Big to show himself. Day 3- the wind direction held, so back to the river bottom stand for another day. No does at all were seen this day, but 3 bucks showed

This is just one of the great Wisconsin whitetails taken with BCO last season. To see more harvest photos or to book your hunt go to www.buffalocountyoutfitters.com

switch on me and ruined the location for the morning, so out I came. They quickly reassigned me to a spot that had better wind. I saw 2 does that evening… The weather was warm that day, but the forecast was for cooler temperatures starting on Tuesday. Day 2 – My plan was to sit all day, everyday, for the rest of the week. Scott placed me in a river bottom next to a power line, and downhill from corn and soybean fields, all of which had been recently cut. At first light I could see 4 large birds roosted in a tree, not 40 yards from me. I knew they were not turkeys, and as they took off up the river, I could

themselves. One of which would have been shot at, if he had come in to range. He definitely met the criteria for a BCO “shooter buck “. An eight point was seen across the river and a nice 6 point came right under me…My inner Vermonter was screaming as I let yet another buck walk…3 days in a stand, total of 10 deer seen. Day 4 – again the wind stayed in a favorable direction for “my” (lol, Brian) River-Bottom stand. This would be the day…well almost. I saw 9 deer this day…two of them shooter bucks and one came in to bow range. It was about 4:30 pm or so, when a doe came running down

April 2012

off the ridge straight to me, turned left and headed out to the power line where she stopped and stood looking back up the ridge. Not too much time passed, when a buck started down the same route. I could see it was a decent deer, not all that wide, but heavy. I did not realize how big he was until he turned and was broadside in front of me. His body was so big it made his antlers look smallish, but once I was able to get a good look at him, it was obvious he was one of the big boys. The big belly, sway back, body the size of a sheet of plywood. He was on the move and for me to get a shot he had to be stopped. I gave a loud, single grunt and he stopped broadside at 25 yards. I drew my longbow and picked a spot on the monster buck. I came to half-draw, the buck spotted the doe standing in the power line. He was on the move again. I gave a series of loud grunts, but he had lovin’ on his mind and was in no mood to deal with another buck. I needed about 3 more seconds to complete my draw and release…dog gone it, so close! I saw yet another shooter later in the evening cruising along the other side of the river. He was big bodied with long tines, and lots of them, but he never crossed the river for me to get a shot….What a day in the deer woods….as I mentioned earlier, Scott and Brian like to name their stand locations…I think “half draw “ would be a good name for this spot! Day 5- The wind changed a little, but not enough to push me out of MY river bottom! Scott had another stand set up about 60 yards from the “Half-Draw” stand, for just this situation. With over 150 plus tree stands set up, no matter what the conditions; there is a stand location for all his hunters. So, I found the stand easily. The stands are easy to find. With so many bright eyes, it looked like a runway when I shone my flashlight in the woods during the dark, and lots of orange flagging for daylight hours. I was up in the stand before daylight. It was still pretty dark, when I heard deer approaching at a good clip. One ran under my stand and then seconds later another came by grunting constantly. “It’s gonna be a good day”! Fifteen deer were sighted, 5 bucks, no shooters, but 2 very nice two year olds. I can’t wait to see them next year… Page 45


The Gazette’s Book Review THE COMPLEAT ANGLER By Izaak Walton Bracken Books, 1985 357 pages, $18.95 ISBN: 1-85170-019-6 First published in 1653, The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton survives still in print today through no fewer than 160 editions, the first five of them worked by the author himself. In the English language, perhaps only the Bible and the works of Shakespeare have known such a publication continuum. Written in a time of plagues and pestilence, in the shadow of the English Civil War, the execution of King Charles I, and when the “Lord Protector,” Oliver Cromwell was remaking the Church of England and bringing destruction to the Catholic Irish, The Compleat Angler extols the gentle arts and sciences of recreational fishing. Early in the 19th century, when The Compleat Angler was

already 150 years old, the writer and essayist Charles Lamb wrote a letter to his friend, the wellknown poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, recommending Walton’s work. Lamb wrote, “It breathes the very spirit of innocence, purity, and simplicity of the heart. There are many choice old verses interspersed in it; it would sweeten a man’s temper at any time to read it; it would Christianize every discordant

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angry passion; pray make yourself acquainted with it.” Near another 200 years on and Lamb’s advice remains sound. Anyone who loves the natural world, enjoys the offerings of streams and open countryside or thrills at catching a colorful fish should become acquainted with Walton’s prose and poetry. Time has only strengthened the beauty and wonder found in Walton’s phrasing. Considered by many as the inventor of recreational fishing or “angling,” we now know that Walton quoted a rare and anonymously published 1613 pamphlet called “The Secrets of Angling,” attributed as a posthumous publication of John Dennys. That said, Walton certainly expanded any ideas he borrowed from Dennys. In his first edition, Walton included portions by a more experienced fly tier and fly fisherman, Thomas Barker, and over the course of his five editions Walton expanded the book from 13 chapters to 21. In his last edition in 1676, he added the efforts of Charles Cotton as co-author. Since then, numerous editors have adjusted and altered bits and pieces of Walton’s original work and yet, somehow, the spirit and character of Walton continues to shine through. Essentially a conversation between Venator the hunter, Auceps the falconer, and Piscator the devoted angler as they discuss their respective sports and take in the techniques and tricks of angling as put forth by Piscator, the work is augmented throughout with poetic verses about nature, religion, friendship and,

of course, fishing. Later editions are often lavishly illustrated with scenes from Walton’s life and the places that shaped him. To a modern reader, the 17th century diction and sentence structure seems challenging, yet, in finding the rhythm of the words, the reader finds also the melody of Walton’s thoughts and the meter of his trout streams. The fact that Walton found and captured such beauty surrounded by the Puritan Revolt, the Great Fire of London in 1666 (which destroyed one of his homes), the deaths of two wives and at least seven of his children, remains astounding. If he could find such inspiration in nature and from casting after piscatorial quarry, surely we modern types can find something similar along the banks of a favorite stream or in the rising of a Mayfly hatch. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a moment of fishing or streamside communing ought to read The Compleat Angler sometime in his or her life. Even though Walton likely did not actually invent recreational fishing, he certainly was the first to articulate its virtues and the first to raise it from mere pastime to something of a high art form. He elevated the quest for a fish dinner to a spiritual adventure. And that is something for any 21st century outdoorsman to appreciate. Col. J.C. Allard lives in Pittsfield, NH about 20 miles north by east of Concord. “We're in the shadow of the Belknap mountains here, but we can see Mt. Washington on a clear day”.

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April 2012

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Pictures Gone Wild Our reader submitted photos

Ben Hudson of Lyme, New Hampshire scouting out some Vermont hunting property.

Conn. River Cusk, a real rarity. Referred to as "poor man's lobster" caught this spring by Dick Baker of Littleton, New Hampshire.

Above 3 photos - Armand Archibald of Sunapee, New Hampshire has been out searching and finding some of his own “Nature’s Treasures” this spring.. Photos by Armand Archibald

The Outdoor Gazette

Dave Depallo with a 32" 12lb+ brown he caught on Vermont’s Lake St Catherine.

April 2012

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April 2012

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April 2012 - The Outdoor Gazette