June 29, 2007
Now, the water is great for catching America's favorite panfish, the bluegill. The water temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees in the shallows. Bluegills will begin to spawn when the water temperature is in the mid 60's and above. Cold fronts and water fluctuations can affect spawning and push the bluegills to nearby deeper water till the weather again warms and stabilizes. The male bluegill make the spawning beds by fanning their tails on areas (sand and gravel bottoms) where the females come and deposit their eggs. Then, the male bluegills guard the beds against any intruder or predator that might devour the eggs and/or small fry. Most spawning beds are located in water that is 2- to 5-feet deep, but some fish will spawn deeper. All that you need to catch bluegills is an ultra-light rod and reel and a few more items. Light monofilament line is very important and the old “standard” Berkley® Trilene® fits the bill. Joe suggests using the green color mono to match the algae-stained water and in four pound test line. The smaller diameter line can often make the difference on finicky fish. But now, the fish are active and aggressive, so an angler could get by with six pound test. Next, attach a small jig to your line. When fish are active, like now, about any color (purple, green, orange) seems to work. Then, use a few micro-split shots and a small stealth bobber to balance the rig. Set the bobber or float anywhere from 1 - 2 feet from the jig depending on the water's depth where you're fishing. Spikes, wax worms, and red worms have all been effective, but lately when the fish are aggressive you can use plastic or artificial bait.
My thanks goes to Berkley Pure Fishing, for assistance.
June 22, 2007
Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) has been linked to many fish kills around the Great Lake Region in the past few years. If you fish in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, St. Lawrence River, and Lake Conesus in New York, you are in known VHS waters. VHS is not a threat to people who eat or handle fish infected with the virus. Fish infected with VHS may exhibit tissue hemorrhaging, but some may not show any signs of the disease. Regulations have also been established at the Federal level because of the threat VHS has to the fisheries across the United States. These regulations can be found at the United States Department of Agriculture Website: www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/aqua/. Before leaving a water body, do the following:
Before entering a different body of water:
Just good ideas whenever you fish out of state.
June 15, 2007
Understanding the behavior of animals in the spring and early summer can help people resist the urge to assist wildlife in ways that may do more harm than good.
June 8, 2007
As most know, muzzleloader hunting is my passion. No one represents the sport like Jim Shockey. He has taken the first steps to set up a non-profit foundation that will have as one of its primary missions the mandate to take Veterans of the Armed Forces hunting, free of charge. “This is the first step toward a plan that I’ve been working on for some time now, a plan where I can give something back to other hunters. Honestly, I’ve been very lucky when it comes to hunting and I feel that I am now in a position to help those hunters who can not, for whatever reason, experience the hunt of their dreams. This is only the beginning, if all goes according to my plan; in the future I’ll hopefully be able to raise enough money to provide free hunts to as many disabled and ill hunters as I can and eventually even to provide hunts to those hunters who simply cannot afford the cost of a dream hunt to the wild lands. I guess in a way, it’s my own dream,” said Jim Shockey. What Jim needs right now is a co-opting of hunters’ efforts, a call to arms as it were. What I’d like to do is to ask you to forward this to as many of your hunting friends as you can; simply, just sign up for Jim Shockey’s newsletter (www.jimshockey.com) to keep current. The cause is just. We can make this happen; I just need a little help from you to get the ball rolling, so pass it on. Please and thank you.
June 1, 2007
Fishing should be taking up most of your time now. So, I have found one of the best simple recipes for trout:
Sauté onions and pepper until onions begin to turn brown. Add the trout and the white wine and simmer trout until done. Do not overcook. Deglaze pan and pour the onion/pepper wine sauce over the trout.
Remember that ticks abound this year, so take some precautions while fishing. Clothes can be sprayed with either DEET or Permethrin. Only DEET can be used on exposed skin, but never in high concentrations; follow the manufacturer’s directions. Upon returning home, clothes can be spun in the dryer for 20 minutes to kill any unseen ticks.
May 25, 2007
Not too often will I do product reviews, but those of you who know me, know that I only put my approval on the 'best of the best'. A folding pocket knife by Columbia River Knife and Tool; the M4 is so new that it is just now on the market. CRKT sent one for a project I have on survival, and this is a rugged knife for you. Two things, OutBurst™ assisted opening as an option, and exclusive AutoLAWKS™ which automatically actuates when the folder is opened and locked, creating a virtual fixed blade instantly for the ultimate in ease of opening and safety. The blade is a high-hollow-grind drop-point of AUS 8 stainless steel in a bead-blast finish with dual stainless steel liners, one locking, and an aluminum back spacer. Serrations in this area prevent your hand from slipping forward. Brushed stainless steel bolsters with textured black Zytel® scales make this working knife look great. The pocket clip is high mounted so it will carry low in the pocket. Custom knife maker Kit Carson collaborated by putting his design on the M4. Now, you can have his original, at five times the cost. Otherwise, retail on the CRKT M4 is $100. Well worth the cost for such quality. Columbia River Knife and Tool can be found on the web at www.CRKT.com Their entire line, including a line for my Friends at the firehouse, called the 'E.R.Line' should meet your needs.
May 18, 2007
Sometimes, the big guys do care. I came across this interesting press release; my choice for new camping equipment will be this one company from now on.
Following last Friday’s devastating tornado that leveled the town of Greensburg, Kansas, aid is pouring in from both government and private sources. Among them, The Coleman Company, Inc. is packing a semi-trailer filled with gear to support the displaced residents in their time of need, and also to help house and protect the dedicated emergency workers who are on the scene restoring vital services. The Coleman® products being loaded include lanterns and fuel, shelters, airbeds and pumps, food and beverage coolers, sleeping bags, and battery-powered lights - as much as the truck will hold.
According to Tim Daniel, Coleman’s vice president of special markets and the coordinator of the company’s emergency response team, the products lend themselves to multiple uses. “But with this shipment, we’re hailing back to their original purpose - to provide heat, light, shelter, and comfort for people living in the outdoors, and this time, it’s not by choice.” The truck filled with Coleman products left Wichita Wednesday morning for Greensburg, 105 miles to the west. “All of us at Coleman hope that those in Greensburg will use what we’ve sent and know that we’re with them and so is everyone else,” Daniel said.
May 11, 2007
The season keeps getting better, and, remember, that as you begin summer travel, fishing licenses for just a few days are available in most states.
You know the local lake that you spend all your time fishing? The one with all those houses that line the shore - the houses with all the boat docks? Those docks might be clogged with people loading and unloading boats and having all kinds of fun, but some of the best crappie fishing can be found directly below them at almost any time of year.
So what is it about these docks? It doesn’t matter what part of the country you’re fishing, if you’ve got crappie in the water, they’re bound be around these docks. The allure of docks as they relate to crappie is that these structures provide the necessities that these tasty fish need to survive. Pilings that support docks provide food and cover, along a wide range of depths. Grass shrimps, crustaceans, and minnows feed on the small plankton; then crappie feed on them. The older docks have algae growing on them, which attracts baitfish, and that attracts the crappie. Most importantly, docks are best when it’s sunny and hot. Clouds tend to make the cover less important and causes fish to scatter. The bright sun penetration pushes crappie into the most shaded area under the docks, and it’s not unusual for crappie to be on one side of the dock in the morning, and then on the other side later in the day. The wooden docks just a foot or so above the water is ideal. The posts and cross-members also provide shade and protection for crappie.
May 4, 2007
Turkey season, the last opportunity to fire the guns before we put them up ‘till fall. One last “wearin’ of the green”(camo that is). Good luck to all of you.
At the NRA convention in St. Louis, I met a coupe of guys selling one unique product that will work on your bow/rifle/shotgun/pistol. On top of that, you could be a better shot with it. In addition, it costs way less than comparable products. You really have to get one of these. I would count it as one of my favorite products … “The Original Quick Shot Gun Sling.” The rubber strap simply loops back on itself to fit any gun/bow. When using with a gun, the strap carries like a regular sling but the stretch allows you to just lift the gun to your shoulder and the stretch forces the gun back and actually allows you to balance the gun with just one hand. The stability is incredible. Get one for Turkey Season, that’s all you need and use it on all your bows and guns - $17.90 with shipping at Quickshotgunsling.com or call (608) 254-8278. Tell them I sent you, please.
April 27, 2007
As we anglers get more and more diversified in our fishing skills, as we find out what works best for us and what we enjoy doing the most, we sometimes take on the labels of finesse fishermen or power fishermen. Power fishing is the type of angling where you go after the fish, making them bite though they maybe totally turned off. Power fishing means casting at targets that should have fish on them. You are able to make multiple casts at an exact target to make a fish bite out of reflex and aggravation. During this time of year, if the fish haven't started spawning but are coming shallow in search of food, a Carolina rig using a Berkley PowerBait 4-inch Power Lizard dragged through shallow, flat areas can be extremely effective. Once the fish are on beds, a white Power Tube is ideal to get a spawning fish excited enough to attack. Finesse fishing can be even more fun than power fishing at times because it often calls for downsizing equipment. Whether it's drop shotting a Berkley Gulp! Sinking Minnow, or tipping a jig head with a Gulp! Shaky Worm, the idea is to fish the bait very slowly. By fishing it slowly, you allow the scent of the Gulp! to disperse in the area like a blood trail, which it does more than 400 times faster than a plastic bait. These methods are great for vertical and deeper-water presentations. The importance of the light line is that because you are fishing in deeper and often clearer water, the small diameter of the line won't be as likely to scare off fish. Feeding fish can be very spooky and anything that seems out of the ordinary to them is going to run them off.
April 20, 2007
Tests and accident accounts repeatedly prove that even expert swimmers wearing clothes cannot swim more than a short distance without becoming dangerously fatigued. Safety on the water dictates:
Practice on your own boat to find out what works.
April 13, 2007
The rabbit goes around the tree, back in the hole ...
Sometimes, you just are not sure how to make a specific knot or how to care for expensive rope. On the internet, I just found a unique site to teach you how to tie a variety of knots for home, boating, rescue, and even your tie or shoe.
The visual pictures move through steps so you can practice each step. Many tips on rope care and storage far surpass what I have ever seen before. Have Grog (that is the name of the creator) teach you at www.animatedknots.com.
Boating season is upon us so this should keep you busy until then. By then you should have the ‘Flemish Flake’ perfected. Don’t know what that is ... go find out.
April 6, 2007
April is an odd month.We just left winter and suddenly outdoor sports open up again with guns and rods in fierce competition for our time.Fishing buddies call and say that it is time, and turkey hunters also demand that we prepare for the brief season.
So, in respect for all you who love one or both; I flipped a coin and a hunting tip comes up first.Turkey hunters prepare to do battle with the wiliest animal on the planet.Now is the time to get landowner permissions in place.Visit, call, and respect their right to permit you on their lands.Posted land is just that, so stay off it in respect to the entire hunting fraternity.
Here is a To Do list, to keep you focused:
March 30, 2007
The newer types of fishing lines are grabbing a larger slice of the market. Braided and “superlines” took 30.8 percent of the line market in May. Of all fishing lines sold, the best selling brands were Berkley (29.8 percent), followed by Stren (16.8 percent).
Clear superlines were just a dream - until now. Berkley has engineered the world's first translucent superline. New Berkley® FireLine® Crystal' is clear enough to fish like a mono yet strong enough to be called FireLine.
Not only is FireLine Crystal the world's first clear superline, it also delivers unprecedented diameters starting with diameters thinner than a human hair. In addition, the line is incredibly smooth for longer, more accurate casts and reliable performance. You have to try this one!
Pound Tests: FireLine Crystal: 1/.25; 2/.5; 3/.75; 4/1; 6/2; 8/3; 10/6; 14/6; 20/8
Winner, Best New Line: 2006 ICAST Convention
While the line is not cheap ($14.99 in most stores) this product will out fish most other lines. An ice fishing version is also available, but I could not find a place to test it … yet.
March 23, 2007
Boating laws in New Hampshire require everyone after January 1, 2007, to take a proctored examination in order to receive a New Hampshire boating education certificate. It also requires everyone to get a minimum of 80 percent on the examination. Both the online course, and home study course, will be available after January 1, 2007, and will allow you to study, take pre-tests, and receive a course completion slip. Upon completion, call 1-888-254-2125 to schedule a time for a proctored examination at any of their numerous locations throughout the Nashua area. You can also take the full classroom session, if you need to, in this area. The Department of Safety Website, under Boating Safety, has a full schedule. When do you need a certificate? The law says: no one “shall operate a motorized vessel with any type of power motor in excess of 25 horsepower on the public waters of this state, without first obtaining a certificate of boating safety education in accordance with these rules.”
March 16, 2007
The Fish and Game Department budget proposed by Governor Lynch is now before the House Finance Committee. It does not contain stop-gap state funding for Fish and Game, but instead recommends cutting by 10 percent the department’s proposal to keep Fish and Game spending at Fiscal Year 2006 levels through Fiscal Year 2009. It relies on a moose permit auction to raise an estimated $250,000 per year, even though that proposal has been put on hold.
“The reductions affect operations such as fish stocking, fish and game biological work, law enforcement, conservation information and education activities and support services,” said New Hampshire Fish and Game Director Lee Perry. “Statistics received from Vermont and Maine, suggest that the anticipated revenue from the auctioning of moose permits is unattainable.” said Perry.
So, what do we do? We contact the governor, and the Finance Committee (of which Lynn Ober is a member; firstname.lastname@example.org) and politely tell them that the moose lottery is a bad idea which takes our resources and gives them to those who can pay the most. Finally, tell them that funding Fish and Game is most important to you as a sportsman.
I respect our legislative process, and our legislators. Too often we never get involved in presenting our position. When we loose our outdoor heritage, will you say “I should have ...?”
March 9, 2007
Did you ever look at all the ‘stuff’ that you have to participate in your sport, and then get caught up in the advertising hype on some new and better product, (often costing big bucks), and believe you had to have it because everyone else has one? Well, research has been done on the most commonly used products, and they are not always the top brands. Survey says:
Some of these brands are reasonably priced, but they sell because they work reliably time after time. I’m keeping my Remington … it works.
March 2, 2007
New Hampshire recently became the 41st state to adopt the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). The first stage of introducing NASP into a state is an instructor-training workshop. New Hampshire conducted their teacher-training workshop in Goffstown on January 13 – 15. The workshop was hosted by the New Hampshire Fish & Game Department, and was attended by 20 teachers and volunteer archery instructors. Marcia Wyman has taken the position of New Hampshire's NASP lead coordinator. NASP is a program to introduce target archery to students during a two week physical education course. Archery is a life sport that circumvents traditional barriers, to engage students of all genders and physical abilities, even facilitating participation and competition in students with disabilities. Schools participating in NASP have experienced a number of favorable spin-off benefits as well, including reduced behavior problems and improved school attendance. In every state, private archery organizations, community volunteers, manufacturers, and non-profit organizations such as the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), share in teacher training duties and help provide additional archery opportunities outside the classroom. Do you want to see this in your school? Call Fish & Game and talk to your school administration, today.
February 23, 2007
Questions come this time of year on feeding wildlife. Deer find it easy to digest woody browse; what will not digest is supplemental foods such as corn or other grains. If there are any changes in a deer's diet, it can take up to several weeks for the culture of the micro-organisms to adjust to the newly introduced food. Deer may readily consume new foods, but in fact receive little nutrition for an extended period of time. Food provided to them by browse cutting provides nourishment with no delay in receiving energy from the food. As a result, the cutting of hardwood, and in some cases softwood browse sapling about two-thirds through and then pushing it over has been a long standing recommendation for those concerned about deer survival in the winter. A good key to determining deer mobility is by observing trailing and track patterns. When deer trails and group tracks equal or outnumber individual tracks, a deer's foraging range is restricted and they are probably unable to secure adequate nourishment. Deer will reap the maximum benefits when browse is provided to them at this time.
Many wintering birds benefit from the high energy nutritional benefits of suet, suet mixes, and peanut butter. Suet can be fed in onion sacks, wire mesh feeders, wooden dowel (cage) feeders, or placed on open platforms that are secure from dogs and other "suet robbers." Conventional suet feeders sometimes attract European starlings, another nuisance exotic species that drives native songbirds from your yard and from nesting cavities in the spring. If starlings are a problem, use a "starling-proof" feeder that forces the birds to feed upside down. Chickadees, woodpeckers, and nuthatches have no trouble feeding this way, but starlings have weaker feet and are not able to feed in such an awkward position. Peanut butter is another good choice for filling log-style feeders and smearing on pinecones.
February 16, 2007
Of today's 50 million anglers in the United States, 99 percent say they fish because someone once took the time to introduce them to the sport.
In a recent survey measuring participation in boating and fishing, 67 percent of respondents said "dad" took them on their first fishing trip, 87.8 percent were 35 years of age or older, compared to only 12.2 percent for those under 35. If dad has a diminishing role in introducing new anglers today, and others don't step in, how will fishing be passed to future generations? And how will those who miss out even know what they've missed?
Well, at this point in winter, I begin to get an illness, not uncommon to many. The chilled body grows tired more often; the lack of sun makes any sunny day seem like a summer beach day; and any snow now seems to cause irreversible depression. That, my friends, is caused by the desire to fish. The cure, is to break out and clean tackle, visit sport shows and buy a few new lures.
Today in the United States, kids spend an average of 44 hours a week experiencing life through a glass - watching TV, playing video games and on the computer. Forty-four hours a week equates to a full-time job and leaves little time for anything else.
More than 90 percent of the survey respondents to a survey conducted by Trophy Research, said they believe mentoring others in fishing is a good thing to do, and that they would be willing be do so if asked. Nearly 78 percent said they own boats, and 82 percent of them said they would welcome first-timers aboard.
The most recent license data provided by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, shows the numbers of resident license purchases have decreased. In 2004 there were 31,000,424 resident licenses purchased. In 2005 the unofficial numbers are down over a million anglers at only 30,250,922 licenses purchased. The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, provided these facts to help each of us to realize our role in sport fishing.
February 9, 2007
B.O.W. -- Winter Workshop: February 24 at Fish and Game's Owl Brook Hunter Education Center in Holderness. Snow date is February 25. Open registration for winter B.O.W. ends February 9. The registration form will be available at www.nhbow.com at that time. Send in with your payment by mail or in person to: NH Wildlife Federation, 54 Portsmouth Street, Concord, NH 03301 (telephone 224-5953).
Winter B.O.W. is a chance to focus in on a single winter outdoor skill which you will explore in the company of other women. Choose from topics such as ice-fishing, winter outdoor survival skills, snowshoeing, and the "Shoe and Shoot.” A one-day workshop, Winter BOW is a great place to find out how much fun you can have outdoors with friends and family -- even when it's cold outside! Sign up early in the registration period, as classes fill up fast. Finally, see you all this weekend in Worcester at the "Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Expo."
February 2, 2007
From Fish and Game: "Fish and Game has requested that Governor Lynch include $1.6 million in State General Funds for its budget in each of the next two fiscal years – a stopgap measure to balance the agency's budget without dramatic cuts in staff and services. (Fish and Game is self-funded, and it would be the first time we would receive more than a token amount of money from the state.) If the Governor's budget doesn't include the stopgap money, Fish and Game's future is in serious jeopardy, with the potential for devastating cuts to services and programs that make a difference in your life.” Who should care about this? You and I, because our state’s natural resources are in jeopardy.
Do you hunt, hike, fish, snowmobile, or spend time in the public lands of our state? Even our Massachusetts readers who spend monies on sports in our state have a stake in this. It would seem our governor has decided to be silent in his position on this problem. Does our legislature expect Fish and Game costs to be born only by license holders? Let the governor know. He needs to hear that you support the Fish and Game Department, and that you want him to provide funding in his budget request to the Legislature.
You and I face the most significant losses of our lives at this critical juncture. To contact some key players, here is the information you need:
January 26, 2007
How often do you take time to enjoy the beauty of the night? Winter evenings are a unique time to get outside and explore the woods and sky. Join Beaver Brook and Eastern Mountain Sport staff on the near full moon Friday nights of January, February, March, and April for a spectacular guided walk on Beaver Brook's trails. We will conclude our night hike with warm cocoa and cookies back in the warmth of Maple Hill Farm. Sponsors: Beaver Brook Association, Eastern Mountain Sports. Fee: $10 individuals, $25 families (includes the use of snowshoes, conditions permitting). To pre-register call Beaver Brook at 465-7787.
January 19, 2007
Imagine if you can 16 miles of aisles, 60,000 people, and any new product idea you can think of all in one place. That is the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show) show in Orlando. I am writing this from the show to give you the most recent updated news.
Some of the most innovative products I have seen include the new “Icon” rifle from Thompson/Center Arms. This fine bolt action is made from some of the old walnut that T/C was famous for many years ago.
MDM Muzzleloading of Vermont has also released the “Thunder Charge” caseless ammo for muzzleloaders. BlackMag powder is now on the back of the bullet and you just drop the caseless round down the muzzle for a tested, balanced, performance shot.
I have also seen the new CVA “Electra” muzzleloader. No primers; just a spark that is totally sealed ignition. We now have the next generation of ignition from the oldest gun type in the history of civilization.
Finally, my friends at God's Country Camo have patterns for early season, late season, and “Avalance” for the winter cover-up over your winter gear.
Speaking of winter, as I write this from my 80 degree room, I really don't look forward to my return to snow covered New Hampshire.
All the products can be found on line soon at the above makers’ Websites.
January 12, 2007
About 40,000 people from all 50 states and 75 countries will be in Orlando Florida, January 11-14 for one of the biggest trade shows in the world. But here's an interesting fact: The public is not invited. Attendees are buyers who are looking at the latest camouflage patterns, hunting garments and firearms, archery equipment, tree stands, all-terrain hunting vehicles and much more. It's the SHOT Show, also known as the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference, sponsored by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. I will be there this week and for all of my readers next week I will give you a first hand report. Long before you read it in any national publication, you will read it here in the Area News first. I will cover the newest products in the outdoor world. Also, plan now for the Eastern Fishing and Outdoor Show in Worcester, Ma., on the weekend of February 10.
January 5, 2007
Here we are in a new year. Hope you got what you wanted for Christmas. May the New Year bring you some of the best times outdoors. Some important news for 2007 that you should remember.
First, get your 2007 hunting and fishing license now. You can go online at Fish and Game and get it at any hour. No price increases this year.
Also, plan now for the first outdoor show of the year: "The Rockingham Fishing and Hunting Expo" at Rockingham Park, Salem. The show is January 12 - 14. Many say this is the best show to hear seminars, see new products, and buy gear. This is a true family event with something for even the youngest. Online info is at www.rockinghamshow.com.
Finally, with this warm weather, ice fishing is way behind. Stay safe and be patient .. New England weather will change soon.