Monday, May 23, 2016

Sebago's Salmon

We need choppy water Steve told me when we had first started fishing together last year. The breeze off of the lake wasnt as bad as we had thought but it was enough to get a little chop going and keep the temperatures cool.  We were the only ones at the boat landing that morning.

I was ready to redeem myself after last year's trip resulted in a salmon throwing the hook and swimming away. We set up the three streamer lines and headed to the honeyhole to see if we could get a bite.  We didn't spend too much time trolling before Steve yelled, "fish on!' and I jumped up to grab the rod and started reeling the line in, making sure to keep the line tight and the tip up.

The water was cold  but I was surprised by the lack of fight that I had expected and remembered from last year.  Maybe it's the fact that I routinely lift a 30+lb toddler.  As the line changed and the leader ran through the first eye hole, I could see the fish coming to the surface.  For a few seconds, it swam parallel to the boat and we could see the Grey Ghost hooked in its mouth.

Steve and I switched spots and he got the net ready to scoop the fish out of the water.  He asked if I wanted to keep it, as the daily limit is one salmon, and I said yes!  that was dinner on the other end of the line. Within a couple of minutes, the 19 inch salmon was dead in the back of the boat.

We continued to fish and had a few more bites but Steve wasn't interested in keeping a salmon for himself and no trout were biting.

Before we headed for shore, Steve handed me the knife and told me to gut the fish. I tried to get him to do it but he wouldn't let me get off that easy.  I pushed the knife into the fish's belly and a bloodied bug walked out of the fish's mouth. Then another. As a mom, I've caught puke in my bare hands and somehow these very much alive bugs crawling out of my dead fish's mouth disgusted me. I asked Steve to take over gutting the fish and he just laughed, "com'on killah, you can do it."

I somehow got through it and had Steve help to pull the insides out.  In the fish's stomach, was a pile of these bugs (which Google said are May Flies) which started to come alive once they were free from the inside of the fish.  That just grossed me out even more.

I am lucky to have such great friends who take me out fishing and help me become a better outdoors woman. The weather was perfect and I was able to bring home dinner for Hubby and my son. You can't beat fresh caught fish!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

In the woods: my deer

There is something so wonderful about not living in a city; wildlife!  The deer are looking fantastic this spring since we had such a mild winter.  They are in the process of shedding but if all goes well, they will be big, fat and healthy once fall comes.

Yearling deer steps into the driveway

Doe eating grass on the edge of the driveway

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

In the woods: moose tracks

After a good rain in the early spring months, you can usually find some great animal tracks.  Here, a yearling and cow moose ran down the edge of the road.  This is the yearlings track, its the same size as my hand!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

It's a tradition: fishing GLS on April 1

The above average temps and lack of snow this winter had resulted in the fishing season kicking off two weeks ahead of schedule so Robin and I scoped out the stream the day before we were set to go fishing to see how high the water was and how many fellow fishermen were there. We went back to her house where Taylor joined us and got our fly rods ready with leaders and new flies.

The next morning, the three of us ate a delicious breakfast (duck eggs and bear sausage!) and headed to the stream.  Our second year being in the stream on April 1.  I looked like I knew what I was doing which was a vast improvement from last year.  It was also 30 degrees warmer that it had been so the extra layers were not needed.

We had an idea of where we wanted to be and made our way across the dam.  Being outdoor bloggers, we needed to get a picture of us (my idea, not Robin's).  I asked the one person out of the water, a guy who clearly knew what he was doing, to take our picture.  We chatted a little about if the fish were biting and what fly he was using.  Soon, he opened his fly box and took out three Golden Retriever flies that he had tied and handed them to us.

Robin, Taylor and I

Greg told us that he ties the flies for the GLS store and was in the stream the first day it was open and had caught lots of fish. We were excited.  He also advised us to grab our sunglasses, if we had them, to help with the glare off the water even though it was cloudy.  Taylor and I jumped at the suggestion. We thanked Greg for talking with us, taking our photos and the pointers that he shared and headed to the opposite bank.

The three of us waded our way into the stream but after a couple of casts, I got out and moved to the other side.  It was a little shallower and from watching the fishermen the day before, I could get out further into the water if I came in from the other side. 

The water was cold but things were not freezing up like they had the year before.  The rain was holding off and there were relativity few people in the stream with Robin, Taylor and I being the only women there; a bragging right Robin and I can claim for the past two years. 

I waded into the water and got set up.  Greg was nearby and every time I would look over at him, he was taking a fish off of his line and throwing it back into the water.  I, on the other hand, was happy to be able to cast and change flies in the water without losing my gear. Greg came over to me and offered to have me take his ‘spot’ in the water and pointed to a group of fish that we could see thanks to the sunglasses.  All I had to do was get my fly to land in front of those fish and let it sink.  He made it sound and look very easy. He also took my fly rod and cast it out a few times to get the line where it needed to be.  He then moved on to help Taylor and Robin.

He had no idea who we were but there he was, waist deep in the stream, helping three women work on their casting and becoming better fly fishermen. It was fantastic and while we might not have thanked him enough, we appreciated all of the advice that he was willing to offer. We need more people like him in the outdoors! We were in the stream for a couple of hours before our friend Tammy joined us and fished the upper side of the dam. Ten minutes after we got out of the water, the siren went off on the dam and the water level in the stream rose and sped up.
Taylor and I
It had been a wonderful morning on the water and while we didnt catch a fish or even have a bite, we were waist deep in the water and casting like we knew what we were doing. We happily packed up our fishing gear and headed to the store for lunch.

Every outdoorswoman should be lucky enough to have a group of women like this to explore the outdoors with! It's what makes us better, more confident and ready for a challenge.  This won't be our last fishing trip of 2016 but it was a great way to kick off the season.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In the woods: learning from what's left behind

You can learn a lot by what animals leave behind.  In this case, a bear was able to get a nice chunk of venison.  The size and the amount of hair (you can see the white and tan hairs closest to my foot) tells you that this bear took more than just a nibble at the deer.   Bear are one of the biggest predators of deer; especially deer fawns in the spring.  Clearly there is one less deer in this area then there was before winter started!