vermont fishing

IMAG0489streams are low, fishing is great. No cod fishing in the ocean per order of NMFS so might as well enjoy the trout.



April 19 and the streams and rivers are still raging with little hope for next week because of a forecast of much rain. Lets hope for May.



Well here it is, October, in my opinion the most magical and long awaited for month of the year. At the time of this writing, September 22, I have just gotten home from a couple days of sitting in my tree stand in the southeast part of NH and wanted to report what I saw. The weather was beautiful, warm but with a cool feel of fall on the wind and no bugs. I guess that cold snap last week took care of them, thank you Mother Nature! Plenty of deer moving around, the usual gaggles of family groups for this time of year. I sat in three different places Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and night and counted 8 deer, 4 does and 4 fawns but nothing to try out my new Hoyt Spyder on,(read that as NH state record) . Lots of fawns this fall, a good sign for the next few seasons if they survive that long. There seems to be plenty of feed this year, white oak acorns, apples and browse. I think we will see an outstanding month here in October.
There are many new folk getting into the shooting and hunting sports and with newcomers come questions on the tools of the trade. I thought maybe I could be of some help if I shared information on some of the guns and gadgets I have used over the years.
At this stage of the game, (approaching the golden years) my kids have most of my firearms and I have only retained one pump shotgun and a muzzle loader. Many of the places I hunt deer are restricted to shotgun only and I really have no desire to collect a ton of rifles I won’t use; besides I can always borrow them back. Over the years I have had many fine weapons in various calibers that have served me well hunting in New England. Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire all share pretty much the same landscape and there are plenty of choices in firearms that will serve well in the pursuit of white tail deer. I have owned lever, bolt, and semi auto actions and found all of them just fine for this region. It all boils down to a matter of personal preference, whatever makes you happy. Out of all of them I enjoyed my lever guns the most, again a matter of personal preference. As far as calibers go the choices are numerous. It seems like every year there are newer and faster offerings from the ammunition and gun maker companies. I found that I never needed any of the super magnums or long range loads, most bullet diameters from .25 to .30 are perfect for the relatively short range,(50-150 yard) shots most common here in the northeast. The calibers I have used over the years have been the 30-30 Winchester, .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, 30-06 Winchester, .257 Roberts, .300 savage and .307 Winchester. They all did their job when called on and is a well-rounded group for the purpose of killing a deer. Although I have never owned one the .308 Winchester is another fine all around caliber suited for the woods of the Northeast. Once again it’s a matter of personal tastes, if lugging around a Lazzaroni custom rifle chambered for the 7.82 Warbird makes you happy then go for it, it certainly will do the job but it’s a tad bit overpowered for this region. Shotguns are a great all-around choice in that with interchangeable barrels your weapon can double as a bird gun and then accompany you in a deer blind latter in the fall. New and advanced technology have made the shotgun slugs scary accurate in recent years. Muzzleloaders too have come light years and sometimes the only difference between them and a modern rifle is the fact that you still need to load them one shot at a time from the front. I first bought a black powder gun almost 20 years ago and still have it today. It was one of the first removable breech plug inline models Thompson offered, a System One, and to this day it still puts them in the ten ring every time. The big drawback to primitive firearms however is you really have to keep them clean, no matter how easy it is to run a patch through the bore they require a lot of TLC at the end of hunting season before going back into the storage safe or gun locker.
Archery is a tough one to talk about to the beginner from my standpoint. I only got into bows a couple decades ago because at a young age I tried it with very bad equipment with very bad results. As I was heavy into firearms I never considered tossing arrows until someone gave me an old compound bow and I discovered I could actually hit what I was aiming at. That was a turning point for me, archery became my passion with each new year, new bow, and getting involved in 3-D completion. Just because it makes me happy I trade in my bows every 3 years for the newest top of the line offered,(one of my few indulgences) but if one is happy with a particular make and model it should serve you well for many years. I would say to a beginner go to a good pro shop and ask about trying some equipment before purchasing a set-up from a big box store. A good shop will work with you and will have you shooting in a shorter time you could imagine. Hunting in archery is truly an art form that requires much time to develop self-discipline, patience, and practice, but there is nothing like harvesting a white tail deer with a bow.
To the beginner going afield there are many gadgets offered on the market to make the hunt more easy and successful. Camo and sent free clothing seems to be the biggie these days. While I’m sure the manufactures claims are in the ball park you really don’t have to spend a bundle on attire to go hunting, or fishing for that matter. Back in the day we got by just fine hunting in the fall wearing plaid woolen jackets and pants, and to this day I enjoy trout fishing in a pair of shorts and sneakers. The only thing I would stress about hunting clothes is keep them clean and stored in a container with hemlock branches or whatever natural vegetation is indigenous to where you live. One thing not to skimp on is warm clothes. Good heat retaining light boots, gloves, hats and jackets will make your days outdoors more enjoyable.
When going afield travel light. A small survival kit, field glasses, knife, flash light, tow rope, jug of water and cell phone is pretty much what I carry, (well, maybe a sandwich) no need for any extra weight. Most everything else I leave back in the truck if I need it. Getting out hunting, fishing, or just hiking should be safe and enjoyable, but not a job.
Tight lines,
Capt Don

Vermont Sunday Dinner

The Trilogy, fresh wild blackberries, (picked this morning) fresh trout, (caught this afternoon) and venison chili. How anybody can be hungary in this state is beyond me. Oh, and the shot of the Pabst Blue Ribbon is for my friend Linda.



September Deep Sea Fishing 2013

This month, September, is my most confusing month. Already there are hints of Fall in the air, cool mornings and nights, color starting to show in the soft maples, and the waterfowl are starting to congregate around food before the annual trip South. As usual I find myself drawn in a number of different directions, hunting, trout fishing, or headed out to the briny deep to stock up for winter.

Early September is a great time to fish the ocean here in the Gulf of Maine. All the species are here feeding and in some cases spawning before the water temperature starts to drop with the upcoming late Fall and winter weather when they either seek deeper water or head south.  It reminds me of tourist season, they’re here all summer eating before they waddle South ahead of the cold weather. By the reports from the party boats this year has been a good one so far, plenty of ground fish and not too many problems of dogfish (those small pesky sharks.)  This time of year is perfect for those of you, myself now included, to make a trip to the coast and jump on a boat to stock some fresh fish in the freezer. Finding an outfit to fish with is easy, just turn to the party boat/ charter boat classified section here in Hawkeye. I’ll try for a week-day to avoid the week-end crowd, but with kids back in school and vacation time starting to concentrate on foliage up North the rail space usually isn’t too much problem.

As I’ve said a million times, take good care of your fish. A cooler is a must, ice in the cooler is a plus, and be sure to bleed your fish before tossing them in said cooler. Come filleting time on the voyage back to port it makes a huge difference. If you have little filleting experience have the mates do them for you. They do it for a living and will be sure to get nice boneless fillets to pack away for those cold winter nights when a fish fry is just what the doctor ordered to break up the cold weather blues. Speaking of tasty morsels, if you happen to get into some nice size cod have the person welding the knife cut out the cheeks and head steaks. Cod are a meaty fish and if large enough will render some of the best tidbits from these parts.  Fried cheeks have been a tradition for many years in Gloucester restaurants. Another species that has good cheek meat is halibut.  Although catching one is not as frequent as it used to be the sometimes huge flatfish has been making a comeback in recent years so if you get lucky and hook into something that literally doubles your rod with thumping runs back to the bottom you could be in for some tasty Atlantic Halibut steaks on the grill.  Pollock are a predominate species this time of year because they are in spawning mode. Look for them on the hard bottom peaks in places like Pigeon Hill or the Ridge out on Jefferies ledge. Pollock grow up to around 40 pounds and are a great fighter when hooked. Jigs and worm teasers work well and feather hooks baited with strips of fresh herring or mackerel will also do the trick. When making up jig rigs for Pollock I always use at least 80 pound leaders to attach my jig and teaser to because double hook-ups are common in this fishery and if two 20+ lb. fish decide to go opposite ways after being hooked the net result is ending up with one fish on the teaser and goodbye expensive jig. When rigging your leaders do not use an overhand knot for the teaser loop, it will pull out every time if enough pressure is put on it. Use a barrel loop which is easy to shape, simply cross the leader material over itself forming a loop about 2 inches big and give it a good 4 or 5 twists before bringing the loop up through the middle twist and pulling  it tight by pulling the ends of the leader in opposite directions. Once you get this knot down it’s very easy. Another reason for this rig is this rig is because knots weaken line strength (thus the reason for 80 ld. Test leader) and this barrel shape has the least amount of sharp corners to break. A 3 way swivel may also be used but why spend more money if you can do it yourself for free.

 Pollock flesh is a moist semi-dark meat that works well in many ways when it arrives to the kitchen. Broiled with lemon and garlic butter, in soups and chowder, pan fried, baked or on the grill Pollock is delicious and the preferred species of most commercial fishermen that know fish. Substitute steamed or baked Pollock for canned tuna in salad and you’ll never want to buy tuna again.

Tight lines and keep you powder dry,

Capt. DonImage