Sunday, June 24, 2012

June Fun on the Miramichi

Friday, June 8th, I headed up to Boiestown, New Brunswick to enjoy a few days with my friends on the Miramichi, and help raise some important funds for the Woodmen's Museum.  Set a new record for the run up:  550 miles in 10 hours from my driveway to the "beverage" counter at McCloskey's store!  Including a few minute layover while the Border Patrol checked my bags for contraband.  If they knew how important these trips are to  me, they wouldn't bother.  I always declare just exactly what I have.  Oh well, they have a job to do.   I think I had a rookie on the inspection team...he pulled a Sage rod tube out of my rod bag and asked me what it was.  I nixed the idea of replying "rocket launcher" quickly enough to avoid problems.  A simple "fly rod" got me through.

Friday night Chris Gaston, creator/owner of , a great forum, stopped by the camp to pick us some flies and a Wheatley I donated to that forum's excellent donation to MSA's Classic auction.  Brian Cuming, who I also met via that forum, also stopped by to drop off a beautiful framed fly he was donating to MSA as well.   Visit that forum, you'll be happy that you did!
(Another great forum is and I don't want to forget ).  But I digress.

Saturday was Miramichi Salmon Association Annual General Meeting day, held at MSA's hatchery complex.  I had never been there before.   Enjoyed the meeting and the hot dogs and hamburgers afterward.   We had to hurry back to Boiestown for a "pre-party" party (before the Woodmen's fundraiser) at Vin and Hazel Swayze's.   The sign on the wall says it all:

I enjoyed a conversation with Mark Hambrook, MSA's President about the in's and out's of running a non-profit.  Mark works hard.  Really hard.  I was glad to see him out and about at an event he wasn't responsible for...kicking back:

The Woodmen's Museum event went very well, with its usual sold-out, fun crowd.  The dinner was excellent, and the bidding in the auction was even better!  I think they bid fast and furiously just to get me off the stage!

Sunday morning it was blowing a gale, but Vin and I gamely decided to give it a go.  Wadered up, waddled down to Vin's boat, the FTG (you can ask me in person what that stands for), and loaded up.  The bad news is, there was water in the gas, and the usually reliable Merc was a non-starter.  So we headed back up to camp.

The good news is, a group of friends had stopped in to Vin's while we were down at the boat, so an instant party started!  Way better to sit on his deck and watch the wind blow than to have a fly sticking out of your head because you tried to cast against it!  (I might not have said that 15 or so years ago, but I sure buy into it now).   Relaxing along the Miramichi:

Vin in one of the Adirondack chairs he makes so well (I keep forgetting to make a pattern from one of them so I can build a few myself).  Oh, and the party dress code was "Miramichi Casual":

I enjoyed one of Renate Bullock's incredible meals Sunday night.  After dinner, Vin came up and the three of us fished home pool.  Renate and I both landed some nice brook trout, she on a Butterfly, me on a Celtic Beauty (that makes the CB at least a 3-species fly - landlocked salmon, brook trout, and of course atlantic salmon.  Woo-Hoo!)

Renate always hooks bigger fish than I do!

We fished Renate's Home pool on Monday morning, a nice, overcast 60 degree morning.  Vin hooked a small trout, I enjoyed looking at the river.

Fished Vin's Camp Pool Monday evening.  Sadly nothing to report.  But Tuesday was a different story altogether!

Through the good offices of friend highly placed, we got the key to the gate behind which lay about 1.25 million acres.   Good times.

We were headed in to fish for brookies on a beautiful big lake, which I'd never seen before.  On the way in, we met "The Crossing Guard"

I don't know if that old boy was displaying for us or for the hen hidden on the left side of the road, but he surely did appear to be making sure those days-old grouse chicks got safely across!  He was so puffed up you could barely see his beak!

That was a tough act to follow, but this lake performed admirably!  Vin and Renate checking it out at the "boat ramp":

What an incredible place to be on a beautiful, early summer day!

Captain Vin in control:

The lake's caretakers showed up after awhile to check us out:

They brought along their trainees:

THAT encounter was worth the price of admission.  Oh wait, that's right, there was no admission!  I'll never be able to thank our friend Manley for allowing us to enjoy this day!

We trolled for brookies using, of course, the Deep Green Beauty!  We landed and kept a few for lunch, which we were running late for...that was a hard place to leave!

Lunch was here, hosted by our friend Glenn:

I want to be Glenn's helper (view from camp)!

Great hospitality!

Thumbs up on the Brook Trout lunch!

Awesome.  I eat like this every day.  Sure, Gar.

Perfect temperature for the day's outing!

We did a little river fishing, but no love from the salmon yet.  But incredible places to be, anyway:

Big country:

I always find it interesting that whenever anglers bump into each other on a river, cans of beer magically appear in their hands!

Wednesday was my last day on the Miramichi for this visit.  Vin and I tore up river to Renate's in FTG.

A last evening of fishing, and for all her great hospitality, it was only fitting that Renate hooked the first bright salmon of the season!

I got a good look at the fish before it slipped Renate's barbless Butterfly; a salmon for sure, maybe 8ish pounds.  What a great finish to a wonderful trip!  And I could sit and watch that river forever.

Please note well:  Vin and Renate, along with Renate's son Dan (as Manager and guide) are the guides/owners of Bullock's Lodge (  If you want to fish for atlantic salmon in great pools with great guides and hosts, you need to go there.   Oh, and as usual, Renate took most of the photos in this post.

I'll be back on the Miramichi July 1! Can't wait!!


  1. Fantastic post and trip report, Gary!

    Thanks for the shout out to!

    With any luck I'll get the story behind 'FTG' sometime in early July ;-)

  2. Looks like a lot of fun .

    - Kevin

  3. great report Gary, always happy to hear you had a great trip as its a long haul for you but seeing you sitting in that chair day dreaming as the river flows by its worth it

    good stuff my friend

  4. Wonderful photos to go along with another good story. Wish I could see you in action on the auction block!

    -Leslie aka The Niece

  5. Great job Gary and Renate. Going to have to put this on the top of my list for places to see before my creator says enough is enough.

  6. Why we like to fish and live - nice trip report.

  7. Sounds and looks like a great time. You are correct. Everyone should fish more than they work!!!!!

    James Sparks