Sunday, May 11, 2014

Miramichi Salmon Camp - Spring 2014

I left Vermont at 4:30 a.m., headed to Boiestown, NB, on April 24th.  Heading east, as the sun came up, I had to put my sunglasses on; clear blue skies.  Into New Hampshire, still pretty darn nice day.  Up around Bangor, Maine, winds picked up pretty good, and it started to rain.  By the time I hit Customs at Houlton, the wind was howling, and I had my wipers on "high".  Just into New Brunswick, a light snow was falling. By the time I hit Fredricton, with an hour to go before getting to my home-away-from-home, Boiestown, it was a blizzard.  Renate Bullock caught the moment when I arrived at her camp 10 hours after leaving Vermont:

Her son (and Bullock's Lodge camp manager) Dan came down to show me the river:

Lots o' ice!

I had several reasons for this trip.  I wanted to hear some presentations by various agencies on activities affecting (potentially or actually) the Miramichi watershed on Friday.  On Saturday, I attended the Annual General Meeting and then the Board of Directors meeting of the Miramichi Salmon Association (MSA).  I'm very proud to say I was elected to the Board at that meeting.  I look forward to working on that board on the river's and the salmon's behalf!

Mid-day my bud, Rene Warren, tracked me down just to say hello.  He gave me three flies he tied, which will have a place of honor back home:

The MSA's Icebreaker party/fundraiser was Saturday night, and I was pleased to once again be the evening's auctioneer.  That is one fun party, and the auction is always characterized by spirited bidding.  I didn't get a photo of it, but one of the finest items in the auction was a box of 48 Spring and 48 Classic Atlantic Salmon flies tied and donated by my friend Brian Cuming of Fredricton.  Really an incredible donation; I know how much time and money those flies take to tie.

In case you're wondering where Boiestown is, it's the geographic center of New Brunswick...or so the sign says!

Sunday was a kicked back kind of a day; Renate and I went for a walk along the river.

Renate says the sounds of the river going out are really something to hear.  This year it happened, in front of her home, at about midnight a few days before I got there.

Monday, yet another reason for my trip began: renovations to Renate's kitchen.  New flooring and tongue and groove cedar to replace old paneling.  The floor was one of many layers; all but the bottom one had to go.

Next the old paneling came off:

New paneling, then the new floor:

It took another day or so to replace sink, faucets, etc.  Here's hoping Renate, a great cook, is happy with her new kitchen.  I think she is.

Did I mention the deer?  They were everywhere: on lawns, in driveways, and, dangerously, on the roads.  I snapped a pic of them here and there:

Enough of the deer already!  But  they sure looked like they had come through a long, hard winter (and they had!).

Renate got a great shot of a grouse in the flower bed alongside her driveway.  The bird is actually standing in the spot my truck slid back into, messing up the bed, when I forgot to put it in four-wheel drive one morning. The drive was frozen over most every morning that I was there.

Ruffed grouse in the back yard, atlantic salmon in the front yard...what a grand place to live!!!

And yes, I went fishing!!!  Early in my visit, Vin Swayze and I went out for a couple fun hours, but no fish. After we finished the kitchen, Dan Bullock generously offered to take me out for the day on Thursday, which would be the last day of my visit.  And after two weeks of mostly gray, rainy weather, with ice in the river, the day proved to be about as nice a day as you can get in New Brunswick in the Spring!

Nothing like a box of Spring salmon flies in the bright sun of Spring!

In the morning, I hooked a nice, small, salmon:

Happily, the kelt took a liking to the Deep Green Beauty (obviously dragging it through some hay on its way to the net)!

After lunch, Dan hooked a nice salmon that jumped seven times for us.

His fish took my rendition (lots of "bling" added) of Carrie Stevens' Green Beauty, which was the inspiration for my Deep Green Beauty.  Very cool.

I'm REALLY glad that I took my Loomis 13 foot, 8/9 Stinger two-hand rod up with me.  My shoulder was killing me after picking that 300 grain sinktip up out of the water all morning with a singlehand rod.  Dan and I both used the two hander all afternoon (Rio AFS 8/9 head, fast sinking poly leader with 10lb tippet); life was good again!

It was a great treat to spend so much time with good friends again in New Brunswick.  And whether they like it or not, I'll be back in a month!!   CHEERS!


  1. Great post as usual, Gary. Good job you had other things going on besides the fishing. Obviously the water has been ridiculously high. I just came back from our camp on Friday, May9 after a bit of fishing from the bushes in the afternoon. No luck and in fact some bad luck in that the lower part of our road was completely washed out from the brook overflowing. Had to walk in to the camp then spent the whole morning trying to track down someone to rebuild( and I mean rebuild) it hopefully asap. A record snowfall with consequent runoff this winter.

    Thanks for the update at Bullocks Lodge.


    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, of these days we'll have to hook up on the river!

  2. Thanks Gary for sharing. I can travel with you vicariously - much enjoyed! Take care and good luck when you go back in a month. Ed

  3. As always, wish I could have been there. Great Post!

  4. Gary
    I was happy to see you do your magic keeping the bidding going on the box of flies and the 2 display flies! I was both pleased and proud that they raised $350.00 for the MSA.
    Brian C

    1. Brian, that was a hell of a donation, and fun to auction! The salmon and the MSA thank you, as do I! And thanks for the batch of blues CD's...sure made the ride home go more quickly and enjoyable!