Monday, August 7, 2017

Miramichi Salmon Camps - July, 2017

I headed up to New Brunswick on Thursday, July 6th to spend several days with my friends Paul and Stephanie Elson at their camp in Sunny Corner.  Easy ten-hour drive, except for the second time in two trips, I was pulled over at the border for an "identity check."  Same as back in June, I got to cool my heels while the powers-that-be figured out that I am who I (and my passport and enhanced drivers license) say I am.  Oh well, no harm, no foul; I just have that seedy character look, I guess.

Friday morning Stephanie, Paul and I headed to a pool on the Northwest.  Stephanie and I drew blanks, but Paul landed two very bright grilse:

We lounged Friday night but hit the same pool the next morning.  Paul and I both hooked and lost (mine almost immediately) fish...that was it for the day.  Our pal Howie Gould came to camp Friday night to fish for a few days (Steph, Howie and Paul would be heading out on a Crown Reserve trip to the Sevogle on Monday).  Sad to report that the four of us fished the Northwest Saturday morning, again to no good effect.

I always like to make a Low Country Boil for my friends in a small effort to repay their generous hospitality; Saturday lunch:

Saturday night was another "take it easy" kind of night (we were starting to worry about warm air and water temperatures).  Howie spent some time at the vise tying a few a Stephanie's idea for a new fall fly.  Definitely will be swinging it this autumn!

I thoroughly enjoy my time with this trio of friends, but Sunday it was time for me to head to Boiestown to begin my annual week with old campmates Bill Dreyer and Jamie and Pete Woods.

That evening, the water was at a lovely height for salmon fishing in the pools of Bullock's Lodge (the salmon just forgot to remember why we were there that night).  There is a long boulder called Hot Dog Rock that is just peeking out of the water in the lower right corner of the photo - remember that water height:

Monday morning dawned as yet another perfect New Brunswick summer day:

The water was at a great height to watch salmon coming out of Vin Swazey's Camp Pool, right about across from that birch tree in the right of the photo, and we did see a few moving upriver that morning.  Sadly, none of us touched a fish that day...rain moved in that evening, which, in smaller amounts, is never a bad thing at this time of year:

There was a great sky Tuesday morning; a rainbow even showed up:

I was downriver from Dan and Linda Warren, so didn't get any photos, but Dan landed two grilse about 10 minutes apart, in almost the same spot, on a Glenlivet his late dad had tied.  The Glenlivet:

We fished hard again Wednesday morning and evening, with nary a tug.  I spent the afternoon taking a few photos around camp.  Bill was changing out some tippets, and I noticed the fairly visual disparity between his bag o' monofilament and mine.  Mine is, uh, on the left:

This cooler has been with me for years.  Salmon camp just wouldn't be the same without it sitting on the front porch:

We try to keep it chock full of hydrating fluids:

A new addition to the camp group was Jamie's Lab, Boo.  She was great to have with us, and she seemed to slide right into Jamie's habit of a daily afternoon nap:

After their daily nap, they usually did a little retrieving practice:

I figure Boo had as good a time on this trip as anyone!  During the course of the week, Bill did have a grilse on for a bit, but neither Jamie, Pete nor I ever hooked up.  In twenty years, it remains only the third week that I've gone fishless.  It happens.  The water was dropping and the temperatures were climbing...not much you can do about that.

But wait, there's more!

My campmates all headed home either Saturday or Sunday; I was staying on for a few days to help with a couple projects my friend Vin had going.  But before we started on those projects, through the good offices of former MSA board member Jim McQuaid, we were invited for an evening and morning of fishing at Square Forks, a private camp situated where the north and south branches of the Sevogle River hit head-on to become the main Sevogle River.

Jim and Vin survey the north branch; the sand bar below them was a new feature deposited this year:

The main Sevogle, heading away from Square Forks:

The hydraulics of this pool are intriguing:  Places where you are sure your fly is going to head downriver, it comes right back at you, or spins around and goes ninety degrees to everywhere!
But it had a lot of fish!  Jim McQuaid, a young man named Tom Hart and I took turns casting from various spots around the pool.  Jim hooked a lovely salmon, with net work by Tom:

It was SO good to be taking a photo of a salmon!!

Tom landed both a salmon and a grilse:

Tom is an interesting fellow.  He teaches high school environmental studies, and when he's not doing that or salmon fishing, he likes to rebuild old canoes.  Here's his blog on one of his restorations:!/2012/07/avoiding-road-to-hell.html

I actually got into the act, too!  I had a salmon on but lost it...for once, not to a bad knot (no little tell-tale pigtails), but just, I guess, a nick in the tippet.  But I did manage to land a tagged grilse!  The fly was a little traditional Shady Lady:

I am dearly grateful to Jim McQuaid for inviting Vin and me to enjoy the Sevogle at Square Forks...what a treat!

Back at Vin's and Bullocks Lodge, the water continued to drop.  In my first photo of the river in this blog post, Hot Dog Rock was just showing at the surface.  A week later, it's about a foot out of the water:

It's always hard to leave the Miramichi, but by Friday, at the end of my second week in New Brunswick, it was time to go home.  But I'll be back!