Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Atlantic Salmon Fly International - Miramichi, NB, June 2018

June 20th saw me heading back to New Brunswick for the Atlantic Salmon Fly International gathering in Miramichi, NB, a gathering of about 80 fly tyers from around the world.  Countries like Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Italy, the U.S. and of course, Canada were represented.   An overnight stop at my old friends Ken and Donna Simard in Arundel, Maine, made the trip much more manageable; they are 4 hours from my house and only 6 hours from Boiestown, NB, which was my first stop.  That was hospitality much appreciated!!

Thursday, the 21st, there was an open house for the tyers at the Atlantic Salmon Museum in Doaktown.  I never tire of taking photos of my friend Charlie Krom's flies!

I woke up to this kind of day in Boiestown on the 22nd, the first day of ASFI:

Home Pool at Bullock's Lodge looked perfect!

In fact, it was perfect...just a couple days earlier, a fellow I knew from a couple forums and facebook and whom I would finally get to meet in person landed a beauty in that very pool!  Nicely done, Paul Slaney!

Renate Bullock and Vin Swazey made the trip down to Miramichi with me for the first day of ASFI.  We walked in to a pretty impressive set-up!

One of the aspects of ASFI that was most pleasing to me was that I would finally meet, face to face, a few tyers that I had known for as many as 10 years but never met in person, and I'd also get to renew acquaintances with folks I had met previously, like Bryant Freeman (here with Renate and Vin):

Paul Slaney, whose flies I've admired for some time and had just come from Bullock's Lodge, turned out to be my table mate!

Friday night there was a steak/lobster feast at Debbie and Dale Norton's Upper Oxbow Adventures on the Little Southwest Miramichi river.  A very good time was had by all!

License plates from across the U.S. and Canada:

I hadn't noticed them on Friday, but Saturday morning I looked up and realized that each tyer had a banner with their name, country, flag and a fly hanging from the ceiling!  Here's mine, with another fellow I knew only from the internet, Eunan Hendron, flying to the left of me, so to speak.  So cool that the committee knew to put my Celtic Beauty on the banner!

Here's a random selection of the kind of flies these tyers produce:

Don't know how an aging hairwing tyer snuck in the door amid all those classic tyers!

Photo of yours truly by this crazy man, Jin Woo Lee, who ties his flies without a vise, thank you very much!  (photo is a little blurry because Jin never seems to stop moving!)

I mentioned that Paul Slaney and I were table mates.  I cracked up when I realized the difference between all his gear and mine!

Saturday night there was a banquet for attendees and their family and friends.  Somehow, the organizing committee decided I should MC the event and do the auction.  I'm not sure how I did, but the auction numbers were pretty outstanding.  Here's a page from my program (confidential auctioneer type stuff blacked out, sorry):

A great audience raised more than $11,000 on the 20 items; net profits will benefit the Atlantic Salmon Museum and Project Healing Waters.  Good on everyone!!

I was very pleased, proud and complimented when these two, Lottie and Stephen Nye, bought the fly framing that Val Kropiwniki and I put together for the auction.  I am so happy to call them my friends!

Many, many more photos and videos of the event can be found at the ASFI Facebook page:  and at their website:

Over the years, I have been part of a great many conventions, fundraisers and banquets.  From every angle, the ASFI 2018 committee did an absolutely spectacular job of putting the event on.  The committee: 

Bob MacDonald  
Jacques Héroux 
Lissa Mallais 
Lloyd Lutes 
Luc Carrier 
Marc Leblanc 

Paul Leger 
A magnificent job all around.  What a wonderful opportunity it was for all concerned, and especially me.  What a treat!  And speaking of treats, we all got a cool shirt (seen in the photos), but also a cool swag bag!

And here's proof that I really can get serious about things....who knew?


New Brunswick Shenanigans: April - June, 2018...Part Two

Back to the Miramichi the first of June for the Central New Brunswick Woodmen's Museum annual tribute/fundraiser in Boiestown, a little roofing in Sunny Corner, a few stripers on the North West, and back home ten days, give or take, later.

I got to Boiestown early enough to wander down to our new property, down the lane from the Swazey's.  Pretty day, pretty view - and no black ducks swimming on the lawn like last visit!:

Saturday dawned cloudy and cold (if you don't like the weather in New Brunswick....wait a minute.)

My friend Vin Swazey has a boathouse full of Chestnut canoes and has decided to sell a couple of them, but we needed to dig them out from an assortment of other boats.  Time to round-up some muscle; fortunately, Vin's nephew Jason was around, with several of his buddies.  Couldn't have done the job of getting the first boat out of the boathouse with out them.  The canoe is a 20 foot Chestnut Sponson that needs restoration:

The other canoe is an 18 foot Ogilvie by Chestnut.  It has been restored, and has not seen the water since that restoration...always stored in the boathouse:

If you're interested in either boat, let me know and I'll get you together with Vin.

And thanks for the muscle, guys!

Speaking of canoes, the Woodmen's Museum was honoring Salmon Brook Camp, and especially Mervin and Myrna Green, long time employees of the camp.  Mervin took part, in 1967, of Canada's Centennial Voyageur Canoe Pageant, a 3,283 mile, 104 day race across Canada.  Provinces and Territories entered one canoe each, paddled by 6 men at a time, in the race.  The Woodmen's Museum put the New Brunswick canoe on special display for the evening and Mervin told great stories about the journey in the hour before the evening's festivities:

As always, there was a great crowd at the event, generous of spirit and funds for the Museum:

Sunday morning...great roofing weather, so I headed downriver to Sunny Corner, to help Paul and Stephanie Elson rehab half of their rood, with Howie Gould on board as well.

I will not bore my dear readers with photos of our travail, save one; whoever on earth thought it was a good idea to put a chimney through the roof immediately adjacent to a valley should be shot.  Took all of a day to fashion a platform that could be flashed.  About an hour of that day was used to get 7 (count them, 7) layers of shingles and asphalt gook cleaned away so we could remove the chimney!

Some would say "fortunately, it was raining on Tuesday, so we couldn't roof".  I would likely be one of those "some."   And if you can't roof, you CAN fish!  The North West Miramichi has more than a million spawning striped bass in it at this time of year, much to the chagrin of Atlantic salmon smolts and those that love them (I'm not going to go there at this time, but whether they know it or not - and it's apparently "not" - the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans has a huge problem on its hands from both biological and sociological standpoints).  So we loaded up, got Paul and Steph's boat in the river, and it was fish ON!

Howie's delightful daughter Melissa had joined us for a couple days before she moved out to Alberta, and she was no slouch in the boat!

She's got a healthy dose of Howie's "let's have a good time" genes, too.

Paul got in the act with her, too!

After a great day on the water, the run back to the landing was a bit chilly...just ask Paul and Stephanie!

The rest of the week was occupied with finishing the roof.  It was a tough job, but everyone pitched in and we got 'er done.  Saturday morning I headed back to Boiestown to rest up for a day or so before heading home.  When I walked into camp, this message was waiting for me (don't forget - you can click on the image to see the big picture):

When Renate Bullock tells me to "come fishing", I obey!  We had two lovely evenings together on the pools of Bullock's Lodge!  She's a generous friend!

And those evenings gave me the opportunity to try out my new best friend - a Beulah Onyx 13'7' cannon of a two-hander.  Whoa, do I like that rod!  Thank you, Elsons!!

An early June evening on the Miramichi River...what could be better?

And why oh why do the mornings that I have to head for home have to dawn so beautifully??

Of course, since I'd be back in that exact spot in just two weeks was of some consolation!


New Brunswick Shenanigans: April - June, 2018...Part One

Hmmmmm....I seem to have made three "undocumented" trips to New Brunswick this Spring and early Summer.   Time to remedy the situation with a kind of amalgamated report on my travels.

Late April-early May - For the past few years, I've done the auction at the Miramichi Salmon Association's (MSA) annual Ice Breaker fundraising dinner.  This year (2018) it was held on April 28th at the Woodmen's Museum in Boiestown.  I usually go up a few days early, and stay a few more after the dinner.  Always feels good to shake off the winter's cabin fever along the river...and enjoy a cocktail with (since Bridget and I have closed on our new property on the Miramichi) the couples that will be our nearest neighbors, Earl and Mary to the east and Vin and Hazel to the west.  Missing in the photo is Danny, whose camp we are enjoying in the photo:

I do enjoy Spring fishing for kelts on the river, but this year it was unfishable during my entire stay, usually looking like this (from behind a screen):

A quick look at the river flooding by camp that evening:

In fact, there was wide-spread flooding throughout the region at that time.  Fredriction, NB was especially hard-hit when the St. John River (a HUGE river at that point) went over its banks.  Some of our new property is part of the Miramichi's flood plain; you cannot build on the flood plain, for these obvious reasons:

Black ducks and a large shorebird enjoyed the temporary flood:

MSA honors an individual at every Ice Breaker for their commitment to the goals of the organization.  This year's honoree was my good friend Renate Bullock; my pal Vin Swazey made the remarks on behalf of MSA:

A day or so later, Vin and I made a run down to the Blackville area to visit our friend Howie at his camp.  Friends and family in attendance:

And Howie spinning bugs for the coming season:

It was a fine week or so of fun, games and work along the Miramichi; the weather, not so much.  A quick recap of the changing face of the river at that time of year (kind of refreshing, since I'm writing this on a 95 degree Vermont July first!): (click on the pics for the bigger photo!)

And the frosty 5a.m. of the day I had to head home:

Stay tuned for further shenanigans!