’Twas a great week for catching owls and fish

What a beautiful week we had. After the rain stopped on Sunday it was nothing but sunshine for the whole week. The leaves got put on the ground with the wind and rain but nobody told the tourists as they were still here in droves.

Even the motorcycle riders had another great weekend to travel around the Adirondacks. The trailhead parking lots were overflowing and cars were parked up and down the highways in both directions. IMG_1783

There are just a few yellows left in the tamaracks and yellow birches.

I had an action-packed week—before leaving for Colorado—and fished a few days.

I caught a couple of fish some days and on other days I was just fishing.

I got down to the Salmon River to fly fish for king salmon with David Koester.

He had the tackle and I had the time. We both had a great day of fishing and some catching.

Unlike a couple of years ago when I never broke off a fish, this year I broke off the first four fish—all nice ones—and finally landed a six-pound fish.

David Koester with his 25-plus lb. salmon catch

David Koester with his 25-plus lb. salmon catch

David did a lot better as he landed several fish, one female weighed over 25 pounds. I had one on for about 15 minutes that was over 30 pounds. She went up and down the big pool several times.

I had pictured myself onshore with her, but that didn’t happen as the fly pulled out and she got away.

My arm was so tired I had to sit down for a few minutes to recover.

The river wasn’t crowded and we had the same spot most of the day.

A Saw Whet Owl

A Saw Whet Owl

Folks sightseeing on the bridge watched David’s fly as it went under the bridge and told him when a salmon was coming up to grab it.

The fly for the day was a green wooly bugger. They ate four of mine but David let me borrow one of his to finish the day.

It was a great day on the river. It never ceases to amaze me how an eight and nine weight fly rod holds up to the pressures you put on them. I did break a hook off from a fly one time so I guess I was holding the fish too tightly.

The next day I took a walk into Chubb Pond, east of Big Moose Lake, to fish out of couple of rubber rafts with Kerry Rogers. Kerry had been in the day before and caught a couple nice brooktrout.

On the way in we saw a family of otters and a single loon in Constable Pond. We got on the water in our battleships and went to fishing. Kerry had one bite and I had none the whole day.

The water was just about dead calm and we never saw a fish rise all day. Another fella came along with a float tube and wet flies and showed us how to catch them as he had two within fifteen minutes on the water. We didn’t have to show this guy any new tricks, but I learned some. I will have a canoe with me the next trip in.

My nights have also been occupied. I have been catching saw whet owls using a tape recording set up near four of my nets. The first night I caught three in less than an hour.

These birds were all females by weight and wing cord measurements. The first two were quite calm in hand but the third one wanted a piece of me but didn’t get it. I set up another night when there was a slight wind. All I caught were beech leaveswhich are not fun in a net.

Tonight (10/13) I caught one big female after hearing her answer the call just as I turned on the recording. She was in the net on the second check. Not only was she a very placid bird, but also the biggest one I’ve caught so far.

About an hour later I caught another big, feisty female just as the battery ran out on my I-pod. I weighed  each bird in a plastic water bottle that I had cut the ends off of.

During the day today I went up to the Loon Celebration at the Paul Smith’s VIC which drew a pretty big crowd. There were two on-water group trips in the morning in search of loons. Each group got to see at least one bird. We also saw a few blue jays, a kingfisher and a pileated woodpecker along our route.

Back at the VIC some kids were making my gourds into loons—feathers and all. There was also facepainting and someone making balloon sculptures.

There were many items on the silent auction table and tickets were still being sold for the quilt raffle. The drawing was held after I left so I don’t know who won it.

I got to judge the loon-calling contest with John Ozard and Ben Tabor. It was a hoot. As the official judges we wore special hats and badges. There were about 15 contestants—a mix of kids and adults.

Go west young man—and I am, but that’s another story. See ya.

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