Noonan: Weekend outing gives me case of turkey hunting fever

Just being out and hunting with that young man got my turkey-hunting blood going
Tim Blodgett holdss a trout from the Battenkill.
Tim Blodgett holdss a trout from the Battenkill.

I don’t think there is anything more enjoyable than watching a young hunter when he sees that fully displayed tom turkey gobbling his way into the decoys. 

Their young eyes get wide and, surprisingly, they are usually steadier than most of us adults when we are sighting it. 

Last Saturday, on the first of the two-day Youth Turkey Hunting season, I was a part of a group of four who entered the turkey woods in Washington County. The young hunter was 14-year-old Patrick Mills, who was joined by his dad, Paul, and Tim Guy — all from Glens Falls.
We crossed a field in the dark, then went through a small wood to another field edge, where my fellow hunters had set up a pop-up blind. Patrick and I were in the blind, and Paul and Tim buried themselves in bushes behind us. Just before sunup, Tim, who was the caller that day, got gobbling responses from three directions.

Tim did all the calling, and for several hours we got far- off gobbles. But no turkeys showed up. We did hear a few more long-distance gobbles, but that was it.

On Sunday, they went back and were all set up at sunup. After some thundering gobbles, two big, fully displayed toms following hens came within 90 to 100 yards, but never gave Patrick a good shot.

Just being out and hunting with that young man got my turkey-hunting blood going. I can’t wait for the May 1 opening day.


In the past, I used to worry about how I was going to be able to get time off from work if opening day fell on a weekday. I’l tell you how I did it, but I am not recommending you try it. It did require a big of acting.

It begins two days before opening day. You start a little coughing at work, maybe an hour or so before the end of the day. On the next day, begin sneezing and coughing more frequently and, at around 2 p.m., tell the boss you have to go home. 

Now comes the hard part. You have to convince your loving wife to call in sick for you the next day. And when anyone calls, she should say: “He is sick and resting.”

Good luck getting that tom. And don’t forget — email me the full hunting information so I can add it to Turkey Tales.


Tim Blodgett of Saratoga Fishing and Archery said that the Battenkill is running a little high and dirty, thanks to the recent rain, but will improve quickly. Brown trout are hitting on a variety of lures and are not finicky. 

He said large size (7 inches and up), jointed, original and countdown Rapala minnows; spoons (Phoebe and Thomas Bouyant and similar); and spinners all have been flying off the shelves and catching a lot of large browns, many over 20 inches. He also said he has been catching fish on the whole length of the river. 

Tim fished the stretch that runs through Greenwich several times since April 1 and onlywas skunked once. All the fish were between 15 and 21 inches, and all were caught on the lures listed above.

His method was to fish just downstream of fast water, where the current was slowed by rocks or logs. He found that the biggest fish were positioned at these transitions or pools. He let the current do most of the work where possible, letting it swing the bait into the likely hiding spots. 

Occasionally, he would cast upstream past the current break and reel quickly to maintain control of the lure as it entered the pool and caught fish. 

He spent one afternoon fishing the Snook Kill in Gansevoort and caught a nice holdover on a gold-bladed spinner. Worms and minnows are also working, but the majority of anglers he talked to have been fishing with lures and covering a lot more water. He has been shown many pictures of 20- to 24-inch fish.

Here is how he presented the lures. Most of the time, he was casting the lures across toward the other side of the river and allowing the current to carry them downstream. He said he kept the line tight, allowing the current to work the lure and swing it back toward the shore and into pockets of slower current, where he guessed the fish would take shelter from the faster current and be able to watch for food being swept past them. 

This technique works for all the lures he used, and is also the way that he would fish bait or flies. Fly fishermen would do best using streamers, Woolly Buggers and other nymph patterns.


The 32nd annual Children’s Fishing Tournament, sponsored by Saratoga County and the town of Milton, will be held on May 5 at the 4H Training Center, 556 Middle Line Road in Ballston Spa. It is a free tournament with registration and fishing from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for ages 16 and under.

A 16-year-old will need a fishing license and his or her own equipment. All those who fish must be Saratoga County residents. There will breakfast at 6:30 a.m., and trophies will be awarded at 11:15 a.m.

Reach Ed Noonan at

Categories: Sports

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