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Outdoor Journal: Time to leave Florida and head home

Outdoor Journal: Time to leave Florida and head home

The latest outdoors news from Ed Noonan
Outdoor Journal: Time to leave Florida and head home

You will probably be reading this while my wife and I are reluctantly heading home from Florida. How fast those two months went. It was fun fishing in short sleeves, and the two alligators I caught were a lot of fun. Wish I could have put one on the wall of my office, but they had to be released. 

During March, the Intracoastal fishing picked up, with sheep heads and some nice grouper. I didn’t reach the 100 limits, but I did hook and release 74. 

As for the hunting, my turkey outing was very wet. Went in the woods 20 minutes before sunup, and it poured until noon. The day before, they were all over these

same woods, but nothing answered the calls. 

DEC

I am looking forward to wetting a line in many creeks that we have to fish in New York, and there are going to be plenty of fish this year.

DEC will be stocking 2.29 million catchable size trout, which this year includes 1.72 million browns, 377,500 rainbow and 156 brook trout. These include 97,000 2-year-old brown (13- and 14-inch) into lakes and streams across the state. It is estimated that 647,000 fish for trout. Don’t forget your fishing license.

DEC will close the Lake Placid boat site on Mirror Lake Drive on April 8 to replace the deterring bulkhead. The boat launch and the parking lot will be closed to the public while the work is undertaken. The bulkhead is used to load barges with heavy equipment and materials for transport to water-accessible homes and camps on the lake. DEC expects the work to be finished and the boat launch reopened to boaters by Memorial Day weekend. However, heavy equipment will be not be allowed on the new bulkhead until late June. This will allow the concrete to cure enough to hold heavy equipment without causing damage.

DON’T FEED THE BEARS

DEC is reminding New Yorkers to take steps to prevent bears from easily accessing food sources like bird feeders and garbage. 

Due to poor natural food availability last fall, many black bears went into their dens with low fat reserves, and as they begin to emerge from winter dens, they have already started seeking out food sources around homes. 

DEC has already received several reports that bears are knocking down bird feeders to eat the seed. Feeding bears intentionally is illegal — or unintentionally through careless practices around properties — and has consequences for entire communities. 

It’s also advised that everyone who lives in or visits bear country should remove items that are attractive to bears. Garbage should be stored inside secure building, and feed pets indoors. Allowing bears to find food naturally keeps them out of trouble and reduces negative interactions with people and their property.

FIVE BIG FISH

My friend Jim Bubb, of Clifton Park, sent me some photos of their big fish catches on the Salmon River. He was using a spin-casting reel with 6-pound test main line and a 4-pound leader and a small bottom bouncer technique. He was fishing in the middle section of the river where it was flowing about 750 cubic feet per second. He landed an 8-pound steelhead and 6-pound brown trout, and hooked a big one and lost it at the net.

FLORIDA HOG HUNT

Every year since 2001, I have hunted the Westshore Outfitters for a wild hog. This year, however, I did not hunt, but I did accompany two new friends, Bob Wellington of Pennsylvania and Dick Drouillard of Michigan. 

We arrived a little before 6 a.m., and by 6:30 a.m., Bob was in a tree stand, and Dick and I in a blind. Both places had feeders, which is normal for hog hunts.

At around noon, we had seen no hogs, so we went in for a quick lunch and then returned to our blind/tree stand. It was right around dusk when we heard one shot and hoped it would be Bob knocking down a hog. Shortly thereafter, a big black hog came into the feeder. It didn’t stay long, but long enough for Dick to get off a shot. We were told if you only think you hit it, do not try to follow it. 

So, we stayed in the blind, and 15 minutes later, another hog appeared, but this one was running and did not stop. Dick shot again, and it was a “maybe hit.” 

At 7 p.m., they came to pick us up and Bob was smiling — he had a big black hog laying on the back of the ATV. We then searched for blood, but never found it. A long day (12 hours in blinds). I don’t know about Bob or Dick, but I slept very well that night.  

BOWFISHING

In the mid-1960s, bowfishing for carp was quite popular and a friend of mine talked me into trying it and I have done it every year since first trying. 

My first trip was to Saratoga Lake and I missed my share, but when I did hit one it was a real battle, and those that we shot, we gave to a guy who said he would do the cleaning and cooking. I tried eating it only once. 

Also during this time, carp bowfishing tournaments were held, with the most popular being the Guan Ho Ha Fish and Game Club contest two-day shoot. 

Now, there was also another bowfishing target that is also a challenge,  the gar pike. It looks very primitive, and has very long and tooth-filled jaws. I use to hunt both carp and garpike on both sides of Lake Champlin. However now you cannot hunt gar pike on the New York side, but you can on the Vermont side. 

The bowfishing season is May 15–Sept. 30.

Reach Gazette outdoors columnist Ed Noonan at [email protected].

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