Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

At some point today or tomorrow this blog will have reached 20,000 page views!!!   Wow!   To celebrate, I'll do a contest sometime in the next week or so, so stay tuned!

2014 has been utterly amazing, I couldn't have asked for a much better year!    As I continue with the goal of promoting the sport of kayak fishing, and the fantastic opportunities that are here in NB for people to take advantage of, so many fantastic memories and accomplishments has been made.   That being said I have been adding some things to my bucket list just as quickly as I've been able to knock others off.    So here is a few goals I'll be setting for myself here in 2015!
  • New Species!     I landed 19 species in kayak in 2014, so I want to break that personal record and land at least 20 different species in 2015!   To do that, I'll need to not only explore new waters, but learn to be a better angler in many ways from others.     The species I didn't catch in 2014 which I want to land in 2015 include:
    • Land Locked Salmon
    • Brown Trout
    • Rainbow Trout
    • Muskie
    • Flounder
  • More Salt Water fishing!     The times we spent in the Bay of Fundy in 2014 were great, but we only got out a few times.    After catching Sculpin, Mackerel, and even a few pollock and smelt out in the salt water, I want to hook into something a lot more impressive.    Not necessarily a Great White Shark, but something I've never see or heard of, or something a good 3 or 4 feet long anyway!
  • Explore new waters.    NB has so many fantastic fishing opportunities which I haven't had a chance to enjoy yet.   From the rivers of the Miramichi, to Long Lake Adventures up north, to dozens and dozens of lakes and ponds throughout the province.    I'm hoping to visit waters all over our province this year!    If you have some great waters in your backyard and would like me to come visit, by all means let me know! 
  • Catch fish standing in my kayak!    I know many others fish regularly standing in their Predator 13 kayak, though I've not really given it a try.    This year, I need to suck it up, practice standing and casting and then hopefully get the feel of bringing in a few small fish like perch.   Assuming I can get my sea legs under mean in the kayak, I'll then move on to more exciting fish like pickerel while standing.
  • Catch my first fish on a fly rod.   Despite my Dads best efforts to get me into fly fishing in my youth, I always stuck with a spinning rod/reel.    Now, with a new fly rod from Streamside thanks to their Christmas Facebook contest, I'm hoping to get the hang of this type of fishing and bring in a few trout or even pickerel with it!
  • Roadtrip!!!   Finally, my last goal for 2015 is to take a road trip to go fishing with one of the many friends I've made through this sport who live in other parts.   Whether it's my dream trip  (Fraser River in BC for White Sturgeon), back home to Newfoundland to catch cod in kayak, down to Florida for Tarpons, or even just a day's drive to New Hampshire to visit Tim Moore and go fishing for Pike, I'm hoping to hit the road sometime this year and fish a species or two we don't get here in NB! 
Those are about it for my goals, that I can think of.... well my realistic ones anyway.   If we look at my not so realistic wish list, well, you may think me a little nuts (if you don't already!).      What are your goals for 2015?   Let me know and if I hear some good ones, perhaps I'll make a little blog article out of it!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Please sir, may I have another?

After having a fantastic year in 2014 in so many ways, I ended just a little short of one of my goals, that was to crack the 100 mark for sturgeon in a kayak in one year.   As of the last day in November when I last took the kayak to the water, I ended with 97; an accomplishment for sure, especially for just my second year fishing for sturgeon (I landed 77 in 2013).   I thought that was it for the year but with the record setting mild temperatures we have been getting, I was able to get out for just a few hours here on December 28th!

Knowing I had only about 3 hours of on the water time due to rain that lasted till about 1:30, I was hopeful to get the 3 sturgeon needed to break into triple digits, but really unsure what I might find.   Well, as it turns out, Sturgeon Alley is teeming with fish right now, even with the crazy high water levels from all the rain we've had, and the very muddy conditions.    In just about 3 1/2 hours I landed an impressive 17 sturgeon, with the largest being 47 inches, bringing my yearly total up to a whopping 114!!!

Overall the average size today was probably around 32 inches.   Not bad but not quite as big as I would have expected this time of year.    I suspect somewhere in the river is a school of sturgeon that are cracking the 50 inch mark.    Finding them though wouldn't be easy!

My buddy Chris managed to get out for a couple of hours of fishing with me and was able to tie his personal best with 4 sturgeon caught, plus he broke his personal best size with a nice 46" fish.   Way to go Chris!

For anyone who hasn't fished sturgeon before, I hope you the pictures and movies here will entice you to give it a try!   While these fish can be quite big, they should not be intimidating.    To catch them, you simply need a little patience, the right rig, and good technique.   Once the ice breaks up in April I will be back with lots of other kayakers, again fishing for these prehistoric animals!    If your in the area and want to come give it a try, just let me know and I'll see what I can do to help get you out!

Oh, if you think the title of this post refers to a line from Oliver Twist, your wrong....   shame on you for not recognizing Bacon - Kevin Bacon that is from the classic '78 Animal House!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all! It is Christmas Day morning and around our household the two boys (ages 7 & 4) are in the midst of enjoying their presents! Fynn is down playing his new Skylanders game, while Rowan is up in the bath with his new pirate ship. With both boys distracted, Anna and I finally have a little while to catch our breaths. The turkey, a local free range bird, is fresh out of the brine and onto the Big Green Egg smoking for 8 – 10 hours before the feast tonight, so now all that is left is to clean up the mounds of wrapping paper and boxes, and keep the kids entertained!

This year, Santa spent most of his energy focused on the boys, as you can imagine, but I still managed to come away with some great fishing related gifts. First and foremost I now have 2 new Denali Rosewood Extra Heavy Rods. These are my first Extra Heavy rods, but you’d never say it by looking at them. Weighing in at a mere 205g, these rods are ridiculously light, yet extremely strong. One is rated for lures up to 3.5oz, I can’t wait to get out and cast some big baits with it in hopes of catching a nice striper or perhaps even my fist musky this year!

To go along with the rods, Santa brought me a few new Rod Gloves to keep them protected, which is an absolute most for any high end rod like this!

For tackle, I received a nice variety pack of Owner Hooks products. Mackerel rigs, big salt water hooks, small bass hooks, twist lock hooks, frog hooks (for my sturgeon rigs), and much more was in this pack. With something like 20 packs of various hooks, I’m all set now for most of the year with Owner Hooks!

Along with the rods and hooks, Santa brought me a few cool fishing gadgets I’m anxious to try out. First I received the RigRap 12 pack combo box. I’ve seen and heard great things about the RigRap and can’t wait to see how they work in managing my sturgeon rigs, which I currently use a piece of pool noodle to manage. Also, I received some hook-eze units. Looking at the video of this little tool, I think it could help really speed up the process of tying on hooks to the leader. I figure connecting one of these to my PFD, and perhaps another to my Scotty Bait Board, where they would be out of the way, yet within easy reach at all times.

To help me look good out on the water (as if that ever mattered!), Santa brought me a couple of new pairs of SeaSpecs. One in yellow, the other in white. I have worn SeaSpecs for the past year and have to say they really are fantastic for a kayaker. The strap is great to keep them snug on your nose, so you never have to adjust them on your face, and should you ever need to take them off, they float. Also, with the air holes in the frame, there is plenty of air circulation behind the lenses, so they hardly ever fog up like other glasses I’ve worn.

Finally, Santa brought me a new Cabela’s rain jacket. My Fishbum rain jacket will be my main rain jacket of course, but this one is a little larger allowing for more layers of warmth on colder days, and it packs down really small. It’s a great backup rain jacket that I’ll be sure to get use out of this year.

Oh, I’m not the only one in the family to get some fishing gear. Rowan was very excited to open up one gift, a Fishbum kayak fishing jersey with his name on it! Matching the kayak fishing jerseys the Greater Saint John Kayak anglers ordered this year, Rowan now is part of the team!

Unfortunately, even this smallest size available, is still much too large for him, but Rowan will be able to grow into it over the next few years and by the time it fits properly, will likely be a better fisherman than his Dad!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Fantastic Opportunity to Contribute!

As many of you know, I have been very fortunate and grateful for the opportunity over the past year to promote some fantastic companies in the fishing industry.    Anyone who goes out in kayak with me has likely have heard me proclaim how light, strong and sensitive my Denali Rods are, or how I only use Owner Hooks for my rigs when fishing sturgeon, and of course have seen me trolling my Vexilar Sonarphone alongside my Old Town Predator Kayak.  

While I don't know just how my personal success fishing with these and other great products have translated into good publicity for those companies, but I am thankful for the opportunity and look forward to continuing this work in 2015.

Well this past week I received a call from Old Town and was told that due to my efforts over the past year, I have been 'promoted' to the Johnson Outdoor Watercraft Pro-Staff Elite Council This is a very select group of world class kayak fishermen and in many ways celebrities of the sport!   It is absolutely a great honor for me to be invited into this ‘inner circle’.

You’ve heard the expression ‘like a kid at Christmas’… yep, that’s me!

As part of this group, I will be participating in regular conference calls where improvements or innovations to the various products will be discussed, feedback that we receive from our local fishing communities will be heard, and ideas offered on anything from products to events and anything in between.   

So if you are a kayak angler, and you have thoughts or ideas or even complaints on any of the Old Town or Ocean Kayak fishing kayaks, please let me know.    Do you prefer a different kayak over the Old Town or Ocean kayak line, let me know why and how these companies can adapt to better meet your needs!  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

2014 Kayak Fishing Year in Review

After trying to get out today for one last fish and finding the conditions a bit too icy on the river, the 2014 kayak fishing season is now officially over for me.    It has been a fantastic year with many personal best catches, a lot of fish caught, memories to last a lifetime and most importantly many great friends made!   I’ve learned a lot this year, have been able to work with several companies to promote their great products, and my blog has received an astounding number of views through the year.     

Last winter, while enjoying the ice fishing season for the first time and yearning to get back into the kayak, I started the Greater SaintJohn Kayak Anglers.    Intended to be a social group where members could make friends with other who enjoy the sport and have someone to go fishing with.   The group has blossomed to nearly 60 members now, and we have had several great outings through the year.   Most memorable for me was our trip to Modsley Lake in late July where we stayed for the weekend on a cabin on an island in the middle of the lake.    It was an amazing trip with several members from the kayaking group and of course, a lot of fantastic fish were caught!

There were many unsuccessful trips in 2014, including several attempts to catch my first Musky.   But for all the trips where fish weren’t caught, there were many more successful ones!

The 2014 season started for me in mid April out at Sturgeon Alley.   The waters were at flood levels this past Spring and as such it was unclear how the fishing would be.   Fortunately we were able to find sturgeon, and several kayakers were able to land their first ever back in April.   It was during one of these outings that I landed the kayak record 54” sturgeon!   I can’t wait to see what the river holds once the ice breaks up in the Spring of 2015!

In mid May the sea run trout started to come up through the Hammond.   This was my first time fishing for sea run trout in NB and the 2 that I caught and kept were absolutely fantastic fried up like we used to do back home in Newfoundland!      May was when I made my trip down to Old Town, Maine to pick up my new Predator 13 kayak.   I’ve put many hours into this kayak since and have to say it is an absolutely amazing boat!

Rowan joined me on the Predator during a trip to Wheaton Lake with several others from the kayaking group over the May 24th weekend.   Fishing for smallmouth, Rowan and I had no luck, but we did manage to land a lot of very large white perch.   After 8 hours on the water, Rowan did not want to leave!    It was a great trip and one I am looking forward to again next year.

At the end of May the gaspereau were running in the Hammond River.   It took a little while to figure out the trick, but once you know how to do it, catching gaspereau was quite easy.    What was hard was fishing for shad in the midst of all the gaspereau.    I did manage to catch 1 shad in kayak, though it jumped out of my hands before I was able to get it down on a measuring board!

Come June I started to target pickerel.   Fynn and Rowan would join me in kayak out at Kingston creek and both had a lot of fun, though Fynn (paddling along in my Dirigo kayak) don’t really have the patience to stay out all that long yet.   I am hoping to get him a fishing kayak that is the right size for him next year and see if that helps him get the addiction!

In mid-June we had the NB Paddler’s Derby up in Oromocto.   This was the first of two derbies I had taken over the organizer role for in 2014.   Being the first derby I had ever run, I didn’t know what to expect in surprises but fortunately all went great!   I was able to round up a good number of sponsors so the prize pool was decent, and we gave away a brand new kayak donated by Paul at Eco-Logical Adventures to a member of the Canadian Armed Forces DART team who did not have a kayak before this!

Later in June a group of us headed out for salt water fishing off Mispec Beach.   The goal was to catch flounder, but we ended up catching only sculpin (scorpion fish).   It was a fantastic day out fishing that day, and again, an experience I won’t soon forget.

Come July it was time to try our luck above Reversing Falls for the first run of Striped Bass.   I had put in many hours worth of fishing here before and never had caught a striper there, but on the first of July my luck finally changed.    It wasn’t a big striper but I did catch a 26” one!    Later in the summer I caught several more, but they were all in boat tied up next to the Irving mill.   I want to catch more out there in kayak, but it isn’t the easiest thing to do!

Later in July I decided to mix things up and head to Walton Lake on the Kingston Peninsula to try to practice my smallmouth fishing.   I didn’t have great luck, but I did catch a few most days out.   Smallmouth fishing is one of the most popular species of sport fish to catch, so I definitely want to invest more hours into that fish come 2015 and now I’m familiar with a lake in which to do so.

In mid-July my parents came to visit, which gave me an opportunity to put my Dad in a kayak for the very first time.   Dad doesn’t swim and is wary of boats but I got him to go out to Kingston Creek and fish for pickerel with me.    Being from Newfoundland pickerel fishing was also a new experience for him,  but was absolutely the right choice for our first kayak fishing trip together!   Dad caught 9 that day and had an absolute blast.    Twice more that weekend we went out, and we will never forget the trip where Dad tipped his kayak and fell into the middle of Kingston Creek!    

In August we held the Hammond River Classic, the second tournament I had organized.   This one went off even better than the Oromocto NB Paddlers Derby.   Despite losing a few hours in both the morning and the afternoon to my organizer duties, Rowan and I still placed 4th out of 35 anglers!    Later in August a group of us headed out from Blacks Harbour in search of mackerel.   There weren’t a lot caught but I did manage to get 16 one day plus a couple pollock and even a couple smelt , that trip was a ton of fun!

September was spent exploring a few new spots around the area, and discovered a nice pickerel location where I got a 25”er.

Come October the sturgeon started to pick up again.   I tried my luck in the sturgeon derby but could only land 3 small ones.   Every outing from then on in was at Sturgeon Alley as only tidal waters were open to fishing at this point.

After several great outings in Sturgeon Alley I ended the year with 97 sturgeon caught, plus one great 38” striper one evening while fishing sturgeon.   Overall I caught 19 species this year in kayak, and there are several more I want to target more often in 2015!     It was a fantastic year, and I can only hope next year offers more of the same.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Brunswick Fish Stocking Programs

As discussed in my previous post, I recently e-mailed the NB Department of Natural Resources regarding the addition of new Ice Fishing waters for New Brunswick anglers and the delay in getting these additional waters open for this great winter activity.   Also in my inquiry to DNR was a request for some information about the fish stocking program in New Brunswick for trout and land locked salmon.   I am very pleased to say that a biologist at DNR was very forthcoming with information which I am very happy to share with you.

Updated late Dec with some additional information from DNR

The NB Fish stocking program, as many NB anglers are aware through the grapevine, did experience it's share of issues in 2012 and 2013 resulting in the loss of many of the brook trout that would have been used in the stocking program.   However, I was informed that in 2014 the program was able to get back to stocking it's previous brook trout targets starting in the Fall.    The targets as I was told is 60,000 fingerlings each Fall and 100,000 yearlings each Spring.    In fact, as of early last week there have been 80,000 fingerlings stocked in this Fall!    This is great news indeed!

The landlocked salmon facility which is contracted by DNR also experienced issues in 2013 resulting in loses, however in 2014 more than the target amount (46,000) of landlocked salmon were stocked and it is anticipated the full targets will again be reached in 2015.

As far as to which waters were stocked, see the list below.  I was told there may be additional waters added in 2015 though most (if not all) of those waters would be in Northern New Brunswick, so not really applicable to those of us here in the Southern part of the province.    I do not have the exact numbers for each lake/pond posted here, though that information for each of the past few years, can be found via the reports linked on this page.

I hope this information helps anyone curious about the stocking progam.    I encourage you to send any inquiries you have to the Department of Natural Resources, or if you prefer, feel free to ask me and if I can I'll be happy to look into things for you.


Currently the program generally only stocks two sizes: fall fingerlings (less than 10 to 15 cm or, up to 5 inches) or spring yearlings (15 to 20 cm or ~7 inches). In terms of brook trout, most of the lakes stocked each fall are located in the northern part of the Province. These waters are more suitable to receiving smaller fish due to their species compositions (i.e. they have fewer competitors and/ or predators compared to many southern NB lakes).  Spring stocking of brook trout occurs mostly in lakes located in the southern part of the Province, as the larger size of the stocked fish allows for it to be able to compete and/ or avoid predation.

Stocked with Brook Trout in the Spring of 2014

Lake Name County Parish
Nashwaak Lake  Carleton  Aberdeen
Great Pond  Charlotte  Grand Manan
Little Lake  Charlotte  Grand Manan
Middle Dam Pond  Charlotte  Grand Manan
Round Pond  Charlotte  Grand Manan
Sandy Cove Pond  Charlotte  Grand Manan
Cundy Lake  Charlotte  Clarendon
Pickett Lake  Kings  Kingston
Thompson Lake  Madawaska  Clair
Chatham Reservoir [Morrison Cove]  Northumberland  Chatham
Nictau Lake  Restigouche  Eldon
Belledune Reservoir  Restigouche  Durham
Arnold Lake  Saint John  Saint Martins
Fisher Lakes  Saint John  Simonds
Taylor Lake  Saint John  Simonds
Theobald Lake  Saint John  Saint Martins
Roulston Lake  Victoria  Gordon
Morice Pond [Silver Lake]  Westmorland  Sackville
Killarney Lake  York  Douglas
Dwellys Pond  Charlotte  Grand Manan
Long Pond Charlotte  Grand Manan
Sparks Lake  Charlotte  Pennfield
Baker Lake Madawaska  Lac Baker
Island Lake  Restigouche  Balmoral
Lily Lake  Saint John  Simonds

Stocked with landlocked Salmon in the Spring of 2014

Lake Name County Parish
Clear Lake Charlotte Pennfield
East Long Lake Charlotte Clarendon
Baker Lake Madawaska Lac Baker
Unique Lake Madawaska Saint Francois
Serpentine Lake Northumberland Southesk
Grand Lake Queens Canning
Queens Lake Queens Petersville
Middle Tetagouche Lake Restigouche Colborne
Nictau Lake Restigouche Eldon
Upper Tetagouche Lake Restigouche Colborne
Loch Lomond Saint John Simonds
Harvey Lake York Manners Sutton
Oromocto Lake York Manners Sutton
Second Eel Lake York Canterbury
Skiff Lake York Canterbury
Yoho Lake York Kingsclear

Lakes traditionally stocked with Brook Trout
* Update:   DNR tries to stock all lakes in the list each year.  There is no odd/even split
* Boone is no longer stocked due to it's small size and access issues

Lake Name County Parish
Nashwaak Lake Carleton Aberdeen
Big Kedron Lake Charlotte Dumbarton
Boone Lake Charlotte Lepreau
Cundy Lake Charlotte Clarendon
Dwellys Pond Charlotte Grand Manan
Goldsmiths Lake Charlotte Saint Croix
Great Pond Charlotte Grand Manan
Little Lake Charlotte Grand Manan
Long Pond Charlotte Grand Manan
Middle Dam Pond Charlotte Grand Manan
Ormond Lake Charlotte Clarendon
Red Rock Lake Charlotte Pennfield
Round Pond Charlotte Grand Manan
Sandy Cove Pond Charlotte Grand Manan
Sparks Lake Charlotte Pennfield
Wilson Lake Charlotte Grand Manan
Lac Saint Coeur Gloucester  St. Isidore
Bass River Lake Gloucester Allardville
Pabineau Lake Gloucester Bathurst
Teagues Lake Gloucester Bathurst/ New Bandon
Clark Lake Saint John Saint Martins
Pickett Lake Kings Kingston
Baker Lake Madawaska Lac Baker
Lac Unique Madawaska  Lac Baker
Bear Lake # 1 (Unnamed or Second Bear Lake) Northumberland Southesk
Bear Lake # 2 (Unnamed or Third Bear Lake) Northumberland Southesk
Blind Lake Northumberland Southesk
Estey Lake Northumberland Northesk
McKendrick Lake Northumberland Southesk
Morrison Cove/ Chatham Res. Northumberland Chatham
Mullen Stream Lake Northumberland Southesk
North Lake Northumberland Southesk
North Little River Lake Northumberland Northesk
Serpentine Lake Northumberland Southesk
Whitney Pond Northumberland Southesk
Trout Lake Queens Petersville
Antinouri Lake Restigouche Durham
Belldune Reservoir Restigouche Durham
Eightmile Lake Restigouche Saint-Quentin
Gounamitz Lake Restigouche Saint-Quentin
Head Lake Restigouche Balmoral
Indian Lake Restigouche Balmoral
Island Lake Restigouche Balmoral
Lower Tetagouche Lake Restigouche Durham
McDougall Lake Restigouche Saint-Quentin
Middle Tetagouche lake Restigouche Colborne
Murray Lake Restigouche Balmoral
Nictau Lake Restigouche Eldon
Popelogan Lake Restigouche Balmoral
Thompson Lake Restigouche Lac Baker
Tongue Lake Restigouche Balmoral
Upper Tetagouche Lake Restigouche Colborne
Wild Goose Lake Restigouche Saint-Quentin
Arnold Lake Saint John Saint Martins
Fisher Lakes Saint John Simonds
Lily Lake Saint John Simonds
Taylor Lake Saint John Simonds
Theobald Lake Saint John Saint Martins
Roulston Lake Victoria Gordon
Silver Lake/ Morice Pond Westmorland Sackville
Fish Lake York Dougals
Killarney Lake York Dougals

Lakes traditionally stocked with Landlocked Salmon

Year to Stock Lake Name County Parish
Odd Chamcook Lake Charlotte St. Croix
Even Clear Lake Charlotte Pennfield
Odd Digdeguash Lake Charlotte St. George
Even East Long Lake Charlotte Clarendon
Odd Gibson Lake Charlotte St. Croix
Odd Lake Utopia Charlotte St. George
Odd Little Chamcook Lake Charlotte St. Croix
Odd Wheaton Lake Charlotte St. Patrick
Even Baker Lake Madawaska Clair
Even Unique Lake Madawaska St. Francois
Even Serpentine Lake Northumberland Lorne
Annually Grand Lake Queens Canning
Even Queens Lake Queens Petersville
Even Middle Tetagouche Lake Restigouche Colborne
Even Nictau Lake Restigouche Addington
Even Upper Tetagouche Lake Restigouche Colborne
Even Loch Lomond St. John Simmonds
Even Harvey Lake York Manners Sutton
Odd Magaguadavic Lake York Prince William
Annually Oromocto Lake York Manners Sutton
Even Second Eel Lake York North Lake
Even Skiff Lake York Canterbury
Even Yoho Lake York Kingsclear