Fishing is the ‘lemonade’ from a ‘lemon of a year’

I realize that most people haven’t enjoyed what has been a wet and cool late spring and, so far, summer this year. The almost daily threat of showers combined with temperatures that have been running 5-10 degrees below seasonal average can raise havoc on most outdoor recreation and work activity planning. The lone recreational exception this year would be trout fishing.

The abundant and ongoing rainfall has kept stream levels higher than would be normal for this late in the trout fishing season, and the cooler than normal temperatures have kept the water temperature in most streams almost spring-like. The result is far better opportunities to catch trout than would be the case in July of most years. In fact, many lower sections of streams that normally see their waters either greatly diminished or dried up entirely still have water flowing in them.

More water in the streams – especially in pools – also means trout tend to be less likely to be overly spooky of bankside movement. So if an angler uses the abundant bankside foliage for cover and treads lightly when approaching trout-holding waters from a downstream direction, there’s less chance of scaring trout that are facing upstream. The key is using small enough lures so the commotion they make when casted and landing in the water doesn’t spook the trout. Light mono lines such as 4-lb-test are the best this time of the year.

We often think of May and June as being the prime fly-fishing months for trout, but this year’s conditions are such that fly fishers will enjoy excellent angling opportunities until such time warmer and drier weather arrives …if indeed it ever does this year. The Farmers’ Almanac accurately predicted a wet, cool summer for our region, and so far that seems to be the case.

In addition to trout fishing, most other angling endeavors have benefited from the prolonged spring-like conditions we’ve had. That is, when the rivers weren’t too high and roiled. Walleye, pike and smallmouth bass fishing there has held up very well since the hot and bright sunlight summer days that usually drive these fish to deeper shaded pools has been a rarity, so far.

Looking outside our region, fishing in Lakes Ontario, Erie and Oneida have held up very well and much later into the summer season than normally would be the case, and for the same reasons. The biggest challenge on these large bodies has been the rains, winds and waves, but when boats have been able to get out on these expansive waters, catches have, for the most part, been excellent. Salmon activity has been excellent in both Ontario and Erie, and the smallmouth bass fishing in both as well as Oneida has been top notch. Dusk, dawn and night-time walleye fishing in Oneida has produced well when high waves weren’t a problem.

As the old saying says – when you get lemons, make lemonade – and the silver lining to the “lemony weather” of this year is the better-than-normal “lemonade” being provided to summertime anglers.

Is Wet Weather Culling Gamebird Poults?

One of the negative effects of a cool wet spring and summer is the increased mortality they produce on young-of-the-year gamebirds. Wild turkey, grouse, woodcock and pheasant are the species most impacted. This year poults that were hatched earlier in the spring (gamebird hens don’t all nest at the same time) stood a better chance of surviving than did the late-hatched ones.

Each summer the DEC conducts flock counts of wild turkeys seen in fields, etc. to determine the ratio of adult hens and poults that were produced that spring. This, along with the size of the poults, gives wildlife managers a better handle on what the overall turkey population will be in the fall, as well as the following spring, so they can fine-tune their hunting forecasts and also make any seasonal or limit changes if needed.

Grouse, woodcock and pheasant poult survival success is a bit tougher to determine since they are normally not flock-oriented species and tend to inhabit much denser and widespread habitat. Of course just seeing a wild pheasant these days is a rarity, and grouse and woodcock are normally seen incidentally, when people are driving back roads or picking wild berries.

Conversely, and as most people would suspect, this has been a great poult rearing year for waterfowl species, such as ducks and Canada geese. Rains kept wetland and marshy bay areas filled, offering nests and poults better protection from predators such as raccoons, opossums and skunks, as well as crows, which dine on the eggs.

USA Polled Public Supports Second Amendment As Written

A recent poll by USA newspapers (circulation of over 2M) indicated in no uncertain terms the vast majority of the public agrees that the wording of the Second Amendment, as ruled by last year’s Supreme Court riling, means what it says. Overall, 73 percent said it applied to all (law-abiding) Americans, while 20 percent said it applied to just state militias. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 3 percent. Not unsurprisingly, 91 percent of the gun owners polled said it was a constitutional right while 63 percent of non-gun owners said it was a right.

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