Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Rituals

     Some of my fondest memories as a kid growing up in small town Maine was open water fishing season.  Open water season opens April 1st here in Maine, but in reality in my neck of the woods, May 1st is the practical open water season.  I remember times wading small trout brooks in early May with some friends on Saturday or Sundays with snow still surrounding the edges of the trout streams in many locations.  Under those conditions with high flows of bone chilling water typical catches for us were pretty low.  If we were lucky we'd put 3-4 native brook trout in our creels for a tasty meal, but we would work for those fish.
     We first had to get to the trout streams.  Usually that involved riding our bikes for 30-60 minutes one way with our rods and worms, then walking 30 minutes or so through the woods before working our way to the streams edge to anxiously bait our hooks and send our offerings into the babbling brook to test our luck.  Before too long we would venture into the brook into the knee deep bone chilling water to try and get a better presentation into a particularly good looking pool of water.  Often enough this practice yielded positive results, so even though we would lose the feeling in our lower extremities, we caught fish.
     After several hours of wading and casting we would have worked our way back down the brook to our bicycles.  We would then pedal our way home to show off our catches of native brook trout to our parents and siblings.  In my case, my siblings could care less about going fishing, let alone riding a bike for an hour to do it.  That was work. I loved it.  Still do.  
     I have learned over the years to be a bit more patient though and wait for water levels to mitigate some.  As well as water temperatures to moderate.  Pleasant mid-May temperatures will find me pining for an opportunity to drop my canoe in a favorite trout stream of mine and spend half a day or so fishing for native brook trout.  If I time it right I will encounter fiddle head ferns along the way and stop to fill a basket with those tasty greens of spring that are a delicacy in our area.  The combination of trout and fiddle heads is hard to beat.  By my reckoning i only have about 8 weeks until prime brook trout and fiddle head season.  I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring is Coming!

     The sign on the turnpike entering Maine says, "Maine the Way Life Should Be".  If that statement is true then life should be very busy when spring is coming.  In my part of the state and in my profession as a guide there is a 4 month window to make a living for the year and take care of everything else that needs to be done like property care.  Thankfully when we are this far north, the days of spring and summer are very long to allow 16 to 18 hour days for those few months of hectic living. 
      We are currently still in the throws of winter, but evidence is mounting that spring is coming and with it a very harried schedule.  The days are definitely lengthening and tomorrow the temperatures will be in the mid 40's.  Although there are still several feet of snow on the ground in my neck of the woods, it is time to start plants for the garden, order bait for the coming fall bear season, and work towards filling up the reservations necessary to end the summer in the black, even if it is only slightly in the black.  Yes, spring brings with it a tremendous increase in scheduling conflicts and work to be done.  I still struggle to understand why a year is 365 days long, but here in Maine a years effort needs to be expended in roughly 120 days. 
      I'll repeat for those procrastinators out there that do not notice the changing seasons of Nature's clock as I do.  Spring is coming.  If you have been thinking about calling to book a hunt or fishing trip, do not wait too long, or spring and fall will pass you by.  In other parts of the country a year is 365 days long, but here it seems to be just 120 days.  The clock is ticking...