May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

For many of us Memorial day marks the official start of summer and after the winter we had here in the Northeast I'm sure everyone is excited for summer to being but let us not forget what this day really means.

Memorial Day, formerly Decoration Day, was first enacted to honor union soldiers of the Civil War. It was extended after World War I to honor all of our American soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice while protecting our freedoms. It is a day to remember those that have given their life for our freedoms and a day to remember those family and friends that are no longer with us.

Please take a minute today to say a prayer for those who have served and are still serving our country because without their sacrifices there is no telling where we would be today.

Memorial Day Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

As we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day, we think of how they have followed in the footsteps of your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Please hold our servicemen and women in your strong arms. Cover them with your sheltering grace and your presence as they stand in the gap for our protection.

We also remember the families of our troops. We ask for your unique blessings to fill their homes, and we pray your peace, provision, and strength will fill their lives.

May the members of our armed forces be supplied with courage to face each day and may they trust in the Lord's mighty power to accomplish each task. Let our military brothers and sisters feel our love and support.

In the name of Jesus. Amen.

May 17, 2011

Connecticut River Stripers

Turkey hunting or chasing linesiders on the river?  That was the choice I face Friday evening.  It's nice to have choices like that.  I was on the phone with my buddy Scotty as my wife pulled in the driveway and my daughter jumped out of the van and ran into the house.  Turns out she was running in to pack a bag for a sleepover at her BFF's house which made my choice for adventure Saturday easy.  I asked Scotty if he had room for me on the boat, which he did and a meeting time was decided on and then I was off to get gear together.

I met Scotty and his son Dylan, or Junior as we like to call him, at 4:10am at the local convenience store to gas up the boat and grab a much needed cup of joe and then off to the commuter lot to park my truck and jump in with the boys.  We pulled into the launch in Hartford and we were the only people there.  That's either a good sign or bad, but we didn't dwell on it and got the boat in the water and were headed south just around 5:15am as the first hint of light started showing up.

We arrived at Hole #1 with plenty of light and as we were setting up for our first drift we could hear a gobbler sounding off on the roost.  I was thinking it was a sign that I should have went turkey hunting but I didn't let it bother me.  Scott and Junior setup to drift live bait while I was rigged with a 9" pearl YUM Houdini Shad, which you can't get anymore, and was banging the shoreline.  We could see signs of herring breaking the surface but no signs of linesiders chasing them.

Scotty was the first to hook up with a schoolie sized striper and the game was on.  The next fish in the boat was caught by Junior, still not a keeper but two fish on the first drift is a good sign.  We finished out the drift with a few more small ones and a nice catfish that took the live bait.  My pounding the shore proved nothing more than a good attempt at throwing my shoulder out.  I couldn't buy a fish or even a sniff.

We motored back up to our starting point for another drift and this time I grabbed my 7 1/2 foot tica with my Penn bait runner and joined the crowd.  It wasn't long after going over the first hump when Junior was hooked up again and you could tell is was a better fish.  Junior did everything right and ended up putting a keeper bass in the boat and the trash talking started to heat up.  We continuned the drift and picked up another short or two and then setup for a third drift.  The third drift didn't produce a thing and even the signs of herring were gone.

We decided to head north to Hole #2 to see what was happening up there.  We were getting plenty of small hits and even a small run off or two but no hook ups which meant small fish.  We let the drift go a little longer then usual just to see if we could scare up a fish and sure enough I hooked up with another short.  Hole #2 was dead and it was getting near 11am so we made one last run to Hole #1 for a drift that produced a couple of big catfish and one was pushing 11lbs.

The morning wasn't fast and furious but we did put fish in the boat and had plenty of laughs.  There is still time to chase these amazing fish in the rivers of CT so get on out and hit the water.  Good Luck.

Land A Tagged Fish, Win Millions In Contest

Just found this on the Hartford Courant site.  As if anyone needed an excuse to go fishing, but just in case you do read below.

Land A Tagged Fish, Win Millions In Contest

Now that's a great catch! Local anglers who catch one of 33 tagged fish could win as much as $2.2 million from Cabela's, in a contest co-sponsored by the outdoors retailer and the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The marked fish – brown trout, smallmouth bass and largemouth bass, are in three bodies of water: The Connecticut River, Mashapaug Lake in Union and Highland Lake in Winchester. Contestants have to be registered to win, and the biggest money goes to people using Cabela's equipment.

The contest started Saturday and runs throough July 14. Anglers should look for a yellow "spaghetti" tag in a fin, marked "" It's happening in all states that have a Cabela's store, so there won't necessarily be a top winner in Connecticut.

For more information, go to or

May 10, 2011

Weekend Recap - 5/8/11

With the weekend tied up with helping out at a local fishing derby and Mother's day I decided to spend a few hours on Friday before work chasing some gobblers.  Problem was there were no gobblers to chase just 4 hens and some deer.

I was hunting a piece of private land where my daughter shot her first bird earlier this season hoping to find a smartened up long beard.  I was out before those first slivers of light waiting in anticipation for the gobblers I was certain I would hear, but not a single gobble was heard the entire morning.

My first visitors on the morning were a pair of Whitetail Deer that popped out of the woods just about 40 yards from my setup.  Once they got comfortable with this big camouflage blind they turned their attention to the stationary turkey out in the grass.  They walked around the decoy I had out there and every so often would stop and give it the once over.  If they weren't trying to smell it, they were giving it the old head bob routing.  Here is a small video clip of this show.  Sorry for the quality but all I had was my cell phone as my video camera was still in the truck.

As the deer were heading off to my right I looked back down the field and noticed a turkey moving in my direction.  After a good look with the binos I noticed it was a hen so I gave a few soft clucks and she kept working my way.  She got into the decoy and got a little nervous and worked within 20 feet of the blind and off into the woods. 


As the above hen was sitting in my decoy I could hear another hen yelping away and with this hen sitting right at the decoy I decide to wait a bit and as she moved off int he woods I let out some more sweet turkey talk hoping that hen making all the noise would come my way with an old tom in toe.  Well she came my way, but she was alone.  When she popped around the brush on the side of the field and into my view she was close and I swore I saw a beard.  Hmmm.  Grab the binos and sure enough she had a beard.  No in CT the spring regulations allow for the taking of a bearded bird and I must say I did think about it at one point but I decided to enjoy her and hope her requests for courtship would be answered by a tom but no luck.

I then saw two more deer and two more hens but not a single tom or even a gobble.  I was definitely enjoying the great morning and the activity but Busch Pilot texting me and telling me he was working birds wasn't helping my cause.  It wasn't long past 8:00am when I got a picture message of Busch Pilot's third bird of the season.  At one point he had 7 jakes come in on his setup but just couldn't get them separated enough for a shot.  so he moved his setup and called in a lone Jake and decided to end his season so he can partake in the spring striper run in the river.  So I am still sitting at zero, but not discouraged yet.

They were making sure I read the scale correctly.

Saturday I had the pleasure of helping out my pals at JT's Fly Shop weighing in fish for the kids at a Vernon's 42nd annual fishing derby.   It was a great morning but the turnout was light.  The families that did come out found some cooperative trout and had plenty of fun.  I love to hear the kids screeching with excitement as they reel in a fish and then run over to have it weighed in.  We had a trophy for the overall heaviest fish and awards and prizes for the top 3 in all categories.  We had kids not only out with their families having fun catching trout but winning some great prizes like new rod and reel setups, nets, tackle boxes and some tackle.  My daughter even decided to come and help out and we both agreed that the smiles on their faces made missing a morning of chasing turkeys well worth it.

May 6, 2011

They Have The Passion Weekly - Whitetail Woods

I know it's still spring and everyone is chasing fish and turkeys but it's never to early to start thinking about this year's deer season, so this weeks Passion post features Rick from Whitetail Woods.

Rick's Muzzle Loader hunt to remember

Rick is a fellow Nutmegger who lives out my way and has a passion for those four legged critters and deer hunting.  If Rick isn't out hunting for deer, he is scouting for deer or preapring for the season.  He might be on the range or even on a stream chasing trout.  Rick has really taken a liking to blackpowder shooting and considers it "an important part of American history and tradition that should not be forgotten." and I have to agree with him.

Rick's replica of a 1860 Colt Army .44 revolver

Rick has been blogging since 2008 and always has great information related to shooting and blackpowder guns to share with his readers and when he is not sharing great information he might just be showing off his woodworking skills , some recipes or pictures from his trail cameras.

If you have an interest in shooting, blackpowder and deer hunting then stop on by Whitetail Woods and see what Rick has to offer.

May 5, 2011

Get Out and Fish

With fishing season and spring in full swing here in Connecticut there are many opportunities to get out on the water and fish along with opportunities to try and learn how to fish.

Our first stop is the Connecticut Aquatic Resources Education (CARE) program.   The CARE program offers up many classes geared to learning about water, fish and fishing.  From specific techniwues to target certain species, Ice Fishing to general family fishing learning.

From the CARE website:
CARE will introduce you, your family, and friends to the wonders of water, fish, and fishing.  Expert Instructors pass along information and expertise they’ve gained while angling in many waters for many years.  DVDs, demonstrations, and activities make learning fun for adults and kids alike.  Many times they’ll even take you on a fishing trip!
For a list of upcoming events and classes check out their website.

CARE is also a great way for those who fish to give back to our sport via donations or volunteering and you can contact  the CARE Center at  860-663-1656 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              860-663-1656      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

Next Stop is for those looking for information on where to fish or where the fish are being stocked here in Connecticut.  The CT DEP Fishing website offers up many publications and news letters with all the information you need to find those fish and enjoy a day on the water.  Make sure to read the Anglers Guide for a list of rules and regulations as well as a list of open waters for fishing.  Trout Management Areas a great place to fish because of the abundance of fish and many of these are open year round so make sure to check out the Trout Management Brochure for more details.   We can't forget about Trout Parks either.  Trout Parks offer another great opportunity to be on fish that gets stocked on a weekly basis so there are always new fish to try and fool.  A new addition to the CT DEP Fishign website are maps of the stocking points for streams and rivers in both Western and Eastern Connecticut.

All of the above is related to fresh water fishing but Connecticut has many miles of shoreline  and access to Long Island Sound that offers many saltwater fishing opportunities to chase Striped Bass, Fluke, Flounder, Tatoug, Porgy, basically just bout anything that swims or lives in the saltwater. 

Race Rock, Long Island Sound
 Our first stop once again is the CT DEP Saltware Fishing website which is loaded with the same type of great information found on the freshwater site.   The Anglers Guide does have a Marine Fisheries section which is a great start but you can't pass on this handy Saltwater fishing brochure which is specifically designed for the Saltwater regulations. 

For those landlubbers the Connecticut Coastal Access Guide is a must visit.  Here you can look for public fishing and access points and also learn about your rights to use our incredible shoreline resources.

The Connecticut Coastal Access Guide is designed to help you explore the Connecticut shore. Use the guide to identify sites open to the public for boating, swimming, fishing, hiking and other outdoor activities. Some sites are posted with brown and white public access signs. Use the signs and the map and detailed driving directions in the Coastal Access Guide to find your way to hundreds of coastal access sights.

Connecticut also has State Parks with coastal access that offer up opportunities for enjoy the shoreline and fish.  About half of these State Parks include designated areas for persons with disabilities and a few offer camping opportunities.

Shoreline Fishing and Property RightsConnecticut's intertidal shore belongs to the people. Under the common law public trust doctrine, the public may freely use land and waters waterward of the mean high water line to fish. The "public trust" area includes beaches, rocky shores and open waters along tidal and navigable waters.  Fishing in the "public trust" area is not trespassing; the DEP encourages anglers to enjoy their rights to use the public trust lands for fishing. However, anglers should also respect the rights of adjacent landowners by not crossing private property without permission and by leaving the shoreline clean and litter free.

All of the above is great information but it sure helps to have the latest information on how the fishing is going and you can get that by checking out the Weekly Fishing Report put out by CT DEP which contains weekly information from many of the states Bait and Tackle shops which  means up to date information for us anglers.

One last item and that is respect of our resources.  This means respecting the rules and regulations, access points and  our neighbors but just as important is respect for the fish themselves.  There is nothing wrong with keeping some fish for a meal but practicing catch and release will help ensure that there are fish for the next person and future generations as well.  Check out the Tips for better Catch and Release fishing for more information. 

Now grab a friend and hit the water.  Tight Lines!

May 3, 2011

Great way to Spend the First Day of May

With the past two weekends consisting on bad weather, a successful youth turkey and a holiday I haven't had much time on the water to chase trout so the outlook for this past weekend was sunny but wet and I don't mean wet with rain.

I spent most of Saturday working around the house and getting chores done instead of Turkey hunting. I know, what was I thinking, right. Stuff had to get done and seeing I had already planned on fishing all day Sunday Saturday was get stuff done day. I did get stuff done and still managed a few hours that evening on the water over at the Willimantic River TMA but there was no sign of life at all. Few bugs and few signs of fish. I finally connected after switching over from nymphing to using my trusted woolly bugger but I ended up losing a nice fish. and then proceeded to miss two more and called it an evening.

Sunday morning I was up early and off to the bait shop to pick up a few offerings to use at a fishing derby and then to pick up my brother and my nephew. We started out at a fish and game club's derby in Colchester, CT where we spent a few hours fighting the tangles that come with a large crowd around a small pond and managing to catch a few fish in between, well two trout a bass and 2 blue gill to be exact. We visited with some friends, had a few burgers and then packed it up and headed off to the Salmon River TMA for some catch and release fishing.

The Salmon River offers up some great water for all types of fishing and produces some nice hatches for those toting the long rods. The weather was just incredible with clear skies, bright sun and temps in the 60s with a light wind. I planned on using the fly rod and doing some euro nymphing while my brother and nephew would start out using trout magnets and bait if necessary. While I was still at the car gearing up, my nephew decided to get the jump on me headed down to a big rock and started casting and on the 3rd cast he hooked into a nice brook trout. I had the only net and I didn't want to let his first Salmon River trout get away so I ran down and netted his fish for him. We tried to take some pictures of the fish before releasing him but as we found out this day my nephew has a hard time holding on to a wiggly trout and his first Salmon River trout was gone in a splash. No problem, he picked up the rod and was right back at it.

I finally got all rigged up and headed to a small pocket just above my nephew and brother and it wasn't long before I hooked into a trout and the count was tied up at one a piece. We went back and forth each catching a fish before I jumped up by two trout and then the gloves came off. My nephew quickly realized he had no chance at out fishing me from the bank so my brother gave him the okay and in the water in went - no waders just his clothes. Game on he said. My brother was a little smarter and grabbed my other pair of waders before joining his son in the water. Once my nephew got in the water he was able to reach a few of the hiding holes that were just out of reach from him on the rock and he began banging fish again. And once again we tried taking some fish pictures but they just kept slipping out of his grip and back into the drink. Looks like trying to get the hero shot of my nephew holding a fish was going to take extra hands or a net.

We started seeing some Hendricksons coming off and the fish turned on a little bit and I picked up 3 quick fish and missing a few which was burning my nephews butt so he moved into my spot and took over but not before I put another on the fly rod and then handed him my 10' greys streamflex to fight a nice brookie. He was over the top with excitement and almost reeled the dang fish right up through the guides but we got him in the net and I was bound and determined to get a picture of him holding this fish and we did. With four hands surrounding the fish there was no way he was escaping this time. Most of the fish were caught on a salmon colored trout magnet drifted under a float or on a soft hackle bead head pheasant tail nymph with a couple coming on a mealworm and a olive caddis nymph. We caught more brookies then rainbows and browns but the one brown was a nice fish that I never came to net.

We caught a few more fish including a nice brown I saw hiding near a rock before we decided it was time to dry off and pack it in for the day as my nephew had soccer practice at 5pm. On the drive home I did my best to rub it in that I out fished him but he claims I was cheating because I was using a two fly setup instead of two. I gave him credit for the argument and the dedication of jumping in the water to compete but I still out fished him and promised to give him another chance soon.

It was a great warm and sunny spring day that was perfect to share the passion and it included plenty of laughs and some cooperative fish. Can't wait for the next trip.