If I have learned anything about hunting big woods turkeys it is that once you think you have them patterned THINK AGAIN! I really thought that I was going to be set up right in the birds bedroom this morning. I even got there an extra half an hour early to prevent from spooking one out of the roost. After sitting in the dark with forty minutes of anticipation behind me, no birds were gobbling. Then I hear a faint gobble in the distance. Upon inspection I realized that it was coming from the original spot that I wanted to hunt on opening day this year, but after scouting and not seeing any sign or hearing any birds I decided that I would hunt the far side of the valley that been home to birds all this spring and last. Now I had a decision to make. Did I really want to hike all the way back down one hillside, cross a stream with high cold water, and hike straight up the cliff on the far side? The answer to that question is shown in the pictures above. After making the long hike and my heart practically beating out of my chest, I caught up to the bird still gobbling. I set up my decoy, got hidden, and made a few soft yelps. Shortly after I saw the bird come around the corner of the point in full strut. A few seconds later he was joined by two jakes and all three began to run towards me after spotting the decoy. They stopped at about 40 yards as the long beard went into full strut again. They then advanced another 15 yards before I could finally get a shot at the Tom that would not result in me putting three birds on the ground. The jakes finally moved off to either side and i split the uprights with 3 inches of #5 Hevi Shot! It turned out to be the most intense easy hunt ever!!! My only regret is that everything is so wet from the 40 days and 40 nights of rain that we have had made the bird not very photogenic.
I made myself get up at the 4:15am alarm to go out and scout for Spring Gobbler this morning. I located a few birds and took a few cool pics while in the woods. The porcupine pic is dedicated to Jared from brooksbrownsandbows.
I took advantage of having a Friday off from guiding to do a little fishing of my own on the Clarion River. My father-in-law Fred and Mark, owner of Whitetail Country sporting goods in Olean, NY, joined me on the float. We moved a lot more fish than were pictured but they were not being real aggressive. The water was still high (6ft) and cold. We had a lot of follows and fish just barely nipping at our streamers. We did manage a few though. Can't wait for the water to warm up and the bugs to start.
While I was back at the lodge in the shelter of the valley and cover of the hemlock trees on the stream, Shane was on the river fighting the wind, high water, and horizontal rain. Congrats to Mike for putting a some nice browns in the net and Shane for somehow keeping the boat under control in the gale force winds. The river was flowing between 6 and 7 feet, which is about 2-3 feet higher than we like to fish it. The fish can still be caught with some well placed zonkers under the brush. Needless to say, they had the river to themselves. I am getting a little jealous that I have not been able to get on the Clarion River yet this year but my time will come. Hopefully when it is at least 15 degrees warmer and the fish are feeding on the surface. Although anyone that knows me will tell you that I have no problem throwing big ugly steamers for these nice browns. I have a secret box of flies that only few have seen that works for many situations. Snook, pike, musky, walleye, bass, and big trout can all be caught on the same flies from this very special box. It has Toothy Critters written in permanent marker on top! I am sure that as water temps get warmer that it will be featured soon. It will be dedicated to Jared from the popular blog: brooksbrownsandbows.
The temprature was in the low 40s with rain and winds out of the North at 23mph and gusts over 40. We had some guests that were willing to brave the conditions and it sure payed off! These are just some pics of the bigger fish. Many were caught in the 13-15 inch range. I would like to thank the Suter family for spending the morning on the water with my Dad and I.
Upon feeding the fish in our hatchery at Glendorn Lodge we noticed a bit of a disturbace in the stream down below. I took a few ok pictures of what was causing it. There were four wild browns in the stream eating the fish food that was flowing out of the hatchery. It is hard to tell in the pics but they all appear to be over 18 inches. One of them goes about 3 or 4 pounds for sure.
These are some more pics courtesy of Shane. He and Micah made the first float of the year down the Clarion River in North Central PA. This quality of fish and larger are about what you can expect on an average day on this awesome piece of water. You will be seeing plenty more pics from Shane on this blog and lots of pics of great trophy brown trout from the Clarion River. Our fishing season there has just started with the best to come soon!
I have been hearing some good reports about the Niagra River from my friend and co-guide Shane. These are just a couple pics from a trip that his brother made up there last weekend. Those were some really nice Lakers!
This is another post for the Big Flies For Big Fish series. We got another great day to fish the Allegheny. The water is still cold and the fishing a little slow but this fat bow could not resist the large easy meal swinging in her face!
Finally!!! The Allegheny river was fishable. Unfortunatley the water was too dirty to nymph effectively, but when in doubt put on a big ugly streamer and see what happens! We did not catch a lot of fish but did get a couple of nice browns. The Big Flies For Big Trout will be an ongoing series that I am positive you will see many more posts from.
The rivers here have all been to high to fish because of run off. With cabin fever setting in I took a trip down to Kinzua Creek to take my frustrations out on some freshly stocked rainbows( AKA ..spring chickens)