Alas, I have returned from yet another successful week-long fishing trip deep within the Adirondack wilds. I timed this one perfectly with ice out and my crew was rewarded with plenty of spunky spring brookies for our effort.
This was my annual trip into the St. Regis Canoe Area, an outing that has become a tradition for half a dozen of my fishing chums and I. Last year we celebrated my Dad's 75th birthday there. This year we dubbed the trip "Spirit of 76" in recognition of his B-day, even though he was unable to tag along because of work commitments.
Rest assured, you were there in spirit, pop.
Probably a good thing he missed this one anyway. While we caught a ton of fish, the atmosphere was dampened by five straight days of rain. Seriously, it started pouring last Sunday and did not stop until it turned to snow Thursday. Ponds ran high and brooks and rivers were roaring.
We'd head out in our canoes just long enough to get soaked, return for dry clothes and head out again. At one point, my buddy joked that he could have stood in an ice cold shower with his pack on for a day and come out dryer. We're actually contemplating using that as a training exercise prior to next year's jaunt.
There's a thought - brook trout boot camp. Force cadets to march 5 miles through the forest carrying a Radisson and a 60-pound rucksack full of food and fishing equipment, while swatting black flies from their foreheads without dropping the 30-packs from under each arm.
Only a select few will make it, but they'll be rewarded with washing meals of cold Spaghetti O's down with frozen beer after sleeping on the ground in a paper-thin bag in near sub zero temperatures during driving rain and gale-force winds.
For those who are interested, I'll have a sign up sheet tacked to my door.
Youth bowhunting bill on governor's desk
In other outdoor news, the state is poised to ink a bill allowing junior bowhunters to hunt big game at 12 years of age with adult supervision. The current age restriction is 14 years.
This is an important piece of legislation as it has been proven that introducing our youth to the sport of big game hunting at an early age increases the likelihood of them participating for life.
I also personally believe that bowhunting is an excellent way to introduce the young to hunting as it teaches patience and safety.
The bill has been passed by the state Senate and Assembly and now awaits only the governor's signature to become law this big game season. Outdoor groups, such as New York Bowhunters, are urging sportsmen to write or e-mail Governor Cuomo in favor of the law. To e-mail the governor, go to http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php
Youth fishing derby slated
The Willsboro Fish & Game Club will host its Mary Ryan annual youth fishing derby May 15 from 9 a.m. to noon with pre-registration is at 8:30.
The event is aimed at those ages 3 to 15 and there will be prizes and refreshments. There is no cost.
For more information call Jim Hotaling at 963-7430.
Spring Break Out Ride set
The Hague Fish & Game Club has scheduled its Spring Break Out Ride for Saturday, May 14. This event, which includes an ATV and horse ride, will start at the clubhouse at 9:30 a.m. The fee this year is $15 as the club members will head onto the T&T lease and back onto club property.
All ATV riders must wear helmets and provide proof of insurance. Refreshments will be available, a horseshoe tournament will start after lunch and music will be played into the night. Club officials would also like to remind members that dues are due by July 1.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org