This is the time of year when I feel like that popular 1970s Christmas toy "Stretch Armstrong," being tugged between brookie fishing and gobbler season. Toss in spring golf and it's lucky anything gets done on my Daddy Do list.
The ponds opened early this year and the speckle fishing is beginning to pick up. I've been running small flutter spoons in the shallows and have had some luck on black stonefly nymphs.
A sinking stonefly tied on a number six or eight hook is a great weapon of choice this early in the season. I'll run it on a leader 15 inches behind a number two Lake Clear or other spoon and I always tie a high-quality barrel swivel in line.
Once in awhile - if I'm feeling really nutty - I'll tip the fly with just the head of a night crawler. I've found this combo will sometimes entice a big boy to bite.
I'm still marking surface temps in the 40s, so the best is yet to come, but at least I've knocked the dust off my favorite Orvis rod. I also put a four-inch gash in the side of my Hornbeck canoe. I wasn't a happy camper, but that's another story altogether.
Ol' Blackjack Ninja at Pete Hornbeck's shop in Olmstedville assures me he'll have it as good as new in no time - and at no cost. You get what you pay for, my grandpappy used to say.
From fins to feathers
The sixth annual youth turkey hunt will kick off this weekend, April 25-26. Participation in the youth hunt has steadily increased since its inception in 2004, proving that starting kids earlier peaks their interest in the outdoors.
In 2008, there was an increase in participation and harvest, with roughly 12,000 junior hunters taking approximately 2,200 birds.
The youth weekend allows junior hunters ages 12-15 to hunt with an adult mentor who is allowed to call but not carry a firearm. The bag limit is one bearded bird, which counts toward the youth's regular season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken beginning May 1.
The regular spring season opens May 1 and continues until May 31. Shooting hours are from one half-hour before sunrise to noon and hunters with a valid turkey permit can take two bearded birds.
Successful hunters are required to report their harvest within 48 hours of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 (1-866 GAMERPT) or report harvest on-line, www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8316.html.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can very rarely be reached this time of year - you're better off looking for him several miles back or sending up a flare.