By now, most local lakes and ponds have been free of ice for at least a week or more. However, it appears the winter season prefers to linger a little longer, with occasional flurries still being reported, while water temperatures remain cool in the 40’s and low 50’s.
Cold rains have combined with snowmelt to keep the rivers and streams running high and cold, and as a result, the fish have been slow to take.
The Boquet, as well as the Ausable were flowing heavy with whitewater over the weekend.
One angler I met joked, “Maybe I should’ve left my ski poles in the truck.”
Water temperatures on the ponds have been slow to warm as well, and frustrated trout anglers have been voicing their frustrations.
“I’ve never seen it so slow at ice out”, a veteran angler recently explained, “Usually, I could count on taking a few home by now but I haven’t had a bite in two full days on the water.”
I recently spent time scouting a few of the local streams and rivers, but after dealing the conditions; I decided to let the fish rest. I don’t like to fish for frustration, it’s too easy to catch.
Despite the long winter, it’s still early yet, and there’s no rush. Although trilliums are already blooming in the Champlain Valley, there were still pockets of snow and ice on Cobble Hill when I climbed recently.
Traditionally, Mothers Day weekend has been the best spring date for fishing on the ponds, and Father’s Day has often proven to be the best on the streams and rivers.
In reality, when it comes to fishing, there’s never really a bad time to get out.
Good hikes and Grand
Although I didn’t participate in the recent Grand Hike hosted by the Champlain Area Trail System last weekend, I did have the opportunity to scramble to the summit of South Boquet Mountain late one afternoon, with my kid sister in tow.
The small, easily accessible summit provided big vistas, both to the east across Lake Champlain and west towards the High Peaks. It is just one of the many marvelous small summits that have been incorporated into the CATS trail network.
The organization has produced a wonderful map of their trail network, which can be found online at www.champlainareatrails.com It is also available free in many local stores.
The short jaunt we chose to finish off the day also provided a few unwanted rewards, which my sister discovered following the hike when she discovered three ticks on her.
Fortunately, I was tick free this time, although I recently found ticks on me after hiking around Elizabethtown the previous weekend.
Lyme disease is caused by the bite of infected ticks, which are most active during the spring and early summer and again in the fall.
Although the prevalence of Lyme Disease is nowhere near as common in the North Country as it is downstate, it never hurts to take a few precautions to avoid ticks, and the diseases they can carry.
Black-legged ticks that carry the pathogen for Lyme disease are commonly found in forested and field habitats, and particularly where these habitats meet.
However, ticks can be found in many different habitats, including residential lawns adjacent to wooded areas.
Black-legged ticks are considered a primary carrier (vector) of Lyme disease, which was first discovered in the late 1970s, in Lyme Connecticut.
White-footed mice are considered a primary carrier of ticks, as are varying hares, both of which are common in the Adirondacks.
However, ticks can also hitch a ride with any warm blooded species including humans, birds, deer and dogs.
Hunters and hikers, who often sit on the forest floor, are most venerable to ticks, as are kids who play in the fields.
The easiest method to combat the affliction is to avoid getting bit in the first place. This can be accomplished by limiting the access to the skin by tucking pants into socks, and shirts into pants.
When traveling in brushy and grassy areas, wear light colored clothing, which makes it easier to spot ticks, spray repellant around pant and shirt cuffs and always check for ticks after outings.
If a tick is found, use tweezers to remove it and check for telltale signs of infection such as rashes.
Three out of four victims report a bull’s eye-shaped red rash after being bitten, which can last for several days or weeks.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.