Summer Activities Part II
In last week’s column, I suggested a to-do list to help make summer more memorable and enjoyable. Some were bigger things like trips or trying new sports, while others were little things to help make the summer fun before it was over. In the meantime, I’ve thought of a few more, and I’m sure each of you can come up with plenty more. After all, summer is why most of us live in upstate New York.
Don’t let him escape without taking advantage of the opportunities.
Visit some of the natural wonders like the Salmon River Falls just upstream from Altmar. Spend a relaxing afternoon enjoying the Owera winery in Cazenovia. Spend time at the beach like Oneida Lake/Sylvan Beach or great Lake Ontario beaches like Southwick Beach.
There are many areas to enjoy a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle. If you want something more adventurous, explore part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which is the waterway from Old Forge to Saranac Lake and through Vermont. You don’t have to do all or even most of them. Pick a section you’re unfamiliar with and try it out for a day trip or a short camping trip.
Book a charter fishing trip for your friends and family. Salmon fishing trips fill up quickly, so don’t wait until mid-August. There are other places and types of fishing, but you need to make your plans now! If you need any suggestions let me know.
Summer could also be the time to start a new fishing adventure. For example, a day of smallmouth bass fishing in Henderson Harbor can provide plenty of action and fun.
You probably have your summer vacation plans, but don’t just sit around on the weekends or another day off. Instead, take a day trip for variety. We’ve written about the attractions of the central Adirondacks, but have you seen them from the air?
Payne’s Air Service on Seventh Lake, just out of Inlet, offers great tours of the area, or you can customize your flight to include places you specifically want to see. Jim Payne and his crew can also transport you to a secluded weekend getaway or a memorable fishing trip.
Have you been to the Wildlife Sports Educational Museum in Vail Mills? It’s a world-class museum with fantastic mounts, wild animals from Africa and North America in realistic poses, collections on the evolution of sports equipment and much more. Bob Kazmierski has put together one of the largest and most interesting collections and is still adding more.
Summer hours are Monday through Saturday. Within the WSEM is the NYS Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame, honoring 300 men and women and offering other free exhibits. A mile down the road is the charming Broadalbin Hotel as well as
Visit remote locations closer to homes, such as Osceola, Stillwater, or Lakeview Marsh on Lake Ontario. Be sure to take your camera and fishing gear. Check out some of the recently restored fire towers like Bald Mountain or Stillwater.
Don’t forget that State Parks (both DEC in the Adirondacks and OPR elsewhere) honor the Golden Passport. Seniors are admitted free for normal activities like hiking, fishing, picnics, etc. from Monday to Friday. This does not apply on weekends,
holidays or for events like camping and golf.
Simple things can become fun. Don’t overlook a picnic on a weekend afternoon. The family will enjoy more than just sitting on the couch all afternoon.
Get creative by having a “fishing contest” among family members. Make it an hour or less between all kids and adults and see who can catch the most and biggest panfish etc.
It’s not always easy to get out of it, and it’s not always possible.
Find joy in the simple things around the house. Free time to sit on the back patio or porch and enjoy the evening, especially as the sun sets. Take the time to relax! Enjoy your flower gardens and
save them to photos, especially if you have a macro lens on your camera. You can also visit a nearby arboretum or flower garden.
Enjoy the birds. Study their activity and learn to identify them not only by their appearance but also by their song. Then work on getting good photos. That’s the beauty of digital photos; you will have a lot of errors or poor photos at first, but you can easily remove them.
Try a new type of fishing. Maybe it’s a new technique like with “goofy style” ridden sinkers or fly fishing with Wooly Buggers. Maybe you want to tackle a different species like Atlantic salmon (landlocked). Not only will this be a challenge for the summer, but you might also find a new sport that you really enjoy.
Before you know it, you’ll be whistling this mournful tune over the summer winds that have come and gone. So make the most of every day and every week in the times ahead!
Catch and release: use caution and common sense
As a guide and sportsman, Mike Seymour discreetly insists on the importance of the practice of catch and release. Mike or his son regularly catch large muskies throughout the season and quickly photograph and release them. This has been an ethic emphasized for many years by most muskellunge anglers.
Many trout anglers have also preached and practiced this for years. But now the idea is catching on with other species. For example, Save the River, an organization based on the conservation of the St. Lawrence River, insists on limiting the number of bass you keep while fishing.
However, two things should be kept in mind when fishing: It is not good to release the fish if you are careless and do not handle the fish carefully. Second, this is a guideline and shouldn’t be a dogmatic, black-and-white question anyway.
It is more important to practice this where the fish population is under pressure, numbers are limited and much of the population comes from natural spread. But if a large number of these species come from hatcheries, the situation is different. You shouldn’t feel guilty or ostracized if you save fish for the pan. The resource won’t be harmed if you do it – like most things – in moderation.
You should minimize the time spent out of the water when releasing the fish carefully.
Using barbless hooks and pliers makes it easier to release a fish. Wet your hands to minimize the removal of protective mud when handling fish. Take a few quick shots and carefully put them back in the water or put them in the livewell to be photographed later.
If you must catch a large fish like a muskellunge to unhook it, place a wet towel over its eyes to keep it from thrashing around the boat. Do not lift him vertically because this unnatural position can put a lot of stress on his organs.
Grabbing a bass by the lower lip can immobilize it, but don’t try to force it into a horizontal position using this grip. If you must take a horizontal shot, use your other hand to support the fish below. Pike can be immobilized by firmly gripping the fish above the gill plates or by using a “spreader”. Never catch fish by the gills.
Lifting a trout under its belly seems to relax it or temporarily immobilize it. However, a quick shot, or even one in shallow water, will provide souvenirs or proof of your catch to your friends.
Since I was young, I practiced a lot of catch and release even before it was popular. Part of the reason was that I wanted to make sure I had plenty of fish to catch later; part of the reason was that I was too lazy to clean a lot of fish.
However, it has always been our rule to keep any large brown trout. Part of it was the desire to show off a trophy, and part of it was the fact that fat browns are cannibals and clean a pool by eating all the little trout.
Of course, king salmon and coho salmon will die after spawning, so there’s no reason to feel guilty. Some people release them to continue fishing, and others may be lucky enough to catch the same fish. But the great taste of salmon and the number of fish stocked means that most will naturally end up on the grill.
Be careful when handling and releasing any fish. If you keep fish for the grill, consider the circumstances and do so in moderation.