Small Bass and Blues near Dusk

Small Bass and Blues near Dusk

My son called, suggesting an evening kayak trip on Long Island Sound. I was a bit reluctant at first, but soon warmed to the idea. And I’m glad I did.

We launched out of the Four Mile River in Old Lyme. This is a year-round ramp. Its fine for kayaks and canoes but boaters beware. Shallow water surrounds you and you should only launch during high water. Even then, stick closely to the channel or you’ll run a ground. No joke. And there is one more concern. To exit the river you must pass under a very low railroad bridge.

With a light northerly breeze and a tide ready to ebb, we paddled out into Long Island Sound. Then bearing west, we made our way toward Point-of-Woods. Eventually we found  some small bass and blues. Occasionally they would come to the top, munching on tiny bait. Nice to see the surface activity, although none of these bass or blues were much over twenty inches. Still it was a great evening on the water.  Great sunset. Loved it.

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Connecticut River Estuary

Connecticut River Estuary

I’ve been so busy getting settled in here that I’ve not had time to explored the surrounding area. My friend Phil, on the other hand, did take a look and found a kayak launch near my house. Really? Well this morning I went and took a look. Sure enough, just down the road is a small cove off the Connecticut, an estuary with a nice kayak ramp. Great news!

Connecticut River Kayak Launch

I’ve been close to the Connecticut River most of my life. As a kid I grew up around the corner from Wethersfield Cove. Later I spent many years paddling and rowing down at the river’s mouth in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme. And I’m a huge fan of the river’s far upper reaches in Pittsburg, New Hampshire. Wow the Connecticut Lakes are beautiful.

While in Pittsburg, several times I  hiked into the river’s tiny source. (see post here) What a hoot. Watching the river tickle down a mountainside. So I’ve seen the river from top to bottom, from its mouth in Long Island Sound to its birth on the Canadian line.

 

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The Lonely Land

The Lonely Land

We linger right now in the dog days of summer, but make no mistake winter will come. And when it does there will be ample reason to park yourself in a fat easychair and read a good book.

If you love the outdoors, let me suggest an author for your winter’s rest. Sigurd F. Olson 1899-1982. Residing most of his years in Ely, Minnesota, Sigurd was an authentic outdoorsman as well as an educated man, a fine writer, and a conservationist. He is the author of 12 books, perhaps the best known being The Singing Wilderness.

The Lonely Land

While unpacking boxes after my trip back north, I came across a copy of Sigurd Olson’s The Lonely Land. Written in 1961, this book reports on Sigurd’s 500 mile canoe journey down the remote Churchill River from Hudson Bay to the Mackenzie. If you study the map below you will find the Churchill tucked in the upper right.

Map of the Lonely Land

In 272 pages, Sigurd and crew follow in the footsteps and campfires of the famous  “voyageurs”. The French-Canadian trappers who from approximately 1650 to 1850, wandered the darkest wilds of northern Canada,  often traveling by canoe. They endured great hardship and physical danger, but were relentless explorers, made of the toughest fiber. Sigurd describes them as follows:

“These wiry little men-seldom more than five feet four or five- dressed in breech cloth, moccasins and leather leggings reaching to thighs, a belted shirt with its inevitable colored pouch for tobacco and a pipe, topped off with a red cap and feather. They were a breed apart. From dawn until dark they paddled their great canoes and packed enormous loads facing storms, wild uncharted rivers, hostile Indians and ruthless rivals with a joy and abandon that possibly has never been equaled in man’s conquest and exploration of a new country.”

Back Cover

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Steelhead on the Cowlitz River

Steelhead on the Cowlitz River:

A tributary of the Columbia River, the Cowlitz River runs 105 miles through scenic areas of Washington state,and is a popular recreational destination.

During its journey it offers over 50 miles of steelhead fishing, with both a winter and a summer run. The winter steelhead  arrive in November and lasts into early December. The summer steelhead come upriver starting in late May ready to battle through August. They are terrific fighters and  willing biters as well. Please note, it is illegal to keep wild steelhead in the state of Washington although hatchery raised fish may be harvested.

Big Steelhead from the Cowlitz

My friend, Pete sent me this picture of his friend Larry Greenlund, who recently caught a 37 1/4 inch steelhead on the Cowlitz.  Larry’s guide says this is the biggest steelhead he has seen all year. Good going Larry. Larry was drift fishing with a spinning rod and shrimp. But intrepid anglers will want to work the Cowlitz with a fly.

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Phil’s Lucky Hat

Phil’s Lucky Hat

Phil’s Lucky Hat

Launched out of Niantic yesterday, and spent an afternoon on the water. It was fine weather with a little bit of wind.

Everywhere we went we marked a lot of small bait. Yet we couldn’t raise a single fish? Believe me we covered a wide swath; nothing doing. Zilch. Zero.

How can that be? Phil was wearing his lucky hat from our Martha’s Vineyard days!

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