Saturday, February 28, 2015

Chasing Sturgeon!

After the great trip a few nights ago the sturgeon fever had set in and it was time to get back on the water. Regina was busy so Cade, Quinn, Brian and I headed back out. We again launched at Tisdale and checked out a few holes before we found one that looked promising. We had the rods in the water by dark and around 7:00 PM the outside rod buried but the fish was gone before Brian could grab it. Within minutes the inside rod buried and we were hooked up! We got all the other lines cleared and as I went to hand the rod to Cade the fish came unbuttoned, dammit!! After a few choice words we re baited the hooks and went back to fishing. We fished the rest of the night and had a couple bites but nothing to swing on. At first light we headed upstream to another spot I wanted to try for awhile. We got anchored up and baits in the water, and patiently awaited a bite. We had been sitting there for a half hour or so and had seen 3 sturgeon roll when the outside rod pumped a couple times and buried as the line went towards the middle of the river. I grabbed the rod and set the hook but again it came unbuttoned, I guess it just wasn't meant to be! We fished another hour or so and saw a few more roll before calling it a day.   

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sturgeon Time!

It's sturgeon time! The water had finally stabilized and I was chomping at the bit to get on the water and do some scouting. Cade, Brian and I loaded up the boat and decided to give it a whirl! We launched at Tisdale and headed down stream with high hopes of getting bit and it didn't take long! We had been fishing about an hour when I decided it was time to put on some fresh bait. We rebaited all the hooks and within minutes of them being in the water the rod with the pile worm/eel combo buried, FISH ON! I grabbed the rod and set the hook while Cade and Brian cleared the rest of the lines. With everything out of the way I passed the rod to Brian and he set out to battle in his first ever sturgeon! The fish would scream line off of the reel and then Brian would get it back only to have the fish run again. The battle last for 20 minutes and with burning arms Brian landed his first ever sturgeon!! We took a quick measurement and photo before getting the dinosaur back into the river to fight another day. This fish went 65 inches to the fork and 72 inches to the tip of the tail! We got back on anchor and waited patiently the rest of the night for another hookup but it wasn't meant to be, regardless we were a boat full of happy campers that can't wait to get out and give it another go!  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wetland work has already begun!

Coming off a very good duck season it is already time to start thinking about next year and the habitat work we have planned! Following the season while most other clubs are pulling boards I am doing the exact opposite, running pumps! I run my water fairly shallow in my wetlands during the season but as soon as its over I board up the boxes and turn on the pumps. I like to get the water as deep as possible this time of year and keep it deep through the end of April. This allows me to drown out the undesirable weeds that do not produce much feed and manipulate the other species of vegatation that I want. By holding the water deep thru april and then pulling the boards I provide habitat for the wintering ducks making there way back north but also create one hell of a water grass stand! The ducks seem to love water grass and I have been putting out a bumper crop the last few years!!

During this time we also take cuttings to start in our nursery. This year we have expanded the nursery to 2500 pots and have started 2500 willow trees, that will be transplanted into the wetland this fall. By the time september rolls around they'll be some where between 7-10 feet tall and will make a substancial impact on the landscape. I am a firm believer in trees in a wetland and plan to plant another 2500+ trees each year for the next 4 years, probably more!   

Monday, February 16, 2015

Post season practice!

The seasons over but we don't quit! There is never enough time to get out in the outdoors with your family and enjoy a day on the range! We try to shoot as often as possible and have a blast doing so. Quinn just got a new side by side .410 and we had it cut down to fit her and added a good butt pad. This was the first time for her shooting the new gun and though a bit front heavy she loves it. We shot 100 rounds the other day and she ended up scoring a 10 out of 100 but she had a blast and can only get better! The look on her face the first time she exploded one was priceless and she's more than ready to get out there again.      

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Time to start another one!

We have finally wrapped up duck season, all of the blinds and decoys are cleaned up and in storage until next year and we are on to our new project! As much as I hate to say it I think this was my old lab Gauge's last season! He has given me a solid 10 years in the field and has retrieved close to 10,000 birds in his lifetime!! The poor old guy has been going downhill for the last couple seasons, and has continued to give his all, but I think he is done. I have a 3 year old that he sired named Cash that does an excellent job but as much as I hunt I like to have 2 working dogs, so meet the newest to the line up, Brute!! Gauge is also the father to him and he has big shoes to fill but I'm sure he will fit the part!    

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Second year junior waterfowl hunts

 I had purchased a junior duck hunt for Cade at the Colusa CWA dinner this year and Cade and his buddy Tanner were super excited! The hunt was donated by the Live Oak Gun Club and the boys got to see how the other half lives. We arrived Friday afternoon and toured the property then had a great dinner and spent the rest of the evening telling old stories and playing with the other junior hunters. We finally got them to bed and before long the alarm was buzzing! The boys were up and ready for breakfast and the long awaited blind draw. We got the number two draw and based on what we had seen the prior afternoon the boys chose blind 41. We made our way to the blind, set the decoys and awaited legal shooting time. As the sky lightened the air was void of ducks but it wasn't long before the specks were flying! It was crazy to watch the specks decoy into the little timber hole and the boys blast away! It took a few volleys to get the cob webs out of the barell but soon enough the boys started knocking down birds! They had a blast and ended the hunt with a few birds each and finished up with a giant lunch! Needless to say they were all smiles and had a great time!   

 On day two of the junior hunt we took Cade and his buddys Tanner, Nick, and Jeffrey out to my big wetland blind. The birds weren't overly cooperative but they had a blast banging away and ended up with a couple bird each. Again they had a blast and were all smiles as we headed home. Junior season number two is a wrap and the boys are already talking about next season!