I spent last week hundreds of miles from Bangor, and arrived home to learn that this year’s one-month catch-and-release Atlantic salmon season on the Penobscot River had been canceled.
Needless to say, I was surprised; in fact, I’d planned to spend part of Sunday catching up with anglers in Veazie and Eddington.
Judging from the e-mails and calls that piled up in my absence, many others were just as shocked at the last-minute decision.
So, what do you think?
I’ve got some opinions on the matter, and I’ll likely share them in the days ahead. But I’m also sure BDN readers have plenty to say about the cancellation, and the fact news of it didn’t begin filtering its way to anglers until a day or two before opening day.
Perhaps you think the decision was proper. Perhaps you think the decision should have been made earlier. Perhaps you’ve got a complaint about the behind-the-scenes machinations that scuttled the season so late in the process.
Whatever your view, I hope you’ll consider passing them along so that I can share them with our readers.
For now, I’ll leave you with this thought: During last year’s monthlong season, I saw more people paying more attention to the river that defines our valley than I have in years.
The reason: A lot of people were excited to fish for salmon during the springtime for the first time in nearly a decade, and scores more stopped by to talk with those who were doing the actual fishing.
This year, there’s no such excitement. The shores are empty … the salmon clubs shuttered, save for cribbage players and river-watchers.
When will the anglers be allowed to return? What will the salmon clubs do now? And how much potential goodwill have the feds sacrificed — at the hands of groups that have steadfastly supported past conservation efforts, by the way — in order to stop this year’s season?
Just a few questions to ponder on a Tuesday morning.
Turkey season under way
Atlantic salmon fishing is out (at least on the Penobscot) and many of our brooks and ponds have yet to provide peak fishing. What’s an outdoors enthusiast to do?
Talk turkey, folks. Talk turkey.
The state’s spring season for wild turkeys began Saturday with Youth Turkey Day and adult hunters enjoyed their own opening day Monday in select Wildlife Management Districts.
Over the past several years, Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife turkey restoration efforts have paid huge dividends for hunters, and the state’s flock continues to grow and spread.
If you’re looking to head afield this season, there is a new twist you ought to be aware of.
The DIF&W has abolished its old split-season model for turkey hunting, and all licensed hunters are allowed to hunt during the entire session (May 4 through June 6).
Hunting is permitted in WMDs 7, 10-18 and 20-26 from a half-hour before sunrise until noon, Monday through Saturday.
As always, safety is the key; hunters wear camouflage during turkey season and are advised to avoid stalking birds. Instead, hunters should set up in a good area and call birds to them.
Each hunter is allowed to take one bearded bird, and only shotguns between 10- and 20-gauge with size 4 through size 6 shot, along with bows and arrows, are permitted.
Some of my most enjoyable times afield have taken place in the woods hunting turkeys, and there’s nothing like sitting in the awakening woods, talking to a big bird that’s talking back to you.
In the coming days, I expect to be back out there, getting reacquainted with my old hunting grounds (and some new ones).
Who knows? Maybe I’ll even succeed in tagging a bird this year.
Paddle the ‘Passy’
Each spring a group of whitewater enthusiasts head to the Passagassawakeag River for an early season test of paddling skills.
On Saturday, the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition will offer a different look at the lower reaches of the spectacular river, as volunteers will lead a paddling excursion upstream from the Belfast boat house.
The trip will take about five hours, round-trip, or half that for those who only want to paddle one way.
The journey will take participants past islands and various historic spots, and high tea will be served at head of tide at noon.
Those interested in taking part should meet at the boat house on Front Street at 9:30 a.m. Participants should bring their own canoe or kayak, paddles, water, sunscreen, lunch and binoculars. The event is free and open to the public.
The Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition is planning monthly outings in order to familiarize the public with the beauty and features of the watershed.
For more information, call Skip Pendleton at 338-4427.