Turkeys, trout and boats… oh my!

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The evening was cold and damp with a light easterly breeze; not ideal but it’s what we are dealing with this spring. Just before the sunset, two barred owl hoots were directed toward the mountain, “who-cooks-for-you, who-cooks-for-you” in my best real owl voice.

Moments later the tell-tale “gobble” from a male turkey, a gobbler, sounded back from the top of the mountain. A calm confidence came over me since I knew exactly where this big tom was roosted for the night and I’d be set up within 100 yards of him in the morning with my hunting companion for the day.

The alarm clock rang at 4 a.m. and the smell of coffee was in the air as we gathered our gear for the day’s hunt. A half of an hour prior to sun up and in the cool dampness of the morning, we had climbed the steep logging road toward to top of the mountain where the turkey was still snoozing.

In a pale light, a decoy was set up in the clearing and we set our backs up against two large hemlock trees in anticipation of the waking gobbler.

As songbirds started to chirp the tom let out a thunderous gobbler announcing his presence to all.

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Soon more gobbles could easily be heard from his roost, other toms in the valley, some many miles off, would respond with equal enthusiasm in an effort to challenge him for a flock of hens.

As the red-orange hue of sunrise from the distant horizon illuminated the landscape, I started my calling sequence “talking turkey” with some light tree yelps to imitate a waking hen.

Moments later I embellished it with a fly down call to imitate a hen flying from the tree and landing in the leaves. The tom in the tree responded with a triple-gobble, the stage has been set and I hoped he followed the script I wrote in my head the night before.

Soon the big tom flew down and his big wings could be heard flopping as he lit on the ground. Once again he announced his presence and his dominance by gobbling.

A series of hen yelps, clucks and purrs were used to let him know that a hen wanting company was waiting in the nearby open meadow. What seemed like a lifetime was only 15 minutes, and the big bird slowly made his way toward us.

Once in a while he would go into full strut to show off his superb elegance. Once he was within 30 yards, I whispered the order to “shoot when ready” and within seconds the big bird was laid out and tagged. It was a textbook hunt that I’m excited about for the young hunter with me.

The trophy bird weighed in at 21 pounds, sported a 10-inch beard and had the classic sharp spurs of a 3-year-old bird.

The Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program just released their Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) 2018 Final Report.

The 193-page report summarizes the efforts and results from those “nosey kids at the boat launch.”

Well, those kids are part of a statewide study and invasive species prevention program, and they are helping all of our lakes. There were 152 watershed and decontamination stewards, 27 decontamination stations and 72 boat launches manned.

I have not had the time to go through the entire document, but here are a few highlights: 191,493 people were greeted and educated at public boat launches, 98,216 boats inspected, 4,617 AIS intercepted, and 3.7 percent of boats were carrying AIS.

Statewide, the stewards found 2,192 boats with Eurasion watermilfoil, 655 with zebra mussels, 259 with water chestnut, 268 with variable-leaf milfoil, 2 with Eurpoean frogbit, 23 with brittle naiad, 23 with spiny waterflea, and 1,183 with curly leaf pondweed.

Just on the Great Sacandaga Lake, they inspected 13,967 boats and had 2.9 percent fail inspection and intercepted 62 AIS’s. The GSL already is home to Eurasion watermilfoil, spiny waterflea and brittle naiad. I believe curly leaf pondweed is here too.

The stewards intercepted and prevented the accidental introduction of water chestnut and zebra mussels into the lake. We all need to thank those stewards at the boat launch next time we see them, they are doing extremely valuable work.

The Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation (GSLFF) stocked the Great Sacandaga Lake with trout a couple of weeks ago. Twenty-five trout were tagged and each trout is worth $750 during a contest and $500 from May 5 through Labor Day 2019 for GSLFF members only.

To collect tagged trout money, first become a GSLFF member; second, catch a tagged trout; third, bring the fish with tag attached to the fish to Jim’s Bait Shop in Mayfield, or to a GSLFF officer.

We’d all like to thank the following sponsors of the tagged trout program: Frank & Sons Auto Body, Lanzi’s on The Lake, Sport Island Pub, Lakeside Tavern, Partners Pub, Cranberry Cove Marina, the Raindancer Restaurant, Jim’s Bait, Allwater Guide Service, Brownell Lumber, and Grandview Marina.

With boating season upon us, remember to be courteous to other boaters and remember their is etiquette to be followed, especially around fishing vessels. Stay well away from fishermen especially if they are trolling lines off the back of their boat or off of planer boards off the sides of the boat. Those lines might be shallow (flat line trolling) and laid out 150-feet or more.

Cutting in behind a boat trolling will spook fish and puts your motor over the lines. If the fishing line gets caught in your prop, it will cut the seal on the lower unit and allow water into the oil and ruin you lower unit.

“If you were born on or after May 1, 1996, you are required to successfully complete a state approved course and obtain a boating safety certificate to operate a motorboat. Additionally, all persons, regardless of age, must complete a Boating Safety Education Course in order to operate a PWC on NYS waters. New York Boating License | FAQ – BOATERexam.com”

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