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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Despite milder weather spring isn’t here yet

This week has seen milder weather which has been a welcome respite from the sub zero temperatures that have haunted us for several weeks. The temperatures in the 40s were very pleasant and encouraged many people to get outdoors. But despite the relatively pleasant weather, it is not spring yet. In fact there are lots of winter sports to enjoy but you have to exercise a different type of caution.
In most cases there is plenty of snow for snowmobiling. However if you are running cross country through fields or woods be careful of some areas of deep snow where you can easily get bogged down. Most trails around the local area or in the north country have a good base but there has been little or no fresh snow for covering the trails.
Downhill skiing has been consistent most of the winter but the temperatures are a lot more pleasant now than the days when there was a minus 20 degree windchill factor on top of the slopes. Check the snow conditions on the web or broadcasts for your favorite ski resort but skiing conditions should be very good all throughout the area.
Cross country skiing might present a different challenge. When people have gotten out in the past week or two they found that many of the fields or open areas had hard packed snow from the wind. Now with the milder temperatures some of the snow is settling and skiers might find themselves sinking deeper in the snow in some areas. You will still be able to ski but you might find the going a bit tougher or slower than you expect.
Another factor that might slow you down will be the wet snow. In some cases, it might be sticky or decrease your speed. If you are using waxable skis, be sure to have the proper wax on. Most people will be using the no-wax skis but even they can use some glide wax in these conditions. Put a thin coat of glide wax over the glide areas of your skis to prevent sticking and get smoother and better glide as you go along.
Even snowshoes have been sinking in the snow in some areas where there were fresh drifts or the snow had not settled much. Walking through the deep wet snow has made for somewhat more difficult conditions. It requires a bit more effort so take that into consideration when planning the distance of your hike.
Normally this time of year would be prime time for steelhead fishing. However the deep snow around the banks of the Salmon River or other tributaries has hampered access. Slush ice has been a problem on the Salmon River while others have been frozen over. The cold temperatures have caused ice to form on most waters and the melting snow keeps the water temperatures cold.
All of this means that fishing conditions are tough and the fish are not biting. However as the temperatures continue to improve and the water warms slightly, look for the fishing action to pick up in the next week or two. It will probably be a year like last year when the fishing was good in late March and throughout most of the month of April.
If you haven’t tried steelhead fishing, make this the year you get involved with this exciting sport. Warm waders and wading spikes or corkers are a must. But don’t think that you need to get out deep in the water. In fact if you are wading much above your ankles, you are probably wading where the fish are.
A long limber rod of eight or nine feet will help with casting, make it easier to keep the line off the water, and will really come in handy when it comes to fighting one of these powerful spectacular fish. Although some use tiny stone flies or wooly buggers with their 7 weight fly rods, others prefer to float egg sacks or trout beads. If you are lacking supplies or need advice, the best spot for both is All Seasons Sports on Route 13 in Pulaski. Owner Jim Dence is a local sportsman who is a licensed guide and understands the river and fishing conditions.
Whenever you are beginning a new sport it is always a good idea to hire a guide to learn the techniques while you are actually fishing. Unquestionably the best guide on the Salmon River and other tributaries is Chris Mulpagano. Chris is a former local resident who knows the river like most of us know our own living room and has spent a lifetime studying the habits of steelhead and salmon. Call Chris at 387-2623 and book a trip today.
Whatever your activity in the next few days or coming weeks, be sure to dress properly. Over-dressing can lead to heavy perspiration that can cause serious problems with loss of body heat. Thinking that it is spring and dressing too lightly can pose a serious problem, especially if the breeze picks up or the temperature drops.
Not only can these conditions make you uncomfortably cold, they can lead to hypothermia. In fact most cases of hypothermia come when the temperature is milder, rather than severely cold. Dress sensibly in layers and be prepared for changes in weather.
Whatever your choice of sport is, get out and enjoy the more seasonable weather. Just be reasonable in your expectations and prepare properly. Spring may be on the way but it isn’t here yet.
DEC’S Annual Tree and Shrub Seedling Sale: Landowners Can Take Advantage of Low-Cost Native Plants. More than 45 species of trees and shrubs from the New York State DEC Saratoga Tree Nursery are now available to public and private landowners and schools.
“The trees and shrubs from our Saratoga Tree Nursery can provide homeowners, municipalities and schools with great environmental benefits,” DEC Commissioner Martens said. “In addition to the aesthetic beauty they add to local landscapes, planting trees and shrubs improves air quality, provides wildlife with additional habitat and helps prevent soil erosion and supplies shade in the hot summer months.”
The Saratoga Tree Nursery sells primarily bare-root stock for direct plantings but a few species are available as containerized stock. Landowners can receive planting advice from their nearest DEC forestry office or private forestry consultant. The 2015 Tree and Shrub brochure can be found on the DEC’s website at or by calling (518) 581-1439.
To order seedlings by phone, contact the nursery on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at (518) 587-1120. Mail orders are also accepted and can be sent to the NYSDEC Saratoga Tree Nursery, 2369 Route 50, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Orders may be placed through mid-May. Seedlings are shipped from mid-April to mid-May.
Oneida County Sportsmen’s Mentor Program Annual Youth Hunt: The Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation and National Wild Turkey Federation are teaming up with Environmental Conservation Officers again this year to give youngsters a great experience during the Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend, April 25 and 26. Youngsters eligible for the youth hunt and who do not have the opportunity to learn from or hunt with a family member or an adult mentor will have the opportunity to go turkey hunting with a Mentor.
During the weekend of April 11 youngsters will learn from experienced mentors the basics of turkey hunting and practice their marksmanship at a shooting range under the supervision of certified instructors.
Youngsters 12 – 15 who are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity will need to have completed their hunter safety course by that time, have the permission of a parent or guardian and be accompanied by parent, guardian or adult with written permission from a parent. Youngsters must complete the application and submit it to address below or by email by April 1. Those chosen for this program will be notified.
Contact Youth Turkey Hunt, C/O Mr. Scott Faulkner, 3720 Wells Gifford Rd., Vernon Center, NY 13477. Phone 315-829-3588.


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