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An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Enjoying summer despite the weather

“Hello muddah, hello faddah.
Here I am at Camp Granada.
Camp is very entertaining.
And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining!”

A lot of us of a certain age remember the words of that pop song by Allan Sherman from many summers ago. It certainly rang true during June and even a lot of the first half of July. Rain put a damper on a lot of activities (pun intended) from camping to boating, or even backyard barbecues. Trout fishing on streams is usually good during a rain but sometimes the heavy rains caused very high water conditions. In any case, fishing in a stream or from a boat during a thunderstorm is not recommended.
My wife and I had a good time camping near Old Forge for two weeks. We managed to dodge most of the rainstorms and had some good kayaking trips on Stillwater, the Moose River, Big Moose Lake and “Black Bear Lake” among others. Of course one of the reasons that we like Old Forge is that we have a list of things to do in the event of nasty weather.
One of those things is to visit View (the Arts Center) where they have some excellent exhibits. Currently the theme is “For the Birds” with some outstanding exhibits of mixed media on birds, wildlife paintings of Ed Williams, the Natural Side of Things by David Kiehm as well as the outstanding photo exhibits by Sue Kiesel and Melissa Groo. Put it on your list of things to do, rain or shine.
It was sort of like Old Home Day at the campground with many Sherrill or other area residents enjoying the Adirondacks as well. The Tiffin clan from Sherrill had a family camping reunion as did the Balch families. Others that we spent time with included Ed and Maxine Kimball, Joe Robinson and Sandy and Chuck Boryss. Pete and Carol Dwyer and all their children and grandchildren were reunited for a week in Inlet. We were fortunate to be invited to join again and spent a fun evening discussing new events and old times.
Fishing was fair but spotty. One day I could do well on bass and the next time I would have to work to take a few small ones. Most of the bass were scattered but found in relative shallow water since the waters were still cooler than normal for this time of year. Sinking worms and wobbling spoons usually provided the most action.
My friends Al Beans and Mike Seymour have reported that fishing is still only fair on the St. Lawrence River. At both the Thousand Islands and downriver near Ogdensburg the bass fishing has been slow although the pike were a bit more predictable.
Hopefully the weather will improve and people can enjoy more summer activities without keeping an eye on the weather every minute. Whether it’s camping, sailing, paddling, fishing, hiking or waterskiing, get out and enjoy you. Schedule a vacation, a get-away weekend or even an afternoon at the beach. Don’t put it off any longer. Summer is already half over!
Adirondack Railroad Future
Earlier this month while I was away on vacation the DEC and DOT released the state’s plans for the Adirondack Railroad.  We have covered this issue previously and reported that the state was going to release its revised Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the railroad. The UMP as presented appears to be a compromise but in reality the sportsmen and average tourists were thrown under the bus (train engine?).
Apparently giving in to the moneyed interests and the organized media campaign of those who want to tear up the railroad, the state announced that it will tear up the tracks from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid and replace it with a deluxe hiking and biking trail at a cost of over $11 million dollars.
It plans to keep and rehabilitate the tracks from Big Moose to Tupper Lake. It would also create a new snowmobile trail connecting to Beaver River and create a hut-to-hut cross country ski trail along the tracks in this remote section.
There are several problems with this plan. The economic viability of the railroad will depend on tourists going to Lake Placid. No offense meant to the good people living there, but Tupper Lake is not a destination that is going to attract many people! The economic stability and regular runs through this Wilderness Area will affect the sportsmen who want to use this drop-off service for camping, fishing, paddling and hunting.
Meanwhile we will have a multi-million dollar trail for locals to walk their dogs or jog on before or after work. Serious hikers want to climb the high peaks or remote areas, not a railroad bed. And there is no provision for maintenance of such a trail. The state is strapped to maintain the simple hiking trails they have now.
My opinions have been stated before and are well known. If you need more specific information, check the website for an article on potential for sportsmen in the Spring (March) 2015 issue or an editorial in the Fall (September) 2014 issue. If you care about this as a tourist, sportsmen, or just for the economic health of the communities like Utica, Old Forge, etc. then take the time to write by the deadline of July 27.
Comments may be mailed to either John Schmid, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233 or Dawn Klemm, NYSDOT Region 2, Utica State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501 or e-mailed to  Don’t put this off. You can bet that the “Meanie-Greenie” environmental extremists are already at work deluging these offices with letters advocating tearing up the entire track.
Kayaking 101
Kayaks continue to grow in popularity at a record pace. More people are buying new or used ones and joining in the fun. We have discussed the attractions of kayaking and considerations in choosing a kayak previously.
Of course it is a good idea to get advice from a experienced kayaker or expert or even take a course in kayaking. But if you are renting one, borrowing a friends, or have just bought one, there are a few things to consider. These basic things include getting in and out, as well as paddling. None are on a level of running whitewater rapids, but nonetheless there are some things to keep in mind.
Don’t plan on getting into or out of a kayak without at least getting your feet wet. You definitely cannot step into one from a dock like you would getting onto a bass boat or party barge. Kayaks have very little initial stability (i.e. they tend to tip until you are seated) but have excellent secondary stability – that is once you are seated they are really very stable.
First the kayak should be floating in water. Ideally this is ankle deep water over a solid sandy or gravel bottom. Some people simply straddle the kayak, grip each side, and plop themselves backward into the seat. It’s not graceful, but it works. An easier way is to stand beside it, grip both sides, and step one foot squarely in the center. While maintaining your hold, lean over the kayak and let yourself down into the seat.
There is absolutely no graceful way to exit a kayak but at least you can remain dry. Float the kayak into the shallow water or even partially on a sandy beach. Reach slightly forward and grip both sides of the cockpit. Swing one foot over the side into the shallow water and when you have solid footing, pull yourself up with your arms. Maintaining a hold for balance, step out with the other foot.
Some people that I know (but won’t mention any names!) prefer the “beached whale” method. Essentially they paddle up at an angle onto the shore and simply flop over sideways and crawl out. This has the added bonus of providing entertainment for the others in the group or any bystanders.
Paddles should not be used like canoe paddles. Don’t dig deeply into the water as if you were paddling a war canoe. Keep your paddle fairly level with the water surface and think of it as reaching out ahead of you and pulling yourself through the water. Anything else is a waste of your energy.
Some people like their paddle blades even, while others prefer to “feather” them or offset the blades at angles of 30 to 45 degrees. Definitely do NOT use them to pole or push off from land! The fiberglass or carbon fiber blades are not meant to be used as some old wooden stick.


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