Hunter’s Corner: Salmon season is on; turkey season starts Tuesday

  • With snow-covered Mount Washinton in the background, April salmon fishing can be shirt-sleeve or parka weather. But as the water temp warms, the fishing gets better and better. JIM COLE / AP

For the Monitor
Published: 5/1/2016 12:26:14 AM

This past Tuesday we were teased with a mixed bag of weather that temporarily eased the fire alert, but with wind and sunshine the red flag alert is back. We still desperately need more rain and with it several days of a good soaking. With so many spring activities at hand, extra caution is a necessity.

This past Wednesday Robb and I headed out to the big lake for some salmon fishing. I have my Lund serviced in the fall so all that is required is to charge the battery, get a fresh tank of gas, turn the key and we are off. We like to launch in Wolfboro for a variety of reasons – truck and trailer parking is great this time of year, and easing through the bridge owing to the fullness of the lake is but inches away from a disaster.

We owned the lake with hardly any other boats on the water. There was a healthy chop. We trolled our way to Winter Harbor anticipating warmer water temperature and found what we were looking for with 48.3-degree water. We were printing lots of fish on the fish finder and we were also printing bait plumes, which caught me off guard. We had one fish attempt to attack a fly that Robb was releasing behind the prop wash. There is no telling what it was, but it was small.

As the magic number for water temperature approaches 55, the fishing will only get better. Once 55 is achieved, the fishing will get exciting. According to a recent article a friend emailed me, there are three elements to attracting salmon to bite: sight (color), sound and smell. I understand sight and smell, but sound interests me. I have heard of rattling lures for bass, but lures that emit a sound for salmon is something new for me. I will have to check into it.

Talking turkey

Today is the final day of the youth hunting turkey weekend. These weekends offer a great start in a low-pressure situation for those younger than 16 who have a turkey license and are accompanied by a properly licensed adult. The adult (18 or older) may accompany a maximum of two youths.

This Tuesday, the statewide spring season opens with the legal take being one bearded turkey. Hunters are encouraged to pass on bearded female turkeys. The hunting hours are ½-hour before sunrise to noon.

My own preparation for Tuesday’s opening is to thoroughly spray my clothing with Sawyer’s as an anti-tick measure. Given the mildness of this past winter, I anticipate the tick situation to be greater than years past. I store my clothing in the cellar to avoid tick contact with others, especially my dog, Nutmeg. Nutmeg has his own flea and tick collar, but I always tend to be more cautious.

Turkey hunting is a very challenging sport in that the object is to attract a tom by imitating the call of a hen. Scouting for toms using a crow call or pileated woodpecker call will get an automated gobble from the tom. The best time to scout is in late afternoon to learn where they are roosting. Then setting up nearby before sunrise, you are in perfect position to call in the tom.

The basic turkey hunting safety tips promulgated by Fish and Game are:

1. Never stalk a turkey.

2. Never wear red, white, blue or black.

3. Never call from a tree that is thinner than the width of your shoulder.

4. Never jump or turn suddenly.

5. Never call from a site where you can’t see at least 40 yards in all directions.

6. Never imitate a gobbler call while concealed in a stand.

7. Never presume that what you hear or what responds to your call is a turkey. It just might be another turkey hunter.

8. Never think your camouflage makes you totally invisible.

9. Never hide so well that you can’t see what is happening around you.

10. Never move or wave to alert approaching hunters; shout “stop” instead.

Turkeys must be tagged immediately upon killing. Registration is required within 24 hours of taking. The bird must be fully feathered and intact, but may be gutted. A person who has taken a turkey may assist another properly licensed turkey hunter by calling only. The person assisting by calling shall not possess a firearm or bow and arrow.

Given this year’s spring, I anticipate a significant number of hens are already on nests with eggs. This may end up causing a lower total take. Then again, the 2015 breeding season was perfect for hatching poults and the mild winter made for great winter survival. As a consequence, the numbers of turkeys overall is way up, so it might not matter if the hens are already on nests.

Last year’s turkey spring harvest was 4,005, which represented a 2.4-percent increase from 2014. The biggest harvest was 2013, with a total number of 4,550 turkeys taken. It is entirely possible that 2016 will be a record-setter; we will see.

(Bob Washburn can be reached at

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