The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

October offers many choices for sportsmen

- Leo Maloney

October is a tough month because there are so many great choices of outdoor sports. Archery season for deer has opened, there is grouse hunting, salmon fishing, and fishing for bass and muskie, as well as the new catch and release trout fishing. And now turkey season has opened in some parts of the state.

Because of declining numbers of turkeys the past few years, the DEC has shortened the fall turkey season to two weeks in both zones. Northern Zone season is October 1 — 14 and the Southern Zone season is October 16 — Oct, 29.

Bag limit has been reduced to one bird. One note of encouragem­ent is that many people have been seeing decent sized groups or flocks of young birds this year.

Fall hunting methods differ widely from the spring when a hunter tries to call in a lovesick tom by imitating hen calls. In fall your best bet is to bust up a flock or ambush birds feeding nearby.

One method is to hide in cover until a flock of wild turkeys feeds steadily across the

fields nearby. Suddenly the hunter leaps from the hedgerow, flapping his arms wildly and yelling like a New York Giants Football fan who has suffered too many losses. He races towards the turkeys, scattering them in all directions.

Then the hunter quickly settles down in some concealed spot, waits a short while and attempts to call the flock back together.

Since autumn flocks are usually composed of several family groups that have banded together the majority of the birds will be the young birds of that year. These birds will quickly be disoriente­d and begin calling to locate others of the flock. The most effective call that hunters use at this time is the “kee kee” call or the shrill call of a young lost turkey.

Other tactics at this time involve scouting to find the feeding habits or routes of flocks of turkeys and then trying to ambush them as they move along.

Usually the birds will be moving and feeding out of range so some calling is necessary to get the birds to come and bring them into gun range.

Scouting is important in autumn to find where turkey flocks are roosting or feeding. However, the birds may not always keep a commuter’s schedule in roosting and feeding in the same areas. Flocks often wander two miles in a single day and may cover a wide area in a two or three day cycle.

In agricultur­al area crops such as corn are popular food sources for wild turkeys. Mast crops such as choke cherries, pin cherries, acorns, beechnuts, or apples are always favorites of the wild turkeys. Checking for the availabili­ty of these food sources as well as signs that turkeys frequent the areas will help put you in the right area.

SHORT CASTS Thank You

Thanks to everyone who commented or extended well wishes, etc. on last weeks’ column in the Dispatch by Josh Wagner on my 45 years with the Dispatch. It was fun reminiscin­g and perhaps I will relate some other tales from time to time. As I mentioned in the interview, one of the best things about the job is interactin­g with people from the community or meeting new people. Thanks to all of you who have supported me, passed along informatio­n, or otherwise made the past 45 years pleasant. Thanks to Josh Wagner and Karen Arnold at the Dispatch for their support and help.

Leaf Peeping

Looking at the colorful leaves is a popular outdoor activity for many people and in this area there are several spots that are especially great for a short period of time. Right now the central Adirondack­s are at peak color. Reports from several of our local experts say that the area around Old Forge up to Long Lake has especially brilliant colors. The reds and oranges of the many maples are worth the drive. Shortly after this the Tug Hill area such as around Osceola will be at peak. Areas with a certain soil chemistry and lots of maple trees are best.

The Salmon Run is On

The long-awaited salmon run has started. As we reported a few weeks ago, when the biological clocks hit the time and colder weather and rain combine, the king and coho salmon will head up the tributarie­s of Lake Ontario to spawn and eventually die. Streams of all size will have a run, but the major runs will occur in Salmon River, Oswego River, Oak Orchard River, Black River and Sandy and South Sandy Creeks.

Although the salmon do not feed while running up the rivers, you can entice them to strike lures, flies, or salmon eggs probably out of instinct. As the run continues and they wait upstream to spawn it becomes much harder to get them to strike. The following reports are for the major Oswego County tributarie­s but the same conditions apply to other streams.

King salmon are steadily entering the Oswego River according to Capt. Andy Bliss of Chaisin’ Tails Guide Service. They are found all the way from the Rte 104 Bridge to the dam. Remember that wearing PFDS on the Oswego River is mandatory. Best bet is casting deep diving crankbaits such as Thunder Sticks in brighter colors such as Fire Tiger. Fish are also being taken on chunks of skein under a slip float keeping the bait a foot or two off the bottom.

On the Salmon River water releases were low according to the Douglaston Salmon Run. Most consistent action was found in early morning with sunny periods of mid day having slower action and anglers having to work harder for bites. Coho salmon and brown trout have been spotted and caught.

Whitakers Sports Shop in Pulaski said there was a steady movement of both king and coho salmon all along the river from top to bottom. Fish were being taken in the deeper pools at the Town Park, Ballpark, Paper Mill, and Rt. 2A. Kings were holding in deeper pools in mid river in the upper section. Anglers in the flyfishing areas were having some action.

Throughout the river fly fishermen were having success with egg patterns in Estaz eggs in blue, orange, pink, chartreuse, and purple in size 6. Glo Bugs in the same colors, or sucker spawn in size 6 were also recommende­d.

Fishing early in the morning, or late in the day, at areas as far away from the crowds as possible is your best bet. Long rods are recommende­d to help keep line off the water as well as fighting these powerful fish.

Oct. 16 Opening of New Catch & Release Season

The regular trout season will close Oct. 15 on most waters in the state.

However under the new DEC plan to expand recreation­al opportunit­ies, the new catch and release season will begin on Oct. 16. The DEC reminds anglers that the new catch & release season applies to trout streams only. Fishing for trout in lakes and ponds is prohibited except under special regulation­s.

The new season which runs from Oct. 1 to March 31 requires anglers to use only artificial lures and immediatel­y release trout they catch. Anglers venturing to inland streams this fall should check out the DEC’S Interactiv­e Stream Fishing Map on the Decinfo Locator for opportunit­ies available.

Landlocked Salmon

In the Adirondack­s a different type of salmon run is occurring. Landlocked (Atlantic) salmon are actively moving and spawning, as well as hitting baits and lures. The peak of landlocked activity occurs about the same time as the peak of leaf color. Flies like Purple Cheaters or spoons like Mooselook Wabblers which have purple color work best. Good areas are Seventh Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Tributarie­s of Lake Champlain, etc. Landlocks do not die after spawning as Pacific salmon like kings do

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