Tag Archives: Leon Archer

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: June 7, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

How can one explain Alaska to anyone who has never been there? How can one describe the fishing in Alaska without sounding like he is bragging or making it all up?

Well my friend, it’s not easy.

I guided for seven summers in Alaska and was part owner of a lodge on the Nushagak River and I still find it difficult.

Alaska, once one gets outside of Anchorage, is still pretty much frontier, wild, vast, and entrancing. I just came back from taking my first fishing trip there since 2005. My camera is full of images, mostly fish and people, sandwiched in between occasional pictures of scenery and wild animals, but even as I review the photos, I know they do not reveal the raw charm and ambiance of our 49th state.

I’m just going to try to give you a hint of what Alaska is like and how good the fishing was last week.

One of the first things that the new visitor is likely to notice is the large number of small aircraft plying the skies, many of them sporting pontoons.

The amount of highways and secondary roads is actually quite limited, especially considering the size of the state, and for many Alaskans, traveling equates with flying.

Alaska has the highest rate of private aircraft ownership of all the states and most of the landing strips consist of ocean, lakes, ponds and rivers.

Continue reading

The Sportsman’s World: June 23, 2012

by Leon Archer

Salmon eggs make a great bait for salmon and trout; most fishermen are aware of that simple fact.

When I first started using eggs, I was never very successful, but as I learned more about them and about using them, my success rate improved.

Today, they are often my go to bait for salmon when they are in the rivers and streams.

At first, I read all I could find about curing eggs for use. I tried brine,  borax, sugar, food coloring, oil of anise, and other odd items, but I had about given the project as hopeless until I started guiding in Alaska.

At first I used eggs in the skein, cut into pieces, without any cure at all. This worked pretty well for silver salmon in the Naknek River, but they did not last for many casts in the river current.

As long as I had plenty of eggs, that was not a huge problem, but obviously there had to be something better.

I used borax in Alaska; it firmed up the eggs and kept them on the hook longer, but the fish were less interested in them.

After trying different homemade concoctions, I came to the conclusion that fresh eggs still worked best for me.

We used fresh skein eggs with Spin-N-Glos for king salmon with great success, but if a king hit the bait without getting the hook, the eggs were immediately gone.

Again, as long as we had plenty of eggs, it worked.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397 

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: June 16, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

My boat has been calling to me for the last week or so.

A fishing friend of mine in Central Square was telling me that the walleyes have been biting really well in Oneida Lake.

He had been getting limits regularly and almost too easily jigging near buoy 121. Dean had invited Sweet Thing and I to join him and his wife, Ann, for lunch, and we readily accepted. The main course was perfectly cooked walleye — and it was superb.

A worm tipped purple or black jig has been the ticket for Dean, but the fish are also reacting favorably to other offerings, and the old favorite slow trolled spinner and worm combo can put a limit of fish in the boat with relative ease.

I used to fish Oneida every once in a while with Frank Maurer and some days we would come home with a limit and some days with only three or four apiece.

Seldom did we ever get skunked. Now that the daily limit is only three fish, the limits are easier to come by.

Ontario has been beckoning also, and the bass have been cooperating with most bass fishermen. Lures are working well with the small mouths and they don’t catch gobies. If you are going to fish with bait, be sure to keep it up well above bottom or the gobies will grab it.

Continue reading

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: June 9, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Anyone who has been a Boy Scout is certain to remember the scouts’ motto: “Be Prepared.”

I missed being a Cub Scout for some reason that I have never been able to determine, but as soon as I was old enough to become a Boy Scout, I joined up. I became a member of Troop 30 in Sandy Creek when Mr. Corse was the scoutmaster. I was involved in scouting until I graduated high school. I have always had a measure of regret that I never got back into scouting after graduating college and coming to Fulton.

Be that as it may, I have found that living by that motto has been a blessing and a curse over the years. I realize that no one can be completely prepared for every situation they run into, but in as much as it is possible, being prepared is a very good thing.

Continue reading

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: June 2, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

My usual Memorial Day vacation is usually spent relaxing around home with possibly a short stint of fishing thrown in as an afterthought, but 2012 was different.

Tim and Alicia have acquired a building lot that had belonged to her mom and dad for many years on Thirty Island Lake in Ontario, Canada. They have visited it numerous times and I had come to almost know it from their descriptions.

This year, Sweet Thing and I packed up our camping gear and joined Tim, Alicia, and our grandchildren, Nathaniel and Annaliese, for our first actual look  at the site.

The journey took us across the 1000 Islands Bridges into Canada and West on 401. Most of the driving was on very comfortable highways and even the last few miles after we left Godfrey were easy to navigate over well-manicured, crushed stone. Not until we were within shooting distance of our destination did the road give way to sort of a two lane cattle path under a velvety green canopy of oak, maple, cedar and pine, with a white birch thrown in here and there for artistic contrast.

The lot was larger than I had envisioned and the location and view of the lake was impressive. It was easy to understand how they had become so enamored with their little piece of Canada.

Even before we had set up camp, Sweet Thing and I got a guided tour of the property, the lake front, and the staked off area where a future cabin is slated to sit. I knew right away that, Lord willing, this would not be my last trip to Thirty Island Lake.

We unpacked four kayaks and before long they were skimming over the water as Sweet Thing and I watched our family from shore. Sporadically, a lazily moving boat would come by, the occupants trolling for pike or walleye, but other than the muted mutter of their outboard and the occasional squeals of Annaliese and Nathaniel, very little interrupted the soothing silence.

We had fishing rods and a cache of night crawlers that were begging to be used, but the first evening they were put on hold as we settled around a late dinner and afterward got our living quarters straightened out and beds made for the night.

After all the packing at home and the three hour drive to the lake, everyone was ready for a good night’s rest – and we got it.

As we snuggled between the sheets, the loons bathed us with their calls on the lake, and a couple owls hooted on the far shore.

 To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397 
Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: May 26, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

The time is drawing short on my turkey season and I still have yet to get a shot at a tom.

My hunt with Tom Duger was very enjoyable; although, I still have not gotten to the stage where I enjoy the getting up at 4 a.m. part, but we had a great morning.

Just as Tom had told me, there was a tom gobbling on the roost after we had set up. He gobbled after he had flown down and he worked our way, but he was with a bunch of hens.

The turkeys finally came into the field a couple hundred yards away from where we had set up, and lo and behold, they began working their way towards us. The group was mostly hens, but at least one long beard was in tow plus a couple jakes.

Everything seemed to be working out, but when the birds had gotten to about a ninety yards away, the jakes and tom left and headed back into the brush and trees, while the hens continued towards our position.

Eventually, two of the hens wandered right up to the decoys, giving them a good looking over before deciding they weren’t going to join their group and eventually walking away.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: May 19, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

It is a bit hard for me to believe how fast the spring is flying by and summer looks like it is stacking up to be pretty much a blur as well.

My turkey hunting has been limited and unsuccessful, and in all fairness, I haven’t been as dedicated as I probably should have been.

As I was writing this column, Tom Duger called and invited me to go with him Thursday morning; otherwise, I probably would have been checking the inside of my eyelids when the sun came up.

Tom had told me earlier in the week that he had been seeing some jakes and I indicated I would be happy just seeing jakes at this point and I guess he was listening.

Memorial Day weekend, Sweet Thing and I expect to be camping with Tim and his family in New Hampshire near the ocean. I’m going to give Nathaniel and anyone else who wants, a chance to catch some Atlantic Mackerel.

If they have arrived inshore off New Hampshire, the fishing will be fast and furious. Mackerel are an oily fish and many folks are not as fond of them as they might be about haddock and swai, but I actually enjoy them — and I love catching them. I think it is going to be a Memorial Day to remember.

I have three somewhat lengthy trips planned for the summer. The first one will find Tim and I heading to Alaska for a week of salmon fishing.

Later, Sweet Thing and I will be visiting Brett and his family out in Two Harbors, Minn., and toward the end of summer, we will head to Seattle to spend some time with Ben and his wife. I am sure that Ben and I will get out a couple times on Puget Sound.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: May 12, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Cortland County produced a real eye opener for me during New York State Outdoors Writers Association’s Spring Safari. I had never fished the area before and I was anxious to find out what the areas streams and ponds had to offer.

I fished two streams for trout and both of them were well worth my efforts. The first stream I fished was a small brook,  which emptied into another stream that was a feeder for the east branch of the Tioughnioga River.

The stream was running high with rain water, but was still easy to navigate with only knee boots. It turned out to have a good population of native brook trout.

Continue reading