The Dog Days of Summer

Over the past week, I have camped and fished through the Saranac Lakes, the St. Regis Lakes, the Bog River, Lows Lake and Hitchens Pond. I found the Saranacs rather quiet and the St. Regis also somewhat slow. However, the vast Bog River Wilderness was packed with travelers seeking solitude, which appeared to be in very limited supply.

Regardless of the human traffic, the fishing has been excellent for bass due to a series of passing low-pressure systems. During these 'Dog Days of Summer,' a favorite activity is to pursue bass with a flyrod, in the early hours of the evening. Bumblebee pattern poppers have proven quite effective of late, especially when nothing else seems to work. When the waters grow flat and still, spin fishermen will find similar results with surface lures such as Little Torpedos or Hula-poppers.

Fishing, swimming and camping are some of the finest 'kid friendly' activities available and the current conditions are possibly the most conducive of the season. Taking a kid outdoors, whether for the day or a couple of nights is one of the least expensive methods of fostering an appreciation of the environment and cementing family bonds. Surveys regularly reveal that a 'camping trip' is commonly reported as the most indelible memory of our youth.

New tools for hunters, hikers, skiers and anglers

Outdoor enthusiasts will find a new tool to help plan trips in the Forest Preserve at DEC's Mapping Gateway. The website provides information that allows the public to use Google Earth and other mapping tools to find trails and learn more about the state lands that surround them.

DEC's Mapping Gateway combines existing web mapping applications and map collections with new offerings, such as a full-featured, interactive data inventory and map viewer. DEC continues to expand the availability of "Virtual Globe" data at http://www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/42978.html that provide a variety of interactive aerial map representations using virtual globe software such as Google Earth.

The Mapping Gateway also offers an extensive series of depth charts that are a valuable tool for anglers. Many local waters are featured, including several backwoods ponds.

Additional new features offer information on boating, bird watching, hunting and accessibility to other state lands.

Instructions are available on the DEC website for those needing information about how to download and use the Google Earth software.

Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at brookside18@adelphia.net.

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