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Fall in Maine is spectacular. It's the best time of the year to be surrounded by great foliage and the opportunity to catch a colored up brook trout or kype-jawed landlocked salmon or a fat smallmouth looking to fill up for the winter.. Here are some photos from the end of September.
It's that time of year when the water is cooling, and fish will be more active than they've been since June! Streamers and nymphs are the ticket, but dries have been still producing. There have been lots of small fish in the river, and they're willing to take many different caddis patterns in every pocket that we fish. If they don't come up for dries, we go to nymphs and almost always find that somebody is home.
As we get some rain and the nights become cool, smelt patterns will start attracting the bigger fish who will start moving around the rivers a lot more. We don't have any September dates available, but we still have a few October dates. Give us a call if you'd like to get in a great day surrounded by the fall foliage casting to trout and salmon or smallmouth bass!
Summer smallmouth action has been great as usual. We've been taking lots of clients out who are new to fly fishing or just want to do some plain old, good fun spin fishing. Father-son trips have been a big hit this summer. It's always great to see kids who haven't been to a remote area or been fishing for fast action smallmouth on a boat before. It can be just as fun to watch the kid in Dad come out on these trips, as well.
We have a few more dates available before Labor Day. I only have a couple of trout trip dates on weekends left in September. We have a few available dates for smallmouth trips on weekends in September and October. You can catch some of the biggest fish of the season in the fall and be surrounded by peak foliage. Give us a shout if you'd like to get out for a trip before the snow flies!
It seems like Groundhog Day. Hot sun, great scenery and awesome smallmouth action. The fish are hitting topwater still at times, and have moved more towards the quick water. These recent rainstorms have been great and have kept the fish very active. Let's be honest, it's cool to hookup subsurface, but no freshwater fish beats the topwater takes of a feisty smallmouth!
We have some openings for August available, but are very limited to certain dates. Let us know if you'd like to get out there before summer is over. August is a great month to chase smallmouth bass.
We'd also like to welcome our newest member of the team. Meet Joy! She had a test run on Vince's boat last week and passed with flying colors. We can foresee many lazy summer days on the boat for this girl!
Those really hot summer temps are hopefully come and gone. The fishing has held on through all of it. The smallmouth fishing is at its peak and it's a great time for a trip. We have several openings still for July during the week and more in August. Fishing for smallmouth is fun, challenging and rewarding. Floating in the sun, wearing shorts and sandals, bumping Bald Eagles, eating great food and fighting strong smallies are all in a day's fishing!
We're still taking inquiries for trout fishing trips, but I'll only do half day trips from 2 to 8 pm right now as not to stress out the fish too much. You'll get 6 hours for the price of 4, so if you're around the Western Mountains (about 2 hours north of Portland) let us know and we can get you on the water. I don't have many dates left for September, but give us a buzz and let us know if you're looking for a great fall foliage fly fishing trip where brookies have brilliant red bellies to match the trees!
It's caddis time! Caddis are all over the water column from the bottom to the top. This can be the best time of the year to catch a big trout or salmon on a dry fly. Find some shade or low light periods (early am or late pm) and skitter a tan bodied Elk Hair Caddis and you're sure to be rewarded. If you're having trouble locating fish then fishing a small caddis in some low riffles can be a good bet. You won't catch the biggest trout, but as the water warms up they'll be holding in quicker water which holds lots of oxygen. Soft hackle flies dropped 24" below a dry are deadly when you see caddis coming off. Just because you see caddis or mayflies in the air doesn't mean they are smashing dry flies. When we see lots of bugs in the air, we're finding that a big nymph like a Pat's or a Prince nymph with a soft hackle emerger at the end will work if you present it correctly.
While Caddis will continue to fool, it's inevitable that as summer continues on that they'll take smaller and smaller patterns. However, if you're fishing in the morning and you see lots of stoneflies on the banks, it's time to throw on a big dry pattern like a Bugmeister or Kaufmann's Stimulator and give it a twitch. If you hit this hatch just right, you can put 40+ quality trout in the net in a morning's fishing. Even on a slower day, this tactic will work from the last week of June until the end of July.
It's time to get out the dry flies! Hendrickson are in full swing in the Western Mountains. Hendrickson Parachute patterns are a great way to go because they ride low and you can see them. Green bodied caddis are starting to pop. A green elk hair caddis with a partridge and green dropper are game changers. Drift the caddis, give a few twitches, and let it swing at the end of the drift. You will catch fish on all three different presentations. You can still nymph on the bottom with big stonefly patterns as lead flies with green caddis larva or pheasant tails behind them. It's all deadly right now.
I'm reminded of this every year around this time and pass on this knowledge to clients. It's not always about having the "right" fly. Several different fish will take several different flies all in the same timeframe. What's really important is having a spot on presentation. Dead drift your nymphs in the slowest water you can find on the edge of a seam. Skitter your caddis dries and let them swing across the current at the end. Dead drift your mayfly dries with a little twitch here and there. You can fish emerging patterns from your nymph rig or below your dry. At the end of drift, be patient and let them sit for 5-10 seconds. You'll be pleasantly surprised!
We don't have much for trout trips left for June, but will book half day trips in the Rangeley region for July and August.
Smallmouth fishing is red hot right now as well. Poppers and topwater patterns are ready to roll. We have some trips still available for weekends in June, and many dates open for July and August. Give us a call, float in the sun, hook hard fighting smallies and enjoy the outdoors!
Here are a few more highlights from recent trips
We don't typically guide much before Memorial Day, but when the weather and flows cooperate, there can be some great fishing. Not to mention, the weather has been great and it just feels great to get out there. Vince had a half day trip for the first trip of the year for Headin' North. And what better way to kick off the season than to take a kid fishing? I think the smile says it all. Dad was able to take some great photos and make some awesome memories. A very fun day for all!
Southern Maine Update
Rivers and ponds are being stocked with trout. They're starting to look up for dries. When people think of stocked fish, they think it's easy peasy. Not always the case, as they can smarten up and become selective quick. The other day we fished for holdover brown trout in a river that had also been recently stocked with small brown trout. It was a bright sunny day, so the big fish weren't really willing to play. The stockies were rising everywhere, so we decided to target them for a while. After about 10 different dry/emerger combos, we finally figured out that they wanted a small midge emerger with a downstream presentation being stripped back upstream. The trout fishing will remain good until mid-June, so if you're looking for an opportunity to fish for trout near Portland, give us a call!
The bass are starting to pre-spawn and will be more active in the next couple of weeks in the bigger rivers. In the smaller rivers, a large white fly (about 5 inches long) will bring up some big boys. We caught a few the other day when we noticed large fish attacking small suckers that were taking our nymphs. A quick change to a streamer and the bass came to hand easily. No pictures, so you'll just have to believe us!
Western Maine Update
Brook trout and salmon are starting to enter the rivers in larger numbers as flows come down. They've been chasing smelt and that will peter off in the next couple of weeks. The sucker spawn is the next major event that will be hot for the next week or two, also. Then, we're on to the first big dry fly hatches of the season seeing Hendricksons and then lots of caddis! We'll be out on the water this weekend, so a report will soon follow.
Our first trip of the year is in the books. Between family obligations, poor weather and trying to sell my house, it's been difficult to get on the water. Marc and I made a run up to camp to put in a new window and tie some flies. On the drive up, we saw at least 100 deer and many other animals. As the snow melts, they're looking for forage. They're hungry!
Well, the deer weren't the only ones who were hungry. This fish has been gorging on smelts and he had the belly to prove it. Fishing is still pretty slow, but stick to your basics and look for fishy water. They are there, but they aren't willing to move too far for a fly. A dead drifted streamer or nymph is what they're looking for until the water starts to heat up a little. There are some well-known stages in the coming weeks like smelts and sucker spawn, so don't be afraid to start dialing up those flies a little early!
Time to dust off the gear, clean your fly lines and get your boxes assembled. We don't guide many trips in April, but we always feel that May is an underrated month. You never know what you're going to get for weather, but some of the biggest fish of the season come to play in this month. We have a few weekend dates available, so shoot us an email or give a call if you'd like a shot at some big fish!
Aaron Broaddus is a Registered Maine Fishing Guide with Headin' North Guide Service. Aaron specializes in fly fishing in the Western and Southern sections of Maine.