We generally start trips in Late May and run through late July up in the Rangeley region for trout and landlocked salmon, but this year we got an early start due to very, very early ice out and continued drought from last fall. Our season ran through late JUNE this year, and we cancelled all trips in July for trout. I started taking on more smallmouth bass trips than I have in the past, and even that has been difficult with the very low flows this summer. I had a blast guiding many repeat clients and met some really awesome new folks as well. The fisheries in Rangeley have been getting hit hard since the beginning of the pandemic due to increased angler pressure and the Western Maine drought, but numbers of fish were par for the course this year. In June, clients put over 40 brook trout and salmon between 16"-20" in the net, all released safely back to their homes.
I'm looking forward to cooler nights and hopefully LOTS of rain this fall to help get our fisheries back in good shape. Unfortunately, I'm all booked up for this fall and I've started taking trip dates for next spring. If you're looking to get out with me, I'm very big on teaching folks over all skill levels and ages new tools to put in their toolbox. It's always fun to hunt for big fish, but I really work hard to make sure people leave the day with new techniques, confidence and memories for those cold winter nights when we're all dreaming about trout fishing. Make sure to get out this fall and have fun!!
We post the majority of our photos and videos on our Instagram page, but I thought I'd post some pictures here from this year of the beautiful brook trout and landlocked salmon that came out to play this year. We were able to fish mostly dry and dropper setups from Memorial Day through the end of September. We still have a couple of trips to finish up in October. I had a bunch of trips this year with experienced anglers from away who are used to catching 10-12" brook trout. Needless to say, with many brookies between 14 - 18", the most common phrase from folks fishing with us this year was "That's the biggest brook trout I've ever caught."
We had anglers from all over the country and everything from experienced anglers to fish time fly fishers. It was a wonderful season, and even with a busy schedule and two little kiddos at home, I was able to get on the water quite a bit this year to do some fishing of my own, and reconnect with old friends showing them some of my playgrounds!
If you're looking to book a trip with us for the 2020 season, some of our prime dates in June and July are already booked up, so contact us sooner than later to ensure that you fish during the best times!
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from this year!
July has been a great month for dry flies in Rangeley. The fish have been keyed in on taking very big dry flies, which has been awesome. We often run a small dropper which imitates a caddis off from the big dry. Clients have been into some big brook trout with each day bringing a shot at a brookie of a lifetime for most. Trout in the 17 to 20 inch range have been put into the net, and some bigger trout have been lost. The bigger brook trout will peel off some line and take you down into the depths of the river which have many rocks and logs to try and break you off. They head for fast water, and the key sometimes is to let them run because you won't get them back up the rapids. As we progress through July and August, the key to success will be smaller tan caddis dries and back to fishing more nymphs as waters warm up. Go early and late, and avoid midday because it will be slow. Try your best to get trout and salmon into the net as quickly as possible and let them go quick. Even 5 seconds out of the water can be deadly during this time period. A quick photo of the fish in the net in the water can be just as beautiful as the "grip and grin" pics that we all love. Those trout that we've lost have clients hungry for more and wanting to come back next year for a shot at the BIG one. We're already booking trips for June and July of 2020, so reach out to use for these prime dates before they fill up! Plan your trip today!
The sucker spawn is over in the mountains, but fish are sloooooowly transitioning to looking up. Nymphs are the game right now, and being at the bottom of the water column will keep you hooked up. We've been loving pheasant tails, stonefly imitations and small bwo nymphs. Hendrickson hatches are sporadic, and the fish will come up for them, but not as willingly as normal. It's been a strange, late year and the fish seem to be taking their time. Any day now, hendrickson dry patterns will be a good bet with caddis dries not far behind. Drop a small emerger off of there and fish pockets that look fishy. The later part of June and into July are looking sweet, so get out there and tie strong knots!!
We've had a great past two weeks in Rangeley. Spring came late, but the suckers came and are pretty much done doing their thing at this point. We've seen Hendricksons on the water that past few days on the Rapid River. Fish are in the rivers, and they're also starting to look up. The usual nymphs will start working, and having an emerging pattern on your nymph rig or your dry fly as a dropper will work great for you in the coming weeks. We have some trip dates now in July, but June is pretty much booked up. We do have some smallmouth trips available in the Portland area. It's time for topwater smallmouth fishing, which you can't beat. Enjoy some of our pictures of Rangeley from the past couple of weekends!
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!
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.