Vince and I headed up to the Western Mountains on Friday to fish for brook trout. The water temps were in the mid 30's and the air temps didn't reach 35 degrees. Sleet, snow and rain along with 20 mph wind gusts were on the menu for the day. Needless to say, we didn't really see anybody else out there. At some point, you start to ask yourself if you're dedicated or crazy? We hooked 7 good sized brook trout and landed 5 of them. It's SAFE to say that fish are feeding 100% under the surface for the time being. Flows were stable up there, but the rivers in Southern Maine are still pretty high. However, the stocking trucks are making the rounds, so fish are available in many rivers. Here are some pics from Friday:
I had our first guided trip of the season on Saturday. Things were pretty slowww all day, but we finally found some fish in the afternoon. Kurt and Dawn were good sports and showed their determination/toughness as weather conditions were not much different than the previous day!
The weekly report is a few days late due to Easter weekend. Southern Maine rivers are still currently mostly blown out due to run off or dam releases. I drove by the Upper Andro today and it was ripping. I'm hoping these big rivers come down in the next two weeks, but I think that's wishful thinking.
I finally "Headed North" and although it was snowing when I got to the river, it just felt right. Water temps were extremely cold in the mid 30's and air temps didn't hit 40 degrees until later in the afternoon. The fish are not willing to move much and need their food delivered pretty much right into their mouth. It reminds me of when you're being extremely lazy and don't want to get off the couch, even though you're hungry. They just don't want to work for their food until they become less lethargic.
With that being said, it was nice to locate some brookies that were willing to eat. Nymphs and streamers both caught fish today. Don't be afraid to try something out of the norm this time of the year. The 2017 skunk is off. It was refreshing to be in a quiet, beautiful fishing spot with some fish that were willing to play. It's about time!!
Most rivers in Southern Maine are very high and mostly unfishable after the heavy rains we received later this past week. The Presumpscot is an exception to that, as the flows are controlled by the dam coming out of Sebago. The reason why they aren't releasing is because there is still ice on the basin. It was too nice to not get out on Sunday, but water temps still remain below 40 degrees. Words like "slow" and "hit" are pretty common to describe fishing when water temps are so low. The action is "slow" and we're happy if we just get A "hit". The water is gin clear, so we can usually see fish. We only saw one on this day. It's pretty reasonable that the fish haven't made their way back into the river, and they won't do so until temps rise some more.
I always find it funny that people are so "secretive" about what flies they use. I often find that there is usually not just one "golden" fly that is working. Are there times that they are selective? Yes. But a majority of the time, you can pick up several different fish with several different flies. We saw some very small midges hatching and flipped a few rocks to find small numbers of mayfly nymphs. This is pretty common this early in the season. We used Little Black Stone nymphs, Pheasant Tails, and various San Juan Worm patterns with no luck. However, with more fish in the river, these are pretty reliable patterns. I've posted some pictures below of one of my many fly boxes with patterns that we tie ourselves!
We'll be on the water a few days this week in Southern Maine. Hopefully the warm temps and receding waters will get the fish in the mood a little more. Next week, we'll be heading up to the Western Mountains for the first time this year. Based on how much snow we have done here, winter may not be gone until mid-May, but we have always fished there in April. I'll post again after we get back.
The season opener was a little snowy to say the least. Marc and I decided to open our season the day after on a tributary of the Androscoggin River known for producing some nice hold-over browns. It's always exciting to just get out there in the river again, rig up the rods, try out some new gear and tie on the flies you've been thinking about for weeks. The air temps were in the mid-40's and the water was hovering around 35 degrees. The key for these early days in the season is to find soft water and get flies down deep. We tried several different nymph rigs consisting of pheasant tails, stonefly nymphs, zebra midges, san juan worms and soft hackles with no luck. It actually just felt great to try out the new 6 weight and practice some casting.
Flipping rocks is always effective, but some of the aforementioned flies are pretty common this time of the year. Little black midge and little black stoneflies are usually buzzing around in the late morning in April and it was no different this year. It was great to see some of them zipping across the water. My wish of a fat brown exploding on that stonefly did not come true. You'll see lots of these guys around in Southern and Central Maine in the next few weeks so be sure to have a few in your box in both the adult and nymphal stage. A black size #14 Klinkhamer will do the trick when they start looking up a little.
For some great early season action in the southern part of the state, refer to the Maine fish stocking report. These early stockies will feast on these LBS nymphs and dries. Find some soft water that turns into a back eddy and you'll be surprised at how many strikes you'll get on a dry fly this early in the season. The Presumpscot River in Windham will be busy, but if you can get out during the week you'll find less crowds and have a shot at nailing some hold-over trout. Be careful and watch your step as water will be pretty high with all the melting and runoff that will occur in the coming weeks.
For the 2017 season, I'll be keeping a weekly fly fishing report about conditions, fly suggestions, bug activity and observations on the water. Mainly, these reports will focus on fishing in Southern Maine, but as the season progresses and we can get to other parts of the state we'll post about those regions, as well. Our intent is not to spot burn, so we won't post about some of the lesser known waters in the state to protect those beautiful fisheries. We fish some pretty well known rivers, so I'll post conditions and bug activity as the season progresses. Enjoy and get out there!
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.