This will be a down and dirty report. Things are really starting to heat up! Nymphs are still the ticket in the North country, but fish were taken over the weekend on emergers. Klinkhamers are a great imitation this time of year for emerging mayflies and caddis. We caught some fish on a pond on Hendrickson patterns. Those little buggers are hatching in full effect up north. We spent time in the Western Mountains and Central Maine over the Memorial Day weekend. I'll put a Southern Maine report out this weekend as we'll be guiding down here this weekend. I have to imagine that dry fly fishing will be in full swing down here. Elk hair caddis and appropriate mayfly dries will be the tickets for trout. Hopefully the smallies are looking up and ready to pounce on topwater offerings! Flows are stabilizing in some areas and great in others. Please wear a life jacket on the quicker rivers, especially if in a canoe. Too many tragedies already this spring. I'll let the pictures from this past weekend do the talking! - Aaron
Things AND fish are looking up! As the big rivers are finally receding, we'll finally be able to get out on those this upcoming weekend. Trout, salmon and smallmouth are all coming into the topwater season, but most fish are still caught subsurface right now. Vince and I were able to get out on a small stream this past weekend and hook into some stockies on dry flies and emergers. It felt awesome to finally watch the take and set the hook. It's a feeling that never gets old!
Smallmouth are just starting to get on their beds so fishing clousers and streamers tight to the bank is going to be starting any day now. Most have been caught on the drop offs with slow to medium retrieves or on the drop. Patience is key.
In the Western Mountains, sucker spawns should be in full effect for the next week or so. If you can find where the suckers are, trout and salmon will be gorging not far downstream on their eggs. A variety of egg patterns are a must-have in your box right now. Another pattern in the Western Mountains that is great this time of the year is the Green Caddis Larva nymph. If you see rises, don't be afraid to throw on an Elk Hair Caddis with a partridge and green dropper. Vince will be patrolling this region on Memorial Day weekend. Marc and I will be on some new water that we're exploring and looking to expand our fishing territory into!
The weather looks great this weekend (knock on wood) so just get out there and get a line wet. The fish are active and with some patience and good presentation, you will hook up!
It has been an interesting week here in our great state. Flows were finally coming down earlier this week and bigger rivers and tribs are coming down to fishable levels. Then with the heavy predicted rain on Mother's Day the flows went back up. I think the best word to describe the conditions so far is inconsistent.
In the middle of the week, Marc and I got onto a river in central Maine known for holding some good holdover browns before stocking starts. We caught several small brown trout and a couple of suckers and creek chubs. My afternoon was made when I had on a 4" creek chub and I'd be lying if I said I reeled him in as fast as I could. That poor guy got engulfed by a big fish while he was vulnerable on my line and my rod bent over in a hurry. I've heard of brown trout being predatory, but this was only the second time I've witnessed pure predation. I had the brown on for over a minute and saw him swim by my feet. Not as big as I had originally thought, but a solid 15" brown with a chub down his gullet. I let him play a little too long and I should've known better to get him in quick as he wasn't really hooked. Needless to say, the chub was no longer on my line so I think it's safe to say he was an appetizer.
On Saturday, things cleared out for once and Vince and I took advantage of the good weather. My wife graciously let me float for "as long as I wanted" to as it was my birthday. Flows were high and we were surprised to take on a little whitewater on the Andro. This section doesn't usually get too choppy, but at over 10,000 cfs it made for a fun ride. Nothing the Hyde drift boat couldn't handle. We caught all smallmouth and nothing under 16". Vince lost a big one that we estimated at around 20", but we'll never know.
Hopefully the late weekend rainstorm doesn't do too much damage to the rivers. We're ready to fish! Time for Mother Nature to play nice. One good thing about the rain is that hopefully we should hold onto some cooler water a little later into the summer than in years past. Get out there, but be safe on the big rivers. When the green fish are biting, it means we've arrived. Here's a pic of Vince's largest smallie from Saturday. Enjoy!
There is some good news on the horizon! The flows are dropping due to lower than expected rainfall. The dams were lowering lake levels and anticipating a large storm this past weekend, but the rivers are now stabilizing. Fishing on the rivers should be back to normal in the next week. Nymphing will be the key as they aren't looking up yet in the Western and Central part of the state. High flows will dislodge a lot of nymphs. Pheasant tails, san juan worms, green caddis larva and prince nymphs will all be "go-to" patterns. Don't be afraid to change things up and think outside of the box. Often, we go smaller if the fish aren't biting, but scaling up and fishing something larger can get some of the more predatory fish to jump on your hook.
Ponds in Southern Maine have been hot as fish are starting to move into the shallows. Vince and I were in the Belgrade area last week on a large pond and fish were not yet in the shallows. This should change anyway now. As the rivers in Southern Maine stabilize, fish will start looking up in the next couple of weeks. Parachute Adams and Elk Hair Caddis are effective patterns this time of the year. Don't be without some Hendricksons and some soft hackle emergers! Be prepared for the best part of the fishing season. Make some time to get out there and don't leave yourself wishing you had spent more time on the water when the snow starts flying next winter!
This is a photo from the Ripogenus Dam on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. I've learned more about river flows and how dams operate this spring than I'd care to know. All of the major rivers are blown out and running super high. Wading is not an option and floats are somewhat dangerous, depending on the section. Smaller rivers are still running high and with the anticipated rain this Friday, dam operators are opening the "flood" gates to prepare for the flow increases. Needless to say, we've been forced off some of our favorite rivers and patience among anglers is running thin.
There are still some smaller streams that are starting to fish well and we'll be exploring those before the rain comes this Friday. The best option right now is fishing ponds. They can still be a little slow in the north country because they just lost their ice in the last week or so. Vince and I spent a few hours on Great Pond in Belgrade this past weekend and were able to locate some fish. We didn't get any takes, but we know that they're there and will only become more active as the temps rise. Getting on lakes and ponds will be your best fishing options. Think "slow" on your retrieves and wear some warm clothing. A life jacket at this time of the year can't be stressed enough as water temps are barely in the 40's and hypothermia could set in quickly.
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.