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!
Unfortunately, our camera skills are nowhere near our fishing skills, but we're working on it! Check out some shots from 2017. We have many openings for 2018. Book a trip with us and see what the buzz is all about!
First of all, thank you to all our service men and women who have served and continued to serve! We're grateful for the opportunities that we're allowed to have due to you. So again, thank you!
Another season is winding down here in the north country. I guess technically we're fishing in the southern part of the state, but there are still opportunities to get out there. The drift boat had a successful, first full season and will be under good care for the winter. Can't wait to crack it out in the spring!
With the low water that we had for most of September and October, November has become the month for fishing. If you can brave the air temps, the water is still pretty warm and fish are very active right now. Make sure to check the law book before you go out and fish on the waters that are still open. The Mousam, Androscoggin, and the Presumpscot are all open and fishing well. Trout are still taking small BWO's and black ant patterns on top. Nymphs and streamers will be your best bet this time of year. Both stocked and wild fish are active in the rivers right now. We've also had some great reports from recently stocked ponds about big browns! Get out there before winter has you cooped up and dreaming about warmer weather!
There are still some opportunities to get out and fish in the Western Mountains. The foliage is peaking right now, so it's absolutely beautiful when we get these bluebird days. With some increased rain in the forecast this week, we could see some bigger fish start becoming more aggressive and feeding before winter gets here. We have a couple of November dates available for anybody looking to get up to Bethel and fish the Upper Andro for some trout!
With the forecasted rain and stocking trucks out on the road, Southern Maine is going to be the place to fish for the remainder of the season. As hunting season starts, we'll start to see less folks on the water and more opportunities to fish prime spots. November has really turned into a great month to fish, as the trout are spawning more during this time and become more aggressive. Vince had a couple of clients get into over 20 brook trout last year in early December. They'll still feed on BWOs and other dry flies, so topwater action is a possibility and can still be a lot of fun.
Smallmouth bass are hanging in the shallows as they load up on baitfish this time of the year. We'll continue to run float trips until the weather dictates that we can't.
Western Maine Report:
If ever there is a time to hit Western Maine rivers, it's right now! Big trout and salmon are moving into the rivers to spawn and this is the time of the year when you can land a trophy brook trout or landlocked salmon on the fly. Just because summer is over don't overlook dry fly fishing. We landed 18" salmon on size 18 dry flies this past weekend. Parachute patterns like black ants and adams are good bets. There are still a good number of caddis on the water. Soft hackles do a great job of imitating emerging caddis. Nymphs that have been working are pat's rubber legs, copper john, black zebra midge and green caddis larva. Lastly, those big streamers may not produce a LOT of fish, but they can entice a big fish! We have a few spots available still this fall, but remember that a lot of rivers close on September 30th. Get out there!
Southern Maine Report:
Smallmouth bass are starting to work back into the shallows to beef up on baitfish before winter time. Poppers are still producing. Bass fishing will stay hot through October. Trout and salmon fishing will start to heat back up in about a month. We guide in Southern Maine right through Christmas time if the conditions are right. We don't have any trips booked for November. With many people hunting this time of the year, you can find a lot of serenity and trout in Southern Maine, which is rare!
It's been a while since I've posted! We've been on the Andro a lot churning out bass trips. The dog days of summer seem to be on the tail end. Bass are down deep in very rocky areas, so getting down with rubber leg flies or clousers has been the ticket. We have left the trout waters alone, but will be getting back out in the next couple of weeks as water temps are starting to drop. The last trip to the Magalloway was productive, but fish needed to be quickly released. We have a few dates left between now and Labor Day weekend if you're looking to get out there! After Labor Day, we'll only be guiding on the weekends and still have some dates available.
The big bugs are here! Summer is also in full effect. Find the shade and cool water temps and you will find the fish if your presentation is good. There's a LOT of good fishing going on right now. For trout waters, think big AND small. Big stonefly dry patterns, small tan caddis patterns and small black/brown ant patterns are deadly right now. Don't be afraid to bring a bunch of tippet and try lots of different patterns. If you need to get deep, we've been using a new type of nymphing rig called "the drop shot rig". This rig consists of about 4 feet of 12 lb mono with a tippet ring attached to it. Then add 4 to 5 feet of Rio Fluorocarbon tippet, tie a triple surgeon knot to 12 inches of fluoro and put a small fly on the tag end. Repeat this process and tie on a bigger nymph, like a Pat's rubber legs on the tag end. At the very end, tie a knot and put one or two split shot above. Move your indicator above the tippet ring depending on the depth of the water. One and a half times the water depth is the best placement for your indicator. I know it's a lot, but fish are on the bottom and this where they feed a majority of the time.
Summer smallmouth fishing is also going strong. Poppers in the shade or chartreuse flies near the drop offs are the ticket. Get out there and enjoy! We have some dates open for August and September. Give us a call and let us show you how to get the job done!
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.