Fishing Action Everywhere

Hello everyone,

Sorry for the length of time between posts. How time flies when one is balancing fishing and work.

Late June was a month of weather contrasts, and how good the fishing was depended on what hour you were on the water on any particular day. It could be hot and humid part of the day, then pouring rain,  followed by a cold night and the next day. It led to frequent closet rummaging: Shorts to fleece, back to shorts, and then complete bug- coverage apparel as the little beasties swarmed. Often streams and rivers were too high to fish and ponds or lakes were the best or only options

The brown drake and green drake hatches on Kennebago Lake commenced on the east side of the lake on June 23rd and commenced up the lake until on the 27th bugs were popping opposite Grants on the north shore. It was very windy and rainy at times and fishing was tough under those conditions but those that were out during the lulls caught 12-16 inch trout and salmon on drake imitations. This author, alas, was otherwise occupied with guiding away and familial responsibilities, and didn’t get a chance to partake of above-mentioned hatch.

A couple of interesting fishing stories….I was fishing a favorite stretch of the Magalloway River way down below Wilson’s Mills and on successive casts caught a good brook trout, a large fallfish, and a monster yellow perch. Where else can you do that? The water was almost too high to fish.

My favorite fish caught so far this year: I was high-stick nymphing on the Kennebago right at dark. Couldn’t really even see my line at all – certainly couldn’t see the sighter that I use for reference. I felt a sluggish resistance, set the hook, and eventually landed a very strong and fat 20-inch brook trout. I handed my 10-foot, 4-weight nymphing rod to my son-in-law and he hooked and landed another brook trout that seemed almost identical out of the same lie. We worked our way back to the car by flashlight, both with wide smiles on  our faces.

Authors Note: It is gratifying that my Flyfisher’s Guide to New England is selling so well and that readers are telling me that it is proving a good resource for them. For those of you that have found this book useful, I would like to remind everyone that my first book, Flyfishing Northern New England’s Seasons, is a “how-to” book that complements the Guide. It is written in a different style with instruction for sure, but also stories, observations, and anecdotes. It is available from myself, Amazon, and some fly shops. Finding new water to fish is only half the battle, one still needs to know what to do.

Ice Out

My email these days is filled with folks asking me fishing questions so for this blog post, I will just answer them!

When was ice-out?

In the Rangeley area, it was within the last seven days, in fact higher elevations ponds still have at least a partial coating of ice. Further south, ice has been out for two weeks or so. However, the water remains cold because of cloudy days and cold nights. Patches of snow still linger in the woods in the Kennebago area.

How is the fishing?

Fishing has been slow because of high and cold water. In fact the lower Mags is running at 2000 cfs versus 350 for most of last year. I don’t know if I remember it being that high . A heavy snowpack melted quickly in Rangeley, followed by occasional rain. This is resulting in the spring run-off being closer to historical norms versus several dry springs over the last five years. While this means a slow start to moving-water fishing, it bodes well for sufficient water flows later in the year and good ground water levels.

Smelt are running in places, but perhaps not yet where water temps are still hovering around 40 degrees. Lake and pond fishing where smelt are running up brooks is where I would want to be fishing.

Does the high water mean that spring runs of salmon will push up rivers such as Kennebago?

Not necessarily. At least in Kennebago, salmon don’t really take advantage of high water flows until temps hit 50 degrees. Hopefully when the river warms up, water flows will still be high.

Do you have any fun fishing photos/stories?

Always. My guiding partner Abby from Kismet Ouftitters has been doing some drift boat guiding in western Mass. and found some really nice brown trout in the Hoosic River.IMG_3211 (2) IMG_2780

How is the new book selling?

Very well. We are going to start a second printing soon, which will allow me to update the book a little, correct a few typos and include a few more waters. “Flyfisher’s Guide to New England” can now be found in almost every fly fishing outlet in New England, but it does sell out quickly and doesn’t always find its way back onto the shelves in a timely manner. Remember, you can always purchase the book from me directly, signed of course. Just email me.

Enjoy the beginning of a new fishing season.

Lou

Fly fishing shows and presentations

Hi Folks,

I continue to travel around New England giving presentations, talking to anglers about their fishing plans, and signing books. What fun. Recently, I was at the New Hampshire Fly Fishing show in Manchester NH (great show if you haven’t been), The Farmington Valley (Connecticut) Chapter of TU, and The Sebago Lake Chapter.

Next up, the Greater Boston TU chapter in Newton, Massachusetts on Feb. 27th, and a Cumberland Library presentation on March 9th. Then there will be a gap in the action as I will be bonefishing in Abaco for two weeks in late March.

Enjoy two videos that are a compilation of short video snippets of a number of waters in Vermont and Maine that I describe in my Flyfisher’s Guide to New England.

Fall Fishing is Here! Sort of.

Early September has brought a few changes from August but the one thing that hasn’t changed is the lack of rain. Mid-August brought two rainstorms to the Rangeley region that dropped over 3 inches of rain in some areas, but the ground was so dry that much of it was absorbed with little run off. Still, it did raise and stabilize river flows in some areas. However, we have had little rain now for over a week and air temperatures are rising again into the upper 70’s during the day this week.

We did have cool nights (into the low 40’s several days) and water temperatures are dropping with rivers and streams falling into the 60’s. As a result some spawning fish are starting to move. Anglers are hooking a few nice fish in the upper Magalloway, a few nice salmon in the lower Kennebago, and seeing some big trout in the upper stretches.

Best bet is to fish early in the morning, be patient, and be satisfied with maybe one or two nice fish.

Fish are also starting to move into shallower water in the lakes and ponds and people are reporting the beginning of good action – although still with mostly smaller fish. Today on Kennebago it was cloudless, 75 degrees, and calm, but fish were rising at mid-day as tiny trico-like mayflies emerged in shallow water and mixed with a few tiny flying ants. Go figure.

In literary news, my new book is becoming more widely available and is now found in most fly-shops, sporting goods stores, and specialty book stores in New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts including Bass Pro in NH, and Kittery Trading Post. Not LLBean yet. If you don’t see it at your favorite store – ask for it! Of course, you can always buy it directly from me. Good luck with your September fishing and keep praying for a good tropical storm to reach northern New England.

Guiding Season

June is the height of the guiding season and the days can be long when it gets light at 4 A.M. and it is still light enough to fish at 8 P.M. This year has brought some hot days and a few very cold nights, but not very much rain. As a result, the fishing has been hot and cold. I have guided in a location where we didn’t see a sign of a fish, and then half an hour later another angler in the same place with a similar fly pattern, caught a half a dozen nice fish. I guided one person to a small river pool and we caught nothing, and then the next day, in the same pool, I guided two folks that caught 50 fish.

I had a few slow days, but a few successes as well. On the lower Magalloway River one weekend, when the fish were being pounded and fishing was slow, I had an angler who I taught the classic wet fly swing. On his first cast, he landed a beautiful 18-inch wild brook trout a size-18 wet fly – on the first cast!

I had a few new fly fishers who caught their first trout. Always an exciting event and a rewarding one for the guide.

Salmon started moving in the middle Magalloway River after a recent rain and I hope that they do the same on the Kennebago River because they haven’t as of yet.

My new book is finally arriving into my hands towards the end of this week. Then, I will be shipping it out and sending it to retailers ASAP. Enjoy the peak of the fishing season. Fish well and fish often.

TN3A8742

An excited client with a nice brook trout hooked on a dry fly.

The Dog River

I fished Vermont’s Dog River last week, a tributary of the Winooski River that I cover in my book, “Flyfishers Guide to New England.” It is a beautiful river with aqua-marine deeper pools and large trout. The wild trout are not numerous and very spooky and hard to fool when a full-blown hatch is not occurring. It seems like a one trout per pool type of deal and it feels a little bit like stalking fish in New Zealand although the fish are not as large. My friend Dave Durovich (a great guide in the area and a great guy) and I spooked a few, he briefly hooked a very large rainbow nymphing, and I landed a very energetic 18- inch rainbow on an olive soft-hackle streamer. Alas, no photograph. I also spent a little time nymphing the upper Winooski – a small river/stream that is really fun to fish. One chunky wild rainbow succumbed to my high-stick nymphing although the release was of the long distance variety. Below are a few photos of the Dog River…IMG_1921IMG_1919IMG_1903

Updates

Let me update folks on several things…

First, I will be giving presentations at the Maine Sportsman Show in Augusta on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 1, 2 and 3. Check the schedule on their website. Friday and Saturday my presentation will be “20 Great Fly Fishing Locales that You haven’t Heard of.” Sunday’s presentation will be “Tactics and Locations to Catch Trophy Brook Trout.” I will also be at the Maine Sportsman’s booth Sunday morning and probably other times as well.

Second, I will also be at the Sebago Lake Trout Unlimited Conservation Event/Dinner/Auction on Saturday, April 2 from 4:30 pm. or so on. I will be signing books and wandering around.

Third, let me update you on my books. My first book, “Flyfishing Northern New England’s Seasons,” has been sold out just about everywhere, but the 3rd printing is arriving this week, and will be shipping to stores that have run out. I will have some to sell directly as well and anyone who attended recent talks of mine when they were not available can contact me and I will ship them out to you. My new book, “Fly Fisher’s Guide to New England,” a where-to-go book goes to the printer this week, will be available in Kindle version the week after that, and in the stores to buy in early May. This book is the reason why I have not been seen around much recently. It was an unbelievable amount of work: 4 states, 369 pages of 8 by 11 format, 80 maps, 400 photographs, over 1000 waters described, hatch charts, 100 vacation suggestions, 100 beginner and easy-access suggestions, and a dozen fly patterns. Just the Table of Contents and Indexes are over 10 double column pages. I have been spending some long days doing the final editing, and I  look forward to receiving feedback from readers.

Fourth, The April Issue of the Maine Sportsman is well worth buying. I supplied the cover and this is the issue with the fish stocking section. But also fun is some of the April Fools articles and columns – look for them.

Is Spring Far Away?

 

Given the mild winter and thin or non-existent ice, it is looking like an early start to the fly fishing season. While I don’t ordinarily gear up to fish until about May 1, this year I am going to be ready a full month earlier, especially since I have found some places in Massachusetts, Vermont, and southern New Hampshire that might fish well early in the season, although some of it depends on when some of these streams are stocked. Even the Rangeley area of Maine may be fishing well by the end of April.

We are nearing the end of fly fishing presentation season, and I must say that I always enjoy giving presentations and talking to avid fly fishers about my presentations or my books. Anglers always seem thankful to hear another location, fly pattern, or technique to try. I guess that’s what makes fly fishing great  –  the constant search for more knowledge. It is a life-long learning sport for sure.

My new book, “Flyfisher’s Guide to New England” is at the publisher and will soon be on its way to the printer. Here are a few photos from just two great places that I discovered as I was researching the book. Once again, I am running a contest. Anyone that wants to guess at the location where these photos were taken can participate. The first person emailing me the correct answers to both photos will be sent a few handtied soft-hackle streamers tied by yours truly. If no one guesses both, then the first person to guess one of them will win. Email your answers to louzambello@gmail.com

VC

Late Fall Fishing

IMG_1761Above photo is looking down at Rangeley in mid-October. Below photo is the Ellis River. Both photos look typical for late September, not mid-OctoberIMG_1773Sorry for the long delay between posts. Busy with late guiding, travel and book deadlines, and then my website melted down for awhile. For yet another fall, weather seemed to shift by a full month. September was like a typical August, and October was similar to a typical September. Water remained low in October and even by mid-October hadn’t cooled enough to move many fish. Upper Dam did fish fairly well and when I guided there, most of my clients and other anglers were catching a number of brook trout (mostly smallish) and some big salmon. Casting Soft-hackle streamers into the faster currents and high stick nymphing on the edges of the faster water took the most fish.

I guided some in southern Maine, looking for freshly stocked fish in the upper Presumpscot or the Royal and sea run browns in the Mousam. Fishing remained relatively spotting and in southern New Hampshire stockings were postponed or eliminated because the water was so low. People were still harvesting beans and tomatos in October because of the absence of a killing frost.

The weather in November proved to be, what a surprise, similar to what one would expect in October. The fishing followed suit. Anglers that traveled to the East and West Branch of the Kennebec in mid to late November experienced fantastic fishing, but then again on November 22, here were a sampling of water temperatures…Upper Presumpscot River – 44 degrees, East Branch Kennebec 43 degrees, Kennebago Lake (closed to fishing but still 45 degrees. Folks, trout and salmon bite pretty aggressively at those temperatures.  The upper Presumpscot also fished well with stocked and holdover fish. In a few hours I hooked beautifully colored brook trout, some washed out brown trout, a good salmon, and then lost a better fish that I never saw.

Early December so far has followed suit with highs in the upper 40’s or even 50’s so I plan to head to southern New Hampshire and try to jam in a few more days of fishing.