October continues summer weather

As I write this on October 15, I just got back from Upper Dam, where I fished in a teeshirt because it was 70 degrees. The water temperature…58 degrees…much warmer than expected for this time of year. Anybody still doubt our climate is changing?

After a warm and dry September (again), some trout and salmon finally started moving up rivers and streams at the very end of the month. Fishing turned on in Kennebago River for example on the last two days of the season as water temperatures finally dropped and water was released from the dam.

I never guide the last day of the season, reserving that time to fish with friends or family. I got up at 0-dark-30 to have a few hours on the Kennebago to myself. At a pool by the name of Green Island, I fished uneventfully and unsuccessfully as the light slowly brightened on a cloudy day. On my last cast before heading home for a very late breakfast and maybe a nap, I sleepily cast a prince nymph as  far across the pool as I could in order to tighten the line on the reel in an orderly fashion. I was abruptly shocked awake by a strong take. The female salmon that I eventually landed turned out to be the largest I have ever landed on Kennebago – somewhere around five pounds, certainly no less. Tough to get any sort of photo by yourself if you don’t want to put the fish on dry land but you get the idea of his size given that I have big- can palm a basketball – hands…IMG_1285Later on in the afternoon, in some sort of cosmic karma balancing, my wife caught the largest landlocked in her life on the exact same prince nymph fly. IMG_4688

With water temperatures still relatively warm, for waters that are still open, I assume that lake and pond fishing will stay good until the end of the month as will river fishing  where there is sufficient water.

 

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

Spring is Sprung

First of all, I apologize for the tardy posting of my blog. Giving many fly fishing presentations and two weeks in the Bahamas bonefishing left me swamped. I am sure not a single person is feeling sorry for me.

After my bonefish adventure, I could literally write a book entitled, ” 101 Ways to Lose a Bonefish”, because I experienced them all. I lost fish to barracudas, sharks, mangrove roots, disenigrating reels, snapped backing line, broken fly-line loops, broken hooks, slack line, and fly-line loops around the fly-rod butt, just to name some of the ways. Fortunately for my ego, I did land a few as did my wife, Lindsey, and members of my family. You can see from this photo of my son-in-law and I releasing two fish, how amazingly bonefish blend into their environment. No wonder I can’t see them.IMG_0807IMG_0811

Getting back to Maine, this is the time of year when everybody is asking me about ice out. At the end of February, it looked like lakes were going to open up early. But then came March, which ended up with an average temperature below December, January, or February. Ice got thicker and then was covered with major snowfall. So now, even though the 70’s weather over Easter weekend melted much of the snow, I think the ice is going to hold out for a bit longer, particularly since this week will feature a return to colder weather. Ice is half out of the small ponds in southern Maine. Damariscotta Lake ice went out late last week. Ice out will move north over the next few weeks.

Stocking will commence in Maine in earnest this week and fishing will improve from there.

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.

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.

June rain leads to good July fishing

I can’t believe how the month of June flew by. Guiding, more exploration of Vermont fisheries, smallmouth bass fishing on Damariscotta Lake, Striper fishing in New Hampshire, and before you know it we are into July.

June was a cool and very wet month for much of New England. I had to cancel two scheduled classes that were supposed to take place in northern Vermont and on the Andro because all of the rivers were blown out. The Rangeley Rivers were very high and not fishable off and on all month. On the positive side, the waters have stayed cool and fishing continues to be good. The Rangeley River fished well thru June – and remains one of my favorite nymphing rivers.

The Kennebago Lake brown drake hatch occurred the last week of June and those that were on the lake enjoyed tremendous action from salmon and trout. A few trout approaching 20 inches – quite a treat on a dry fly No sign of any green drakes or hexes yet.

Kennebago River had some salmon come up in June with the high water but not as many as I might have thought. However, the river is filled with trout of all sizes, mostly 6-10 inches but more then I can ever remember – maybe because of several wet summers. With more rain at the end of June, more salmon have recently arrived. Yesterday, in a couple of hours, I landed 8 salmon on a simple mid-sized Royal Wulff. With cool lake surface temps, I think the river will continue to fish well through July.

The photo is my wife catching a nice trout during the evening rise on Kennebago Lake.

North Carolina Fishing and other matters

Hi Folks, my website is infected with some virus so some of you may see random words that are meaningless. This may force me to undertake a long overdue redo of my website.

I apologize for the long time between posts. How time flies when you are shoveling snow. Here is what the front of my house looks like.
I have been busy giving presentations around the eastern US although a few have been snowed out. I apologize to those hoping to see my presentation in Somerset NJ but I was coming down early that Saturday morning and the bulk of the snow was between NJ and Maine and I just couldn’t make it.

I was presenting at the fly fishing show in North Carolina and I had Sunday morning free before flying back to Maine. My future son-in-law and I hopped in a car to the Pisgah National Forest in the North Carolina Mountains, spent the night, and first thing in the morning were on the water at the Davidson River. We fished the stretch below the hatchery (no jokes please).

Even though the morning started cold (ice was freezing on the guides) it was just nice to be fishing. Plus, it is such an exotic environment because of the large Rhododendron bushes all around the water. Because it had been so cold, hold over browns and rainbows were stacked up in the deeper pools (it is not a big river) and there were only a few anglers around. Fishing midge pupa or emerging midge patterns under an indicator (or high-sticking with no indicator), we did well. A welcome respite from the Maine Winter.

Davidson River

Book signing schedule released for January; nice review from Amazon reader

Since my book has been released, I have been doing some traveling to various fly fishing venues to give presentations and sign books. I attended the Flyfishing Show in Marlborough Massachusetts. I will be doing a presentation at the Sebago Lake Chapter of Trout Unlimited Meeting on January 21. I will be presenting on January 24, 25, and 26 at the Flyfishing Show in Somerset New Jersey.

Books are available now at Amazon, the Rangeley Sports Shop, and directly from me. As I learn of other outlets, I will pass them on. I anticipate LL Bean soon. The book has received some nice reviews (even from readers not friends or relatives!) Here is one from Amazon…

Destined to become a New England flyfishing classic!!!
December 16, 2013
By andrew m. lamka – See all my reviews

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: Flyfishing Northern New England’s Seasons (Kindle Edition)

Destined to become required reading for anyone flyfishing Northern New England whether they are fishing the region for the first time or a veteran of fishing the region for many years. Unless one has the time to fish the area 100 days a year in every season for at least the next decade the information in this book will save you years of trial and error, frustration and fishless days! A book like this has been a long time coming’!

In the 1964 comedy film MAN’S FAVORITE SPORT the protagonist, George Willoughby, is a renowned angling expert who is harboring a secret… HE HAS NEVER FISHED!!! The author of this book is clearly NOT THAT GUY!!!Zambello is without doubt the real deal whose knowledge is the result of time on the water. I have flyfished the region covered on this book for over 50 years… particularly the Rangeley region..and the advice he offers is rock solid. I’ve learned more than a few new tricks and a bunch of new fly patterns from this book. Flyfishing the region has evolved exponentially
since the days of casting a GRAY GHOST, swinging a PARMACHENE BELLE, or floating a devil bug on a brook trout pond. The author covers Czech and European nymphing techniques, midge fishing, and fishing the sucker spawn (in the past a topic on which those in the know weren’t talking’). Great information on the best times to fish in terms of weather patterns and time
of day. I only wish I had a book like this 50 years ago!!!