As promised, will start sharing some new videos. In early November, my son-in-law and I chased schools of bull redfish as they entered shallower water in Pensacola Bay. Armed with 8-weight fly rods, popping bugs or Clousers, we did battle. I highly recommend it for some heart-thumping enjoyment.
Congratulations to one and all fly fishers – We made it to the start of another fly-fishing season. I was in Massachusetts last week and the snow was mostly gone and the rivers looked somewhat fishable. Not so much in Maine, where most waters are still locked up tight with snow and ice. The snow is melting quickly though as are the south-facing edges of ponds and lakes. It won’t be long until fishing options expand exponentially.
Let me update you on some news….
I was at the Maine Sportsman’s Booth yesterday (Friday) and at the Sebago Lake Trout Unlimited Event last Saturday, so I was able to catch up with some of you, which is always fun.
I will be presenting “Advanced Tactics and Strategies for Difficult and Pressured Trout” on April 12th for the Nashua Flycasters Association.
It was a difficult decision but I have decided to stop guiding for the foreseeable future. After 16 years, I am ready to concentrate on other aspects of fly fishing. I may still guide informally (without pay) for charity or other reasons but for those of you who want to hire me as a paid guide, sorry but I will not be available. I will, however, be assisting folks who are interested with their fishing plans, get them connected with good guides, and even sometimes meet them for breakfast the night before or morning of their excursions, so you can still leverage my expertise and knowledge of the New England area. It won’t cost you anything (lodging and guides pay me a finders fee}. So contact me if you are interested I’m me helping you. I enjoy helping people have successful trips.
My first book, ” Flyfishing Northern New England’s Seasons” is sold out of it’s 3rd printing so it will be a while until it is back in stock. I am making some updates to it so if you don’t have this book yet, I am excited to be able to offer an updated version soon.
Finally, I have been remiss in posting a number of cool videos on this site and on YouTube, so look in the not to distant future for more videos. Happy fishing season.
For those of you wondering why I haven’t posted a blog in two months, I will explain. Caught the flu in early January while traveling to present at various fly-fishing shows. My computer melted down. And just when I was feeling better, it was time to head off to New Zealand for almost a month, arriving back home a few days ago.
So we have lots to catch up on. Fishing season is only a few weeks away and this is when people start asking me for my best guess concerning ice-out and when fly fishing will really start in Maine. The winter started out really cold in Maine – minus 20 and colder in Rangeley for a number of nights- and I thought ice-out would be late. Then we had a warmish, rainyish February, and I thought ice-out might be early. Now we are having a very snowy March and since snow insulates the ice, now I’m thinking ice-out might be more or less at the normal time for whichever body of water you fish.
Updates on my author- related activities….I have an article “A Guide’s Manual to Big Brook Trout” in the March/April issue of American Angler. I haven’t heard much from anybody about it. Has anybody seen it? Also in the same issue is a feature on my guide friend Abbie Schuster from Kismet Outfitters. In the current March issue of The Maine Sportsman, I have my bi-monthly column – this one entitled “Lou’s Ten Fly-fishing Resolutions.”
The Western Maine Fly Fishing Expo takes place next weekend on March 17 in Bethel Maine where I will be giving a talk on “Tactics for fishing Highly Pressured Waters for Difficult and Educated Fish”. Also my wife, Lindsey will be giving a talk on Climate Change and its impacts on forests and fisheries in the Northeast.
I will also be at the Maine Sportsman’s Show the first weekend in April. I am not giving a presentation but will be at the Maine Sportsman’s booth for part of the weekend. When I know my exact schedule, I will let you know.
The Trip to New Zealand was fantastic despite some very challenging weather in the form of big storms with rain and wind. Will go into it in more detail in the future but here are a few photos, my wife with her best fish of the trip (a rainbow) and my best fish (a brown) as well. I estimate that both were over four pounds
First a seasonal joke: What did Santa say to his fishing buddies before they left on a fishing trip? “I hope that you sleigh ’em.”
Let me first go through some announcements…
First, for those of you who might want one of my books, but is looking to save money, I have a limited number of “seconds” for sale. These are books that are earlier editions, have a slightly marred cover, or it smudged when I signed it. Some folks want a cheap second copy if they have a fishing camp in addition to a primary home. I am selling second of both books for $ 15.00 includes shipping (ordinarily $ 28 and $ 33 with shipping) Just email me your address, and mail me a check to Lou zambello at 35 Crystal Lane, Cumberland, Me 04021 and I will send it right out.
Some scheduling notes: I will be presenting to the Mollyocket Trout Unlimited Chapter on January 17th. Presentation will be Highlights from my book, Flyfishing Northern New England Seasons. For specifics – see their website.
I will be presenting at both the Marlborough and Edison New Jersey Fly Fishing Shows. Check their website for times and locations. Presentation for Marlborough is going to be: 3 Best Places to fish for Trout each month of the year in New England (36 in all)
Finally, look for my article in American Angler Magazine (March/April edition) on Catching Big Native Brook Trout.
Short notice I know, but on November 21st I will be giving a great presentation on western Cutthroat fishing. Lots of video. Also, some awesome video of fall spawning brook trout. Hundreds of fish stacked up because of the drought. For more on the impacts of the drought, see my article in the Maine Sportsman for December.
Anyway, the cutthroat presentation on the 21st of November will be at the Sebago Lake Trout Unlimited Meeting at 7:00 at Camp Ketcha on Blackstrap Road in Scarborough.
Another year and another hot and droughty September. Last weekend was ridiculous with very low water, air temps in the 80’s during the day and 60’s at night and water temps hitting 70. I think that there has only been several days of rain in the last four months.
It was sad to see schools of brook trout trapped when they came up rivers during the brief cold and rain of early September and then got hung up. I saw small pools in Kennebago, South Bog Stream, and others with hundreds of mature brook trout who were being harassed by anglers, mink, otter, and predatory birds.
Cold weather is coming so maybe the last two days of September will offer okay fishing. My friends and I fished hard for several days last weekend and didn’t catch a single fish over six inches..
On a more positive note, here are a few awesome pics from the season…
My daughter fishing during the rain in early September without me. Not the best way to hold the fish but she had never caught a fish this big and it was a good learning experience. The photo is a little misleading – she is not holding the jaw.
Brookie has great camouflage from above to thwart predatory birds as you can see after the release of this fish.
But brilliant to each other as they fight for spawning territory.
9500 ft. alpine lake in sw Montana from my trip.
My wife, Lindsey with nice cut from that lake.
and a photo from our float on the middle fork of the Salmon River, Idaho in early September.
Typical Middle Fork Cutthroat
Sorry for my tardy reporting but I just returned from two weeks in Idaho and Montana fishing. I know, I know, absolutely no simpathy from my readers and none expected. It was a great trip but we will cover that later.
In late August and early September, most of New England experienced cool temperatures, something we have not seen in several years. Night time temps were down in the 30’s in Rangeley a few nights and water temps in rivers dropped into the 50’s. Several good rain storms raised the rivers. Trout and salmon started moving into the rivers early and fishing for big fish was good into the first week of September.
The weather pattern has now changed and no rain has fallen in a week or so and high temps are in the upper 70’s to the low 80’s. Water temps in rivers such as Kennebago have risen into the upper 60’s. Fishing has slowed way day down although selected and experienced anglers are catching some nice fish on nymphs.
Lake fishing has been good with the warm and calm water encouraging some insect hatches including terrestrials such as ants and grasshoppers. This has fish looking up while they stage in shallower water awaiting spawning time.
I will check in again soon, but in the meantime pray for rain and cooler temperatures to bring more fish into the rivers and streams.
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.
I was up in the Rangeley area during Mother’s Day weekend, looking forward to doing some shortly-after-ice-out fishing with my wife and was greeted by heavy snow on the morning of Mother’s Day morning. The fishing had just started picking up in the Rangeley area but the snow killed the action for the day – at least for me. I had caught decent trout and salmon on the Mags and Kennebago Lake the day before.
Of course, the snow was followed several days later by temps in the 90’s. Then temps dropped back into the 40’s with rain. The weather obviously has been extremely variable this spring. In mid-May, the fishing in Rangeley was very inconsistent because the weather and water temps were cold and the smelt runs stopped and started or were tough to fish because of heavy water. I fished the usual places to check out the action, Little Kennebago, the Logans in Kennebago Lake, Rangeley River, Camp 10 bridge on the Mags. Picked up a fish or two, hear and there — not dead but not spectacular either. Did have a huge trout on by the causeway on Kennebago Lake but lost it after a bit.
A few lucky anglers seemed to catch it just right at the Camp 10 Bridge and had lots of action, while others did not have the same experience. The Rangeley River was slower (action-wise) then it should have been.
After the snow, I headed south to Pennsylvania for a week to visit some of the well-known spring creeks. What Fun! I don’t get to fish for rainbows and browns very often because they aren’t found as easily in Maine. I hit rivers by the names of Mud Run, Yellow Britches, Fishing Creek, LeTort, Spring Creek (at Fisherman’s Paradise) We had to work for the fish during the day because the weather was very hot and cloudless. During cloudy stretches or in the evening during sulfur hatches, the fishing was easier.
Nice Rainbow on Fishing Creek
I was really eager to hit the water early this year. So, what else is new. Given water flows and cold temps and just the need to spend some time walking in the woods, I opted to start the season with small streams in the Cumberland County area. My first foray was to a small stream in Durham that I had wanted to fish for 20 years but hadn’t. It was a beautiful weekend day and I didn’t have the place to myself and shared the largest pool with several worm dunkers and hardware slingers – all nice, friendly guys. The water was very cold and without any luck, everybody left but me. I’ll bet the sun warmed the water a bit, but I ended up catching 4 or 5 trout on a wood special and tiny pink nymph slowly retrieved. The takes were very subtle and I missed some. The trout were recent stockers but included one native trout that somehow survived last years drought.
Other small local streams also yielded at least a few wild or holdover trout including my favorite Collyer Brook in Gray and a small stream near Range Pond. A couple of the eager brookies were caught on a klinkhammer dry fly! Again, it was reassuring that at least a few trout survived the drought and can repopulate the small area streams.
In 10 days, I am off to Pennsylvania to try my hand at catching some of their famous brown-trout from famous limestone creeks. A couple of those days will be fishing Cathy and Berry Beck’s private water on Fishing Creek so I can’t wait. I will also spend time on Spruce Creek and the Letort. I will keep you posted.