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.
The drought of 2016 continues throughout most of Maine and New England. Most natural rivers are too low or warm to fish well or perhaps shouldn’t be fished at all to protect the stressed fish. I have never seen rivers in the Rangeley area as low as they are now. For example, the Diamond River at the Dartmouth Grant, which can flow as high as 14,000 cfs during snow melt was down to 34 cfs.
It is no better in Massachusetts or the other New England states with the exception of the northern half of Maine that has fared somewhat better.
As I outline in my first book, “Fly Fishing the Seasons of New England” some fishing options remain even under these conditions. Rivers from bottom-release dams such as the Magalloway River flowing from the Azischos Dam has still been fishing well, all the way to the New Hampshire border. I fished it several days ago and we caught 5 species of fish – salmon, brook trout, fallfish, smallmouth bass (up to four pounds), and yellow perch!
The headwaters of rivers and streams high in the mountains are still cold with adequate flows. For example, the upper Ammonosoc River near Mt. Washington was packed with brook trout and rainbows several days ago – I assume because they moved upstream as lower stretches of river warmed.
Lakes in the Rangeley area fished very well all summer until slowing down recently. Fish still rise early in the morning and right at dark. More nights like last Monday night when night time temps dropped into the lower 40’s will lower the surface water temperatures.
Hatches are at full swing now in the Rangeley Area with early season mayflies – Hendricksons, Quill Gordons, March Browns, or similar mayflies hatching regularly when conditions warrant –sometimes morning and sometimes afternoon.
The first really warm day on May 12 brought the first surface activity to Kennebago Lake. I had one of those magical evenings that sometimes one is fortunate enough to experience. I was the only one fishing on the entire lake, it was an 80 degree day and warm evening without a cloud in the sky. As the sun started to set, the lake was flat calm around the western shore. Two bald eagles watched me from a nearby tall white pine tree as fish cruised just under the surface sipping midges and other small fare. Every cast to a rise resulted in a fish. In the cold water they fought hard and some towed the canoe. I happily lost count of how many came to hand. It was so perfect, I half expected Kevin Costner to come out of a field of corn on the bank and ask me if this was heaven (that was a Field of Dreams film reference).
Then on Monday, May 16th, the area had 3 inches of snow and temps in the 20’s and 30’s and howling winds. And I do mean howling – Mooseluckmeguntic Lake had 6 foot waves. On the following Wednesday, the temp of the water had fallen to 44 degrees in the rivers and all of the hatches just stopped
But by last weekend, May 21st, the weather warmed and hatches commenced again including on Saturday afternoon a huge fly ant hatch on the upper river. 4 anglers fishing there caught 10 massive brook trout over two pounds in just several hours.
By the middle of this week, blizzard hatches of early season mayflies were everywhere. I guided yesterday and my sport had a 30 trout (at least) afternoon – not telling you where. My only concern is that we have had no rain and the rivers are at summer levels already – just like the last two springs. We need rain…
This post contains many announcements so here it goes…
In the last few years, many of us have gotten in the habit of reading a few favorite blogs or visiting several websites regularly. Let me suggest several options to check out.
www.oneworldtwofeet.com is a website with essays from travelers and nature explorers. The writing and photography is spectacular and the subject matter interesting. One of the most recent posts is about a Great Blue Heron trying to eat a shark (I won’t give away the plot twist). It is a fun site, check it out.
www.rangeleysportshop.com is the source for Rangeley area fly-fishing information, equipment, and flies tied right on the premises.
www.eveningsunflyshop.com is the source of information and supplies for the entire state of Massachusetts and beyond. The owner, Charlie is always willing to do what he can to enrich your fly fishing experience.
www.10000birds.com is an e-magazine about birding. Most fly fishers are also birders, and If you are, you will enjoy this website. Look for the contributions from my daughter, Erika.
My friend Dave Van Wie and his Dartmouth buddies are about to release a book about the Dartmouth Grant that I recommend, by the title of “The Confluence” with an introduction written by yours truly. To find out more go to this link, www.confluencebook.com .
Let me list some upcoming presentations that I am giving in case you are interested and find yourself in the area.
Trout Unlimited, Ammonoosuc Chapter 554, January 14. Presentation is highlights from my book, “Fly Fishing Northern New England’s seasons.
Trout Unlimited, Georges River Chapter, March 14, 2016. It is my “How to Catch Trophy Brook Trout presentation.
The Flyfishing Show in Marlboro, January 22, 23, and 24..
May was a strange month in the northeast. In several states (like Massachusetts) until the last day of the month it was going to be one of the driest months on record. In southern New England it was also one of the warmest May’s on record. Yet in Maine and northern New England it was very cold. Most of the hatch activity was late.
Fortunately, welcome rain arrived the last day of the month. I was getting concerned about real drought and the quick end to fishing season in many areas. Some streams were running at mid-summer levels. Continued rain has improved the situation considerably and early June has been cold. In Rangeley we had a number of mornings in the lower 30’s with frost in some areas and afternoon highs in only the lower 40’s
In the Rangeley area, early insects such as small black stoneflies, march browns, and even a few sulphers emerge during warm afternoons. The small tan caddis are emerging in droves on Kennebago. The lake is active with some good fish but no one is catching salmon on the river as of two days ago.
Two days ago I guided Rita, a 72 year old woman who had never fly fished. She was a very enthusiastic student but as of 8:30 had not landed a fish without help – casting, hooking, and landing by herself. On just about the last cast, she cast, hooked, landed and released a twelve inch brook trout on a dry fly. Victory!
This has been a different spring for me because I have been traveling extensively to attend my daughter’s graduation and then her wedding, and also researching my next book. I have fished some new and very interesting water. I will share some of my learnings and photos periodically. This week I am going to Damariscotta for some smallmouth bass fishing and then on to fish northern Vermont for the weekend. Next week I will be back to Kennebago to guide for a lot of the week.
Here is a list of my upcoming speaking engagements. All of these are open to the public, in the case of Evening Sun Fly Shop presentation, call to let them know you are coming.
March 12: Hammonasset Chapter of Trout Unlimited, 540 Oregon Road, Meriden, Ct. at 7:00. This presentation is “How and Where to Catch Trophy Brook Trout”
March 22: Evening Sun Fly Shop, www.eveningsunflyshop.com for more information, 10:30 – 2:00. I will be leading a flytying class and presenting highlights from my book.
March 27,28,29 at the Maine Sportsman Show at the Augusta Civic Center, check out their website for exact times. My presentation will be “How and Where to Catch Trophy Brook Trout”
April 11: Sebago Lake Trout Unlimited annual Banquet, from 4 to 4:20 presenting book highlights and signing books. Check Out their website for more information.
If you haven’t yet caught any of my presentations, here is your chance. Some of the photographs I use make you long for fishing season even more than you already are. I might use the one posted here as the cover of my next book. Melt snow, melt!