Links and Schedules and More

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.

  1. 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.
  2. www.rangeleysportshop.com is the source for Rangeley area fly-fishing information, equipment, and flies tied right on the premises.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  1. Trout Unlimited, Ammonoosuc Chapter 554, January 14. Presentation is highlights from my book, “Fly Fishing Northern New England’s seasons.
  2. Trout Unlimited, Georges River Chapter, March 14, 2016. It is my “How to Catch Trophy Brook Trout presentation.
  3. The Flyfishing Show in Marlboro, January 22, 23, and 24..

Is It Summer Yet?

 The above photo is Height of Land overlooking Mooselookmeguntic Lake after a thunderstorm passed by. My next book, “Flyfishers Guide to Northern New England” is in the final editing phase. I have been doing a lot of photography for the book. I will sprinkle some of my favorite photographs from the last month or so throughout this post. Coming soon, I will post my favorite videos of my summer fishing trips as well.

I apologize to anyone trying to get on this site recently. It was down because of a number of virus-corrupted files that have since been removed.

As we head towards the middle of August, we really haven’t had any hot weather this summer, north of Massachusetts. Yesterday, August 9th, the temperature of the Kennebago River several miles below the dam was 61 degrees. Even the very surface of the lake barely reaches 70. The salmon and trout have remained active all summer and the spawning run may begin soon if we get a good dose of rain. Anglers are raising good salmon in the river and there are still sporadic Hex hatches and other size 14 brown mayflies (and their spinner falls) on the lake that bring trout up to the surface right at dusk.

I spend a great day guiding in mid-July on the Dartmouth Grant with the Hyde family and friends and took a photo of this hillside covered with naturalized foxglove flowers.

I did a book signing at the Outdoor Heritage Museum in Oquossoc last weekend. If you haven’t been recently, you should check it out. Many new exhibits and artifacts including a fascinating collection of video and photos from when President Eisenhower visited the area.

My fall schedule is already filling up. The first week in September and last week is mainly going to be taken up by participating in a National Geographic project on the East Branch of the Penobscot. The 2nd and 3rd weeks are almost all booked with guiding clients.

I will try to update my blog more often in the next few months. No one has guessed correctly yet the location of the photos in my previous blog post.

My last photo is a rare rose-colored sunset on Kennebago Lake taken just a few days ago.

Fly Fishing Spot Contest

As I have traveled across New England investigating new fishing spots (at least to me) for my next book, I have discovered some gems. I will be posting a few on this blog but will also do a few contests. Can you identify the river in these photographs? Extra credit if you can identify any of the individuals in the photo. First person emailing me the correct answer will be sent a few handtied soft hackle streamers tied by yours truly. Email you answers at Lou@mainelyflyfishing.com.

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.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

The famous West Branch of the Penobscot

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!

Spring is here, but ice-out still a ways away

Spring-like weather has finally arrived and the snow is melting quickly and ice thinning on lakes and ponds in southern and central Maine. Rivers are quite full from melting snow runoff. In the mountains and north, it will take a while for the snow to melt and four feet of ice to diminish. Ice-out there is a ways away.

I have been busy speaking about my new book and writing my next one, “How to catch trophy wild Brook Trout”. There are a number of specific tactics and techniques required if you want to increase your chances of catching a real trophy. Of course, you have to be fishing in places where these fish live, and they aren’t found everywhere.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

For many anglers, there is something special about landing a trophy native trout or salmon on a fly. That is why fly fishers pursue Atlantic salmon in Quebec, brown trout in Germany, Yellowstone cutthroat in the park, steelhead in the Pacific Northwest, golden trout in the Sierra, and brook trout in the Northeast United States. Native is the key word because it means the fish have always existed in these waters (at least since the last ice age), have never been stocked, and are still born and grow in these waters. Wild fish are fish that were born in the watershed they live but whose ancestors were put there by human beings in the recent or distant past. Native fish are all wild but not all wild fish are natives. Still, catching a trophy wild fish is quite an achievement as well. Now, there is nothing wrong with landing a stocked trout that has grown large or even a brood-stock fish (one that was stocked at a large size), but it is just not the same.

The above native brook trout was caught on a soft hackle grey ghost streamer last fall.

My next speaking engagements are at the Cumberland Library on May 1 and The Orvis Store in Dedham, Massachusetts. Please join me.

I am also excited that people are beginning to sign up for my instructional classes. One day to learn all of the different fishing methods from my book. Too often, people limit their approach to just one method or another and don’t adjust to different conditions or water types. Give me a call if you want more information about these classes.

Anxiously awaiting open-water season

Well, I am sure that everyone is waiting for the cold weather to end so we can start to see some open water. This is the time when we all daydream about fishing and plan future trips so I have some recommendations for you…

First of all, if you have never fished for the steelhead or large browns in Upstate New York that run into the tributaries of the Great Lakes than you have missed out on some real fun. Forget about the stories you have heard about crowded water and snagging. There is a guide service that does a tremendous job in New York. Go visit their website at www.reelactionfly.com. You will be amazed at their photos and videos. They also offer some great options at their camp in Alaska.

Here is a photo of me with a rather large brown trout I caught while they guided me. Trust me when I say that when one guide chooses another guide to assist , then the guide must be good.

If you are interested in Atlantic Salmon, the Restigouche River has some of the largest Atlantic Salmon in North America. I was at a show and the videos that the Restigouche River Lodge were showing were mouth-opening. While I have never been there, Kevin McDevitt is involved, and he is a quality individual who I have known for many years. Their website is www.restigouchelodge.com.

Finally, if you haven’t seen the following video, check it out at http://vimeo.com/85147880

I am not going to tell you anything about it except it is from New Zealand, just click on it – you will be glad that you did.

Finally, I will be giving my book presentation at the Maine Sportsman show on Friday and Sunday, the last weekend of March and at the NutMeg Chapter of TU (http://www.nutmegtrout.org) on March 18th in Connecticut.

March 20: Spring is coming – maybe

What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, there were days in the 70’s, even up in Rangeley. Snow pack was non-existent and ice-out was only several weeks away for many water bodies. This year feels more like the winters that I remember. March has been snowy with many nights still dipping into the low teens and temperatures staying in the 30’s during the afternoon. There is no way ice-out in the Rangeley area is going to be in April this year. So for all of you that have procrastinated tying those ice-out streamers, you still have time.
A couple of updates… I now have a monthly column in the Maine Sportsman in which I will be writing about backcountry cycling (combined with fishing, hunting, birding, and other outdoor activities. Check over the last year. It is being published by a respected outdoor publisher, Wilderness Adventure Press, and will be out later this year in both paper and electronic versions.
Book excerpt for this month…
 It helps a great deal to have someone living near the water you want to fish so they can pass on what they see. When the ice has melted around the immediate shoreline and the color of the ice itself is closer to black than white, than ice out is imminent and it would be wise to start making up excuses for missing work.
 I have heard a number of theories as to why fish are so eager for the day or two immediately following Ice-Out, even though the water is so cold that during any other season fishing would be pointless. Besides the sudden availability of food, I have heard that Ice-Out immediately increases the oxygen content of the water and that gives the fish more energy. Other theories are that the simultaneous smelt spawning runs increases the predatory mood of the fish, or that the sudden increase in light triggers a feeding frenzy. Maybe it is nothing more than the energetic burst from all living things when they realize that they have survived the winter and have a few months of good eating and reproducing ahead. It might be akin to that exhilarating feeling I get when I put the top down on my convertible during the first warm spring day.

Lou

November fishing continued good

Decent weather continued into mid November and the fly fishing in Southern Maine continued to be good in those bodies of water still open to fishing. The Presumpscott River was particularly good, not only the section near the Sebago dam but further down river below other ponds and dams. Water flows were low making wading and fish spotting easy, and water temperatures were still in the mid 40’s so the fish remained active. See my video of the action in early November. Later in the month flows increased significantly, limiting the fishing options somewhat
The attraction this time of year is the mix of fish you can hook up with. Good size brookies in gorgeous spawning colors are stocked as are large 18 inch plus browns. Holdover fish move up the river from ponds and lower parts of the river. I watched one guy net a wide and fat landlocked salmon that was over 4 pounds, and saw a picture of another 25 inch salmon (caught on a spinner). I also caught chubs and small mouth bass. Like I said, you never know.
Classic Maine streamers such as The Grey Ghost catch fish but nymphing has the highest rate of success. I nymph with copper johns in various colors as well as pheasant tails, and zebra midges. What tippet size to use is a dilemma; finer tippet sizes yield more fish, but breakoff’s are likely if you hook into a horse.
The Royal River near where it empties into the ocean, continued to yield fish if you hit it at the right time. The water levels and fish activity levels fluctuate widely depending upon rainfall. I will end with a relevant excerpt from my book,” Flyfishing northern New England – The Five Seasons”:
Coastal streams that become brackish before emptying into the ocean stay warmer because of the ocean’s influence. Last fall, in southern Maine, the ocean temperature in some of the shallow bays and estuaries was still in the 60’s in early October. If you have never tried fishing for sea-run browns, I recommend it. From the Royal River in Yarmouth all the way down the Maine coast to New Hampshire, many streams have sea-runs. The Maine Sportsman newspaper and other publications give detailed descriptions every year of where to find them. I have a neighbor who every year catches browns over 20 inches from the Royal River, right in downtown Yarmouth. He uses very large lures and flies with lots of flash. I have had my best action with large soft-hackle marabou streamers in yellow and small muddlers. It usually isn’t fast fishing, but it is a thrill every once and awhile to hook one.