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.
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.
Ice out occurred on the Rangeley area lakes last weekend on April 13-16. This is among the earliest on record. I actually caught a 13 inch trout on Kennebago Lake on April 14 – must be one of the earliest catches on the lake ever.
Since Kennebago Lake did not freeze until late December, Kennebago was ice covered for less than four months. This all feels like global climate change to me. Rivers and streams in the area are very low – at mid-summer levels. The Rapid River is running at below minimum levels. With the lack of rain and snow, the dirt roads are all in good shape. People have been able to get to # 10 bridge from all directions. Sporting Camps are going to have to open earlier in the year if this keeps up. On Monday, April 16th it was 82 degrees at Kennebago and I was being bitten by mosquitoes.
People have been asking me about timing of hatches and things and I believe everything will be at least two weeks early. We hopefully will be getting some much needed rain this weekend. We could use 3 or 4 inches. Here is another excerpt from my book…
Regardless of whether you are fishing a river or a lake, if you are fishing near a smelt run, streamer selection is a matter of choosing your favorite smelt imitation. There are a myriad of smelt imitation flies. Some of the old patterns are as much a part of the history of the North Woods as their tiers, like Carrie Stevens, and the “sports” whom came by train from Boston and New York and are now immortalized in black and white pictures standing behind stringers of many huge, dead fish. All of the classic streamer patterns, as well as the newer creations work, at least once in a while.
Streamers are tied in a variety of colors, probably because a live smelt will reflect a myriad of tones depending on the light. Sometimes you will see a dead smelt floating on the surface and wonder how all of those gaudy streamers fool fish when the smelt appears a relatively drab gray. This is misleading. Dead smelt lose their color immediately, while live smelt have an iridescence along their lateral lines that reflect the sky and the water, every hue from pink to blue to purple to silver. When you see a school of smelt in a glass tank under low light conditions, what you see is not the complete outline of a fish but a thin iridescence that changes colors subtly as the fish move and turn…