I happened to be on Kennebago Lake during the afternoon of August 21st, the time of the partial eclipse. It was very interesting to see how the natural world reacted. During the peak when the sun was over 50% covered, the sunlight was definitely muted, the sky and reflected light off the water, looked like it was an hour before sunset.
Mosquitos emerged, when ordinarily they wouldn’t have in the heat of an August afternoon. The lake was calm and small trout started rising regularly. Birds such as Merlins that would only be active in the evening this time of year took flight. Loons started calling. And then as the sun re-emerged, song birds started singing like it was early morning. All very interesting.
Here are a few photos of us on the dock looking at the eclipse by manipulating a pair of binoculars so they would project two images of the sun onto a piece of white paper.
Looking ahead, early September rain and cool temperatures for the last few weeks should mean fall spawning runs are starting now.
Again this year, September drought conditions in Rangeley caused pre-spawn brook trout to stack up in the few pools that held sufficient water. I captured some underwater video in one pool I call Trout Canyon.
Check out the video made for the release of my new book.
An increasing number of people are now contacting me asking about my projections for Rangeley ice-out and trying to schedule fishing trips. Here is what I know….or think I know…
- Ice is already out in most of New England and already up to central Maine. For most places it is the earliest ever. When I find some relevant articles, I will post links. Ice in more northern Maine locales is still frozen solid and this week ushered in colder weather with snow and night time temps in the teens. If you look at webcams from Moosehead Lake or Bosebuck Camps you can check the status of the ice.
- The long-term outlook is for average or below average temps for early April. This may delay ice out and water warm up. However, I am still think ice out will be in mid-April in Rangeley and threaten the all-time record set several years ago. Snow is about gone so the ground will warm up fast and that will raise the ground water temperature.
- What does this mean for the fishing? Maine opened the season last week so it means that it is now legal to fish everywhere. I know people are catching trout in small streams. Smelt will run early, once the lake temperatures rise into the low 40’s. Last time the ice went out in mid-April, it took a number of weeks before the smelt ran. But smelt, suckers, black-nose dace, shad, stripers, etc. will all migrate or spawn several weeks early at least.
- Hatches will be early as well but not ridiculously so because the maturation of insects is based on cumulative degree-days of the water over the year. But since water temps have been much warmer than normal since basically last summer, I anticipate early hatches, certainly by a week or two.
- Sporting Camps such as Grants are opening up earlier than usual.
- Lakes and Ponds that are stocked heavily for the ice-fishing crowd will have plenty of fish to be caught in early spring because the ice-fishing season was so short or non-existent, so try places like Crystal Lake in Gray, Maine. Just to name one.
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.
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.