Ice Out

My email these days is filled with folks asking me fishing questions so for this blog post, I will just answer them!

When was ice-out?

In the Rangeley area, it was within the last seven days, in fact higher elevations ponds still have at least a partial coating of ice. Further south, ice has been out for two weeks or so. However, the water remains cold because of cloudy days and cold nights. Patches of snow still linger in the woods in the Kennebago area.

How is the fishing?

Fishing has been slow because of high and cold water. In fact the lower Mags is running at 2000 cfs versus 350 for most of last year. I don’t know if I remember it being that high . A heavy snowpack melted quickly in Rangeley, followed by occasional rain. This is resulting in the spring run-off being closer to historical norms versus several dry springs over the last five years. While this means a slow start to moving-water fishing, it bodes well for sufficient water flows later in the year and good ground water levels.

Smelt are running in places, but perhaps not yet where water temps are still hovering around 40 degrees. Lake and pond fishing where smelt are running up brooks is where I would want to be fishing.

Does the high water mean that spring runs of salmon will push up rivers such as Kennebago?

Not necessarily. At least in Kennebago, salmon don’t really take advantage of high water flows until temps hit 50 degrees. Hopefully when the river warms up, water flows will still be high.

Do you have any fun fishing photos/stories?

Always. My guiding partner Abby from Kismet Ouftitters has been doing some drift boat guiding in western Mass. and found some really nice brown trout in the Hoosic River.IMG_3211 (2) IMG_2780

How is the new book selling?

Very well. We are going to start a second printing soon, which will allow me to update the book a little, correct a few typos and include a few more waters. “Flyfisher’s Guide to New England” can now be found in almost every fly fishing outlet in New England, but it does sell out quickly and doesn’t always find its way back onto the shelves in a timely manner. Remember, you can always purchase the book from me directly, signed of course. Just email me.

Enjoy the beginning of a new fishing season.

Lou

Ice-out finally and other news

Ice-out is official. For all practical purposes, ice was almost all gone on Rangeley, Mooselookmeguntic, and Kennebago on May 6th or 7th.

I was guiding on Wednesday and didn’t see too many signs of smelt however. Water temps were below 40 on the Rangeley River in the morning but with air temps approaching 80 degrees in the afternoon, water temps were 43 on the Rangeley and Magalloway Rivers by afternoon. By the time you are reading this, I am sure the fishing has picked up.

Everyone anticipated potential flooding from the snowmelt but with little rain falling in the last two months, it didn’t happen. Now with the lakes low, dam operators are trying to refill them and some river levels are low. It is hard to believe given the amount of snow that we had. Mooselookmeguntic Lake is at least four feet low, but maybe this is intentional due to the Upper Dam work being done. This will limit fishing opportunities on the Rangeley River if it stays at that level.

The best thing about giving presentations and signing books at fly fishing shows an Trout Unlimited chapter meetings is all of the interesting people you meet including talented outfitters and guides, some of who you end up fishing with. Over time, I will introduce some of them to you.

Brian, owner of Pheasant Tail Tours (www.pheasanttailtours.com) and Harry, owner of Berkshire Rivers Fly Fishing (www.berkshireriversflyfishing.com) have introduced me to Massachusetts fly fishing. People from northern New England don’t think about going to Massachusetts to fish, but that is a mistake. Mass. rivers fish better early and late in the season then more northern climes and you can extend your season.

The Deerfield River is a great river to float for rainbows and browns, and the Hoosic and Housatonic Rivers are being rediscovered for their very nice brown trout fishing. There are other options as well and Brian and Harry can take you there on either wading or float trips. I have been enjoying my time fishing in Massachusetts – you don’t get a lot of chances at holdover brown trout or rainbows in Maine.