Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Yes, we are still getting rid of gear... Find a sweet Fishpond Gore Range Tech Pack here.

Also, we had a chance to check out the latest RA Beattie film, Off The Grid. Features locales that are slightly off the beaten path, including the steelhead streams near Cleveland where our good friend Mike DeCoteau has been getting well aquatinted with some hot Great Lakes chromers. Also features a short section featuring our favorite destination in Montana, The Stone Fly Inn and Outfitters in Twin Bridges.

It's cold- go tie some flies, fire up the DVD player, and think positive summer thoughts. And if you want to get your hands on a copy of Off The Grid, call or swing by Eldridge Brothers Fly Shop, they have it in stock.

Off the Grid Fly Fishing Trailer from RA Beattie on Vimeo.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cleaning Closets

Yup, we are cleaning out the closet. Patagonia Guide Water Jacket in great shape. This jacket has spent most of its time in the row bench as I find myself reaching for a softshell most days when a jacket is needed. Find it on eBay here.

Also selling a Scott A3 907/4 fly rod. Perfect streamer rod for throwing heavy sink-tips and big flies. Perfect warm water rod for bass. Good light saltwater rod and not a bad steelhead stick. I used to think of 7 weights as kind of niche rod- now I know better. Find it on eBay here.

Now go hook yourself up with a sweet new jacket and a sweet new rod for el cheapo'.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Road Trip!

Spot the rainbow.
It is officially the off season for us; and that means time to take care of those projects that we have been put off since spring, including a promised kitchen renovation to Mrs. Cote ... But that's another story.

But it also means that its time to check out some rivers that have been on the bucket list.

Destination: Swift River in Ware, Massachusetts.

Ok, so driving to a small town west of Worchester, Mass to go trout fishing seemed a little weird. But the  fishing didn't disappoint. For those unfamiliar with the Swift, here is a quick overview.

It's a tailwater, as in a real tailwater, that feeds from 70 feet below the Quabbin Resevoir. The water is Gray Goose Vodka clear and runs Eskimo cold year round below the dam (a.k.a. the "Bubbler"; in Swift River speak that is). The section from the dam to the Rt. 9 bridge is fly fishing only and catch and release. The result is a lot of fish, some really big ones, and some damn well-conditioned fish. In fact, the rainbows are trained professionals. As you wade, they literally stack up below you and feed on the micro-midge larvae that you stir up. The more you kick up, the more they stack up. The crunch of gravel under foot is their version of a dinner bell. We joked about how we all had a little pet rainbow that followed us around the river, and how they made the perfect pets since they needed little in the way of care and maintenence. Just keep fishing and wading, delivering them a steady stream of size 26 midge larvae and they were happy. If you are familiar with the "San Juan Shuffle," well, there is also the "Swift River Shuffle." It's illegal on the SJ; not sure about the Swift.

The bonus was the big landlocks that had dropped down out of the Quabbin for the fall spawn. The salmon needed to be force fed. They would eat, but it had to be right in their grill. Typical spawners. The rainbows... bring your midge box and your 7x flouro; these fish will laugh at your well-tied size 14 Prince Nymph, they have seen it all.

Here is a vid... Go ahead and try to count 'em. You can sight fish on the entire stretch from Rt 9 to the dam. Fish numbers were high on the entire stretch. Catch and release really works, imagine that.

And some stills of those nice salmon...

As a bonus, we found a local who was willing to work as a rod caddy for us... He was quick with a joke and worked for cigarettes and cheap beer. Apparently they all wear camo to get an edge on those well trained rainbows. Photography skills with an iPhone were a bonus.

Bobbing indicators, screeching reels, tight lines, and all that!


Monday, October 31, 2011

Trick or Treat

Trout Candy
The Juju and the Two Bit Hooker have been the trick thats been earning the treat lately. Those names may sound like a gummy candy and your sister-in-laws Halloween costume, but are actually some seriously effective blue wing imitations that have been deadly on late season browns. On the swing, just under the surface, maybe mix in a few short strips and hold on, takes can be savage and make your 6x seem like a bad joke.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gold Standard

This Gold never loses its value.
Fishing for fall browns is something that we look forward to each season. Things can be pretty good right up until December, which means we have a solid month of decent fishing left until we hunker down in our caves for the dark season. Cold days are perfect for a half day walk wade. Give us a shout- the fish are here, they are eating, and it's going to be a long cold winter.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Go Fish.

Levels and flows on the Andro are good, and the fishing has been reliable as well. As for the weather- strange. 84 degrees in October is not the norm. Being October however, we should see daytime highs of around 25 degrees as soon as tomorrow. 
We did have to cancel & reschedule a few floats on the Kennebec, but fortunately the Androscoggin has been in good shape and proven reliable. With less dams and impoundments in the upper reaches, it tends to drop faster than the Kennebec after they blow due to heavy rains. The fall color is really peaking in the Bethel area, and the scenery combined with typically crisp weather makes this a great time to get out there.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Dirty , Rotten...

Eggs and Bacon.
...Cheater flies.

It's October, and if you are heading out, it will pay to bring a few of these along. It's that time of the year to go hunting for that biggest brown of the season. He's out there. Go get him.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Autumn Bronze

Summer is officially over, and for the last month or so everybody, including us, has been getting all wired up about fall fishing (which around here means trout!).  We've had some good recent floats chasing rainbows, browns, and brookies on the Upper Andro. The bite is on, the flows are good, and fall color is going to light those mountains up shortly.

Even so, we still like to sneak out for a late season bass float every once in a while. Leave your poppers and floating line at home. Bring your sink tip and the meat locker- that fly box loaded up with pattern's that look like half of a dead chicken and small furry creatures. With water temps around 60 degrees, they've got the feed bag on.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Upper Andro Two Fly

2011 Team Patagonia

Did somebody hit the FF button? The 2011 Upper Andro 2 Fly is in the books and team Patagonia represented this year, in a big way. No, Scott, Mike, and I couldn't fish due to other commitments, so Emily, my wife, and good friends Amy and Brett Trefethen stepped up to represent (last year they fished as Team Hardy). 

First, Brett won the Drift Boat Rodeo on Friday. That's right, there is a new champ in town and he has the plaque to prove it. Top prize, $150 cash and $50 gift card to Kittery Trading Post. Brett is a long-time whitewater and fishing guide, and I'm sure this was the first time he made that kind of scratch rowing a drift boat for 7 minutes. Congrats Brett! 

Emily, took second place in the largest fish category. A 14" rainbow was all it took. Emily took her fish swinging a black rubber legged bugger on a sink-tip. Her prize... a sweet Perception Manatee Angler Kayak, complete with all the bells and whistles,  generously donated by LL Bean. 

I heard the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Mr. Chandler Woodcock, took the top spot for "Smallest Chub." Tough break sir! Maybe next year redemption will be in store. Jokes aside, its great to see some positive attention being garnered to this outstanding event and to the Upper Andro Angler's Alliance for working tirelessly to rebuild this fishery to it's potential.


Yes, they are serious, you can keep it.
Dust off a spot on the mantle; another trophy from the 2 fly!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Summer in Southwest Montana

So many fish, so little time. That became my mantra for a summer spent in southwestern Montana.

Arriving in Dillon on May 15th after a 2700 mile trek with Clacka in tow was the start of a trout fishing adventure I could only dream about prior to retiring. A job in a local flyshop was the touch point for this endeavor.

Montana had incurred the most severe winter in quite a number of few years. There was at least 10 feet of snow pack in the Pioneer Mountains threatening to blow out most of the rivers in this region of Montana. The potential for this event caused a great deal of angst amongst local guides and outfitters. Heavy rains contributed to this dilemma. The drought in Montana was over.

It began to become apparent that the fishing season would lag the normal time table by at least two weeks possibly three. For those out-of-state anglers who had planned trips around the various hatches this would be disastrous.

There was one bright spot in all of this weather related impact on the Montana fishing industry. The Beaverhead River. This tail water emerges from Clark Canyon Reservoir and became the go to spot in the southern tier of Montana. Although, the reservoir was essentially completely full the lack of need for downstream irrigation enabled the Army Corps of Engineers to establish a river flow rate that was easy navigable by wade anglers and those anglers in drift boats.

The Beaverhead starts at the reservoir and flows to Twin Bridges where it becomes part of the confluence of the Jefferson and ultimately the Missouri River. My fishing efforts were concentrated from Buffalo Bridge to Henneberry takeout. I waded and floated both these stretches numerous times and was never disappointed by the size and fight of the wild Montana trout.

There were many go-to patterns used on these stretches of water. Primarily small nymphs and streamers were the order of the day. I wasn’t in Montana long enough to see the fish start looking up in great numbers. I will remedy that in the near term. One surprisingly effective subsurface pattern I had never used in Maine was that of a Crane Fly larva. These huge bugs were as long as your little finger and just as thick-they were a huge bite and a deadly combination with a small PT Cruzer or Flashback nymph.

The amount of aquatic insect life found in the Beaverhead was amazing. I would kick up some bottom sediment into my sample net and the Yellow Sallie nymphs would literally swarm off of it. Being the geek that I am I filled numerous sample bottles and took them to the shop to show the visiting anglers the types of bugs they needed to match and what would work best. The enormous Crane Fly larva were always good for shock value.

If you get the chance to fish this amazing river you should. You will not be disappointed at the size or the number of trout.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, September 12, 2011

In Full Swing

September streamer fishing is in full swing.  Streamers ruled on a recent outing and will continue to produce on most days for the rest of the month. Don't be afraid to throw big and ugly-  bigger and uglier than you might think. Don't be afraid to throw tandems, as in two streamers at once. It gets you that much closer to dialed in, that much faster. 

When throwing doubles I like to use a couple of different approaches. One set up is big and meaty as the lead with a slim and sexy as the trailer (think #4 Hemorrhoidal Sculpin followed by a #6 Wood Duck Heron or a Gray Ghost- a.k.a. New School vs. Old School).  Another approach is black vs. white, as in a white streamer followed by a black streamer. And then there is bright vs. subtle. Lead streamer is bright (white, chartreuse, yellow) followed by something more natural (like a natural tan/gray/olive Slumpbuster or Zonker). I always run the larger fly (a big bite they may be willing to chase) ahead of the smaller fly (which might be a little less intimidating to eat). Throw a sink-tip, use fluorocarbon, tie no-slip loops, and space your dropper about a strips distance apart from the lead fly. If you put the lead fly in front of him and he doesn't eat, one strip later and there is a second offering right there and waiting.

Now go support your local fly shops and buy some new streamers.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Switching Gears

The busy summer season and the bulk of our bass trips are winding down as most of the summer visitors are heading home.  There is still plenty of really good smallmouth fishing to be had, and as usual, they have been getting a little more aggressive as the water temps start to recede. I'm sure their instincts say "EAT" before they enter a half-frozen state of suspended animation. We had a great smallmouth season- saw some old friends, made some new ones, and caught a bunch of fish!

It's time to switch gears for the "second season." Crisp days, bright fish (with adipose fins!), and the hills on fire in an autumn glow. Fall is the reward for rowing 10 hour days under a blazing sun with temps and humidity in the 90's.

Bring your A-game and get ready; it goes fast from here on out.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Hoosiers, Allen's and Fall Fish

Take 7 Hoosiers, a Yank, and what do you get? 

Lunch in a corn field (making everyone feel at home),

 A bottle of Allen's Coffee Brandy (Taste of Maine!), 

Some PBR (Professional Boaters Refreshment- Overbey at his best)

and one big ass chub (first fish on a fly!).

I can't wait until the Indiana crew gets back here!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Apex Predator

"Do these things have teeth?"
Let's just start here. We don't condone it. We don't promote it. We don't try to make a buck off it. It's a shame that they are here, and the people responsible for spreading them around have forever altered the landscape of Maine fishing's on a rapidly increasing number of waters. The responsible parties are criminals, plain and simple, and their decisions have, and will continue, to rob generations of what once was.

Northern Pike are a menace, but they are here, and unfortunately, there is no going back. The spread of invasive fish species in Maine has become so alarming that I am giving some serious thought to pulling out altogether and heading for greener pastures. It seems that their spread has no end in sight, and as they continue to expand, the collapse of more cold water fisheries seems likely to follow- if the Belgrade Lakes are any indication.

That's a pretty tough pill to swallow.

We fish rivers where these fish are present, and we do from time to time hook them, and even manage to land them on 8 pound flourcarbon tippets. So, yes, we are smiling in this picture, because in the moment, it was something to smile about- three guys, fishing on a river, and sticking a big fish in the net (anybody would be smiling with that thing latched onto the end a 6 wt!). But in the big picture, it's a reminder of what we as anglers in Maine have lost, and what we are going to continue to lose in the future.

It was a great fish to catch on a fly rod, and the gentleman who managed it should be proud, and I don't mean to detract from a personal achievement in anyway.

I just wish we had done it in Minnesota, or Wisconsin, or Canada, or where ever the hell these things came from.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sound Advice

Mark and Rich found themselves spending a week catching some R&R in Old Orchard Beach. These guys were fresh off a week-long trip in Dillon, Montana and still had the itch to get out and feel the tug. So, after leaving the women to their own devices in Kittery for the day (tough to guess what they were up to!), the boys headed north to get their fix.

Although they were new to fly fishing, they weren't inexperience anglers. They hooked plenty of fish and had to work for them- making repeated casts with sink-tips and working streamers most of the day. Anybody who has done this type of fishing knows that it will wear you out much quicker than watching an indicator keep pace with the boat all day and making a few mends every now and then.

These guys were great, good humored, patient, willing to take advice, willing to work for a hook up, enthusiastic, and experienced enough to know that not everyday means catching every fish in the river or setting a new IGFA record (although I will say they did hook and land plenty of fish). And also to their credit, they even took the time to practice some fly casting before showing up. In short, these guys rocked, the kind of people any guide would be psyched to spend a day with.

I get to fish with a good mix of people with a wide range of experience levels. I'm sure for some, it may be intimidating fishing with a guide for the first time. It shouldn't be. Keep it light, keep it fun, be willing to listen, and understand that fishing is, well fishing. There are no certainties. In short, be like Mark and Rich.

Here is a great article from MidCurrent on the "Do's and Don'ts of Guided Fishing Trips" . It's worth the read, and full of some sound advice.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Maine Smallmouths: The Rx for Dog Days

Green Trout
Well, we have quietly settled into a nice mid-summer routine. While the trout pout in warm water, we are happy to fish for their green cousins that thrive as Maine's rivers warm up.  The smallmouth fishing has not disappointed, with relatively stable weather patterns, the fishing has been pretty consistent overall. Low angle light (early or late) produces the best shots as decent top water fishing. The mid-day siesta (yes, even the fish have to  nap) is best worked around by going deep, and slowly stripping a tasty treat like a small olive bugger with some black and yellow rubber legs thrown in for that extra bass appeal. Takes can be real subtle! Usually it's a fine line between getting hung up in the basement and fishing slow enough to get a grab under bright skies.

Smallmouth bass are a little different than largemouth bass. Often, crashing a deer hair popper down all day is not going to be the most effective way to fish.  I like to think of bronzebacks as some where between a largemouth and a really-pissed-off-meat-eating-brown trout. They are aggressive, but they still require a certain amount of finesse. Not everyday brings Fat Nancy or  Hog Johnson to the net, but rivers with good numbers of fish per mile can keep things fun and laid back... like summer was meant to be.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Match the... Bait

Show 'em your junk.
It's hot and sticky with temps and humidity pushing into the 90's, which means fishing for bronzebacks has heated up as well. Low light conditions (early, late or cloud cover) mean the best topwater action, with streamers getting the job done mid-day under bright skies.

One of our favorite stretches of river to chase smallmouths on is the Kennebec between Waterville and Sydney. Gravel bars, braids, cut banks, buckets, ledges, boulder gardens, back eddies, and deep pools- this is one cool piece of bass water to fish from a drift boat. 

Typically a favorite bass fly is a crayfish pattern, but don't forget eels and other sea run forage like bluebacks, alewife, and baby shad on water with unspoiled access to the sea. On a recent outing an 8-inch long black eel pattern designed for stripers absolutely hammered the smallies while other patterns fell short. We have also been finding bass crashing bait up on shallow shelfs along the banks- which always makes for some exciting shots. A white and pearl Gurgler thrown into the mix with a twitch and a pause will usually get an eat. Don't always expect a big crash on the take in this situation, often the fly will simply disappear with little commotion as a big bass rolls under and opens his hatch, literally inhaling the fly. We have noticed more that one fish puking up small silver bait fish 1 to 2 inches long, that definitely are not common shiners, and look a lot like either juvenile bluebacks or baby shad. 

Match the 'hatch,' and go get 'em.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mixed Bag.

Mrs. Bass and Mr. Trout
After spending one day chasing smallmouths on the lower Andro, a little trout fishing was in order and the next we were trucking a little further upstream. It didn't take long for the Bass' from New York (yes, that's a cool name) to get aquatinted with the Trouts from Maine.
Vice Versa.
As far as the smallmouth fishing goes, going sub-surface will put more bends in the rods, but we have seen some good topwater action recently as well. I think my hands down favorite bass fly, at the moment anyways, is the Todd's Wiggle Minnow. This thing has been lights out and when fished on a floating line makes for some really exciting takes just below the surface. Tie one on, and I doubt you will be disappointed.


Sunday, July 3, 2011


Keep an open mind, and don't judge. We aren't talking about the fish.
After a hiatus for a few days with the family for the 4th of July camping trip that involved sleeping in tents, being eaten alive by black flies, and lots of cute little miniature brook trout from cold mountain streams, it's good to be back home and gearing up for the "other" season.  

It's summer time, which means it is a very good time to chase what may be Maine's most under utilized game fish among fly anglers. Forget about glittered bass boats tearing around the lake,  'NASCAR-esque' fishing shirts, and some dude named Bubba hollering "WHOOWEE!" every time he gets a tight line. 

This is about rolling down a quiet river, firing terrestrial patterns tight to the banks while standing in the bow of a Clackacraft drift boat and hooking fish that, inch for inch, rival any other in the gamefish in the world. All while taking the time to notice the eagles.

Ditch your waders, grab your favorite 7 wt., and give us a call to get out and fish some of Maine's best smallmouth rivers. 

And if you or your guide let out a "WHOOWEE!" we won't tell anyone. And we certainly won't judge.

If you haven't had a chance to check it out yet, FlyRod & Reel Magazine ran a feature on Maine's tremendous smallmouth fishing in the Summer 2011 issue. If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check it out.


Thursday, June 30, 2011


A rainbow with a mouthful of articulated Galloup's Sex Dungeon (that would be the fly). There might be plenty of bugs hatching and fish looking up, but don't forget your streamer box and your sink tips.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Good Start

The First Times a Charm.
Nori had never picked up a fly rod before hopping in a drift boat and setting out on the Upper Andro. After a half hour down and dirty 'guide special' casting lesson at the beginning of the day, he was getting tight on quite a few 'bows. Below was one of three doubles that he and his buddy Masayuki teamed up on.... in a row!
Rainbow x 2
Streamers continue to put a lot of fish in the basket, especially on cloudy days. Alder flies (aka Zebra Caddis) are coming off in droves, so don't ignore some fat green caddis nymphs on the drift and a Barr's Graphic caddis on the swing can be deadly. In the evenings, pay attention the scum lines in the back eddies for snouts eating spent egg layers.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Brown trout and cowboy hats... they sort of go together. 
It's summer time... officially. But the thanks to a slow start we are still experiencing late spring conditions, which means the fishing is good, very good. Looking forward to the big bugs of summer; Iso's, Hex's, and Alder's will get ready to take center stage. Some cloudy and wet weather to finish the week should help to keep water temps and levels in good shape for some time to come.

This is the payback for a very wet spring that brought river levels to unimaginable levels when we should have been fishing on them.

Also, we have some good dates for July and August. Think poppers. Think ridiculously big streamers. Think aggressive fish that pull. Hard. Yup, we are talking about big river smallmouths. If you haven't gone green, you should. These fish don't disappoint, and will likely leave you wondering why you waited so long.


Monday, June 13, 2011

It's All Good!

Mmm... Fish Lips.
It's been a while since we did and update... and that's because the fishing has turned on in a big way! It was bound to happen, the rivers dropped, water temps are hovering near perfect, and this week's forecast is calling for more cloudy and cool weather to keep things in the 'happy place'. We have seen some absolutely epic days in the past week. It's not all about stacking up body counts, but nobody complains when there are a lot of bent rods throughout the day. The calender is jammed up until mid-July, so if you are going to be around this summer and want to get out and feel the tug then shoot us and email or give us a ring and we can plan something out.

Here are some fun pics from the past week...

Yup, she is excited.

That dude knows how to catch fish (and that is a sweet hat).
Dudes with lippers and Moxie hats are generally bad news for trout.
Yes, you too can tangle with Maine's hardest pulling game fish. Guaranteed to wear your arm out.

Let the good times roll!!


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Enough is Enough!

I'm getting tired of talking about high water. Like sick and tired. We were almost there, things were starting to come together, and then- more rain. If a picture is worth 1000 words, the stream flow graphs below tell a lot. 

Typically we are entering the sweet spot of the season that can produce some very good conditions. Unfortunately, this year we are just going to have to be patient, and hopefully good things do indeed come to those who wait.
Again, the bright spot has been the smaller rivers and streams. We've been working around the high water on the big rivers and getting very good results fishing smaller waters with less drainage. Yesterday we finally got into some consistent fishing on top. Tan caddis #16, and emergers like RS2's were turning the tricks. So yes, if you can find the right flow, you should bring your dry fly box.

I wonder how the Hendrickson's hatch works at 32,000 CFS?


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fish Food.

This thing actually came out of the mouth of trout alive and kicking. A trout that had just eaten a nymph. It's a testament to the fact that the trout are hungry and on the feed. Now if we could just get a break from the deluge. The National Weather Service is calling for showers off and on until Friday. The Kennebec is still running real big, and a chat with the hatchery guys yesterday revealed that they have actually delayed some stocking on the Kennebec until the water comes back down an ideal flow. The silver lining in all of this is that the big rivers shouldn't heat up too fast and we may be looking at some good conditions a little later than usual.

Now let's all cross our fingers and do a sun dance.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Go Deep.

It’s starting to feel like spring might be stuck in 2nd gear as it sputters out of the gate. May is feeling like April- it’s cold, rainy, and although run-off is over, and the snow pack is essentially gone, some sustained rains this week look like they are going to bump the river levels up for a bit.

Despite a cubic feet per second flow way over what would be considered “normal," a recent outing with the boys proved to be pretty productive. We dialed things in quickly using super-long leaders that consisted of a 4’ butt section connected to 10’ to 12’ of straight 4X fluorocarbon with an indicator and an ungentlemanly amount of split shot and tungsten putty dropped off the dropper (all is fair in love, war, and fly fishing). We even managed to streamer some nice fish early in the mornings on some big bunny fur concoctions, 250 grain sink-tips, and 7 weigths.

Large stone patterns up front with droppers ranging from Crystal Meth sucker spawn to pink San Juan Worms did just fine.  These rigs are a bit unruly to “cast”, but if you are dealing with high water, throwing this kind of junk is a very effective way to pitch a fly down into the strike zone. If you notice we landed most fish from the bow of the boat while netting them from the aft, a testament to just how long these leaders were.

We were good about keeping a camera handy and shoot a bunch of stills and even some video during the trip. Back at the fort I was trying to figure out what to do with all the video, so I threw it into a film editing program and put together a little montage to share with the ‘fellas to remember the trip. I posted it here for fun.

Hope you enjoy.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Good Stuff

Recently had a chance to check out some very cool river restoration work that has taken place here in Maine. The Bear River, and Sunday Rivers in Newry are important cold water tributaries of the Androscoggin River, and home to rainbow trout, brook trout, and browns. Last year a joint venture between public and private entities conspired to help stabilize and restore the stream bank.

The result is a win for the fish and the folks who live near the river; which really sounds like the perfect solution doesn't it?