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?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring Fling.

"Pass the DEET, these babies are about to pop!"
The big rivers (Kennebec and Andro) are still running, well big. We are still feeling the effects of all that great snow in the mountains that resulted in good skiing this winter, including some big late season dumps. 

So one word for now- runoff. 

We’ve been itching to squeeze in some early season floats where big streamers and hungry trout are the rule, but so far it looks like we are going to remain grounded on the launch ramps waiting for better conditions. A look at the seven day NOAA forecast is cool, cloudy, and calling for more rain this week, which could be bad news for flows coming down to fishable levels anytime soon. Bingham is checking in at 28,000 CFS, Madison at 31,000 and as we head down stream to Shawmut we are looking at 38,000. The Andro at Gilead is around 11,000 CFS... you get the idea.

Is there ever a bad time to fish a stonefly? Still working on that one.
The bright spot is the smaller to medium sized rivers.  The Wild, Nezinscot, Sheepscot, Swift, Little Andro, Ellis, Presumpscot, St. George- all are offering very fishable water conditions with some good results. Water temps on a favorite early season beat in particular went from 40 degrees to a current reading of 48 degrees in a week- and the fish have responded. You read that right, 48 degrees, this party is about to get started.

Stoneflies, caddis and midges have been putting bends in rods. Some early sedge caddis have started to show and if we are lucky the fish may start looking up shortly. The leading edge of March Browns are starting to show on some streams. And finally, it’s early May, so dig out that egg box and make sure you’ve got a few sucker spawn handy.

Good Bets:
Barr’s Pure Midge Larvae (#18 to #14)
Brassies (#18 to #14)
Jimmy Legs Stone(#10 to #8)
Copper Johns (#16 to #14)
Olive Hares Ear (#14 to #12)
Pheasant Tails (#14 to #12)
Peeping Caddis (#18 to #12)
Sucker Spawn (#12)