Crisp nights, and bluebird days have arrived. Over the past two weeks we have been covering some serious miles fishing Maine’s best Brook Trout and Landlocked Salmon waters. I have been getting alot of emails, texts, voicemails, and facebook messages asking what the “hot fly” is this fall. We have been catching fish on a wide selection of flies from Big nymphs and dries, to tiny dries and nymph droppers 24-26. We have even had some vicious eats on BIG articulated flies, which Matt has been feverishly tying on his evenings off the water.
One of my favorite fishing quotes of all time I heard last summer from Legendary Atlantic Salmon Guide Austin Clark. “Never say never, and never say always.” Just when you think you have things pegged fish change their mood… The bottom line is don’t get stuck in a rut, be willing to try different patterns and most importantly PRESENTATIONS and you will be rewarded. If something is NOT WORKING switch it up, or tweak the presentation. The best tool you have on the water is tucked away in your own noggin… I have bumped into plenty of anglers lately after hours reporting on the “slow fishing” after we had banner days. When asked how many times they changed flies the answer was always 2-3 times all day! We have been trying at least 2 dozen different setups a day til we establish a pattern or presentation style. By the time you’ve read alot of reports online, the game has likely changed. Observe, imitate, then play with presentation, and switch it up often. Or simplified… Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome!
Both salmon and trout fishing has been stellar lately, but we thought we’d share some photos of colored up Maine Brook Trout! Thanks for tuning in!
Get out there while you can!
It has been a very busy and very hot summer here in Maine. Most of the river temperatures on our favorite Trout and Salmon waters have warmed to harmful levels for the fish for the time being… So what is an fly fisherman to do? Summer Bass and Pike Float trips are keeping us busy and bringing smiles to our customers! Imagine a laidback sunny summer day catching lots of fish with vicious topwater takes, tailwalking fish, the occasional Pike blindsiding your fly at 30 miles per hour. Then finish it off with a killer lunch and a cold beer and you you are styling! Give us a call and get in on the fun before summer is gone! We are offering Smallmouth Bass Float Trips on the Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers through September. We fish different sections of both rivers and all trips are within an hour’s drive of Portland Maine. So if you are a local angler call take a day off work and get out and enjoy a summer day on the water while it lasts! If you are visiting Maine for vacation a day on the water with a Maine Guide is sure to become the highlight of your visit! Give us a call!
Speaking of Maine Guides, I am pleased to announce we have a new guide working for us. Introducing Matt Bickford as the newest member of the Maine River Guides Team! Matt is a skilled fly angler, patient teacher, and enthusiastic guide! Matt will be guiding many of our bass fishing float trips by raft here in Southern Maine and we could’nt be happier to have him on board!
Jim with a Big Birthday Bass!
Open up and say ahhh
Jim gets it done!
Chuck’s best Bass ever!
Been a road warrior the last few weeks…fishing from the West Branch, to the Rapid, East Outlet of the Kennebec and even banging the banks for some early season Smallmouth Bass on the Androscoggin. I’m finally settled in at the Big Eddy Campground for the 2012 fishing season. Had a great kickoff Holiday weekend here with friends and family fishing, eating very well, and catching up with old friends.
Here are some shots from the river and road:
Hendricksons are in full swing on the West Branch, duns by day rusty spinners in the evenings and mornings. This is the most predictable mayfly hatch of the season here on the branch, before the blizzard caddis hatches kick in. We have seen alot of surface feeding activity over the last few days, and things are only going to get better from here. So far I have seen golden stones, bwos from 16- 24, small caddis, March Browns, Yellow Sallies, and a hand full of dobson flies to boot. It has not been just a dry fly game, although how can resist fishing dries all day… Nymphing has been fair to ridiculous with pt nymphs and stones boating the most fish on bottom. River flows have been right around 2200-2300cfs, but I anticipate flows bumping up soon as the lake is near full. More than likely flows will land around 3200 cfs soon which is the standard summer flow these days. River temps have ranged from 49 to 53 degrees from one section to another with the warmer flows down river and the hatches further along the further you go downstream. The best news I have to report is that I have seen ALOT of smelt in the river this year compared to the last 5 years, and the fish are on em in a few key locations. This feed is critical for maintaining a healthy landlocked salmon population and I am so glad to see significant numbers of smelt in the river again.
Prime Time is almost here! I have select few days open between now and mid July if you are interested in floating a beautiful Maine River fly fishing for salmon and trout soon! I will be offering combo Trips Early July river fishing the morning/afternoon, pond Hex hatch fishing the evenings. Email for info and availability.
Come mid-late July we will be offering Float Trips on the Bingham section of the Kennebec River for Wild Rainbows, and Landlocked Salmon. We are also Float Trip for Smallmouth Bass in within an hour of Portland. The trout purist might cringe while reading this, smallmouth on the fly are a blast and the action can be downright ridiculous. Its a great accessable option for getting on the water without a huge travel commitment… Sunny Days with Beers, Burgers and Bass, it’s an all American experience.
Drop a line or give a call for details…
I will try to return calls within 48 hours due to lack of cell service. I do have access to email daily.
Nap time is over, get on the water!
Here is a little edit I put together from Maine River Guides 2011 Fishing Season…
Let the fun begin!
Here we are again mid season, and fast approaching the dog days of summer. Fortunately water temps are holding in the sixties and I feel we will be set up for some great Late July/August fishing. Caddis are still coming off strong and I find smaller has been better lately with size 18’s and 20’s in dark colors working well. The big summer Stonefly hatches have been keeping fish looking up to take Stimulators, Sofa Pillows, Foam Stones, Bugmeisters and and other large buggy varieties. I generally like fishing these big bugs with a small caddis nymph or emerger in tow. For you stillwater native brook trout fishermen the ponds are still pumping out some strong hexagenia limbata hatches but fish are getting fussier by the day depending on where you fish. When the spinner falls out number hatching duns the end is near.
From now through the end of August I will be fishing the West Branch of the Penobscot, and the Bingham section of the Kennebec, with an occassional jaunt over to the East Outlet of the Kennebec. If you are looking for a new challenge in dryfly fishing, the Wild Rainbow Trout in Bingham will keep you on your toes. Make sure to check your backing knot before you go, as fish over 18 inches will run long and hard… Looking ahead into August many of my trout trips will be split days early morning launches, midday swims followed by siestas and back out for the evening risers. This approach is better for the fish, and the anglers all around.
If you are hesitant to drive north in pursuit of trout there are some stellar opportunities for Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass within an hours drive of the Greater Portland area. Email or give a call and we can get you in touch with some WBD’s… guide’s I’d call “Weapons of Bass Destruction”.
We are at the halfway point in our season, and Fall will be here before you know it. If you haven’t fished in September and October in Maine crowds thin out, biting bugs are gone, and the fishing is refreshed by cooling water temps. Give a call and we will get you on it! 207-749-1593
Here is some eye candy from June and July 2011:
May into June has been one hell of a Roller Coaster ride this season with river flows up and down, with many Plan B’s C’s and D’s thrown in the mix, trips canceled and rescheduled. The good news is fishing-friendly flows have finally arrived on the West Branch of the Penobscot, and the fishing has been solid. I have fished the river from 7300cfs on down to 2400cfs with good results all the way through. All tactics have produced in the last few weeks, smelt-style streamers up top and on bottom, Nymphs under and indie or naked, and of course dry flies. Over the last week and a half the dryfly fishing has come on hard, from Henrickson’s to rusty spinners, and as of Saturday night Big Caddis hatches. Prime time is here and once the current damp weather passes the caddis will really take the spotlight.
The new Pro Guide Driftboat from Boulder Boatworks is turning some heads. Even Lefty Kreh was impressed with it. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get Lefty out in it and on the water for the day due to Severe Thunderstorms right at the put-in! But we made the best of the day sharing stories and even got some private casting lessons and discussion and lunch with a true legend of the fly fishing world. I hope to be half the caster Lefty Kreh is when I reach his age, he is truly incredible! We will make it happen next year Lefty!
The next month is the time to get out and experience some of the finest dryfly fishing in Maine. From Blizzard caddis and mayflies, to the Big Bugs of summer (Hexes) on a Northwoods pond. If you don’t have plans to get out soon you should…
Want to float a Maine River in style, give us a call or email. Some June/July dates are available.
Until next time…
Back in early April I trailered home a new Pro Guide Driftboat kit by Boulder Boatworks.
While I’ve always wanted to build a wooden driftboat… and someday I will when it better suits my fishing needs. Years before I ever bought my NRS raft I began searching for a boat that was durable, quiet, and still retained the elegance of a driftboat’s lines… as a full time fly fishing guide I needed something durable and low maintenance above all else. Many guides here in Maine have been using fiberglass driftboats for years, and I explored those possibilities but never got on board. Then I ran across a picture of a beautiful drift boat built by a small company out of Boulder Colorado four years ago. There boats featured a light, durable, and quiet polymer hull, finished with ash ribs gunnels and trim. I began calling the guys out at Boulder and asking tons of questions about this new driftboat material. I called guides who have been using their boats for a few seasons and hearing very positive feedback. While talking the the guys at Boulder Boat works one day they mentioned a build it at home kit option they were going to begin to sell… I was sold. It wasn’t until late last winter I finally pulled the trigger sent them some cash and put my order in.
So early this May I began gluing wood,
sanding ribs, epoxying wood, varnishing wood,
more sanding, more varnishing.
After the gunnel scarf joints were glued and all four gunnels were sanded smooth,
I dropped them off to the guys at New England Off Road in Westbrook, Maine to have the gunnels coated with Line-X. The guys at New England Off Road did an awesome job on the gunnels, and I’m very glad I choose this option and feel for long term durability it is the way to go, especially if you have a dog.
It took over a week and a half to get the finish to where I wanted it. Then began the fun part… building the Boat! The build up process took about another week and a half to juggle between days on the water, and rescheduling lost days on the water due to high water.
Mounting Exterior gunnel.
Clamping starboard exterior gunnel.
Setting the Rib ins:
Making the interior gunnel cuts was the most intense part…a short cut would be bad, very bad…
Finished Bow Dashboard, and fly deck:
Guide tested, dog approved:
Of course there were fish to be caught during the build:
Watching that bare hull slowly take the shape of a boat day by day was extremely rewardlng. I can honestly say my blood, sweat, and
tears beers went into the building of this Pro Guide driftboat. I had some great help along the way, from my neighbors, my wife, my buddy Josh. The Biggest Thanks! goes to my friend Andrew, who put in a ton of time sanding, clamping gunnels, unclamping gunnels, theorizing, scratching heads, and getting it done. Check him out at Themadtrouter! I also owe a big thanks to the whole crew at Boulder Boatworks who were extremely helpful and supportive from delivering all the way through the build. Thanks Andy, Steve, and Chris for always taking the time to answer my questions no matter how busy you are. You guys Rock!
It was three weeks well spent, and now the real fun begins…
Who wants to Float a Beautiful Maine River?
Grab a seat before the dog beats you to it!