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24
May

Kennebec River Solon: A Day of Recon

Maine River Guides is now offering full day float trips on the Solon section of the Kennebec River. Located less than 2 hours from Portland it provides a unique opportunity to catch three species of trout and salmon in a remote setting.

Recently we did a recon float with Brian Donaghy, the fishing was good and so was the weather. Fish were caught on a variety of methods from nymphing down deep to tiny size 20 dries. Streamers produced the most action in between nymph runs and rising fish.

Anchored out Kennebec River Solon Photo by Brian Donaghy

Kennebec River Brown Trout. Photo by Brian Donaghy

Solon Section Kennebec River Photo by Brian Donaghy

Kennebec River Solon Photo by Brian Donaghy

Driftboat Trip Solon section of the Kennebec River Photo by Brian Donaghy

Thanks to Brian Donaghy for capturing all the photos seen above!

24
May

Androscoggin Float Trip: Bass and Pike

Took a day with Matt and his friend Todd to do some recon on Bass and Pike on the Androscoggin River a few weeks back. Wind was brutal, river flows were good, and fishing was solid. We fished some new flys we have been developing utilizing unique new products from the folks at Flymen Fishing Company, the results were good!

Bronze on the Fish Skull Fly

Maine Pike on Fish Skull Fly

Thick Smallmouth from Maine river

Matt with a Pike

If you are interested in good fishing within an hour to an hour and a half of Portland Maine, give us a call and line up a date soon!

Bronzerino

Maine Bronzeback

For innovative “Next Generation” fly tying products check out Flymen Fishing Company. We are proud to be a part of their Fish Monks Program!

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Fish-Monk-Logo_long

12
Mar

Fly Tyer or a Fly Buyer?

So what are you?

I fall into the first catagory of the fly tyer, yeah you know the guy…”I’m gonna show those shops, ‘en save a bunch of money tying my own flies!” That was my thought process about ten years ago when I crossed the line from rational fly buyer to obsessive fly tyer…

Yessah.

My urge to save money by tying my own was short lived… The realization set in that my large, and ever growing stockpile of fur, foam, feathers and hooks if added up and divided by the total amount of flies tied would equal $7.97… Ok the number is arbitrary, but you get the point. While I don’t intend to stop tying flies, I have gotten a handle on the addiction, for now. What keeps me tying is the ability to take a “known” fly pattern and adapt it to different waters and situations is the main reason I continue fly tying. There really aren’t many “new” groundbreaking ideas in fly tying, just adaptations. I’m always suspect of anyone claiming to have invented any new fly pattern these days…chances are it has been done before and they are kidding themselves. I always get a chuckle when folks hand me a “new” fly and tell me “yeah, it is called the “troutslapper” (named for effect) and you look at it and say “yeah, hmm” when in reality it is a “wooly bugger” in a tuxedo. Truth is I always graciously accept these new “groundbreaking creations” and fish them with a smile…

19
Jan

Can fishing be in your blood?

Grandfather's Fishing "journal" 1922

The pace of our present world stops for nothing or no one as far as I can tell. During the frantic holiday bustle I rediscovered a personal “treasure” given to me by my Aunt as a Christmas gift a last year. As I pulled the aging journal from the protective padded envelope I had stored it in, I felt taken back…

Grandfather's commercial fishing log book

way back in fact to a different time, long before my birth. I flipped the journal open to a page dated October 8th, 1923. I paused to ponder what life on this planet was like 90 years ago.
My eyes scanned the aging paper, handwritten penciled in dates with corresponding numbers of total fish caught (in pounds) This was the Journal or “books” of my Great Grandfather Albert Bostater who fished the waters of Western Lake Erie commercially. I was introduced to fishing by my father and grandfather, both loved to fish. Is there genetic evidence to explain why I can’t drive near a body of water without wondering what swims there and how I might catch those inhabitants?

GB

14
Dec

Give the gift of fly fishing this Christmas!

Guided Driftboat trips make excellent gifts for the fly angler in your life.

Gift Certificates available: Call 207-749-1593

MRG.GiftCert

Santa Clouser Fly

“Santa” Clousers coming to town

17
Sep

Maine Brook Trout : Fall Fishing is on!

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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.

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“Carnivore”
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!

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Matt Bickford : Maine Guide Fall Brook Trout

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Get out there while you can!

2
Aug

The Dog Days of Summer: Fly Fishing for Bass and Pike

Tailwalking Smallmouth Bass

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!
207-749-1593

Matt doubled up
MaineRiverGuides new Guide!

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!

Got Teeth?
Maine Pike

Jim with a Big Birthday Bass!

Big Smallmouth

Matt and Jim having some fun
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Open up and say ahhh

Beady eyes

Jim gets it done!

King with a nice Maine Pike caught on a Fly!

Close up

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Chuck’s best Bass ever!

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Stay cool…

6
Jun

Maine Fly Fishing: I gotta say it was a good day!

Today I fished a pond with John from Maryland…weather was decent fishing was off the hook for Maine Brook Trout…Too many landed on dryflies to count…I gotta say it was a good day.

Since our last report…
Caddis arrived in full force this past Sunday on the West Branch, during a soaking downpour… seems the Branch is the only game in town right now with high flows all over Maine. Fish have been fussy during these hatches try a variety of flys at all levels of the water column. Weather has been wet, but I have had a lot of good company the past to weeks. I love my job!

On the River we have been seeing a good variety of insects, caddis from size 20 to 14, Bwos from 16 to 22, March browns, lots of yellow sallies, golden stones, and some lingering Hendricksons…

Some of the best fishing of the year is yet to come! Book a day on the water and spoil yourself! Don’t wait til July to book a July day on the water…it will be too late! And if you are looking for a dry place to hang your hat after a day fishing the West Branch…Chewonki’s Big Eddy has you covered with a new cabin for rent seconds from the river…Good news is you will be dry and comfortable with a woodstove and other amenities, bad new is…I’m your neighbor…

Here is a link to booking info for Big Eddy Campground :
http://www.chewonki.org/vacations/vacations_big_eddy.asp
Email [email protected] as cell phone service is limited.

Todays Catch…
Thick Maine Brook Trout

The past week in review:
Caddis Orgy?

oh yeah...it's that time again!

Buster and Mike charged up after lunch

Caddis cover Boulder Boat

off the clock...

Peter getting it done

Lupines are early this year (so is everything)

Til next time,

28
May

Maine Dry Fly Fishing in Full Swing!

It’s Time!

Hendrickson Time is Here!

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:

Wild Maine Brook Trout

Andrew's first Lake Trout on the fly!

Scott with a solid Landlocked Salmon from the Kennebec River

Brian's first Bass of the day

Drew getting on the board!

Dark Hendrickson

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.

Andrew gets on the board with a Fat Landlocked Salmon

First West Branch salmon on a dryfly for the season

A bent rod is a happy rod

Rusty Spinner Egg Layer

Josh got in the game between kayaking sessions

Beautiful Blue Landlocked Salmon

Nice WB salmon

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.
207-749-1593

The Eye of the Beholder

Bronzeback on the fly

Brian with a chunky Androscoggin River Smallmouth

Parting Shot

Afternoon nap at the Cribworks

Nap time is over, get on the water!

8
May

Fly Fishing Mexico’s Yucatan: Finding Fly Fishing Paradise (Part 1)

My wife and I boarded a flight for Cancun on the morning of April 21st, leaving the grey skies of Portland Maine for a destination we had never explored. Our goals for the first two days were simple, Emilia hoped to catch her first Bonefish on a fly rod, and I had fingers crossed for one solid shot at a Permit. Two flights and a two and a half hour renta-car ride later we arrived at Boca Paila Fishing Lodge in the Sian Kaan Reserve in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

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Boca Paila Fishing Lodge

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After a warm welcome from the staff and a quick check into our room, we joined some spirited conversation in the lodge at the bar. The Margarita’s hit the spot and we sighed away the long travel day watching the sunset shed a tangerine glow over the warm waters of the Caribbean at our doorstep. The commraderie and grande Margarita’s flowed along with ease as we got to know a fun loving group of anglers from Montana who were nearing the end of a week long stay. The “Montana Crew” spoke of heavy rains and challenging conditions over the past week and said that the fishing and weather had just taken a turn for the better that morning… It would’ve been very easy with present company to take the party “into the backing” that night, but I was more interested in seeing my backing disapear into the morning sunlight.

I felt like a kid on Christmas eve that night trying to sleep with random bits of the evening’s bar conversation swimming around in my head…”18lb Snook, John landed a Permit today!, 35 lb Tarpon off the beach, more bonefish than you can count”…

6:15 am: The postcard perfect view from our room at sunrise.

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After a few rounds of coffee we enjoyed an amazing breakfast of omelettes and tons of local fresh fruit.

Rods Rigged and Ready

7:45am: Off to meet Mario, our guide for the next two days.

The Boca Paila Flats Boat Fleet

The walking “commute” to meet the guides on the Lagoon took 1 minute

Mario ready to fish

Motoring across the clear Caribbean waters of Paradise…

Paradise

Like a gentleman Emilia got first shots on the bow.

Lady's first

After missing some eats Emilia switched seats and I pick this lil’ guy up by 8:45

First Bonefish of the trip

Think she got the hang of that strip-set, Bonefish On!

Screaming Reel...

Mission accomplished!!!

Emilia's First Bonefish!

Mario discusses the proper stripping technique for Bonefish.

Listen to your Guide!

Does this permit count Mario?………No

Baby Permit

Lost count of Bonefish in this spot, time for new water

Little Ghost

again

And another

and again

Mario gives the nod

Is 9:45 to early for a beer?

Morning beer

Emilia with Shrimp Fly in the ready position on a new flat.

Ready with the Shrimp fly

“Cast 11 o’clock!!! strip strip set!”

Emilia and Mario getting it done

The Bonefish late morning did not want to pose with me…

Butterfingers

Getting Hot! Lunch in the shade it is…

Boca Paila Lodge Landing

The view at Boca Paila Lodge:

Fly Fishing Paradise

Snapped this shot during a quick bathroom break at the Lodge…and thought yes it is!

Yes it is!

High noon sun beat down on the bow of our skiff as we scanned the water ahead, a 7 weight rod hung at my side like a holstered gun ready to fire my shrimp fly at the subtle sight of cruising bonefish. The atmosphere was silent except for the rythmic and quiet swish of Mario’s push pole inching us along parallel to the mangroves…I could hear my own breathing.
“Permit!” Mario shouts breaking the midday post lunchtime hypnosis! “Switch Rods!” says Mario, as Emilia hands me the crab fly rigged 8wt with and intense look as she whispers “stay calm”. I carefully peel line off the reel in loose coils on the deck. Mario says “a pod of cruising permit at 70ft.” “Where? I don’t see them?” He says “you only get one cast!…10 o’clock!” in a loud whisper. I let go of the fly, and haul out 50 feet of line and drop the crab. “Too short…more line!” Mario exclaims, “cast again 9 o’clock now!” I pick up reload and fire 65 feet of fly line…”wait wait wait…let it sink” My knees start knocking. “Strip it now!” I strip the fly “slower!… long and slow” I strip again. “Keep Stripping!” I strip again and see the fish accelerate on my fly and turn, I feel the line come tight! The fish does an about face with the flick of his tail and speeds off for the deeper waters of the lagoon. I clear the line and smile as the drag begins to sing. “Hell Yeah!” were the only words spoken for the next 20 minutes as the fish and I play tug-of-war game with flyline and backing. Fly line to reel then gone again, repeat…

Permit On!

Sweat poured down forehead burning my eyes as they strained to glimpse the shiny round shape of a broadside permit coming into view. Just as the dark dorsal fin began to appear into our world my mind drifted off, recalling past encounters with this fish’s kin that ended in defeat…a blown first shot at a tailing fish on a little ocean side flat near Duck Key In Florida with friend Jeremy Cameron coaching at my side in 2007. Casting repeatedly to a lock-jawed laid up permit bobbing in the swollen tide of Biscayne Bay in 2008 with the same buddy from a tiny canoe with no reaction whatsoever. A fish so close to the skiff in the backcountry of the Florida Keys I could’ve probably lassoed it, while friend Capt Eric Wallace and my wife ribbed away, I stood on the bow like an idiot gridlocked with the flyline tangle cluster-fuck of a lifetime…These fish all had all brought me here, taught me lessons, tormented my memories, and inspired the journey. None of the fish from past close encounters would shine as brightly as the one I now held… “Thanks for the ride!”

“Hell Yeah!”

First Permit on a fly!

Stay Tuned for Part 2…