The Roach River is scheduled to get an increase in water flow after Labor Day. There is plenty of water in 1st Roach Pond so it will go to around 200 cfs to start and get another bump to around 250 about mid-month. Because of the abundance of water these levels are more than we usually see which should result in more fish in the river sooner than usual. There is already a run of fall fish in the Roach River. Nymphs and streamers.
The Kennebec River should start to come down to more wadeable flows after Labor Day although there are no promises. The river is already full of fish and we are picking up plenty of fish in the shallower water around the edges. Streamers, small caddis, and nymphs.
The Moose River is also full of fish but is still experiencing high flows. If we don’t see any measurable rain it will start to come down before long.
It’s streamer season and we are starting to do well with the traditional fall patterns.
I could tie a Montreal Whore on tomorrow, leave it on for the rest of the season, be happy as a clam and catch lots of fish.
Fall flows have started at Seboomook Dam. Each fall the flow is increased to around 900 cfs at Seboomook Dam as an attractor flow to start the fall spawning run of salmon from Chesuncook and Lobster Lake. It is believed the Chesuncook fish move into the lower portion of the river and the Lobster Lake fish move into the upper part of the river from Roll Dam to the Dam on Seboomook. That upper part is very accessible with multiple, beautiful state campsites at Roll Dam and Burbank. It’s a great place to avoid the crowds and has the potential of catching a very big salmon. Remember these are the fish from Lobster Lake, where all salmon have to be released under 20″.
We have ideal fall fish conditions.
Great fall fishing conditions are exactly the opposite of ideal spring conditions.
In the spring we look of falling waters levels and rising water temperatures. As water levels drop fish become more contained in pools and runs. As the water temperature rises insect activity increases and hatches begin. Fish feed on a regular schedule and fishing gets better and better.
Then comes the heat of (most) summers during August and typically lower, warmer water. Fishing slows and many fish retreat to a lake.
When fall arrives we look for rising water levels and falling water temperatures. The increased flows and lower water temperatures are the stimulus needed to spark the fall spawning runs of trout and salmon. We usually are sitting around hoping for a good hurricane to make it’s way north and we benefit from the cool rains and higher water flows.
There are also agreements with the water people to hold back water during the heat of summer so they can provide increased fall flows (attractor flows) that begin after Labor Day Weekend. These scheduled increases usually provide us with a good, early run of fish in the Roach, Moose, East Outlet, and Upper West Branch of the Penobscot.
After that initial increase we hope for additional cool fall nights and some rain that continues to increase water flows and decrease water temperatures. When this happens more fish will continue to enter the rivers as fall progresses.
This year is the exception to what we consider normal. We have had lots of rainfall and a surplus of cool weather. The higher water levels and cooling water temperatures have already brought lots of fish into the rivers. The issue as everyone knows is about wadeable levels. The fish are there, you just can’t get to them. This could actually be a fall fishing season we’ll be talking about for a long time. We’ll keep our fingers crossed no hurricane makes it’s way to Maine and water levels drop as the fall progresses.
Remember this one thing about fall fish. We always focus hard on feeding lanes throughout the season. Both trout and salmon do not regularly feed during the spawning run.
For that reason they may not set-up housekeeping just in the obvious spots. Fish will certainly occupy many of the traditional spots but you will also find fish in places you will not see them any other time. That place is shallow water usually around gravel where they will actually be spawning later on. Fish the edges and high in runs where the water is shallow. It’s amazing how many fish we pick-up in unlikely spots. Spots no one else bothers to fish.
Because fall is not about food we often use bright attractor streamer pattens. It becomes more about territory and defending that territory against intruders, than getting a square meal. That’s why we swing big, bright streamers on sinking lines to try and appeal to the fish’s more aggressive nature. Never is a sinking line more important than during high water conditions especially in the fall. You need to get that fly in the fish’s face and during high water conditions it takes a sinking line to get it where it needs to be.
The other side of the coin is after fish have been in the river for a while they become more tolerate of their surroundings. They’ve seen lots of streamers, probably been caught one or twice and not as likely to chase them as aggressively as when they are first enter a river. Even though food isn’t the reason they are there they will eat a “Lay’s potato chip” if one is dropped in their lap. The Lay’s potato chip comes in the form of a nymph bounced along the bottom along eddy lines and in the tails of the pools. There usually isn’t any one pattern that dominates so keep changing them and you will pick up fish that are done chasing streamers and occasionally grab a tiny snack.
We almost always catch our biggest fish in the fall. They are in their prime, hit like freight trains and jump to eye level.