East Outlet or West Branch

August 15, 2013

If you watched the video mentioned, in our last report, of the fish ladder study at the East Outlet and how fish leave the river in search of cooler water and smelts but, we didn’t talk about what happens at the West Branch of the Penobscot. These are two very different water systems. While the East Outlet has a more migratory population of fish the West Branch is quite the opposite! Fish in the West Branch are river fish, what does this mean? There is no fish ladder at the Rip dam and there is also not a big body of water for fish to retreat to in the heat of the summer, this is good. Fish in the Penobscot are forced to stay in the river, and eat…insects! This is what makes the Penobscot such a wonderful summertime fishery. While summertime in the outlet can be a day full of weighted nymphs and indicator rigs, a day on the Penobscot in the summer can be 100 percent dry fly fishing. The Penobscot is a true tailwater, it is a bottom release dam which allows cooler water to enter the river, while the water is still on the warmer side it will always be slightly cooler than the East Outlet. What this means is that insect activity can continue right through the dog days of summer, and when the fish can’t escape it means they need to focus on feeding. Fishing in the West Branch has remained quite active. Fish will rise to caddis and stonefly imitations, emergers, and even streamers. This season we are seeing a lot of fat and healthy fish throughout the West Branch.
Now that it’s the middle of August it means the countdown is on to everyone’s favorite time of year…the fall.