The 2013 fresh water fishing season has now come and gone and it was anything but a normal year.
What appeared to be an average ice out sometime in early May was disrupted in April by a week of 70 degree weather vaporizing two feet for ice in only a few days. Ice was again gone before the first of May. The great stretch of blue bird weather also evaporated the remaining snow pack, eliminating normal run-off from melting snow.
The earlier than expected fabulous weather was followed by no measurable rainfall and additional beautiful weather leaving the rivers at minimum flows as they held water in an attempt to fill the lakes still low from the lack of run-off.
In the meantime small ponds were ice free and warming quickly with mayfly hatches in full swing well before Memorial Weekend. Pond fishermen were having a field day reporting wonderful mid-day hatches and feeding trout eager to take dries all afternoon. Meanwhile rivers were running at minimum flow and extremely low. Hendricksons had begun hatching on the rivers by the middle of May, earlier than ever before. Wade fishing was great on the East Outlet but water was becoming a real issue. The Moose River saw a great run of smelt with great fishing early on around the mouth but due to low flows fish didn’t stay in the river like they usually do and departed with the smelt when the spawn ended. No rain was in the long term forecast with all lakes still far from full. Chesuncook was down almost 25 feet. Average spring precipitation was way below normal. We were approaching the end of May and our spring rainy season. Both anglers and power companies were beginning to get very concerned.
On Memorial Weekend nature took over and it began to rain in a big way. Heavy rain and related run-off didn’t let up before the lakes were overflowing and the rivers were over their banks putting an end to all that great wading. Caddis season began without us. I watched waves of caddis washing into Indian Pond and we couldn’t get to the fish. It was nearly the end of June before the rain ended and river flows went down enough so we could get back to business. The one good bit of news was the rivers were full of fish but the bad news was the rain wasn’t over just yet.
Pond fishermen that were baby setting their favorite trout ponds, waiting for the green drakes to begin hatching, had a longer wait than usual. All the rain had kept the pond water cooler longer than usual and the monster mayflies, which usually show in earnest around the 4th of July, didn’t get the message until mid-month after most of the fishermen had headed home wondering what happened. When they did show the folks that were able to take advantage of the situation experienced some wonderful pond fishing.
Summer did arrive in mid-July with a 90 degree heat wave while the rest of the country saw 100 degree temperatures. One or two days of hot weather usually means nothing but the extended heat sent many river fish back into the depths of the lake and cooler water. Barbeque season was in full swing.
The consolation prize for all the rainy weather in June was we would enter the fall season with full lakes and plenty of water for the rivers and the fall spawning season. The Roach River saw flows double just after Labor Day, as did the upper West Branch. Both saw great runs of fish immediately and great catches reported by some very happy anglers. The Moosehead fishery has been in great shape the last few years and it was reflected in the quality of the fish on their spawning runs. Average size of both salmon and brook trout were bigger than years past with reports of 18” plus brookies and 20” plus salmon very common. It was a great September on the East Outlet and the Roach.
When October arrived and the extended season began on the East Outlet water level was raised for the first 10 days of the month because of a scheduled draw down of Moosehead Lake for the lake trout spawn which takes place in the shallow waters around the rocky rubble of many reefs around the lake. When the water did drop to a wadeable level the river was full of big salmon averaging 18” or better. Fishing couldn’t have been any better. We saw lots of 20” fish and larger.
It was a very impressive finish to another fishing season in the Moosehead Lake Region.
We put together two more videos this season.
One in the spring called
“Early Season Fly Fishing the Moosehead Lake Region”
And our latest just finished the other day called “October Landlocked on the East Outlet”
We hope you enjoy our little videos and you had as memorable a fishing season as we did.
Thanks to all the folks that have stopped by the shop or emailed us about how much they enjoy our web site. We sincerely appreciate it. Have a great holiday season.