Conditions in Limbo

May 13, 2017

A week ago our red maples began to show signs of life and decided to bud. The tiniest tips of green leaves on trees indicated it’s time to move spring forward. Then every morning began just a few degrees above freezing and ended a few degrees below 50 so nature put the brakes on. Things have remained in limbo until yesterday when the sun came out and warmed things up. The grass grew an inch overnight.

Because of last weeks cooler than normal temperatures, gray skies and wet weather, fishing opportunities haven’t changed much.

The mouth of the larger rivers have continued to be very productive. Smelt are still spawning in some places and lake fish remain concentrated where smelt are. The Moose River has been living up to its reputation and fishing well all week. Once water warms and smelt runs end fish disperse along shorelines. You’ll find many of the smelt runs at smaller streams have ended and now is prime time to hunt big brookies especially on Moosehead. Our fisheries biologists say the population of big brookies in the lake is doing very well and Moosehead is the place to be if you’re a trophy trout hunter. The traditional way to fish them is trolling a shoreline contour where you can see bottom on one side of the boat and not on the other. Evidence of smelt runs, in the form of eggs left behind, has been found in every brook biologists checked. Have a look at your map, you’ll find feeder streams all around Moosehead. Concentrate on shores around any bay that has feeder streams, like Spencer Bay, Cowans Cove, Moose Cove, or Duck Coves.

Colder than normal weather and water temperatures around the region have slowed early season salmon runs in some of the rivers. Fish appear to still be feasting on smelt holding at the mouth of big rivers. With high water flows continuing and another round of heavy rain predicted its only a matter of time before salmon decide to make their early season run upstream. We have been on the East Outlet all week and we are catching some beautiful salmon and trout in the river. Because of high flows, fish that are holding in the river are welded to the bottom and not very eager to chase a fly that’s not in their face. It’s difficult getting a fly down to fish at current flows. Catching will certainly improve as flow begin to drop.

A substantial warm-up is predicted for next week. Once leaves begin to grow in earnest they draw a lot of water and run-off will slow considerably.

For the moment the Roach River is flowing at 230 cfs, which is considered a great fall flow so it’s very wadeable. The West Outlet of the Kennebec always flows between 175-200 cfs this time of year so it’s always fishable.

Small pond fishing is a good bet this time of season. It takes a sink-tip line and some sort of dragon fly, woolly bugger bug stripped slowly along the bottom. Trout are prowling the shoreline picking off every dragon fly nymph they can find.

Fishing everywhere hasn’t peaked yet but its going to get better and better once it warms up a bit.

The photo above is an exceptional brookie caught during an East Outlet drift last week. It grabbed a smelt imitation, got it’s picture taken and promptly returned.