May 11, 2018 – Ice has only been out for a few days and already fish are cooperating. Smelt runs are in full swing at all the streams and it’s been said folks are seeing gulls diving on smelt in the Moose River.
Water level has come down to fishable levels everywhere except the Moose and East Outlet. And now that run-off has eased up in the Moose River drainage above Brassua levels are steadily dropping there as well. Moose and East Outlet levels are still high but should continue to drop everyday especially with no measureable rain in the extended forecast.
We just meet with our fisheries biologists regarding their winter censes data collected from ice fishermen during the winter season. The results were – the health of our fishery is still in excellent shape. Growth rates continue to be the best seen in 25 years and shining star is Moosehead brook brook trout numbers are up and growth is off the scale. There were more big brookies, 4-7 lbs, seen than ever before. They attribute it to the abundance of smelt in the lake. Brook trout don’t need smelt to get big but if there is an abundance of smelt in the neighborhood they’ll take advantage of the windfall and get much bigger faster.
So if you were ever focused on the brookie of a lifetime Moosehead is a good place to be. The next two weeks are prime time. This time of year moosehead brook trout love boulder strewn shorelines and hunt for a meal alone the contour where you can see bottom on one side of your boat and not on the other. Use a long sinking line with a long (20’) leader topped off with a tandem smelt pattern, there are lots of those. Concentrate in the north end of the lake, which is famous for large brookies as is the rocky shores of Sugar Island and the Roach River end of Spencer Bay. Keep you eyes open because you’ll be dodging boulders the size of Volkswagens. If there are two of you in your boat, one should be casting a streamer towards shore around all those boulders. Let it swing out behind the boat where your trolled streamers are.
Now that smelt runs are at their peak concentrate your efforts around the mouth of any stream. It’s not a bad idea to anchor and cast your favorite smelt pattern all around the mouth at dawn and again at dusk. A sinking line is a must. Fish are not looking up yet so you have to get your fly down where they are.
The next few weeks are also prime time for all our trout ponds. Fish will be cruising the shallow shorelines in search of dragon fly nymphs feasting on caddis lava and mayfly nymphs. As ponds begin warming midge hatches kick in and in a couple weeks mid-day mayfly hatches will last well into June.
Pick you passion. Life begins again.
See you on the water.