April 22, 2019
Winter has finally loosened its grip on the Moosehead Region. Run-off water is flowing from every corner and crevice. If you’re following our water flow page you’ll see the headwaters of both the Penobscot and Moosehead drainages are pumping big flows into Chescuncook and Moosehead but outflows are low conpared to inflow so both are filling fairly fast. Moosehead is only 18″ from being full. The snowpack is dwindling away but is far from being gone back at the head waters which gets their start not far from the Quebec border. If we don’t see any substantial rain event in the near future river flows may remain fishable. You can bet the water folks are watching our long term forecast very closely. This is when they begin nibbling away at their nails curtesy of Mother Nature, the great equalizer.
We are creeping up on smelt run time. We’re seen plenty of small stream runs begin around the 26th of April. It will likely be a bit later this season. The science behind smelt runs is simple. They are gathered around the mouth of rivers and streams already but until stream water entering your favorite body of water is 40 degrees F or above you might as well stay put. We have been way to early way too may times. The only way stream water is going to climb about 40 degrees is when snowpack is just about gone. Melting snow is cold, just over 32 degrees. As long as there is ice in your drink is remains around the freezing mark. As soon as your drink ice is gone and a bit of sun shines hit it, it not long before to begins to warm. Once snow leaves the woods a sunny warm day begins to warm the ground and and any water flowing to a pond.
Smaller streams with headwaters up in the hills always warm first and so do their smelt runs.
If the body of water you plan on fishing is a large lake like Moosehead that’s fed by a big river like the Moose a slightly different set of rules applies. In order for the Moose River smelt runs begin ice has to have left Brassua Lake before it begins to warm, the drink principle. That’s why larger river smelt runs are the last to happen. Most of the streams entering Brassua have already run before the Moose River run begins, the same goes for Moosehead. The solution for all the smelt mysteries is to carry a water thermometer in your gear. Stick it in moving water for two minutes and if it’s over 40 degree F there should be smelts around and your Grey Ghosts, Nine Threes and Magog Smelts should prove worthy of the task. Under 40 degrees and you’ll probably be playing more cribbage than you planned. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
The photo above was taken from a web cam at the mouth of the Moose River on April 22nd. Conditions are changing fast but in the Moosehead Region things haven’t rounded the corner just yet. If you would like to keep an eye on ice conditions around the Moosehead Region here is the link to MooseheadWebcams.com.