May 17, 2019
No two seasons are ever the same, but high water in the early season is most always a common theme. It is the official rainy season after all. Some years are a bit more rainy than others and this season is no exception so the faucet has remained open longer than we had hoped for and unseasonably colder temps have been the norm and not on anyone’s wish list. Southern Maine isn’t much further ahead than we are so it’s been a relatively slow start as far as the catching component of fishing goes. Iceout waters haven’t been in any hurry to warm, even a little.
We are happy to announce that that’s all changing. But why?It’s said that the catching doesn’t kick in until the leaves on the alders are the sizes of a mouse’s ear. Translated..,.Leaves develop very rapidly from bud to regulation, mature leaf. To accomplish that, they require a ton of nutrition rich H2O. That rapid process puts an end to run-off. As a result inflow of excess water slows and rivers become contained within their banks. Once that happens fish begin filtering back to their traditional lies and as the water warms a bit they get back to the task at hand, looking for a good square meal of whatever is abundant… Smelt for example.
Smelt runs may be over in most of the smaller streams but larger rivers like the Moose are just beginning to percolate. As luck would have it, thanks to the foliage water river and stream flows have finally come down to fishable levels. You may not be able to get to your favorite spot just yet but there will be plenty of fish elsewhere.
It’s no secret smelt patterns and sinking lines work the best this time of season. The text book says to cast 45 degrees down stream and cross current. What it may not say is “After your cast give your line a big mend upstream (maybe even two or three) to get your fly as deep as possible then once it comes tight flip the tip of your rod up & down a few inches as your stream swings across the downstream current so it looks like a minnow scurrying about”. “Then at the end of the swing let you fly stop for a few seconds before bouncing it about a few times prior your next cast”. Most of your strikes will come at the end of the swing when your fly stops and becomes an easy target. If you feel a slight tug, you suspect might be a short strike of a fish, leave it be and tickle it just a bit. If that fish didn’t feel the sting of your hook it might very well return to finish the job. A customer, who caught a bunch of salmon today said he never lost a fish, admitting he has lost his share in the past. Translation…. Very hungry, very aggressive, no nonsense salmon. Translation….This is the time of season you’ll want to pull out your 2X tippet or you may be sorry. The guys have already netted good numbers of salmon and trout over twenty.
With the nice weather predicted over the weekend, life in our wild trout ponds will once again begin their open water cycle. You may still have to use your sinking line and woolly buggers but be sure to bring along your floater. If you’re a tiny fly guy midges should start flirting about in the warming weekend sun. And mayfly hatches aren’t that far out. Remember the last week of May and the first week of June is mayfly time on wild trout waters.
It’s great to once again dive head long into Maine’s open water fishing season.
May the Fish Gods look favorably upon all who seek the “Drug of the Tug”. Not to mention the lovely wild places they call home.