We are smack dab in the middle of the heat of summer. Waters are the warmest they will be all season. It’s a great time to take care of those family obligations. We call it MFO (Mandatory Family Outing) season. Many of our customers are here for a wedding or family reunion or summer vacation. The fishermen in the family sneak in a day or two of fishing between family events. They’re looking for a nice day spent on the water and aren’t disappointed if they don’t see a lot of big fish.
The East Outlet and Moose Rivers are currently at low flows and fishing can be slow, especially during mid-day. When river water temperatures climb to 70 degrees many trout and salmon move into Moosehead and it’s colder water. Not all fish exit the river but we’ll see numbers fall off as water temps rise. This time of season the best area on East Outlet would be from the dam to the Beach Pool. Early morning and evenings are the most productive and when you’re likely to find caddis hatching and feeding fish.
There are exceptions to everything. One of those exceptions is the West Branch of the Penobscot below Ripogenus Dam. They make power there so the flow of water comes from deep in the lake and diverted into the powerhouse, McKay Station, where it goes through turbines before reentering the river. The West Branch is a very unique system were fish, both trout and salmon, are born and live their entire life in a river system. There is no fish ladder so they can’t leave. The entire river is loaded with fish and every big fish big fish lives somewhere in that river.
The game is the same wherever you choose fish. We are well along the caddis hatch cycle. Instead of all day hatches it’s more mornings and evenings. A lot of caddis have come and gone. Olive, green, and brown-bodied caddis are over. Fish even stopped eating the Nancy’s Prayer just the other day. On the menu these days are the Kennebec Caddis (burnt orange body) and tiny black caddis. It is also Cheeseburger Season when big golden stones are out so Stimulators and Golden Stone patterns get a lot of attention. Cover every square foot of water and every now and then you’ll bring up a big fish up and when they show they mean business.
This time of season you can eventually get sick of trying to fool very finicky fish that refuse to participate or even worse flat out refuse whatever you are offering. It ‘s time you might want to let your mind wonder over to the “Dark Side” also know as BASS angling. They like warmer water and are rarely finicky. We know it might be a hard pill to swallow for some but while I’m catching smallmouth on poppers I can’t help but image how I would be doing if I were trying to catch brookies on some trout pond where every fish is tucked away is some spring hole somewhere in the pond. If you can wrap your head around a warm water species, fly fishing fun can last all summer. The list of smallmouth spots is extensive; Prong Pond, Indian Pond, Moosehead, Brassua and the West Outlet of the Kennebec. A couple of different color poppers, a couple different color rubber legged woolly buggers and maybe a crayfish look-a-like is about all you’ll need. There was a guy in the shop a while ago that was one happy camper boasting of big smallies he had caught this morning that jumped sky high. BASS can be loads of fun. You just have to get past the fact that they don’t have colored spots.
Have loads of summer fun and the best of luck fishing.