Late season rewards

October 22, 2018 – There is only a week remaining in the extended season for the East Outlet of the Kennebec. Come November 1st the only stretch of river that remains open is from the Dam on Moosehead to the yellow posts located at the Beach Pool.

Until then the entire river remains open and the fishing is still worth a trip. The river is full of adult landlocks and brookies. Anglers have been wrestling with some gorgeous fish averaging 18-20″ and bigger. We aren’t saying getting one to eat your fly is easy, breezy but if you work the river over you’ll probably have a grin from ear to ear before the days end. Our latest customers comment was “I can’t believe I landed that big fish on that tiny little fly”.

Because we are nearing spawning time for salmon, around mid-November, their mind is on other things than looking for a square meal. But because they have eaten a million Lays potato chips in the past they may just grab one or two more before they move to the spawning areas. Their mind may be on spawning but if a tender, tiny Pheasant Tail nymph or a small Partridge & Orange soft hackle comes drifting past their nose they may casually sip it in.

It may take a number of different flies to hook a few different fish. There is a salmon out there that will still chase down a streamer, or one that will pick up one more nymph drifting along the bottom, and others that are willing to slip to the surface and sip a soft hackle when presented just so.

Have a look at some of the beauties our customers have been bringing to net this October at the “Photos” page on our website. They are some of the best fish of the season.

Our fly shop is now offically closed for the season. What few fishng still around don’t really need anything so we are busy doing things that were left undone during the busy season. We aren’t far off so if you are passing through and need gear feel free to ring us up @ 207-695-2266 and if we are handy we’ll be happy to swing the door open and help you out.

Last Harrah

Spawning runs are in full swing in all of our rivers. The water temperature is now the low 60’s and some of the biggest fish, which spend their summer in the depth of the lakes chowing on smelt, now are in our rivers have their mind on other duties.

When landlocked salmon and brook trout leave the depths of a lake and enter a river they are thought to be very aggressive and prone to chase streamers of all configurations. Once in the river for a spell they’ve seen lots of our streamers and likely been fooled once or twice, they’ll settle down and begin to ignore fast moving flies.

It’s a fact food isn’t their driving factor but actual spawning activity doesn’t occur until mid-October for brookies and sometime in November for salmon. During their long wait fish begin to pick at a little food. The theory is they have eaten plenty of Lays potato chips in the past so when the right nymph comes drifting by their nose they may just pick it up. The same goes for a soft hackle. When swung slowly cross current and just below the surface, they’re an easy target for a bored fish to sip in.

So there are fish willing to chase your streamer, pick up your nymph, or sip your soft hackle if presented in a way that tickles their fancy. But they can be very particular and ignore lots of offerings. One fish wants a Sour Cream and Onion while another prefers a Wavy Lays. Our fly patch is always full by the end of the day. Many days it takes 10 different flies to catch ten different fish and that’s not counting all the flies they could care less about. This time of season when you catch a fish on some fly you’re often better off cutting it off and going to another because it can be tough catching two fish on the same fly.

Our best advise this time of season is “If I ain’t working, change it” and “Cover every square foot of water” so if there is a fish out there looking to grab a fly it’s going to see your fly. And remember this is spawning season so fish aren’t always holding along the feeding lane. It’s not about food. You’ll find fish where you never see them any other time.

It’s that time of season once more. Sunday marks the closing of most waters in the Moosehead Lake Region to fishing. It’s all about our wild brook trout populations.

We have some of the finest brook trout waters in the lower forty-eight. Brookies will be spawning soon and are best left alone so they can spend time on their spawning grounds and lay their eggs in peace. Once laid their eggs sit on the bottom until spring when they finally hatch. With only a small percentage from each cluster of a few hundred reaching adulthood they need all the help they can get. And biologists now know that more than 50% of all adult brook trout and salmon perish during the spawning cycle from exhaustion and predation. If we want to maintain healthy brook trout populations we have to accept the fact that wild brook trout waters need to be left alone during the spawn to repopulate. It’s been working so our wild brook trout waters remain well populated and extremely healthy throughout the region.

There are some exceptions where wild brook trout populations do not dominate the fishery and fishing is allowed to continue beyond the last day of September. In this region there are a number of small ponds that are annually stocked with hatchery trout. Mountainview, Saywer, Prong and Shadow ponds all remain open until the end of October. Also the East Outlet, West Outlet of the Kennebec and Indian Pond, which they run into remain open to anglers through October. So fishing opportunities remain available for at least anther month. We don’t have to hang up our rods just yet.

Have a great weekend on the water.

 

 

It’s all about water flow and water temperature

September 21, 2018 – We say it every time someone asks, “How’s the fall fishing?” The answer is always the same, “Fall can be Feast or Famine.”

In order for landlocked salmon and brook trout to get the urge to begin their fall spawning runs in earnest two factors have to fall into place, a sudden increase in water flow and a sharp decrease in water temperature. A sudden increase in water flow is easy. Just crack a gate or two at the dam. In our region the policy on Moosehead, Brassua & First Roach is hold enough water back during the season so flows can be increased after Labor Day to attract fish into our rivers. That has already happened and the Roach River also got a second increase around mid-month. The second ingredient, a drop in water temperature, which mother nature has control over wasn’t as co-operative as we would like. When flows were increased the day after Labor Day it was 70 degree water and fish decided to stay put in the lakes until water temps fall from the low 70’s to the low 60’s. River water comes from the lake above the dam so the lake has to cool off which isn’t an overnight process. As nights get colder lake water drops about a degree a day so it takes many cool nights to get water temps where they need to be to attract fall fish into a river.

Everyone remembers last fall’s run. We had a week of cold weather the last week of August. When they increased the flow just after Labor Day it was 62 degree water and all the river filled with fish in just a few days and fall fishing began with a bang. Not the same situation this fall season.

Fish will come in when conditions get right. The last few nights have been in the low 50’s and in the low 60 during the day. The cooling process is beginning to work because most people in the shop today are finding and catching fish and they are beauties. Today it’s raining hard and the air temperature is in the low 50’s so conditions are changing fast.

This email just came from our fisheries biologist Tim Obrey.

We wrapped up the weir project today.  We put 301 brook trout upstream and 189 salmon.  We saw improvements in fish size from the last time we operated the weir in 2010 and 2011. The catch in the weir went up and down with the warm weather. The warm weather the first week of Sept and again on the weekend of the 14th really slowed them down, but the number of fish coming into the river picked up this week.  The water temp today was still 62 F. This cold rainy weather will get them excited. We tended every day so not to hold the fish up for more than a few hours each day. We had around 75 fish today and several very nice salmon. We removed large sections of the weir before we left.  Some of the frame remains but the fish can pass freely. I’ll have a more detailed report later in the fall.

There isn’t a lot of time left for most waters but if mother nature continues to co-operate it looks like it’s going to be a very strong finish.

The Stars are lining up nicely

September 9, 2018 – River flows have increased on the Moose, East Outlet, Roach, and Upper West Branch at Seboomook Dam. Even through water temperature was warmer than we would like some new fish have moved into the river and are being caught on all the rivers. Its not fast and furious but folks who have been doing the catching say the fish are beauties. The next two nights are predicted to be cooler with a frost warning posted for Greenville north tomorrow night. A few degrees drop in water temps and spawning runs will begin to pick up speed. We may even get some measurable rain the beginning of the week, which will help the cause.

When fresh salmon and trout enter a river on their spawning run they tend to be aggressive and very willing to chase down a streamer fly. Often a big Grey Ghost will do the job because those fish are just coming off a steady diet of smelt. After they are in the river for a bit fish are more likely to chase some sort of attractor pattern like a Montreal Whore, Shufelt Special, or Black Ghost. Once fish have been in a river for a while they tend to settle in and not be as aggressive. They’ve seen their share of streamers, maybe been hung by one a couple times and not too anxious chase another. There was a time when we thought late season river fish could only be caught on streamers but over time we realized they will eat a Lays potato chip now and then. It’s a long wait before they actually spawn, sometime in October for brookies and not until November for salmon. So, as September progresses along fish begin peckin’ away at a nymph here and there and nymphing becomes an important component for catching. Think of it like delivering a Lays potato chip to a couch potato. They have eaten plenty in the past so when one more goes drifting by their nose, why not if its easy pickin’. And every fish doesn’t necessarily want a plain potato chip, some want barbeque, others salt and vinegar, or maybe a corn chip. The point we are making here is there isn’t one nymph that works the best come fall. Most hatches have come and gone so aquatic insects are all starting their lives again as nymphs so everyone’s crawling around down there. And there comes a time when it takes five different nymphs to catch five different fish. On days like that when someone lands a fish on a particular nymph we’ll say “you might as well chop that fly off and try another”, only because we can’t catch two fish on the same fly.

As water begins to cool on our remote ponds trout are freed from their lengthy mid-summer stay at the spring holes. The only way they’ll survive the heat of summer when small pond water reaches the mid-70’s is retread to the spring hole where 55-60 degree ground water enters from the bottom. They were fat and happy when they settled into the cooler spring hole water sometime in late July but when they finally get to wander off they are hungry and begin circling a pond looking for anything they can find. There are few fall hatches so finding rising fish can be a chore. In still water fish have to go looking for a meal so trout are constantly on the hunt. So if you tie on a Royal Wulff or a Wood Special and twitch it around on the surface trout will find it. By giving your fly a twitch it produced concentric rings fish key in on. It’s the same act preformed by a crippled bug struggling on the surface. Small bright streamers work just as well when cast a good distance then retrieved just under the surface. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how successful you can be fishing a trout pond that looks like nothing is happening.

So the countdown is on. There isn’t a lot of time remaining before most waters close for the season. This is our favorite time of season when we often land some of the nicest fish of the season.

Stop by the shop on your way through. We can tell you what’s going on & where.

 

 

Right from HQ

August 24, 2018  –  We have been in summer mode for a while now. Nothing has really changed in the last couple weeks. Fishing is always good but catching has been slow compared to a month ago. Some nice fish are still being caught at the East Outlet. The flow was at 2200 cfs for a few days and some beautiful salmon dropped down from the lake into the upper section down to Secret Pool. They are nice fat, silver, fresh from the lake salmon that are fat as a football.

We have been catching fish but it takes a big bag of tricks. The predominant hatch has been a small tan body caddis, hatching mainly in the early morning hours. An even smaller black caddis has also been on the menu lately. Skipping caddis about the surface has been the best way to fool fish into believing your bug is the real thing. When fish aren’t interested in the dry fly bouncing on top they’d grab a soft hackle wet fly just under the surface. It’s an easier nugget to get. The key to successful soft hackle fishing is covering every square foot of the pool. Cast your soft hackle 45 degrees across the current and downstream. Give it a gentle upstream mend and slowly ease your bug across the current then let it hang for a bit at the end of your gentle swing. On your next cast pull another foot of line off your reel and repeat the process. Don’t swing it fast or retrieve it like you do a streamer. If it moves too fast fish just ignore it, bugs don’t naturally move that way. Keep increasing the length of your line a foot or two with every cast until you have reached as much water as possible. If nothing happens it’s time to either change flies or change spots. A small soft hackle Hare’s Ear or Partridge & Orange has been doing the trick.

Nymphing is always in fashion. The issue is most of the insect hatches have come and gone so the bottom on any river is now loaded with young nymphs. Flip a few rocks and you should find them covered with caddis lava and mayfly nymphs. Because there aren’t many hatches of any one species of bug, fish feed on the wide variety of nymphs that inhabit the bottom. One fish may want a Hare’s Ear, another a Pheasant Tail, and another a tan caddis lava. So flip a few rocks to see what’s around then have a look in your box for something the same size and color. If that one doesn’t get any attention move on to your next choice.

Up at the West Branch, below Ripogenus Dam, the same game applies. The one difference there is fish cannot exit the river so lots of fish now hold in Big Eddy on up to Little Eddy where the water is the coolest during the heat of summer. Most of that stretch is above Telos Bridge where there is a 26” minimum length limit on salmon so to protect the gene pool when most of the biggest fish hold during the heat of summer.

We just received word regarding fall, river flows right for Headquarters. Increases will begin right after Labor Day. The Moose should go to around 1200 cfs, and since Moosehead has plenty of water it will see a substantial increase as well. In the fall it’s all about decreasing water temperatures and increasing water flows. When fall increases happen it only take a few days to fill spawning tributaries with an early run of big fish.

Also this fall our fisheries biologists will be operating their fish weir at the Roach River. Moosehead Lake fish are in the best shape since the 80’s and they want to have a close up look at both the salmon and the brookies. The weir is set-up up in the lower section. We’ve gone there in years past to watch them tend the weir. The biologists always welcome visitors and they have a lot of cool info to share. Plus you’ll see some fabulous fish. Fall flows will begin right after Labor Day. They said there is enough water in First Roach Pond for two to three increases in flow during the month.

It appears that the heat of summer is beginning to back off. Nights have been cool and days haven’t been hot. At the beginning of this week the East Outlet water temperature read 74 degrees and yesterday it had already dropped to 68 degrees.

We never want to wish away summer but everyone this last week has been talking fall fishing and catch some of the biggest fish of the season.

Soft Hackle Season

August 5, 2018 – We see the same thing about this time every year. As summer sunshine warms the waters of Moosehead Lake and its tributaries trout and salmon begin retreating to the lakes seeking cooler waters in the deeper areas where smelt hangout. Many of the E.O. residents either drop back into Indian Pond or pass through the fish ladder in the dam to Moosehead Lake. Although fish still remain in the river, trout and salmon numbers in the rivers fall off. 10-12″ salmon that have spent the first year and a half of their life decide a diet of only insects is not enough and head to the lake to seek it’s cooler water and begin feeding on a steady diet of smelt, the high protein food they need to mature into adult fish. The same goes for the Roach & Moose River. When cooler fall weather conditions arrives the colder water will begin luring spawning age fish back into the rivers.

Our Fisheries biologists monitor fish passage at the East Outlet dam every few years to have a close-up look at the overall health of the East Outlet fishery. We spent a day with them a few years ago and put together this video about the passage of fish through the East Outlet fish ladder.
We think you’ll find it very interesting.

The West Branch of the Penobscot below Ripogenus Dam is an all together different story. It’s a tailwater and a very unique landlocked salmon fishery where fish are born and spend their entire life in a river environment. There is no fish ladder at Rip Dam so fish are stuck in the river. The reason they thrive is the passage of smelt through the power plant turbines and through flood gates during high water events. There are enough smelt dumped into the river to maintain a large, healthy population of salmon and trout. It’s a unique situation that exists in very few places.
Because it is a tailwater fishery angling remains very good during the heat of summer. Caddis and stone fly hatches hold up and fish continue feeding on top all summer long. Early morning and late evening are the best times for hatches and spotting feeding fish.  Also West Branch water levels this season have been excellent for both waders and drift boats.

Wherever you fish this time of season it becomes harder and harder to tease fish to the surface for a tiny dry. There is very little daytime hatching and fish don’t want to exert much energy getting a tiny amount of food. They can get what they need poking around the bottom searching for nymphs. But they are all still looking up for one more easy meal.

This is the time of season when soft hackle wets can make the difference. To the fish they look like a dead or cripple bug just below the surface and much easier to grab than a dry sitting high on the surface film where they have to poke their nose above the surface to try and grab a bug.

Soft hackles are simple to fish. Start with a short line, cast 45 degree downstream, make an upstream mend to straighten things out and swing the little wet across the current. A tight line is essential. If nothing becomes of that swing pull a couple feet or less off your reel and repeat the process with your soft hackle a bit further downstream. Cover as much water as possible so if there is a hungry fish looking for a tidbit it will see your fly. Fish all the water you can reach then either change spots or change flies. Your choice of soft hackle wet fly is also simple. Pick out whatever body color the present caddis hatches are. At this time of the season around here it’s orange, tan or black body caddis. We are raising way more fish to soft hackle wets than dries and hooking more fish as well. They are an easy target. With one flip of its tail a fish can make an gentle sip and have your bug in its lips with lvery ittle effect. When it happens you probably would see the take. When the fish heads back to the bottom all you feel is weight until your hook finds home and your salmon goes airborne. Soft hackle wets are a game changer especially in the heat of summer.

Enjoy your time on the water.

13th Annual Project Healing Waters Outing

July 25, 2018 – Seven vets and two counselors from Maine and Vermont attended this years fishing trip. They arrived the afternoon of July 18th and stayed at Kokadjo Sporting Camps on First Roach Pond. Dinner, the first evening, was provided by the Rod & Reel Café.

Everyone meet at the Maine Guide Fly Shop the morning of July 19th where the guides (Chad, John, Wayne, & Dan) from the Maine Guide Fly Shop were ready with with their drift boats in tow to take the vets for a day of fly fishing on the East Outlet of the Kennebec.

The vets had a grand time drifting the 3 ½ mile river and had lots of fun teasing trout and landlocked salmon to their dry flies. We all gathered at the Beach Pool and set-up for a mid-day cookout provided by Indian Hill Trading Post and told morning tales of fish that were caught and the big ones that got away. Following a great day on the water the vets dined at Kelly’s Landing on Moosehead Lake.

Their second day was reserved for another drift on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. The guides launched at Chewonki‘s Big Eddy Campground. After a morning of fishing the Big Eddy we had a great lunch at the campground then got back in the drift boats and fished our way downstream to Salmon Deadwater. Fishing was good on both days and everyone caught fish using dries flies.

The last evening our local American Legion went to Kokadjo Sporting Camps and put on a dinner for the vets.

Before the vets departed for home the morning of July 20th the vets were treated at their cabin on First Roach Pond to a homemade breakfast and baked goodies prepared by Susan Hamer & Ella, our granddaughter.

We look forward to the Annual Healing Waters Outing and taking the vets fishing. They are always amazed and so appreciative of the generosity of the Greenville people. Everyone has such a wonderful time.

We want to thank each and every business and the many individuals involved in this and every Project Healing Waters Outing for the last thirteen years. They have all been a huge success. Please go to our “Photos” page and see all those happy, smiling faces.

Summertime conditions are settling in.

July 18, 2018 – It’s that time of season when a lot of the hatches have come and gone. The Green Drakes (Hex) hatches are just about over. They are the last big banquet fish see on our lakes and small trout ponds. And with summer settling in trout in the small ponds retreat into spring holes to wait out the heat of summer. Spring holes are where cool ground water enters from the bottom. Spring holes may not be any bigger than the foundation of your home but rout gather there in big numbers. The water temperature beyond the spring water which is in the high 50’s will be 70 degrees or greater. So trout wait it out in the cooler water until late season cooler weather arrives. They go to spring holes fat and happy after feeding to their heart’s content on all those may fly hatches that began back in May.

Spring hole fishing isn’t very glamorous but it can be extremely productive. You have to trade your floating line for a type 3 full sinking line. Carry two anchors so you can anchor your canoe on both ends so any wind won’t spin your canoe making it hard to fish your sinking line close to the bottom

.Spring holes are guarded secrets that you won’t find on a map. But you can find and print depth maps of your favorite ponds at the state fish and game site. You’ll find that link on our website. https://maineguideflyshop.com/remote-ponds-info/

Spring Hole fishing is very technical. Once you locate one cast as long a line as possible and let it sink for a while and retrieve your nymph slowly. If your fly comes back with a little green moss on it you are in the spring hole. You’ll want to count down the amount of time you let the line sinking. You want your fly to be only a couple feet off bottom getting as close to fish as possible. Once you catch one there will likely be many more along that same spot.

The catching on East Outlet has slowed down. Fish are well feed and can get very fussy. With fewer daytime hatches it gets harder to tease a fish into grabbing a dry on the surface film especially with small caddis. Try tossing a cheeseburger out there, give’em something worth the trip to the surface. Golden and black stones have been hatching for a while so fish are accustomed to seeing big stuff. Try a larger size Stimulator with a caddis trailer of maybe a bead head caddis pupa. We also start fooling more fish with soft hackle wet flies. Fish think they are dead or emerging caddis just under the surface film. They make a much easier nugget than a dry on top of the surface film.

The best advise we can give you this time of season is cover every square foot of water with your fly. If there is a feeding fish out there make sure it sees your flies. Also early morning and late evening can be busier when hatching are going on and low light conditions. And if your fly isn’t working change it. It often that’s any number of different flies to get the job done. We often start on the surface with dries then swing soft hackle for the fish that’s won’t take our dries. We also bounce some nymphs along the bottom in order to fool couch potatoes welded to the bottom. Big stone fly and caddis pupa nymphs often will do the job when the sun gets is in the sky. There are still plenty of fish to be caught, they are not as easily fooled as they were when caddis were hatching throughout the day.

The photo above is another high flying landlocked salmon up on the West Branch of the Penobscot. Look close and you’ll see the dropper fly connected to the lead fly which was a Royal Stimulator.

Have a wonderful time on the water.

 

July 4th Fishing Report

If this heat keeps up it will be having an effect on fishing overall. For now there are still plenty of fish in the East Outlet. Caddis hatches are now spotty throughout the day. You find a few hatching or laying eggs here and there. Good hatches come first thing in the morning and late in the day.

It’s not uncommon to find 4 or five different species of caddis around. Lately it’s been small brown caddis (West Branch caddis), tan caddis, (Goddard caddis) and tiny black caddis are beginning to show. Skipping caddis about is crucial to enticing fish that aren’t actively feeding and emergers are working as well as dries. One shining star is stonefly hatches are in full swing and fish are beginning to come to bigger stone fly imitations. Bigger fish that are welded to the bottom of the deepest runs that refuse to come to the surface for a tiny caddis will make the trip up for something substantial like a Stimulator, and when they come they mean business so stay focused, cover every inch of water and keep your finger on the trigger because those big fish are only going to grab your fly once. Maybe try dropping a caddis pupa a couple feet behind your big fly. Often a big dry gets a fishes attention and the pupa gets the fish.

The Green Drake (Hex) hatches are now in full swing on a lot of the small ponds and even on some of the lakes. When you first get to your favorite trout pond have a look along the windy shore for last evenings shucks. They float and are easy to spot. If there are none it hasn’t happen just yet, if there is only a few the hatch hasn’t kicked into high gear, if there are a lot then fish are probably more likely to take an emerger or nymph than the dry because they have fat bellies. It’s also wise to take along two rods if possible. Drakes don’t usually begin to show until after sunset but fish begin looking for nymphs emerging from the mud long before they start showing on the surface. A sink-tip line with a Maple Syrup fished subsurface can put some extra fish in the net long before you start seeing adults hatching.

If you are planning on fishing the East Outlet in the next couple weeks you may want be head to the dam between 9:30 am – noon. Our fisheries biologists are monitoring the fish ladder almost everyday. The public is welcome to watch and learn. As lake water temperature rises to the high 60’s both salmon and brook trout begin exiting the river for colder water in the depths of the lake and begin feeding on smelt. Fish climbing the steps of the ladder are caught in one of the chambers where biologists can net and tranquilize them so they can be easily handled without doing any physical harm to the fish. They are collecting data regarding weight, length, evidence of hooking and general health of both brookies and salmon. After they are finished with a fish it goes into a recovery tank of fresh water to recover then but into the lake where they were headed before their brief examination. If you want to have a look at some beautiful fish and see our fisheries scientists keeping a watchful eye on our fishery, make a point to stop by. The reason our fishery is in such good shape is because of these guys doing what they do best.

Back along we spend a day with the guys and but together this Video for you to watch. It will give you a glimpse of what they are up to.

Have a wonderful 4th of July week.

Coming Soon to a Pond Near Here

Green Drake season (Hex Hatches)

June 28, 2018 – It’s the end of June and the time of season when canoes left upside down along shores of remote trout ponds are flipped over, cleared of debris and made ready for drake season. Pond fishermen come out of the woodwork anticipating the main event of the season on our remote, wild trout ponds. It’s time for the biggest bug banquet of the season to get underway. It’s an all you can eat cheese bugger size mayfly buffet. To get in on this food fest you’ll need to baby setting your favorite spots. The first thing you want to do once your canoe is ready is have a look along the windy shoreline for shucks of a hatch that may have happened the night before. If you find lots of shucks the hatch is full swing. No shucks and you can expect a drake hatch could start any day now. The first night of the hatch will be magical. The biggest fish in the pond will be cruising just below the surface searching for adult drakes. Lay out anything that remotely resembles this monster mayfly and they’ll eat it! What great fun hunting cruising trout as they eat every mayfly they find. Spot a trout cruising down a shoreline, drop your bug 10 to 20 feet ahead of the fish, give it a twitch and he’ll find it and inhale it. If you have the good fortune to be there the first night of a hatch, when big brookies are making pigs of themselves, you’ll never stop talking about it.

There are lots of imitations around that will do the job. The adult drakes are mainly a yellow/brown color but also can be all gray and even pale yellow or green. It’s smart to have all the different colors in size 8 just in case. Also big Wulffs fool a lot of trout searching for an easy meal.

The first night is unforgetable. It probably won’t be a massive hatch but there are just enough bugs on the water to get fish cranked up and looking for anything big to grab. You won’t miss many strikes because fish are hungry and inhaling everything. You can do no wrong on the first night. The second night will be almost as good as the first. There will be a lot more drakes hatching so your bug will be competing with the real McCoy and you will probably need to match the hatch a little better than the first night. By night three fish begin getting fussy. They have pigged out twice and aren’t as desperate for a meal as previous evenings. Instead of grabbing everything in sight fish key in on cripples floundering around on the surface or stop taking the dries altogether and fancy the drake nymph just below the surface where they don’t have to work nearly as hard for a meal. If you see swirls where there isn’t a dry on the surface they are after the nymph.

A good hex nymph is just as important as the dries. One called the Maple Syrup has fooled lots of brookies over the years. It’s a very simple fly to tie with a tan chenille body and yellow calf hair as the tail. Tied on a size 8 streamer hook, it imitates the real nymph extremely well. Replace your dry with the nymph, lay it out there, let it sink just below the surface then begin gently twitching it in and get ready.

Take your flashlight along because you’ll be staying till the end. The Hex hatches begin right around sunset. Hatches will continue every evening for just about a week on any given pond, sometimes longer.

While your waiting around for the hatch to begin string up your sinking line with a hex nymph so you can pull a nymph along the bottom. You should find fish cruising around looking for an early meal long before the actual hatch begins. As soon as drakes begin showing put the sinking line away and go with a dry fly.

This is the time of season hardcore pond fisherman wait for all year. The big boys are prowling about, fattening up on the last mayfly hatches of the season, before they retreat to cooler water in spring holes where they stay through the heat of summer.

One tip before you start casting those huge flies. Put away the 4,5 & 6X leaders and use a 3X. Ever have the leader twist all up when you fish big dries? That’s because you are still using the light leader you had on for small flies. A heavier, stiffer leader will control bigger flies that are not in the least bit aerodynamic, and stop them from corkscrewing during the cast. Brook trout aren’t very leader shy and don’t care that the leader is 3X. You’ll be glad you did, especially when one of those big trout grabs your bug and heads for the other end of the pond.