Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Androscoggin River Trip teed up next

Got home from Moosehead on Friday; taught 9 new fly fishers the way of the long rod on Saturday and Sunday at the Northeast Fly Fishing School; and now I am packed to head north for a week guiding the Androscoggin River in Errol. My partner Jim and I run our "Virtual fishing lodge" in Errol the last two weeks of June and the last week of September, the best fishing weeks of the season on the Andro. The forecast is super, the flows are great for both wading and the drift boat. H-m-m-m-m what can go wrong now? Let's hope the fish are cooperative. I am hoping for some caddis and isonychia mayflies, but there is always the woolly bugger when all else fails. We still have Saturday and Sunday openings if anybody can get away. No reports until next week.

Monday, September 21, 2009

20th Anniversary trip to Moosehead Lake

One Big Trip down and one to go. The trip to the Moosehead Lake region was fantastic. I have been there numerous times, but never get tired of it. So much good water: Moose River, East Outlet and Roach River, not counting the huge lake and numerous brooktrout ponds. As always, we stayed at Maynard's of Maine sporting camps on the Moose River near the inlet to Moosehead Lake. What do you usually spend for a night in an average roadside motel? 60, 70, 80 or more bucks a night? We paid $65/night for a comfortable room and three amazing meals a day. The prime rib was almost 2-inches thick and done perfectly. But I digress. . . The fishing was almost as good as the accommodations. We arrived Tuesday around noon and after checking our buddies who were fishing the East Outlet, we checked in and drove about a half mile from Maynards to some good pools on the Moose River. Caught a small salmon and a really nice 17+ inch salmon.
The next day Dick and I fished with Bob Dionne, owner of Aardvark Outfitters. What a nice guy and a really good guide. I have been guided in Maine, the Adirondacks, Catskills, Lee's Ferry Arizona, Florida and a couple trips to Montana. Bob is as good as any guide I have taken. I am not a "fish counter" so I don't know exactly how many salmon and brooktrout I caught, but let's say that there were not many lulls in the action. At one spot we stopped to fish from shore and I got two salmon and a brooktrout in four casts with a Henryville Special dry caddis pattern. Here is a picture of Dick with one of the nice salmon he caught.
On Thursday we took a drive around the lake to Kokadjo and the Roach River. Bob had fished the Roach the day before and told us that they were not releasing water yet from First Roach Pond, but any day now they would start drawing down the pond and the salmon would start their spawning run. When we got there I immediately could see that the gate was open and water was roaring down the river and that the salmon and trout were in the river. We started at the dam pool and I got a beautiful 15+ inch brookie. Dick got a small salmon and then we walked down the trail to the Dump Pool. Our friends Dick (the other Dick) and Mack had fished there while we were on the drift trip and Mack had hooked a VERY large salmon that broke him off and proceeded to make a couple more jumps with Mack's nymph rig still in his mouth. A couple anglers were just leaving as we arrived. We both started tossing nymphs and didn't see a fish. Then we moved along to the Warden's Pool. The lone angler was just getting ready to leave as we arrived. He said he had caught two salmon and two trout on nymphs. I tossed my nymph rig into the current and immediately got a jarring strike and I proceeded to break the fish off with my King Kong hook set. Soon I had two other good strikes, but didn't hook-up. Dick didn't have much luck either, so we headed back to the East Outlet (Kennebec River as it emerges from Moosehead Lake and flows to Indian Pond.) We did pretty well there and Dick caught a lot of fish in the last hour and a half before we had to eat the nightly feast at Maynard's and listen to Dick D's twentieth anniversary telling of "the greatest sea story ever told."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Building up to the big trip(s)

Last Thursday and Friday I had some beginners wanting to catch the fly fishing bug. Both days we hit the Ellis and Saco. Both rivers have been pounded pretty good lately, so it has been harder and harder to come up with some fish. It took some pocket water for one group and a big pool for the others to score some brook trout. Each got their fish on dries after missing a few hits.
That is something hard to teach - how hard/fast to set the hook on a strike. Some people come by it naturally and others really have to work at it.
On Sunday Jim, Barb, Dick and I checked out the Sugar River. We have been fishing up north a lot and wanted to see how the Sugar had fared over the summer. There are still some nice fish there. The water is just starting to cool to a good level - about 63F mid-morning. The flow is perfect and should get even better over the next couple weeks as the water cools to the 55F range.
The second half of September I have two major trips. Tomorrow I point the car north towards Moosehead Lake, Rockwood, Maine. The 20th anniversary trip of the Bull Salmon Club will be held at Maynard's of Maine (Ain't nuthin' changed 'cept the linens in 90 years!)
Then next week my partner Jim and I host clients at our "virtual fishing lodge" on the banks of the Androscoggin River. This is my second most-favorite time of the year to fish - foliage is fantastic, fish are hungry and the rivers are less crowded. We have relaxed the double occupancy/multiple day requirement, so it is even a better deal than usual. There are even some prime weekend days still available. See details.
My next report won't be until after I get back from Maine. CYA then.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Workin' on Labor Day

Tough job, but somebody has to do it. Today it was a guy from Philly attending a wedding at the MT Washington Hotel who needed to cure his hangover with a half-day of flinging a fly. I met him in Glen and we fished the Ellis for a couple hours, then moved down to the Saco River. Tally for the morning was three12" brooktrout landed, and an equal number of missed strikes. One on a SSH (Shadan Soft Hackle) and the rest on dries (small para-Adams, elkhair caddis.) We found a pool on the Saco River with a few nice trout swimming around. Very sporadic rises and he was only able to garner a couple strikes with no hook-up, but the sun was high and the fish spooky, so it was still a fun trip. After sending him on his way, I took out my Sage LL 7'11" 4-wt, tied on a beetle pattern and went down and caught one of those finicky trout - a 14" inch brown! Also gave my new Olympus underwater digital a workout.
Here is an underwater video.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Cooling rivers offer angling opportunites

Yesterday (Saturday) morning I taught a couple more beginners the way of the long rod. We worked on casting technique for a few minutes, then tied on some flies and went at it on the Contoocook River in West Henniker. Water temp is just starting to cool a bit - 64F in the morning and 66F by noon. A few more cool nights and temperate days and the ideal temps in the mid-to-high 50sF will prevail. There will be a few magic weeks of early fall fishing before the leaf-and-needle hatch occurs that makes fly fishing almost impossible for a couple weeks in October.
FYI, We have opened our end-of-September Androscoggin River Special package to single anglers and single days. This would also make a nice getaway for a fly fisher and non-angling partner - foliage and moose-viewing opportunities are both amazing.
Oh yeah, Contoocook River fallfish and brooktrout survived the heat wave and are ready to eat a well-placed fly.