(Scroll down for our most current updates)
Sunday: April 1, 2007 - Opening Day; Crooked River
Conditions: Partly Sunny, 50F, light winds, water temp 36F, clarity good, flow a little high
The season we've all been waiting for has finally arrived! A good friend of mine from the Portland area invited me down to attack the Crooked River on Sunday. With many of the rivers and streams in my area still frozen, the prospects of getting out on the water were bleak unless I traveled south. Neither of us had fished the Crooked before, but we knew its reputation. After quickly consulting the Atlas, we selected a few sweet spots and were on the road. We arrived to relatively high water conditions but we could have cared less, open water season was here, the sun was out, and we were once again standing waist deep in Maine waters. The two of us fished hard for the better part of the day, switching from nymphs to streamers and back again. The fish would not agree with us this day, but it did not matter; good friends, good weather, and another open water season had begun.
After wandering through an old growth pine grove in knee deep snow, Jesse and I pause at the end of the day sitting in silence, staring at the river, and watched as a handful of insects struggled on the surface of the water. Ice chunks drifted by as I sat in the snow, feet in the water, and I was satisfied.
Tuesday: April 17, 2007 - General Update
Conditions: 37F, Gusty 15-30mph winds, Heavy Rain
Since my last fishing update, mother nature has pretty much had her way with us. In two weeks we've received three snow storms, dumping a total of 38 inches of snow here at our house. Rain has now been falling for three days straight with near hurricane force winds thrown into the mix. Rivers in this area are well above flood stage, and bridges/roads are washing away by the hour. I've been out on a few haphazzard outings, yesterday trekking through thigh deep snow.......in the rain. I've managed only one small 15 inch salmon, and that came just after dark on the Kennebec just below Bingham nearly a week and a half ago. The rivers are absolutely wild right now, full of sediment, tree branches, and floating ice shelves. I honestly will be surprised if the local lakes are free of ice by May 1. The fishing prospects are grimm. Thursday will bring an end to the rain, and the weekend looks gorgeous. I'll be out on Sebago Lake (the only legit open water in the state) both Thursday and Friday in search of an early season salmon. Check back this weekend for trip highlights and condition updates.
Thursday: April 19, 2007 - Sebago Lake Trolling
Conditions: 55F, Gusty 10-20mph NE winds, Cloudy to Partly Cloudy
We got an early start, leaving from New Sharon around 4:30 a.m. The clouds were clearing after nearly five days of miserable rain. The farther south we drove, the cloudier it became, and as we approached the landing at around 6:15 we could see it was choppy on the lake. With a gusty northeast wind we headed immediately to the north end of Sebago to seek what little shelter the shore would provide. The swollen Crooked River was dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of silt filled water into the lake, and the water in this area was murky and brown. We trolled for probably an hour before our first hookup down 20ft. on the downrigger. After a hard battle, a solid 19 inch salmon around 4lbs was brought to the boat.
Several hours passed and the only thing we were able to hook up with were bits of debris from the river. We worked the fringes of the silt line deposited by the Crooked River and the strikes came. We managed to cleanly snap 12lb. mono on what we believe was a Togue (20ft. down in 120ft. of water). The group was discouraged, but the bite had not ceased. Just after noon we had a solid strike three colors down (15ft.) on sinking line. Another powerful battle ensued, ending with a nearly identical 19 inch 4lb Salmon being landed. Unfortunately, with the gorgeous afternoon weather came the crowds; our first day of lake fishing was behind us, and I'm glad to say it was a successful one!
Sunday: April 30, 2007 - Local Trout Ponds ~ Ice out
Conditions: 46F, 5-10mph NE Breeze, Rain
Ice in this area has been slow leaving the lakes and ponds this year. Ten miles north of us the lakes are holding on strong, while five miles south of us most opened up over the weekend. We've been in another long stretch of rain here in this area, which continues to hamper the river/stream fishing. We were encouraged by the opening ponds over the weekend and attacked several in the area. With some work, a handful of brookies were brought to net. The waters were around 36F and we remained only long enough to become numb from the waist down. It felt good to land the first few brook trout of the season, even if they weren't giants.
Friday-Sunday: May 11-13, 2007 - Allagash Wilderness Waterway ~ Ice out
Conditions: Upper 20's to Upper 50's, Windy, One afternoon of rain
Ice in the Allagash held on as long as it could, with most ponds opening up on Wednesday 5/10. We arrived at our campsite around 3:30 a.m after a battering drive in on rough early season dirt roads. We had left New Sharon at around 9:30 p.m, the group was tired to say the least. I certainly wasn't going to be able to sleep; the early morning tints of sunlight were becoming apparent over the distant spruce. I sat down to organize my fly box by the blue tinted light of my headlamp. Thirty minutes later we had the canoes in the water, and were headed toward a distant cove. Ten minutes was all it took and we had a healthy 19 inch native Allagash specimen in net, this was just the beginning of a fantastic weekend in this remote trout mecca of Maine.
Eighteen Brook Trout ranging from 17-20" were caught and released over the course of the weekend. The ponds we fished have never been involved in a state stocking program; these were heavy native fish taken on 4 & 5wt. fly rods. This region of Maine is what trout dreams are made of; get out and enjoy it!
Thursday-Sunday: May 17-20, 2007 - West Branch Pond (NE of Moosehead Lake)
Conditions: Arrived to an inch of snow, followed by a cold rain. Another bout of snow came on Friday, once again blanketing the landscape around West Branch Pond. Saturday afternoon the clouds broke and the sun peeked out. Temps ranged from 32F to 55F w/ light winds all weekend.
I attempt to stay involved with my alma mater as much as possible, and since the Bates Fishing Club (BFC) had hit a rut this year, I decided to get them out on the water with one of the former BFC presidents Jesse Robbins. The club, which once enjoyed both fishing as well as the social benefits of college life, had slowly begun to enjoy just the social and not the fishing. Jesse and I found this bothersome, and we considered this trip a fine followup to the ice fishing excursion we had brought the students on in March. I made contact with a '97 Bates alumni who owned a sporting camp in northern Maine (West Branch Pond Camps). It had recently been featured in Downeast Magazine, and after making a bunch of phone calls I had coordinated an early season fly fishing trip for the BFC at West Branch Pond Camps. Jesse Robbins and myself served as guides to the dozen Bates fishermen who joined us on the trip. Pan sized 12-14" Brookies like the one above were the average size in West Branch Pond.
Despite the weather, and despite the fact that the majority of the students had never touched a fly rod; the group managed to land some 70+ Brook Trout. West Branch Pond is full of native trout ranging from 8-15" and its a fantastic place to go to hone your dry fly skills. West Branch Pond Camps is run by Eric Stirling and his mother. Their hospitality was second to none, their cabins rustic and comfortable, and the food was out of this world. A fantastic time was had by all! A link to West Branch Pond Camps can be found under the "Local Accommodations" link on this website.
Friday: June 1, 2007 - The Maine Sportsman (monthly outdoor publication)
The owner of Water's Edge Guide Service (Andrew Wilkie) is featured on the June cover of The Maine Sportsman; get out and grab a copy!
Thursday: June 7, 2007 - Dead River
Conditions: 63F; 10-15 mph gusty north wind, Partly Cloudy
(Above Left: Bill Pawluck plays a native Salmon) (Above Right: Longtime friends Bill & Rich nymphing below Grand Falls)
Bill & Rich, both from New Hampshire had come to Greenville for two days of fishing. Yesterday we had attacked Indian Pond targeting smallmouth on the fly; unfortunately my camera had died and Bill's camera had lost its charge. It had been an extremely windy day, gusting to 30+ mph. Whitecaps were the order of the day, and we did everything in our power to get out of the wind. A few respectable smallies were brought to net, which was better action than any of the other guides on the lake had experienced. Today started with a 20 mile dirt road trek from Greenville on the Brochu Rd. to the Forks (towing an 18.5 ft. boat). As we neared the end of the road, the truck had a flat. The bugs were terrible, but with a little encouragement and a few laughs, we changed the tire and were back on the road. We arrived at the Dead River around 10 a.m. The wind was once again simply not cooperating, but the group was determined. Rich began dredging the run below the falls with nymphs and it wasn't long before he was into the Salmon.
(Above Left: Shore lunch cooked on the mossy rocks of the Dead River) (Above Right: Rich nymphing as lunch is prepared)
After Lunch the group worked down river. We methodically fished a deep run that stetched some 75 yards. Stimulators, Wood Specials, Light Cahills, "Bill Pawluck originals", you name it, the fish were offering. This run was so productive that we remained there for the rest of the afternoon. Over a dozen Brook Trout, and a half dozen respectable salmon were brought to net. Rich Zacher capped off the day with healthy fat 17 inch Brookie, a great day was had by all.
Tuesday: June 12, 2007 - Somerset County Rivers & Streams
Conditions: 78F, Sunny, Gusty North Wind
A local sporting camp manager and friend joined me on several waters in the upper Kennebec region today. We started the day at an old tried and true hotspot. We arrived to find several ospreys working the pool that we had worked so hard to get to. We worked the deep runs, including the pool top to bottom......no luck. Since this waterway is controlled by a dam, we knew our time here was limited. We decided to pull out and head north to the Moose River. The water at the Moose was a little high but it did not bother the handful of Trout and Salmon that we brought to net . Salmon in the 14 inch range and trout up to 12 inches were all that the Moose would offer up, again we decided a move was necessary. On our way to the final destination we stopped at a few blackfly infested streams; once we had caught our fill of pan sized Brookies, we moved on. At a flow of 1000 cfs. we had questioned the move to this river, and upon arrival we could tell the wading was going to be tough. The typical deep guts that are always so productive were impossible to access, so we did our best with the water that was available. Nymphing brought a few nice salmon to net, while large beadhead black buggers chased down a few healthy brookies. Just before we prepared to leave, a large fish attacked our haggard mickey fin. The fish cut hard into the rapids and dove deep.....as quickly as the fish had taken the streamer, it had succesfully broken the leader. We didn't catch any monsters, but its tough to complain about solid action and gorgeous weather.
Thurs. & Sun: June 21 & 24, 2007 - Kennebec River (Madison); Grand Slam
Conditions: Cloudy to Partly Cloudy, 72 F
Great hatches in the evening, fantastic nymph fishing by day, and a chance at Rainbows, Brown Trout, Bookies, and Salmon.....book an evening at Madison today!
Wednesday: July 11, 2007 - Magalloway River
Conditions: Cloudy w/ heavy afternoon rain, 65F
A longtime friend, and current medical student in California made the trip up to the old stomping grounds to get out on the water. We rose early and headed north. Water temps in central Maine have been warm and I had a good feeling that the Magalloway water would be much cooler. We arrived to 52 F water temps with plenty of fish rising.
Salmon were readily taking a variety of dry fly offerings, and the action continued throughout the day.
We finished the day with 14 Salmon ranging from 10-18" and roughly a half dozen average sized Brook Trout. Despite the driving afternoon rain it was a fantastic day of fishing, one that won't soon be forgotten.
Monday: July 16, 2007 - Magalloway River
Conditions: Partly Cloudy, 70F
After last weeks action on the Magalloway, it was prime time to head up there again. The group was primed for another day of solid fishing, and that was exactly what the fish gods offered up when we arrived. Water temps had risen a bit since last week (58F) but these were still great July water temps, and we took full advantage.
I hate to bore you all with pictures of 16" fish, as we landed dozens of that variety on this day. Instead, here is a 21" fish that we worked for nearly half an hour before he finally fell victim to a black beadhead bugger.
This fiesty fish was taken just before our departure at around 6p.m. I can't really explain how the fishing is holding on as well as it is this season; its July and we should be swearing at the sun as it pounds us with 90 degree heat. Sooner or later temps will rise, the water will drop, and fish will become sluggish; get out and enjoy this great July fishing while it lasts!
Tuesday: August 7, 2007 - Magalloway River
Conditions: Sunny, 74F
Well the water finally began to warm up, and the fishing pretty much shut off in much of the state. Our complete concentration shifted to north western Maine, and the fish continued to cooperate. Dr. Peter Etheridge on vacation from Texas joined us on this outing.
The good doctor casting into a deep pool on amidst the spray of the mighty Magalloway.......does vacation really get any better than this?!?
While Dr. Etheridge had fished around the country, he had never landed a brook trout or a landlocked salmon in his life. This was his first Brookie on the fly, which he followed up with several nice salmon in the next few hours. It was a pleasure to have him on the water!
Thursday: August 16, 2007 - Magalloway River
Conditions: Cloudy, 68F
Today the group headed to a secret spot on the Magalloway, a spot that I will forever cherish.
Not only is the spot gorgeous, but its a constant producer of big trout and salmon. At the very least, if the fish aren't huge, there are always a ton of healthy sized natives.
The long jaw w/ jaw hinge located well behind the eye, is something that you will only come across on a handful of rivers in Maine, these fish are our primary targets. (Photo by Garth McElroy)
This Salmon couldn't resist an orange stimulator
This Brook Trout is a classic specimen from this stretch of river........a gorgeous fish, and a gorgeous location (Photo by Garth McElroy) Another fantastic outing on the Magalloway!
Monday: August 20, 2007 - Magalloway River
Conditions: Sunny, 72F
Four members of the McGowan family headed north from Alden Camps in search of Trout & Salmon.
(Above Left) Anne, Patrick, Mike, & Craig suit up for a morning on the Magalloway.
(Above Right) The family apreads out on a tranquil stretch of water north of Aziscohos Lake. Anne & Craig had never been fly fishing before, and I was thoroughly impressed with not only their willingness to learn, but their ability to pick it up so quickly. Mike & son Patrick (center left) were a very capable father and son duo, with Patrick being one of the most talented anglers I've had on the water all summer.....a real pleasure. The day was sunny, and the water was rather warm, two factors that were working against us from the start. With such a large group I wasn't able to be alongside Patrick for a photo-op as he landed several Brook Trout in the afternoon (his first Brookies on the fly). The day was beautiful, spirits were high, and I'm told that the shore lunch was fantastic despite the slow fishing; the group was primed for another outing on Thursday.
Thursday: August 23, 2007 - Austin Stream & Kennebec River
Conditions: Overcast, 65F
A closer option was in order for Thursday's outing so the group headed for Austin Stream. Anne had to cut her vacation short, so Craig , Mike, and Patrick took to the water. We started the day at Austin Stream.
(Above Left) Mike enjoys a pool on Austin Stream, while Craig and Patrick fish upstream. (Above Right) Patrick works a pool from it's shallow tailwater. Rugged cliffs with cascading waterfalls provided a picturesque backdrop for this outing. After fishing Austin for several hours we made the decision to head south and fish Solon on the Kennebec River. We were happy to arrive to fish rising everywhere, and a bluewing olive hatch that was out of control! Mike took a bunch of pictures of the brown trout and salmon that the group landed; I however took an unintentional swim that filled my waders and cut my photography short for the rest of the evening. I am waiting for a few pictures from Mike and will post them on the site when he sends them to me. We fished well after sunset, and the fish stopped feeding around 8:30 p.m. A great night with plenty of chances had by all.
Monday: September 24, 2007 - Dead River
Conditions: Sunny, 58F w/ gusty 20-25mph winds
Since the wedding, I had been on the water quite a bit without much to show for it. September fishing has been nowhere near as hot as it was last year, and I attribute that to the warm temps, the moon cycle, and a large number of sunny days w/ nearly no rain to speak of. Generally speaking, wet Septembers make for good fishing as the water level rises in the rivers and streams it triggers the spawning fish to run upstream. Today was an exception as we got into a dozen or so brookies and a half dozen small salmon on the Dead River.......maybe things are turning around! No matter how you look at it the foliage was fantastic.