The first week of trout season is in the books. I spent a little more time on the water than I am normally afforded as my Maple Sugaring season wrapped up about a week and half early this year. The past week saw flows dropping and clearing or rising and dirty depending on the day, and what precipitation we had just received along with snow melt from the abnormally warm weekend. I hit a river Friday afternoon that flows through my grandfathers old farm land and a minute from where I grew up. When I was a kid this river had a well deserved reputation for producing big wild browns through the stretch where i lived. I recall so clearly standing on the bank with my dad and watching two huge brown trout holding under a log. I would fish the river frequently and always seemed to have good luck, and always had a blast snorkeling and chasing all the trout around. When I moved back from Maine I was really bummed to find that the trout population had plummeted. I am unsure of what really happened but my outings in the spring before the river was stocked nearly always resulted in no fish. In fact I dont think I had caught a fish in the river for over 6 years. After catching some wild fish in a small tributary last year, I decided I'd give it a try. When the pictured wild brown took my fly I was ecstatic. It was a great way to start my season, and I really hope that this is a sign that the trout are rebounding in this stream. The next morning I spent looking for steelhead with a good friend of mine. We covered a fair amount of water and only hooked juvenile steelhead and suckers. It was a good time, but we didn't get into any adult steelhead. I think the fishing will continue to improve here. I did talk to one angler who landed an 18" steelhead. I'll be on the river again this week and expect things to be better.
I did see a good amount of brown stones on friday afternoon, but the fish were not keying into the nymphs in the dirty water. As soon as I tied on the red worm I got a hook up however, and I had throughly fished the water already with a variety of nymphs. I also had a #18 black caddis land on my hand and saw some small midges in the air. On the steelhead stream the fish seemed to want Pheasant tails and frenchies in size 12.
Looking ahead the water levels and clarity will be clearing on the small and mid sized streams, while the big rivers will still be blown out. Keep and eye out for hatches and if fish are keying into those nymphs or if the want attractor patterns. You should be fishing two flies at least with something brighter and something more natural like a brown stonefly nymph or pheasant tail while prospecting. It is also still a great time to cover water with streamers. If you are fishing with nymphs I like to find water that I am confident is holding fish and really cover it well, changing flies until I find what the fish want, while streamer fishing is more productive if you cover lots of water targeting bends, pools, and woody structure until you find and aggressive fish willing to chase your fly.
Good luck on the water this week.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers