I hope everyone had a great 4th. We didn't do any guiding over the long weekend to spend time with our families, fishing conditions were poor anyways, otherwise I may have stuck around a day or two to get a few trips in. Thanks to all who contacted me about fishing over the holiday. I did shoot over from our camp to a tailwater with my wife for a day of fishing. It was really nice to get some time on the water with her without the kids and to see her catch fish on dry flies. Three kids 4 and under doesn't allow us to get out too much together anymore. While we were over there we shot a little bit of video of dry dropper fishing so check out the you tube link above to see some good footage of me picking apart a small piece of pocket water with a dry dropper on a Euro Rig.
I also had a chance to get up to Maine with the family camping a couple of weeks ago and was able to sneak away three mornings for 2.5 hours. I had a great time working some fairly heavily pressured wild fish that required perfect dead drifts. It was a nice challenge to adapt the the fish and fishermen. I found most success fishing a single nymph but caught fish on dries as well as double nymph rigs. Focusing on keeping the flies in a single current seam from below the fish was key. My success rate was much lower if I was positioned next to the fish. In all I was able to go 4/5 on trophy brook trout and caught around 75 trout and salmon in the three 2.5 hour sessions I got on the water. I wasn't able to get pics on most of the bigger fish but I believe I did catch one of my biggest ever, the second fish of the trip.
This summer is reminding me of two years ago, very hot and dry. We did just have a major storm roll through while I was writing this which knocked out power and downed trees. Here is Essex we got 1.5" of rain in about 20-30 minutes. That is definitely what we need but it would be much better if that came over the course of a day, for both the plants and my driveway. That flush of rain came at a good time since we have some major heat tomorrow and Friday and river levels will hopefully be up some and maybe not get as warm as they would have. If you are going to trout fish then its mainly a small stream game right now and after a rain event is the time to go. Those fish have been hiding out in some really bony conditions so a bump in water will get them moving around and feeding. We do have rain or storms in the forecast many days next week as we move into the two warmest weeks of the year on average. The more rain we get the better in my opinion. I am guessing most stocked fish have already died unless they happen to have found or been stocked near a cool water source or spring. Thankfully the wild fish are remarkably resilient and know where to go or how to survive the heat. After seeing the amount of fish survival after the summer of '18 I am not too worried. If we could just get Fish and Wildlife to protect them a little more with stricter bag limits or catch and release areas and close down some known thermal refuges to angling during the heat of the summer along with continuing to work on habitat improvement we would be in even better shape. In my opinion, catching fish that are stacked up at a cold water source for the whole summer just trying to survive is un ethical and should be avoided.
When water temps permit its a great time to start throwing some terrestrials, ants, beetles, hoppers, crickets, inch worms, all fall into the water and can convince a trout to rise to a dry fly. If there is an over hanging branch or grass then you may have a chance of catching fish there even if the water is not great looking, especially if there is shade on the water. I am going to tie some ant patterns this evening. I also start to throw some smaller nymphs and dries this time of year as many of the bigger hatches are over the fish will take a small fly more readily so have some size 18-20 in a variety of patterns ready to go and don't be afraid to use them. I haven't been on the lakes much because the trolling motor on my boat broke and my replacement has not arrived, so I don't have a ton to report there. Up north over the 4th the Hex hatch had already peaked due to the warm weather and surface water temps were hot. The thermocline was deep and pond fishing was not good at all. Be on the lookout for any cool weather and precipitation, otherwise get up early and hit a small stream. Please take a temp first. Also don't be afraid to take an overnight trip, we have a few small tailwaters in VT, and some great ones in NH, ME, MA, CT, and NY. If you want to get out give me a shout and I can find you some cool water to fish for trout or better yet we can fish bass and fall fish in the lower stretches of our big rivers. You are guaranteed to catch some fish on those trips.
Ben Wilcox Owner/Guide Maple Country Anglers