Well the foliage has definitely peaked this first weekend of October, and the fishing has also been bright. Last week I floated the Androscoggin Four times and the river produced good fish on every outing. Last Wednesday I guided Paul Doeherty and we saw big fish on dries, nymphs and streamers. The most exciting fishing occurred when the late day sun brought on a golden stonefy hatch. When this hatch comes off it is a good idea to fish a floating stonefly with a fast strip pause retrieve. Paul got this down fast and had trout sharking after his fly with reckless abandon. Then as evening approached the mayflies came back on and we landed our biggest fish of the day on a floating nymph pattern.
Thursday I hit the water with good friend Alex Pries. Alex is fairly new to fly fishing but has been fishing hard for the past few years. We started fishing with a dry dropper combo and the fish were on the dropper from put in to take out. I'm not sure how many we landed because I loose track after about ten. Alex got a few good fish in the 12-14 inch range and lost a few more that were larger.
Friday I floated the same section as Wednesday With Buck Ramsey and Bob Watts. The fishing was much slower to start, but then as darkness approached we switched to the foam Stonefliies and the trout came out of the woodwork. Six fish were landed in the last hour or so of the trip. Interestingly almost all of the fish were brown trout.
On Sunday I floated the river with long time local customer Ken Cargill and his good friend Jeff Smith. I always enjoy guiding these guys as they love to razz each other with every fish caught or lost. The fish started biting from the put in and it was obvious that size 12-16 pheasant tail nymphs were the ticket. Later in the float the fish began to rise and Ken got many strikes on a size 16 Floating pheasant tail. I think Jeff caught the biggest fish of the day but Ken had plenty of close calls on bigger fish. I'm sure they would each tell the story a bit differently.
This past Thursday I guided repeat client Brian Stack. Brian had a few good strikes fishing a Stonefly/ Pheasant tail combo in the first pool. This pool always produces a few good strikes before we have time to adjust our hook-set. The fishing through the next few pools was slow with a few subtle bites. Then around 2pm the fishing turned on and Brian began picking off browns and rainbows on a size 16 pheasant tail dropped off of a Purple Haze Mayfly. The fish were taking the dropper just as the flies swung at the end of the drift. The take was so subtle you had to have faith it was a fish and not the flies bumping submerged leaves. Still when the hook was set there was never any mistaking what was on the end of the line. As darkness approached I began seeing some larger caddis flies scuttling about, so I switched the Purple Haze mayfly with one of my foam EHC's. This fly has a realistic silhouette and is buoyant enough to support a heavy dropper. As soon as we switched to this point fly we began getting fish on top. The last fish of the day, a fat 15" rainbow came up so slow that I could see her head pushing up through the surface film before she engulfed the fly. A great way to end the day.
Last minute update. II Fished the Saco this evening. Had just got back from Striper fishing on the coast and still had my 8 weight rigged with a five inch silver side pattern. Decided to give the big stick a few throws in the Saco, and promptly landed two large rainbows swinging this saltwater pattern through a riffle. (See picture below.)
The streamer fishing should be good on the Saco through the close of the season. On the Andro streamers are a good bet anytime. They are highly effective from late October through early December. (Note: the Andro From Berlin to the Maine border is open year round.)
It is not too late to book a float trip for October or November...Now is a great time to hit the water!