Well the summer solstice was yesterday and while the fishing is hot the weather is ideal. With nights in the 40's and days in the high seventies, we couldn't ask for better fishing conditions.
The Saco has been fishing well with spinner falls on most nights and Yellow Sallies and Caddis making up the difference on other nights. Last week I was able to get out on my own for an epic evening hatch. I arrived on the water at 8pm and the rises were everywhere. I caught a few decent fish before locking into something solid, a sixteen inch brown. After this good fish I took a break to watch the water, a peaceful scene of delicate rises. Then an explosion shook me from my meditation. I took a breath, saw the fish rise again and made my cast. My fly alighted softly... and the water erupted. I set the hook, expecting a solid head shake...but this was a very big fish, my fly line flew from my fingers and my reel screamed. Before I could turn the fish he was buried in a pile of logs on the far side of the river. I pulled, the line was stuck. I contemplated breaking the fish off, but there was too much potential at the end of my line. Carefully I removed my vest and went in, I made it to the pile of logs and crawled up on the largest one. I was hoping to dislodge my quarry with this better angle, but he was gone, my fly buried in wood. Soaked and defeated I swam to shore, lit a cigar, and caught fish into the darkness. As I slogged my way back to the car I was reminded of Norman Maclean's last words in A River Runs Through it... "I am haunted by waters."
Back to more factual matters. The Ellis has been fishing well throughout the day. We have been doing well with brookies and rainbows fishing dry dropper combos. For dries, Beetles, and ants have been effective along with Yellow Sallies, Caddis, adams, and royal coachmen. Subsurface, birds nests, drowned beetles, and mini muddler minnows have done the trick. Small streamers such as eighty eights, herons, and muddler minnows have also been productive.
The Andro has turned on recently as well. Black caddis hatches are on below all of the dams and the Alders have been coming off the past few days in the upper river. One hatch that people often don't notice is the Isonychia Mayfly. This size twelve mayfly often emerges sporadically throughout the day and we have been doing well using a royal coachman dry to represent the adult. This fly should be fished when smaller mayflies are seen, as the Isonychia often hatches along with more prolific hatches of pale morning/ evening duns and blue winged olives.
Float fishing the Andro is the best way to cover a lot of water and catch a lot of fish. I've been drifting the river with clients over the past few weeks and we have been catching rainbows, browns and brookies on dries, nymphs and streamers. One benefit of fishing from a boat is that you can switch rods instead of flies. Another is that you have access to every piece of the river with optimal casting positions, (think about how many times you've had trouble casting with your elbows in the water!). I have a boat trip tomorrow morning and I'm looking forward to rowing up to big rainbows sipping emerging black caddis.
If you are planning to book a trip this summer let me know ASAP. The rest of June is booked solid, but I do have days open in July and August. Thanks for all of the great trips so far this season, we look forward to seeing many of you again soon.