A lot has been happening since I last checked in with you all! I spent a few quality day on the Saco in early September with some nice rainbows to hand.
From there I've been at the oars on most days. It has been a pleasure to guide many husbands and wives mothers and sons as of late. We've had many ladies get into their first trout on the fly this fall. Many have also been from the boat, a very cool first experience. As for what has been working...We've continued to have success on Isonychia nymphs and dries with swung wets also being very effective. Woolly buggers and other small streamers have been producing, especially when fished on a type five sink tip. Last week I finally got to take a few casts from the boat with my good friend Matt. The fish were taking caddis on the surface at the put-in. Matt prefers to fish fiberglass rods with traditional wetflies and his technique produced a large brown that crushed his offering as it swung through the glassy morning water. As we moved downstream we began taking fish streamers, I landed a two pound rainbow before we had to pull off the water. That afternoon I had a half day float and the streamers continued to produce with nice rainbows throughout the float.
When not on the bigger rivers I have been guiding on mountain streams quite a bit. We've taken some surprisingly large rainbows from small water over the past few weeks. On Sunday I guided my regular clients the Schoenbachers. Owen the older son got things started catching four healthy brookies by expertly stripping a small streamer by a large rootball. Then Dean the younger son got into the action landing an 11 inch wild rainbow in the fast currents of a plunge pool. It has been a pleasure to see these boys develop over the last two years into avid young anglers. It is cool to see kids taking up this sport at a young age, as I know they will have much time to absorb all that fly fishing has to offer. These mountain streams will continue to fish well for only a few more days as this cold fall weather will have fish migrating to the bigger rivers to winter over. As they move expect the larger rivers to fish well through October and early November (where open to angling.)
Another thing worth reporting are the wild brook trout waters. These waters are mostly low gradient and off the beaten path. Some I have access to on private land. Since these fish are all wild, and to be honest, un-managed, it is very important to fish barbless hooks and to catch and release with the utmost care. With the cooler temps I hit one of my favorite streams last night. The fish were extremely aggressive towards a fast stripped woods special streamer. I was impressed with their size, the smallest fish was 6 inches and most were from 8-10 inches. Even more impressive were their colors of bright reds, greens and blues. I will never get tired of catching and photographing these prehistoric jewels.
So what is to come? The Saco and Ellis will fish until the end of the season. Cover water to find the bigger fish and don't be afraid to fish large streamers. Bright colors are key this time of the year with orange, yellow and red being preferred...just look at the leaves and take it from there! For dries think small or big. Midges are now our predominate surface bugs with October Caddis still providing some action. I like to fish an orange stimulator with a midge about fourteen inches back.
On the Andro expect Isonychia and October Caddis along with green caddis or Rhyacophila to produce through early October. As fall progresses BWO's will become most important with rare but sometimes crucial swarms of lady bugs providing the last terrestrial snack for trout looking to fatten up for winter. Last year I had a banner day fishing small orange foam patterns on the surface and fished like nymphs through the faster runs. As smaller trout begin to enter the system from tributary streams don't be afraid to fish trout like streamer patterns. Large trout take advantage of their smaller brethren in order to stock up on calories for the coming winter. Last year we did very well with baby rainbow trout patterns fished when the hatches were done.
If you haven't booked a trip yet for the rest of 2015 there is still time. We have the last two days of September open as well as many days in October. Don't let the end of the season fool you the best drift fishing of the year is often had in October. Don't forget that some sections of the Androscoggin are open year round so don't hesitate to book for after October 15th. I look forward to seeing many of you this fall!