Well just as the leaves began to turn color the fishing on the Andro and our wild brook trout waters went from good to great. On the Andro fish are being taken on golden Stonefly nymphs, October Caddis, Prince nymphs, Isonychia nymphs and dries as well as streamers. In fact the streamer bite seems to have really turned on with the weather change. Both baitfish patterns and leeches/ buggers have been getting crushed. We've been seeing a lot more wild fish in the 12-14" range this fall as well as more fish in the high teens to 20"s a great sign for next year!
Fishing has been hot and cold depending on time of day and weather. We have noticed that on warm cloudy days the bite starts earlier in the day and stays through the mid afternoon. On warmer sunny days the bite starts a bit later say around noon and is solid until the temp drops in the evening. On cool cloudy or windy days the fishing is slower but we still see a good bite around noon and again around three pm. Right now if you are on the water and the fishing is slow be patient because chances are it WILL turn on at some point!
We have also been doing well on our wild brook trout waters throwing streamers to pre-spawn fish that have been crushing our offernings. These fish are both native and wild and have some spectacular colors this time of the year. We have access to private brook trout water with wild fish to 14+ inches. We have seen bigger fish in this stream this year as it was gated a few years ago to protect it from poachers.
We are also seeing some of the biggest rainbows we have seen all year on the Androscogggin! On every float it seems we at least get the "opportunity to land a fish in the high teens to over 20"s. On some days clients are getting multiple shots at big fish and these are usually the days when we land a few. As I've said over and over again the big rainbows on the Androscoggin are perhaps the strongest fighting fish I have ever encountered pound for pound. Like hooking a steelhead on a five weight they are not an easy quarry to conquer.
Yesterday I guided my friend Alex and his friend Steve. I warned Alex that he would have to be on his toes if he hooked a big fish, allowing the fish to take line but keeping pressure if the fish ran at the boat...but when Alex hooked that first big rainbow my words of wisdom went out the window as the fish tore upstream breaking the line before Alex could point the rod. I think Alex was a little more prepared for the next fish but this one was hooked in heavy current and shot downstream even faster than the first fish swam up.
Steve seemed to learn a bit from Alex's fish and was able to hook and land two bows in the high teens. not as big as the fish we lost but solid hard fighting fish.
My point here is this...if you just want to land a bunch of easy to catch fish your best bet is to wait for the stocking truck to dump them in in your local river. But if you want a true challenge these rainbows are worthy adversaries.
If you've never had a trout take fly line through your fingers, had to point the rod at an underwater missile cavorting all over the river, needed to drop your rod tip on a cartwheeling piece of electric energy or heard your reel scream then you don't know what you are missing.
While these fish are a challenge, they can be caught and we've had both novice and experienced anglers land some monsters this year. Just the other day we took out clients Faith and Richard Aigan. While Richard was an experienced angler Faith was not confident that she would catch anything. "I probably won't catch any fish, I never really do." she mentioned as we readied our gear. "We'll we will see." I said not wanting to make promises but knowing she had a good chance if she did as I instructed.
As it turned out Faith was a great student. After landing this 20" rainbow I asked her what she was doing with the fly when the fish struck, " I was just giving it quick little twitches like you said." Faith did an excellent job of fighting this fish which made four strong runs before succumbing to the net. For Faith the key was that she was all ears to my instruction, giving when the fish pulled and pulling when the fish took breathers. Fighting big fish is not rocket science, it is a simple matter of keeping good tension and angle on the hook so that it doesn't pop out while also allowing a big fish to take line so that the hook doesn't pull out or the line break. Keeping the line under your trigger finger while fishing is probably the number one piece of advice I have for hooking and landing fish. Often I see anglers try to pull line under all or a few fingers on their casting hand, or they try to pull from above their casting hand, or they go straight to the reel before they have control and tension on the fish.
But the best way to get good at fighting big fish is to hook them...and we'd love to teach you how it's done.
So what is to come? As we move through fall fish will concentrate both in the fast riffles where browns and brookies will attempt to spawn and rainbows will be there to eat their eggs. The Slower and deeper glides will also attract fish who are looking for easy living in this colder fall water. Here look for noses rising to BWO's and throw streamers or drift a long line nymph rig if nothing is surfacing. I will often fish a dry dropper rig or a streamer with a nymph trailing it to see exactly what the fish want.
If you are looking to enjoy a fishing trip before the season is over we have dates available on both weekends and weekdays through mid November.