Well the season has gotten off to a great start here in the Whites. After a week of guiding over wild brook trout and lake run rainbows I was able to get out on the Androscoggin River on Saturday May 21st with local anglers Steve and Woody. I had a hunch the caddis and mayfly hatches might be on and I was right! We were on fish from the get go with browns and rainbows in the boat from the first anchor drop. As we fished a low pressure system began to creep in and the nymph bite slowed down, so I had Woody switch to a white streamer to see if we could find a big brown.
One thing I learned while fishing in Arkansas is that big brown trout are not on the same feeding cycles as other trout. Large browns prefer larger meals so their feeding is not always dictated by bug activity.
As we fished down the river I coached Woody on the retrieve and how to focus casts in front of the boat. As we came upon a deep log filled pool Woody had his rhythm down and sent a cast just ahead of the boat tight to an overhanging tree. On the third strip there was a jarring strike and a golden brown flash under the frothy flow. Woody kept pressure but when the brown ran towards the trees he eased up, "Pull him out!" I yelled. " You've got twelve pound test on there." With confidence in his tippet strength Woody muscled the fish to the boat and we netted this 20" brown.
As we floated down We missed a few big rainbows on the streamer and then a good caddis hatch hit and we landed some nice rainbows and browns on dries.
On Monday I guided Paul of Montreal Canada. Paul was interested in learning the Saco river and how to dry fly fish...two things that go together nicely. We started off at 7am on a large pool that I know holds large trout. These fish were rising from the get go but getting a cast to them was a challenging matter. After working on casting to these large trout for about an hour the wind picked up and the bite slowed. I told Paul that we could hit some wild brook trout water and, if he was interested break after lunch and take the boat out in the evening for better casting positions. Paul agreed. After arranging a shuttle and getting the keys to my private take out we met back up at 4:30 pm.
The fishing was slow to start but around 6:30 we began seeing rises, and a solid caddis hatch materialized. We found a good pod of risers and Paul worked on perfecting his dry fly presentation. After tricking a few that came un-buttoned Paul got tight for good and landed his first dry fly trout, a solid 13" brown. Soon the caddis hatch transitioned to a mayfly spinner fall and Paul missed a few then landed another fish on the mayflies. Paul is excited to continue dry fly fishing in the future.
Tuesday I guided Clint from Austin Texas. With an unsettled weather forecast I elected we meet earlier instead of planning to fish until dark. After landing one rainbow right off the bat the fishing slowed. This didn't surprise me much as there were no bugs in the air. The Andro turns on and off like a light switch with bug activity and it is usually a matter of switching to streamers until you see bugs begin to pop. After landing a wild rainbow on a streamer we began seeing caddis come off the water, and a dead drifted and swung caddis nymph resulted in a dozen rainbows. As a low pressure system exited and windy high pressure set in the fishing slowed a bit but we still managed a few more rainbows and a gorgeous wild brook trout on the nymphs as well as a silvery wild rainbow on a caddis dry fly. Clint was pleased to catch fish on nymphs, Dries and Streamers and I was very impressed that he didn't lose any flies throughout the entire trip.
So that's what the fishing has been like in a nut shell. Good hatches should continue into the future with warmer days meaning solid grey drake mayfly hatches on the Saco with Caddis and assorted mayflies on both the Saco and Andro. As July approaches we can look forward to golden stoneflies on the Andro and great Terrestrial fishing on the Saco.
If you haven't booked your trip with us yet this year we still have dates available with Steve and our newest guide Tom for June. Nate has availability from July through November. We look forward to seeing you catch fish this year!