Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Anticipation Of Fall Trout & Salmon

Man the summers are hard in New England.  Most waters south of the 45 parallel are just too warm and low these days.  The trout and salmon retreat into the deep lakes and the rivers are waiting for an autumn flush.  The north country and the few bottom release dams there will continue to fish well all summer.  These are day trips that can ware you down and be costly given the price of gas.  They are wonderful vacation spots with great fishing available from dawn to dark.  I go because fishing there is as close to perfect as an angler can get.

After one of the best spring seasons I can remember, I am now hopeful that the fall will bring a few trophies to hand.  This is a time of migration, as well as emigration, and you need only find the ins and outs of all the major water bodies throughout the entire region.  What is needed to kick off the season is that first major rain event.  I noticed there is a hurricane headed north after the week end and  heavy rain is expected for all of New England.

The first thing that will happen will be for trout to emigrate over dams.  They feel the water in the lake start to move and get close enough to be pulled into the flow.  These will be big fish and can reach twenty eight inches with most in the eighteen to twenty one inch range.   The possibility of this happening will increase between now and the end of the season.  Every rain can add fish to the system.

The major salmon runs will also start in the far north and continue in location farther south through the month of October. In a few cases the run will not happen till after the season closings in November.  These landlocked salmon have the same make up as their larger Atlantic brethren.  When Atlantic's spawn is also determined by latitude and happens from late October and into November.

A lessor known migration is that of the Brown Trout.  If you are lucky and hit these locations the last few days of the season you can be in for a wonderful surprise.  There are some locations where the browns are very large and they will move up to dams from lake and river locations.  This can happen from mid September through October.

The bows are a mystery to me.  I have been told that because these fish are hatchery raised they think that their naturally spring spawning run should be in the fall.  Although not the target of migration they are a big target for me as emigraters.  I have released my largest Rainbow Trout during this fall season.

This is also the time of the Brook Trout spawning.  Maine is alive at this time right to the final day of the season.  I love heading to Rangely with the anticipation of some wonderful angling.  This is New England in the old time tradition and I make at least two trips every fall. 

Between the beginning of September and the end of October you could fish a different trophy water each and every week and never visit the same location twice.  There are more of these hollowed waters than most of us can imagine.  What determines the place are the conditions and the conditions are determined by the rain.  Follow the weather and the river flow charts.  Make yourself a collection of these links and study them year after year.  You will understand what is the good to bad flows and having this info will help you make knowledgeable decisions.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Fly Tying Tip #119

When ever you are using light color materials make sure that the thread is lighter in color than what is being tied.  At some point in the tie you will be able to switch to the final head color.  What a fly looks like dry can be very different when it gets wet.  Sometimes the material used will get translucent and what is underneath will show through.  The fly in the photo is a perfect example of what happens when the dark brown head color was also used in the body.  If you enlarge the photo you can see through the mylar.  Light green or chartreuse would have been a better thread choice.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There Are No Bad Days On A Salmon River

There are no bad days on a Salmon river, there just is no way to explain the feeling to you if you have never tried the game.  I'm home today from a wonderful but all too short trip to Matane.  The river is more than alive this year.  Every pool has a few fish and some have over one hundred.  It is a wonderful thing to see after so many years of waiting and hoping.

The Matane is like no other river I fish.  This is mainly because of the ease of access and the fact that most of the rules are created by the local people.  This is a kill river where only 28 of the over 600 angled this year were released.  Now don't get yourself in a tizzy as this is a very healthy river.  The fact is that should enough salmon spawn and the eggs hatch there will be so many Parr that they naturally die off because no river can accommodate a quantity greater than the balance of nature will feed.  Rivers like Matane and Matapedia, where there are high kill ratios do very well and should there ever be a problem the solution would come swiftly.  In Quebec the numbers are monitored very closely and rivers will close.
There are two other things that I became aware of during this trip.  The first is that there is no official limit to catch and release.  My personal number is three. Most local people would like the number to be two.  The local officials would like three.  Some locals would like the number to be one, the same as an angler who takes a fish.  I think that you could surly find a few who would like catch and release eliminated.  I will leave the controversy over weather catch and release is a good thing for the answers that will hopefully be complete shortly.  Studies in fact are underway and are not being conducted in a laboratory.  Time will tell.

The other thing, that to my knowledge, is unique to Matne is that the rotation system is conducted on both sides of the river as if one rotation were in place.  This is a foolish practice to me.  It makes for arguments and the possibility of bad feelings.  No one is more understanding than I am in relation to fly fishing etiquette, but having to worry about the people on the other side of the river is not necessary.  That said, the next time I visit Matane I will respect the local way.  I will also expect that the one person on the other side will wait for all in rotation to finish before starting again.  See what I mean about the policing?  

The fishing was very interesting and I was able to land a few with some very unusual flies.  I had many takes to my Super Salmon Sedge(S.S.S.).  I love dry fly fishing and I am tickled that my fly worked.  The other thing that worked was by rapid stripping.  It was really exciting to be casting and then stripping big Flat Head Muddler Tube Flies as fast as possible.  When the salmon hits it causes opposite reactions resulting in the water dramatically exploding.  Very exciting to see, and more exciting that it happened to me.

For long time Salmon guru or for your first Salar adventure, the Matane is every bit a prize.  This years quantity of salmon is the bonus.

Full Moon Over Matane


Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Salmon In Every Pool

Never in my entire life with Salmo Salar has there been a year like this.  Most rivers are seeing record returns as well as some very large fish.   There are a few down spots in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia and for those rivers the work goes forward.
My first salmon came from the Narraguagus River in Cherryfield.  166 have returned this year and it makes me very happy to see so many when there were years with but a scant few.  Penobscot is tipping in the 3000 range and fish are traveling farther up stream as the numbers needed for the hatchery were met in early July.

New Brunswick
Reports that I am reading on NewBrunswickFishing.com seem to have a lot of very happy results.  Numbers on all the major rivers are way up and it is common to hear of three fish days.  One of the reports was on the Nashwaak River.  This is my favorite New Brunswick river.  As it is a Bay of Fundy river it is now closed, but the numbers in the spring run have been very impressive.  The Marimachi system is also seeing good numbers.  The Restigouche reports are scarce but in the upper reaches on Crown water anglers are seeing and catching fish in good numbers.

Nothing short of spectacular can be reported.  The numbers angled on the Grande Cascapedia are higher than the usual total quantity in the river.  It started early and is still going well.  From Matapedia to Matane and out to the tip of Gaspe things are going very well.  Bonaventure seems to be having an above average year but not as impressive as the Petite and Grande.

Nova Scotia
They don't seem to be having the same luck as other locations.  It seems that acid rain and fish farms are still a big problem in the south and Cape Breton rivers are not seeing the numbers of last year.  Margaree summer fish are coming in good numbers.  Most pools are fishing well.

Salmon counts are running less than last year for most rivers.  Above the ten year average and looking better but not what other locations have seen.  The Harry's River is the shining star and showing a dramatic doubling from last year's good number while the Torrent has seen only half last year's total.

Numbers are very strong for this year.  The Sand Hill is seeing over 7000 fish to date, up from 1700 this same time last year.  Reports from the Flowers River are very good and some large fish being angled.

Off to a good start in both quantity and size of fish.  As the rivers of Iceland are July to August rivers we will need more time to tell the complete results.

The numbers and size this year in Scotland are mind boggling for most locations although rivers like Beauley are down.   Some have seen strong early runs that slowed just as quickly while others are still in good shape. It will be very interesting to see what happens with the late runs.