Monday, September 28, 2015

Better, Not Great

Better conditions as far as water temps go. Dropping daily. Still not there but it will improve. Here is the skinny on what's happening now. Having the ability to change tactics, rigs and locations is crucial now. We are doing it all with the same amount of success. More interesting than throwing a Grey Ghost all day long in the same pool with the same outcome.

Dry Game: Caddis early a.m., attractor patterns, small spinners, Slate Drakes and the underused midge. 5X and FlyAgra getting it done. Mice occasionally.

Wet Game: Orange and Partridge, Skunk Works stuff, Red and Starling. Slow retrieve.

Nymph Game: Smallish bright doesn't imitate anything in the underwater world we ply our craft in patterns seem the go to. Czech stuff, P.T.s, Brassies and the occasional stone.

Streamer Game. Intermediate lines, smaller patterns in autumn color styles, bright bait fish getting the smack . Poor to o.k. Not quite there yet. Low light for best results.

Change it up often for now. Keep changing until YOU see a change.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Our second week of self imposed closure and cancellations. Water temps are unseasonably high. Not our ideal September. One trip this week clinched it. Few fish rising, none chasing and weak nymphing. Next weeks forecast looks promising with more seasonal conditions.

This is a bloodsport cut and dry. Don't delude yourself by thinking releasing a fish that they will live to fight another day every time. Especially when other factors come into play, ie; temps, overly long fighting sessions, pre spawn fish and poor handling. We've seen enough dead fish laying on the river bottom to bring that fact home. Start by skipping the dreaded 'Grip and Grimace' shot and you'll go a very long way in preserving fish. How would you feel after fighting for your life and someone held you underwater? Pretty simple analogy.

It's up to you to decide ethics. One of my climbing mentors said it best.

"There are ethics and there is style. Ethics are so you don't screw it up for the next guy, and style is so you don't delude yourself into thinking you're so great".

Friday, September 4, 2015


Enjoy the holiday. From the people who brought you the weekend.

The JUNK season approaches.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Late Summer.

The last of summer is upon us. With that comes the fall prep. Until then we tend to take full advantage of these last few weeks. Berry picking, dodging bears in the blackberry thickets, wearing Carhartts and canvas shirts in said thicket, snorkel sessions in deep pools (try it, you will learn much in the way fish eat nymphs), granite cliff jumps, wet wading, spotting deer in the fields, terrestrial patterns for the grassy bank, cricket patterns for cloudy days, 61 degree small stream temps!!, body surfing the class 2 wave, rope swing antics, swinging mouse patterns in the dark, day hikes up high, the last pair of summer Chacos/Teva/Patagonia/Keene sandals hanging by a thread or completely blown out, SuperFine Glass rocks, 6' 3WT for the tiny water, landlocks in the riffle on the dry, Arnies midday, Macanudos for the evening hatch, at least six different tan lines, thorn removal, horse shoes, awesome sunsets and rises, Caddis, grown up geese, early morning dog runs, fresh veggies, Sapphire, and the mixed grilled meat special.

Oh yeah. And getting ready for the fall season.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Summer Conditions.

Summer in full swing. Conditions tough due to warm water and air temps. Unhappy trout and salmon for the most part. Early a.m. sessions before the heat arrives occasionally if a 24 hour cooling cycle presents itself . Coolest part of the day. One constant in the summer game is the small stream scene. Finding water mid sixties and under can be tough but available for those willing to put in the work for smaller natives and seclusion. There are waters (tribs) full of fish under stress and looking for relief. We stay away of those due to a self imposed ethic. Telling it like it is. Tough to push potential clients away from trips but honesty, integrity and reputation aren't built on bullshit. This heat will end. It always has.

Small stream selection is as follows. Terrestrial patterns!! Ants and beetles all day. Pretty easy except for the presentation. First cast best cast for the most part. 5X due to skinny clear conditions. We prefer fiberglass for these trips. 3 to 4 wts and double tapers. Shorts, river sandals and a cold liquid refreshment in the Yeti for the tailgate breakdown. Simplify your summer trips.

In the meantime September is next and is filling up well. We are planning our days afield with the sweet season approaching. Sixty one days in September and October. Time to play bingo with those numbers on the calendar.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Small Stream Reminder.

What's wrong with the Brookie above. It's dead. After being played far too long and poorly. This fish was played to death. I should have stepped in but it wasn't a client of mine and I see way too much of this during the season for the conversation to become productive. Remember catch and release starts at the HOOK SET not the release. Today's 2- 5X is strength is amazing. Don't be afraid to push it. Not just now but all season long.

We guided a small stream last week. After walking/bushwhacking for a mile or more we came to a classic canopy covered plunge pool. Looking into it I lost count of how many brookies were stacked in there. I told the client to have a look. He was amazed at the amount of fish in such a small area. Then I set the ethical/this is where I get fired and I don't care standard. "You get two casts and then we leave no matter the outcome". "Huh"? was the response. One I wasn't surprised with. After explaining the fish were stressed and seeking thermal refuge and not there to be the happy fish we were seeking, he got it (THANK YOU). Two casts, one nice brookie and we were out and looking for another small stream with happier fish. We found them and turned a possible easy, unethical day into something more than just catching fish.

Guiding isn't about counting coup. It's about teaching, sharing and much, much more.

Plenty of fun small water out there with happy fish. Not many tracks either.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer Season (Yeah I Know It's Late).

The blog driven drivel continues as of today. Summer in full swing. Bright and sunny, flashes from above, torrential rain showers and wind. You know, summer in Maine.

Small streams big fun right now. Rubber leg junk, terrestrials and the purple parachute topping the list. Beetle patterns are our number one summer terrestrial dry. Why? We don't care they eat it. Some questions are better left unanswered. Bring a thermometer. You're looking for 64 and under. And canopy cover.

Big water is hot and cold. Some days/nights/mornings very good to slower than anyone likes. Nymphing 16-20 sized patterns either czech or bobber gets it done. Streamer patterns in the early morning (dawn) we like. No delicate grab in the predawn. Dry fly guys willing to head hunt are getting rewarded. Sniper attitude. Stealthy casts and approaches. FIRST CAST IS YOUR BEST CAST! DO NOT FLOCK SHOOT! Be a player at the casino not the loser.

Backcountry hikes to off the radar waters, higher elevation ponds, outlets, tribs and the occasional spey class round out the rest of the summer for us. Along with some camping trips, personal floats, trips with friends, climbing excursions, some bouldering, an occasional beach trip for the salty fish, backyard BBQs, Wiffle Ball playoffs, hikes, swimming hole jumps and cocktail experiments fill what's left.

Get on summer cause it's going and we ain't waiting.