Friday, April 24, 2015

Northern Hippy Conditions.

Northern Hippy conditions? Cold, high and dirty. we coined that phrase a few seasons back and we like it. Snow for the last few days north of our location. Run off continues. Cold nights. Zilch for bug sightings. Smelt? Yeah, weak and we ain't saying where. Tough conditions with a side of dismal.

Seeking out the under the radar waters. Nymph rigs all the way. Dirty worm/s with Czech style and lots of shot. How much? Until it happens. Slow side of the seam. The UNSEXY water. Riffles are for stable, warmer water temps. The bucket? Yeah, why not. Slow way down now with everything.

Spey clinics for the next two weeks. Pretty good time to figure out the two handed game and add a another skill set. Fun also. Nymph trips also. Go figure. this maybe the season of the nymph. We've had them before. DFO? You've got a long wait. Knob Creek helps with that issue, or so I've been told.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Report Plus.

We have finally reached somewhat spring conditions. The water temps are in the high thirties to low forties. Low forties is huge at this point. The start of midge hatches (no rising fish mind you). Those mid morning events happen when the sun warms things up a bit and the emergence begins. The rig of choice for us when this occurs is a S.J. and a Mercury Midge. From sunrise till the end.

Right angle rigs and super tapered 9' + leaders and lots of shot. Not touching? Fix it! Light grab now so make sure your indicator is sensitive enough for the subtle take. Hit them hard and fast. Other patterns to consider are stones, cranefly larva and mini buggers. It's all about the depth and speed right now. Dial that in and you will be rewarded for your efforts. As long as you are in the right location. The unsexy water that most folks stand in seems to hold'em lately.

With flows growing daily with volume the shut out seems inevitable. Dirty, high water conditions for awhile, especially the smaller streams which will continue until the snow pack shrinks. Those that come up the fastest drop the fastest. Dry/dropper for the skinny blue line soon!

Finish the pre season stuff and load up the nymph box.

But wait there's more!

We field lots of inquiries at this time of year. Everyone from seasoned anglers, return clients, tire kickers and new anglers looking to start off with some solid skills. For anyone who hasn't spent some time on a trip with us there are a lot of unknowns. For beginners the gear list can be intimidating. We can outfit anyone with everything they need for a half day or a week. Head to toe. Waders and boots from Simms or Patagonia (including kids sizes from Dan Bailey). Rods from Scott, Sage, Patagonia Tenkara and Winston. Reels from Lamson/Waterworks. Lines from Rio. Tippet and leaders from Rio, Umpqua, Tout Hunter or us. Flies, indicators, floatant, etc. Soft wear clothing available either Patagonia or Simms. Everything except your license.

Lunch; Let's just say it's constantly evolving, creative and served out of a Yeti cooler insuring cold liquids and safe food storage.

Lodging recommendations from cush to dirtbag. Restaurant ideas along with the best bar/bartender in the area. Where to go off the beaten non tourist path. Being an independent guide/outfitter we are beholding to no ones (outfitter, shop, lodge, activities director) schedule or agenda. Meaning we get to choose the waters we think will meet expectations and skill levels. We also have the freedom to start and finish when the client and we agree to. Not some time schedule started by someone based inside all day.

Referrals; We hate self promotion with a passion here at Kingfisher River Guides. Don't waste your time looking for glorious self written reviews about us, our pro staff status conquests, Master Maine Guide boyscout patches(gag) or any grip and grimace images. We have referrals if you need them. Wade the water not the B.S. that permeates this business.

 Having that kind of commitment to our clients isn't easy nor cheap. Most endeavours worth pursuing aren't either. Cheers to a new season. Enjoy and appreciate it.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

First Report.

The first report based drivel. Short on info. Long on experience. It's cold. Colder than average. As in "You've got to be kidding today's high is 28 with a 25mph wind". With that info here is what we are doing.

NYMPHING. The money game. Changing it up every half hour. Depth, speed, location and patterns. The slow boring water that bores most to death until the slow take occurs. Fluorocarbon all the way. Pattern choice depending on light conditions and water clarity. Pink, purple, dirty yellow and green working. Throwing a smelty type pattern as the lead fly is a solid choice also. Not a Carrie Stevens featherwing type of pattern. Something from the skunk works (it's been a long winter).

Accessories help make the sessions a bit easier. Thermos with chili, coffee or mocha. Tail gate espressos, sandwiches with hot mustard and even hotter pickles, handwarmers, puffy coats, numerous gloves, Expedition Weight Capeline, Windstopper pile jackets and a very warm hat with ear flaps. Oh yeah some FireBall for emergency situations (any situation really). Pack accordingly.

There are fish to be caught. To sum it up quickly;  The conditions are as good as you are. The nymphing game extends your season tenfold. It's going to a long wait until the first rising snout appears. Learn it or start to really enjoy yardwork.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Best Of Last Season.

Yeah, it's been awhile. Daytime highs less than twenty do not make us think about fishing. That is changing after a few fly fishing shows, thirty degree sunny days, red kick wax, Little Black Stoneflies and the appearance of mud. As this season approaches gear is replaced, inventoried and inspected. Going through last seasons gear there were a few standouts.

The Orvis Superfine Glass 7'9" 4wt. From small brookies to 18" rainbows to 16" Landlocks we put this rod through the test for six months. Great dry fly rod but also fished medium nymph rigs.

Not a gimmick. The Patagonia Tenkara 10'6" rod will make you rethink this whole gear dependent sport. Fun and effective.

Another Patagonia highlight is the Nano Puff Vest. Living in it since October. Lightweight, packable, compresses to citrus size. Add to your sleep system for added warmth, belay layer, pillow, sling padding and impromptu dog bed.

Goathead studs got our nod after the first batch we used were not performing to our standard. Goathead took the high road and sent us another style and they are much better for the angler. 1/2" for the wader and 3/8" for the trail runner.

Cold cocktails are something we take seriously. The Yeti 20oz. Tumbler fills our Margarita, Bloody or G&T requirements very well. Well tested. Trust us.

Size 22's, 5x and reading a topo map all suck if you can't see. Using CliC glasses solves the cheater glasses problem. Convenient and high quality.

Beer of the year. Simple. Tumbledown Brewing. Worth the trip for sure. Support your or our local brewer!

There are other items that deserve mention also. GoPro, GU products, GSI espresso maker, MSR Pocket Rocket, Insta Set Indicators, Subaru Outbacks, Yakima Rocket boxes, FlyVine lanyards and Gerber tools.

All the above have at least 45 days of use. The absolute minimum for a real world test. Good gear costs more. Buy once and get out there this season.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Czech vs U.S.

Not hockey. Nymphing techniques. We do a large amount of nymphing throughout the season and with that comes different techniques for a variety of waters we fish. The two foundation techniques we use are either Czech style or indicator style. Most folks have an idea about indicator styles. The confusion starts when the Czech style( Czech style nymphing is really just tight line indicator less nymphing. The only indicator is a sighter piece of bright mono attached to the line)  is researched. Typical of the fly fishing Illuminati the styles range from French, Spanish, Polish, Left Handed Macedonian and Small Italian Moustache.

I'll try to help by keeping it simple as to when and where to use each system.

Pocket Water: Hands down Czech rig. Great control and feel. Faster depth rate. Better hook ups due to less line handling. Our favorite.

Endless Riffle: Indicator rig. Upriver, in front and below you. Better coverage and more productive than the stand and chuck Czech rig.

Ultra Clear/Pressured water: Czech rig. Silent and swift. Quick sink on skinny tippet. No shadow or wake do to being bobberless.

Windy Conditions: Indy all the way. Stiffer rig equals easier turnover.

Slow, Deep Water: Where many of our Brookies tend to hang out. Indy again due to the ability to cover a larger target area and dial in depth as well as speed.

Short Leash/ Shallow Water: Mini indicator to again dial in depth and fish the rig for longer drifts.

Long Sections of Pocket Water: The kind most anglers blow off. Knee deep and mile long. Czech rig. Changing location and casts keep the adjustment to a minimum.

Rigging Time: Both about equal. Once dialed the Czech rig can be manipulated with a few specialty casts. This is where a Tenkara (10'+) rod rocks.

Specialty Rod: Yeah you can get a Euro Nymph rod, Indicator rod or Tenkara for this type of fishing. You can also get by just fine with a standard 9' 5wt. I really do like my nymph rods for just nymphing though. Spend over forty days nymphing at the beginning of the season and you'll want a rod for the dark side also.
For just Czech style I like a 9'+ 4wt. One that is lightweight. I'm 6' 2", add a 10' rod in my hand and I'm a tower crane that can high stick and lead a rig easier than most.
I would suggest being very particular about line type. Specific nymph tapers add to the system. Trust us they make a huge difference.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion on a simple technique.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Seasons Worth. Part Two.

The rest of the season is as follows;

 Early a.m. wade trips, early a.m. small stream trips, spey casting clinics. A great time for a spey clinic to get ready for the fall season. All half day trips due to warmer air and water temps. Summer conditions dictate whether we go or not. Too hot. We don't fish for salmonids.

 It is the one time we do small mouth bass trips. Either floating or wading. Be warned this is a blood fest trip. We target and kill every small mouth we catch. Why? Illegally introduced years ago by an individual/s with low morale standards who probably didn't have the skill to guide for trout and salmon. We know it's a small dent in the big picture but it does make us feel good. Sqeamish anglers and bass lovers need not book.


Small stream trips in full swing. Wild natives rule this month. Streamers, mice patterns, Bombers, Slate Drakes and soft hackles at the front. These fill fast so act fast.

Full and half day wades. Midday and evening hatches. Attractor patterns. Streamer and micro nymph sessions.

Float trips during the last week. Staying into the glooming for the last evening hatches.

October: Our Favorite!!!

 Full day wades and floats. Lots of streamer work. The swing, strip and jig technique. Love the streamer, huge or subtle. Nymphing attractor patterns always fun. Waking junk and BWOs.

A few small hike in ponds for a change of pace and view.

Two handed trips during this month are fairly common. Great way to close out the season.

November: The Curtain Closes.

The first two weeks are fairly solid. Nymphing, slow swinging and the last of the Baetis. Very, very quiet on the water at this time of year. Gentleman's hours. Let the deer/duck hunters see dawn.

Pretty full season here in Maine for the creative think out of the box guide/angler. Which month is best? This morning it was 16 below. Pack your leavin trunk.

Another Tie and Lie this weekend for those hackle wrappers.

CFR Fish Tales and Cocktails event this weekend at Sugarloaf also.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Seasons Worth Part One.

The booking season has arrived! Phone calls, emails and message systems happening at a nice steady pace. Conversations about hatches, gear, availability, lunch, lodging, your usual client question stuff. Which got us thinking about a month to month run down. The list below is subject to whims of Mother Nature, Power Companies flow regime and acts of God.

April: "The cruelest month". Your best options for April are as follows.

 Nymph clinic. Yes the dark side. Learn the rigs and techniques. Become the 10% angler. Around the third week in April the bite changes dramatically on the nymph. Two to three rigs pre rigged per day. Yeah we dig nymphing and really like passing the knowledge on to clients. For $300 you will be far ahead of the learning curve.

Spey casting clinic. Yeah the two handed thing. Laid back intro to the overly confusing world of spey. Rods, lines, instruction, snacks and beverages included. We teach the skills/casts to catch fish. Period. Kind of the whole idea behind the gear actually. After last seasons record number of spey trips and clinics we a looking forward to increasing it again this year. Pretty fun way to start the season. $100 per spey clinic for one or two clients.

Half day wade trips. Late April can produce some early season smelt and midge occurrences. Best to be on the 'Hot Line" crew. It's pretty simple. You drop everything you're doing and show up the next day when we call. This works for some folks surprisingly and we love the start of the surface game.

All this sounds pretty good. Then again we can have more snow. Huge ice outs, floods and cold temps also. We have also experienced excellent nymphing and solid midge hatches.

May: "Where have you been".

Nymph and spey clinics continue. Full day and a few half day wade trips fill most of this month. The later part of the month will see float trips happening on a almost daily basis. Hatches on average start around Memorial Day weekend. This holiday is also known as the opening ceremonies for the 'Red Neck Olympics'. We tend to work a few limited waters during that weekend.

The small stream scene really pops in the middle of May. We spend a large amount of time on these under looked waters throughout the season. Why? Secluded areas, wild fish, under fished and numerous. Bring the your favorite 3 or 4 wt.

June: It's on like Donkey Kong!

The busiest month for us. We are doing it all (wade, small stream and float trips) with a few side line specialty trips thrown in to avoid burn out and allow for professional development (fun stuff). All day hikes to hard to reach ponds, private access ponds and thin blue lines, Tenkara trips, Spey trips and a few back country hike and wade trips, streamer clinics. Not your average guide gig by far. Just the way we like it. Changing it every season like a boss! 

A quick honest note. Drift boat/float trips are the last place for the beginning fly caster on the waters we float on. Wade trips are a better choice UNLESS YOU HAVE A SOLID CAST OF AT LEAST 35 FEET. Would you rather spend the money and time on a more successfull wade trip or a frustrating moving casting lesson?

July: Summer sessions.

Full day wades on a few waters that most folks think are past the peak. Dry fly for most of the day. Large attractors, mice patterns, spinner falls. Evening happy hour floats. Small stream trips going strong. Early morning streamer sessions. Wet wading as an added bonus. One of our best months for caddis evening events. Along with the Golden Stones! Size 8-10!! FUN! Busy time for us with bookings and private trips so plan early and get on the calender.

Stay tuned for the rest of the season.