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July 26, 2016

It’s nice when most of our reports come in with positive news and this week’s was mostly from successful anglers. The saltwater, deep sea people are waiting for August 1 to be able to possess one codfish, as these fish have been off the legal list for some time. Also, more and more large pollock are being taken.

In freshwater, the big lakes continue to produce some active fishing for both panfish and gamefish. With water temperatures warming up, there’s still some surface activity for those that hit the water early in the morning.

MAINE: Tim Moore, legendary fishing guide reports: “Lately, the striper fishing has been like riding a roller coaster. One spot might be hot two hours after high tide, then a few days later the fish seem to vanish overnight. Luckily kayaks force us to stay in one area, which has allowed me to discover that the fish are just changing their feeding patterns. A spot that is good two hours after high tide might be producing better two hours before the high. Time spent on the water seems to be my best strategy, which is fine with me. I believe this change is due to water temperatures. The water warms significantly during the outgoing tide, so I think the stripers are taking advantage of the cooler incoming tide. We are finally seeing some consistent mid-20” and 30” fish starting to show up. Now that the seaweed-carrying full moon tides are subsiding the live-eel night fishing should really heat up for some bigger fish.”

“The squid are still around and I’m currently planning a seminar at KTP on August 18 @ 7:00pm for these tasty creatures. Stay tuned for details if you’re wondering how, when, and where to catch squid.”

“On the freshwater side of things, a little birdie told me that the deep water lake trout bite is heating up. Vertical jigging with Daddy Mac Lures—1.4 Albie jigs and ½ ounce Elite are my favorite. Look for 100’ of water, watch your fish finder to see what depth the togue are suspended at, and keep your jig vertical. The fish get more aggressive throughout the rest of the season.” www.TimMooreOutdoors.com

News from Captain Tim Tower of the legendary Bunny Clark charter and party boat’s recent trip was positive: “The fishing was excellent, the catching was very good and landings were fair to good. You couldn't have had a better fishing platform with the calm ocean and lack of wind. The drift was perfect.”

“Most legal fish landed were haddock. In fact, most fish caught were haddock. The haddock cull was fifty/fifty, legal to sub-legal fish. Legal landings also included fourteen pollock, three cusk, two whiting and two butter mullet. Released fish included seven cod between 5 and 7 pounds and a bigger dogfish day than most with forty released. Drifting was the boating method. All terminal gear worked well but flies caught the most fish.”

Here’s Captain Marco Lamothe of Keeper Charters report from Saco Bay Bait and Tackle: “Lots of good news to report on the local saltwater scene. Inshore for starters! Striped bass are abundant and cooperative in the usual summertime locations. There is an abundance of smaller schoolie bass up to the 20" range. Fish have caught consistently as far upriver on the Saco as Marston's Marina—unusual, considering river temps are in the mid to high 70's. These are aggressive stripers and they can be seen busting tiny herring on the surface in the early morning and evening.”

“Anchor up or shut your motor down and quietly drift to target these river bass. Smaller Rapalas or Yo-Zuri Pinfish have produced recently. The inner harbor in Scarborough has also been hot on recent incoming tides for similar school-sized bass.”

“Mackerel are plentiful throughout Saco Bay. Ocean Tackle Sabiki rigs have been producing consistently. If you find mackerel are hard to locate or appear finicky, try downsizing your flies. Simply cut some of the flash off the flies. Late season mackerel sometimes turn wise to our rigs.”

“Cod fishing returns in two weeks with a one fish per person limit. Groundfishermen have been excited about the numbers they have been releasing. One N.H. fisherman I spoke with today said his boat released over 100 twenty five plus- inch fish this morning. Sea Wolf Jigs and a cod-fly teaser (blue) were the most productive for their three man crew. They also boated almost a hundred pollock, up to 25 lbs.”

“Weather systems are finally calming the winds and warm forecasts translate into a nice looking fishing period for the coming week.”

Dave Garcia at Naples Bait and Tackle on Long Lake says that there’s been quite a few quality brown trout caught recently there. “The Harrison end of the lake has the best structure for holding these big trout. Hit the drop-off along the edge there.”

“Best luck has been using lures—Speedy Shiner, Mooselook Wobbler in the Wonderbread color as well as white colored Weeping Willow spoons.”

“There’s also been some productive fishing for white perch in the evenings. These are not big fish—they’re about the size of your hand but great eating. They’ve been hitting crawlers and worms fished under a bobber.”

Sebago Lake is fishing good for salmon and togue but a surprising catch of a big (38 inches!) northern pike came when the lucky angler was trolling for salmon in 38 feet of water out in the main lake. That’s kind of unusual for a big pike to be in that kind of water.”

“Some game wardens reported that during a diving session they found the thermocline at the 38 foot depth. Most of the good action on togue (lake trout) has been coming from the 40-45 foot depths—well above bottom. Seven colors of leadcore line seemed to be the answer.”

Greg Cutting at Jordan’s Store in East Sebago reports that one of his regular anglers fishing Sebago Lake had caught 17 lake trout. He was using bait with copper line around the Fries Island area in 90 to 100 feet of water. A friend had also had some good luck there using downriggers with bait and spoons.”

Another of Greg’s friends had been successful with the landlocked salmon while fishing early in the morning right off the Northwest River bar off Nason’s Beach. All the salmon had little alewives in their stomachs.

As strange as it sounds, the lakers were also up near the surface feeding on those alewives.

From Maine’s Fishery Division: “Maine is celebrating the Allagash waterway: While the Allagash may be synonymous with canoeing, the waterway also boasts a wild brook trout fishery that attracts anglers from throughout the country and beyond.  A fishway in Churchill dam allows IFW biologists the opportunity to monitor the brook trout population.”

“On Saturday as part of the celebration, IFW fisheries biologists Frank Frost, Jeremiah Wood and Derrick Cote will be on hand providing demonstrations on the Churchill Dam fishway and fishway trap.”

“The concrete dam was constructed in1997. It replaced an aging, leaking timber cribwork dam that made consistent paddling flows in the river unreliable. From a fisheries viewpoint, the old dam also made togue and lake whitefish management difficult because Big Eagle and Churchill Lakes water level would drop during the winter months, potentially drying out the fish’s eggs that had been laid in shallow water during fall spawning.”

“Now, during normal conditions, canoe-able water flows are released each day in the summer from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and flows for good trout habitat are maintained as much as possible. In all, these changes help IF&W better manage the wild trout and togue fisheries.”

Master Guide Dan Legere at the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville reports that the heat of summer is upon us. Drake season is about over in this neighborhood and trout have retreated to their air conditioned summer homes. Somewhere in every small trout pond their is spring water entering the pond from the bottom. Because of this 55 degree spring water, trout manage to survive the heat of summer and mid-seventy degree bath water by lounging around on the bottom in the bubble of cooler water. It's known that trout will not leave a spring hole until fall-like temperatures cool the pond enough so trout can roam about again in search of a meal.”

“I will say the location of spring holes on trout ponds are very guarded secrets because fish stack in an area about the size of a foundation of a house. Fish anywhere else in the pond and you are fishing in bath water with no fish. The one dead giveaway of a spring hole is the splash of small trout chasing tiny caddis that hatch and skip around on the surface there. If you are on a shallow trout pond and see this activity you should anchor within casting distance and use a full sinking line with some sort of drake nymph.”

“A maple syrup wet fly works well. Cast as long a line as possible and let it sink enough to be close to bottom. Now retrieve your nymph slowly with your rod tip aimed down the line and close to the water. When a strike comes, try to strip set the fly with a straight tug on your line keeping the rod tip low. If you miss the fish, your fly will only move a few inches encouraging the trout to strike again. Lifting the rod to set  the hook removes the fly all together with no chance at another strike.”

“Fish the hole from all angles until you start getting fish then concentrate on that area. Fish will stack in the coolest water and are often eager to grab a nice morsel of food close by. Summer springhole fishing is very technical in nature but very productive when you zero in on the right spot where the biggest trout of the season can be found stacked in a small area.”

“River fishing is holding up nicely. Daytime hatching are far less frequent during the heat of summer. Caddis hatches have progressed with an orange body caddis currently out. Bigger fish are getting harder to find. They are best enticed with a larger fly like a stimulator and a bead head nymph as a dropper. Concentrate on the head and tail of pools. Fish that are actively feeding can be found in either end.”

In the Rangeley Lakes Region, Ken at River’s Edge Sports in Oquossoc says that a lake that normally hasn’t been the big calling card in his area, Richardson Lake, has been the surprise in providing some steady fishing for trophy sized bookies and salmon as well as some nice togue.

“Although Richardson has always had its faithful following, it’s been either Rangeley or Mooselookmeguntic Lakes that have been the ones with the good reputation. But, so far this season it’s all about Richardson.”

“Ray and I fished Richardson last week and had a very nice day with six fish landed. Our lines were probably down 18-25 feet and we were fishing in 40 to 50 foot depths.”

“We had four salmon and two brookies—all quality fish. We were using three to five colors of leadcore line and all out hits came on DB Smelt lures. Best colors were blue and silver and white with dark colors.”

“The river flows have increased and with that the fishing has improved with some good hatches still going on.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Nick at Suds-n-Soda Sports in Greenland says that those people that are fishing both the night and day tides are using different approaches and they seem to be working well.

“The one thing that seems to be universally productive both day and night is the use of live or dead squid for bait. At night it’s a good thing to cast your whole squid around the edges of light from the docks or bridges and snap retrieve them across the near surface with good rod twitches. Be ready for a very angry hit from a big striper!”

“If you’re lucky enough to find some fish blasting the squid during the day or night, cast your squid to them or troll around the fish using a hoochie-troll type of lure. You need to work these lures with jerks and at a fairly fast troll. Don’t just stick your rod in a rod-holder for two reasons. One is that squid propel themselves with a pulsing movement. Secondly, there often is a lot of floating debris that can foul your hook so pull it in and check it often.”

“One of the best places to find squid is around the bridges both day and night and at night along the Piscataqua River where the bright lights are attracting the small shiners which the squid are feeding on.”

“At night, live eels are dominating the catches of big fish! This is when the big ones come out to feed, knowing that the eels are more active at night.”

At Hampton Harbor, Al Gauron’s Fishing Boats report that the offshore fishing is still pretty good: “Lots of smaller fish the past few days. You could catch thirty fish (haddock), but five or six fish probably were all that were keeper sized.”

“We’re also picking up some nice pollock, cusk and an occasional dogfish.”

“Mackerel fishing is still hot with some big catches. We’re also seeing a lot of striped bass action with lots of schoolies and the occasional 28 inch keeper being caught. Lots of schoolies! But, plenty of action.”

Eastman’s Fishing Docks at Seabrook Harbor report: “Fishing on the All Day boat has been pretty consistent with good catch of haddock and pollock with some cusk in the mix. Half Day Mackerel fishing has been very good. Couldn't ask for better weather than we've had so far this week & the weekend looks great also.”

This writer and friend Frank Martel of Rye, NH fished an all-day trip with Phil Eastman skippering one of the Eastman’s boats. We had steady action and a great cool breeze that tempered the 90 degree heat we left onshore! We both caught several keeper-sized haddock while Frank seemed to have a big edge on catching big pollock using a butterfly jig with a blue bucktail fly teaser.  He also caught about twice as many haddock as we did!

Alan Nute at AJ’s Bait and Tackle in Meredith Harbor on Lake Winnipesaukee was quite satisfied with how the lake fishing had been over the last few days.

“They’re catching quite a few decent rainbow trout and landlocked salmon in the four pound range. Small streamers that represent young of the year white perch have produced the best success. Golden Marvels, Golden Demons, Governor Aikens, a pink and purple no-name streamer fly as well as Mooselook Wobblers in the watermelon color have all produced some good action.”

“Early morning and sunset are the most productive times but if you go down to the 35-60 foot depth range you will probably pick up some fish during the mid-day period. Below that depth the water temperature is quite cold but in the thermocline is where the baitfish are to be found with the gamefish feeding on them in the milder temperature. Trolling for salmon at sunset has also been a productive time.”

“White perch have also really turned on lately! These fish are not your average sized white perch but fish in the pound and a half to two pounds or larger white perch! They’re hitting the same lures and flies as the salmon and rainbow trout.”

“Some lake trout fishermen have been locating schools of these deep-water loving fish and are having a good time either anchoring or drifting over these schools and vertical jigging with metal jigs and lures.”

Local fishing legend Cindy Caron Howe at Tall Timber Lodges on Back Lake in Pittsburg reports: “We’ve had some unsettled weather here in northern New Hampshire this week, with reports of a tornado having touched down in the area of Back Lake on Monday afternoon – thankfully, no damage for us on our property, but there were quite a few trees taken down not too far away.”

“What does this have to do with fishing? Not much – just wanted you all to know that we bring you these reports under duress, at times. It’s not all peaches and cream on the Upper Connecticut River folks.”

“It was pretty good however for long time guest (and Jon Howe client) John Bosch – he caught and released a beautiful 5 lb. Connecticut River brown trout on Tuesday. He caught it on a fly very similar to the “Scout”, a famous streamer pattern tied by Angus Boezeman.”

“The official story is that John and Jon had just spied a fleeing smaller trout, skipping across the water. Being “OMR” (Old Man River), Jon has literally seen it all, and correctly deduced that the smaller trout was trying to escape from a larger trout. Quickly tying on the Scout, Bosch had the trout a cast or two later – yes, that fish had the feed bag on and nothing would stop it from eating.”

“The fight was a good back and forth, with backing involved, but Bosch goes fishing for steelhead – in other words, this isn’t his first rodeo, so he knows how to handle large salmonids. The behemoth was released to the depths to prey on more small trout, ducks and mammals presumably.”

“Even with the dumping of rain that we received on Monday, the Connecticut Lakes remain lower than normal – we just haven’t been able to recover from our less than stellar snowfall last winter. This has meant another drop, albeit a small one, in the river flows out of 1st Connecticut Lake (flow now at 125 CFS) and Lake Francis (flow now at 270 CFS).”

“A colorful, Trophy Stretch brown trout was landed by a client of Chuck DeGray. While these sections of the river may be easier for us wading fishermen, the trout will be extra wary now, so approach the river quietly and bring along your 6x leaders and tippet – you’re going to need it.”

“While the occasional big fish is still landed on a big streamer, it sounds as though small (18 or 20) caddis and BWO patterns are still your best bet for the most part. CDC Caddis, Cornfed Caddis, CDC BWO, etc. are all good ones to take with you to the river, and don’t forget the Yellow Sally – stoneflies are a big part of our trout’s diet, so have a few with you just in case.”

Surf Guide Steve at Surfland on Plum Island reports: “Well, we are certainly heading into the dog days of summer. The daytime temps are up in the 90’s and the fish are acting accordingly. Overall it has been a very spotty July for me. Most of my fishing was done at night and with eels. I hit my usual mid-summer spots on the Island and further south. I did have some good nights around the new moon and full moon, but in between was pretty lackluster.”

“If you want to catch a big fish this year you are going to need to be real lucky, or put in some serious time once the sun goes down. There is no “easy” fishing this time of year. With that being said there are certainly some nice fish around, as some of my customers this month can attest!”

Captain Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters  just finished their season at Boston Harbor for regular flounder and now move south for fluke.

“To start with, I would like to thank everyone for making the "Quincy Flounder Leg" of the season such a success! The fishing was great and the people were even better.”

"Within a week, Little Sister should be in the water in Westport and she will start with big fluke. The first open boat fluke/sea bass trip will be on August 4 (7am to noon) and there is still room for those that want a spot. The first "offshore open boat" on August 2 is full but there is still room on the 9th (5am-1pm). Please email for details/scheduling- I'm really looking forward to this fishing!”

At Fishing FINatics in Everett, Pete Santini is always excited about the incredible variety of fish in the Boston Harbor area.

“Yesterday there were halibut caught out on Phippanies Ledge offshore here. Plenty of haddock at Tillie’s Ledge. Lots of pollock both inside and outside the harbor but mostly in deep water. They are taking the Pelican green umbrella rigs like crazy! Also, stripers were being found along the deep edge off Revere Beach in 35 to 60 feet of water. Mackerel and the Santini Tube-n-Worm Rig was working well for the stripers.  Bluefish at Long Island and Rangeford Island. Tons of squid in around the harbor docks and near the Tobin Bridge.”

“We’ve got a good amount of fluke (summer flounder) in the Pines River in the 16 inch range. Seems like good times come all at once,” he ended but not in complaint!

And so we end, a bit unhappy about writing about it and not out there involved right now!

Because of the inherent time restrictions of gathering fresh, up-to-date information, editing and producing this report in a timely manner, occasional errors or marginal information may slip by us. We try our hardest to provide accurate information. We urge readers to use this report as a tool to increase their fishing pleasure and not to rely on as their sole resource. First or second hand information is offered by fishing guides, commercial fishing charters or party boats, bait and tackle dealers, well known successful anglers and state and federal fisheries and natural resource law enforcement officials. We also welcome and use reports forwarded to us by fishermen that use this report. ~ Kittery Trading Post Fishing Report Editor

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