September 1, 2015 September’s freshwater river fishing is going to start off slow, as a good heavy rain is needed to pull trout and salmon up from their deep water lake feeding areas. But there’s nothing to stop the striper anglers from catching some keeper-sized fish as there’s a lot of bait in both the shoreline areas and up into the bays and rivers. Squid is probably the number one thing the stripers are feeding on and you’d have to give eels a nod, especially if you are fishing early morning and into the night.
Offshore fishing for groundfish is still being dominated by lots of small haddock but that makes it easy to pick up a limit of three fish. Most of the offshore party boats will then move to places where some of the more non-traditional fish such as hake and redfish abound but soon those big pollock that are very popular will dominate these all-day boats and probably be on the same bottom that the haddock will be found.
In the big lakes the best luck for salmon, lake trout and other trout species is hitting the water very early and fishing the thermocline depths for the first couple of hours and then as the sun comes up that bite will quickly stop.
MAINE: Master Maine Guide Stu Bristol of Lyman will be mixing up his working on gun dog filming with noted outdoor writer Paul Fuller with hitting his favorite ponds and lakes for a mixed bag of both gamefish and panfish.
Stu’s favorite is Sabattus Pond in the town of the same name but this is a pond that also has a big population of large northern pike that can spoil at lot of panfish gear when hooked. Stu also likes the mixed bag that Rockhaven Pond in Newfields produces which includes bass and very nice brook trout.
Captain Tim Tower’s Bunny Clark party boat has been having a great year. Here’s the latest report: “The fishing was very good, again (like yesterday), mostly for haddock. They had no problem reaching the boat's total bag limit. In fact, most legal fish landed (and released), by far, were haddock. Pollock came in second. There were no other legal fish of other species landed today. Released fish included our twelfth barndoor skate (this is something else!), twenty-seven market (or larger) cod and two blue sharks. They also saw a leatherback sea turtle today, the second one we have seen this year so far. Drifting was the method. All terminal gear worked well.”
The news from the Sebago Region is pretty good, although Dave Garcia’s son Tyson at Naples Bait and Tackle on Long Lake wasn’t that happy about his results fishing in two bass tourneys this weekend.
“Probably a good thing that dad didn’t fish with me as a partner last weekend. In the Moose Pond derby on Saturday we fished with a good friend and should have won it as we had a nice bag of eleven pounds and just couldn’t get that one big fish that would have done it for us. Dad and I are in second place for the year.”
“On Sunday at the Little Sebago event (“I hate that place”) we fished out of the money again with a bag of 13 pounds!”
About the fishing on nearby Sebago Lake, Ty reported that the fish have gone deeper but they’re taking some really nice salmon trolling sewed on bait fishing in the morning with togue (lake trout) anglers catching plenty of fish in the deeper areas.
Greg Cutting at Jordan’s Store in East Sebago confirmed Ty’s report, noting that the salmon are feeding on smelt. “Look for schools of baitfish at about the 30 foot depth range for salmon. It seems that they’re hitting spoons better than bait. Good lures have been DB Smelt and Mooselook Wobblers.”
“Togue are hitting deeper with a lot of huge fish over the 33 inch slot limit with so far this morning we’ve heard of quite a few this size and plenty of anglers being able to keep a few fish in the 23-33 inch legal size slot limit.”
“For some reason our fish here on Rangeley Lake have gone very deep this season so you need to vary your depths that you set your lines to a range of 40 to 72 feet and try to stay on water that is 70-120 feet depth.”
“For some reason the brook trout are feeding well above the depths that most of the salmon are being caught. These brook trout are all native fish and are larger than most brook trout on average, often in the two and a half to three pound range, while the salmon are deeper and even bigger, often in the three and a half to four pound range!”
“Hot lures on Rangeley right now are shiny copper/white, white/dark color, blue/silver and orange/gold combos.”
“Our rivers are low so you know we need a nice rain to bring more fish up into the currents but there are quite a few trout and salmon in pockets—mostly native brook trout.”
“Right now Mooselookmeguntic Lake is fishing better than here on Rangeley but you’re apt to find a good concentration of fish just off Mile brook, right in front,” Moosehead Region Biologist Tim Obrey reports: “We typically get a lot of calls this time of year asking about the September flows in the Roach River. Our water management plan states that we will open the gates on the dam on the Tuesday after Labor Day.”
“In years where we have had excess water (i.e. the lake is above 6.5 feet), we’ve been able to let water go a little early. This year we are at 6.0 feet and will wait until Sept 8th to start the release to ensure we have enough water to keep the high flows in the river through the entire month and to allow camp owners/boaters on the lake to enjoy the last holiday weekend of the summer.”
“After we open the gates, the lake elevation in First Roach Pond will drop about 1.2 inches per day for the first two weeks (assuming little or no rain). We typically increase the river flows for the last two weeks of the month and the lake will drop even faster after we make that gate setting. Camp owners should keep this in mind when planning for dock and boat removal.”
Master Maine Guide Dan Legere at the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville on Moosehead Lake says that the fall flows are starting earlier this year. Due to all the water we have left over from a summer of measurable rainfall flows are already being increased on many of the rivers.”
“Of particular interest to many is the Roach River. First Roach Pond is essentially full so our fisheries biologist decided not to wait until after Labor Day to crack the gate and let around 200 cfs start flowing on Friday. Reports from fishermen say nice trout and salmon have already made it to the upper pools. The entire river should be full of fish in a few days.”
“The Moose River is currently at 1600 cfs. Normally it would not see an increase until mid-month. It's a bit high for good wading at this level but guys with canoes and motors will soon find good fishing in the upper pools.”
“Moosehead is still brim full so the water has been turned up there as well. It is high for wading for the time being but it too is filling with fish. New fish entering the river on their spawning run tend to be very aggressive so it's time to start swinging streamers again. Fall patterns like the Shufelt Special, Montreal Whore, or Fox Hole Special begin producing fat, chrome silver salmon and brightly colored brookies, all eager to chase streamers.”
“A recent message from Brookfield Power let us know that foreseeing another major rain event the East Outlet should start dropping to more fishable levels sometime this weekend and likely remain at wade-able levels unless mother nature throws a lot of rain our way. The stars are lining up earlier than usual this season and it could prove to be a fall to remember.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE: In the Pittsburg, the state’s most northern and largest township reports come from Cindy and Jon at Tall Timber Lodges on Back Lake: “The Connecticut River has been fishing well. Drift boat trips from the Canaan Bridge down to Columbia have been very good. Old Man River (OMR) has been busy doing drifts and his clients have brought lots of fish to the net. Streamers on sink tip lines, occasionally ants and hoppers, or small Blue Wing Olives have been the flies of choice.”
“Jon & I did a half day drift on Sunday and I did well with my “go to flies”. Swinging a Zoo Cougar and when I saw enough rising fish then I’d switch to my favorite dry fly-- a Morris’s May Emerger which is very similar to the Challenged Pheasant Tail. It’s an awesome fly. When you have picky fish, this is a “go to fly”. Sorry no photos, I am into the “keep em wet” thing and fish in the net just don’t do it for me.”
“The Trophy Stretch (Connecticut River) is still fishing well. Angus has been guiding on the TS day after day and his clients are doing well. It’s late summer so these fish have seen it all folks. You need to show them something different. If you’re nymphing go small and get em down with some split shot. Small slim-bodied mayfly patterns, small egg patterns, worm patterns…the Goomie. Streamers are always good.”
“Tomorrow the A Team will be out on the Connecticut River. OMR, Bill Bernhardt, from Lopstick and their buddy John B. Hopefully we’ll have pictures to post. Fall is right around the corner. Hard to believe that summer is almost over. Time to make your end of the season fishing plans. Give us a call.”
Andy Schafermeyer, North Country Regional Fisheries Biologist reports:
“As I sat down to write this week’s fishing report, I asked myself “What exactly does late August fishing provide?” I always try to report on opportunities relevant to the time of year, so I wondered what we can expect right now. I quickly realized that we can explore tons of fishing in August. The water in some places is low and, in others it is very warm, but opportunities abound. Regardless of how you like to fish or what you like to catch, you can walk into any situation right now and satisfy your urge to catch fish.”
“An old friend of mine visited northern New Hampshire and I sent him to a few of my favorite remote trout ponds. He likes to hike in with a float tube and cast a 2-weight fly rod at rising brook trout. He was very successful and would be upset with me if I gave away any of his secrets but most of the fish he caught were on elk hair caddis flies. The natural bug selection was slight, he told me, but skating dry flies slowly across calm water often triggered a strike. It is important to remember that most of these waterbodies are either not stocked or aerially stocked with fingerlings and the way one defines a “trophy fish” must be re-evaluated. My friend landed many fish with a few exceeding ten inches and he went home a happy man.”
“Another gentleman stopped by my office with a few questions and let me know how good the bass fishing has been. He had been fishing Martin Meadow Pond in Lancaster and Forest Lake and Mirror Lake, both in Whitefield. He mentioned that water levels are higher now than last year at this time and he had great success casting small spinner baits through/near aquatic vegetation. He picked up smallmouth, largemouth and the occasional pickerel. Water temperatures were in the low seventies and he expects the fast action to last another few weeks.”
Harold was holding the fort at AJ’s Bait and Tackle at Meredith on Lake Winnipesaukee and said that the fishing had been great if you stick to what they’d found out about how to approach it this time of year.
“Timing is almost everything. You need to get on the water well before first light and have your depthfinder/fishfinder tuned up. Look for the thermocline—it’s going to be a light fuzzy line on your machine. Start your trolling in water depths that are twenty or thirty feet deeper. Then set downriggers with live baits, lures or flies to bracket the thermocline. Soon you’ll notice schools of baitfish come off bottom and then, if you don’t already have a fish hooked up, you’ll start marking a lot of good fish—mostly salmon and a few rainbow trout above what probably will be some lake trout.”
“Best luck has been ton Top Guns, Mini-Guns and BB Guns but other similar-type lures may also produce. Small streamer flies that mimic young-of-the-year white perch can be killers, worked clean or behind a dodger/flasher. Also we are apt to run a sinking fly line with a fly, leadcore line or wire line with flies or lures. Beware of putting too much gear out or tangles can put you out of business for too long as the big bite lasts only an hour or two. When the sun gets bright the whole thing disappears on our depthfinder!”
Pete Tilton at Defiant Lobster in Hampton reports that stripers are tough to hook now unless you are SLOW trolling a T-Man tube and worm or other tube lure in Hampton River. One of my kayak regulars got a half dozen late last week with a couple 27” fish but keepers are scarce this summer.”
“Keeper flounders are being caught fairly regularly by those seasoned stalwarts still looking for fish to fry. Two regulars got eight keepers in the river last week with the biggest 18 1/2 inches! I’m hopeful we’ll see some bigger stripers coming back to us as the water cools and they want to suck up some green crabs for their fall feasting. I saw a picture of some good bluefish the other day so there are a few around.”
Sunday, 8/30 -“All day and half day bottom fishing trips are still good. Haddock being caught. Lots of undersize haddock on half day trips. All day trips still have a majority of anglers maxing out. Capt. Rocky Gauron
Master NH Guide Tim Moore of Portsmouth repots: “I have been doing well around Dover Point from my kayak with live eels at night. I have been getting fish from mid-30” up to 46” in 5’-6’ of water on every trip. The fishing has been so good that I began offering one-person night trips in the kayak. The super moon tides killed me the past couple of days with tons of junk in the water, but they are receding now. The fishing will get better and better as the week progresses.” firstname.lastname@example.org
MASSACHUSETTS: Little Sister Charters moves around on the Massachusetts coastline to target the different saltwater species as they come into play. Here’s his recent report: “Friday and Saturday were slow with no monster fluke and not much more than 1/2 limits. The sea bass are closed and the striper fishing was awful yesterday morning as the weeds were driving us crazy.”
“Later yesterday I did find some new fluke spots that look promising for future ventures. We had some good fish out there and Ron dropped one that was likely in "the Moby Dick class". We also had a few large sea bass that we had to return including a beast caught by John.”
“Today I canceled the 4am bass expo in favor of 6am fluke. It wasn't to be! As we got closer and closer to the deep water place for the fluke we had water that seemed to be building to a point of "uncomfortable". I turned around about 2 1/2 miles from our destination in favor of fishing the calmer waters off Gooseberry Point. The fluke were absent there except for a short and a few other bites in the quick drift we had with the increasing wind.”
“At 9am I went into the river to chum bass and within 5 minutes of getting all the rods out we had action! First, Allie had a short and while she was bring that in the center rod folded over as did the port corner rod. Bob got the center and my brother (Hunter) took the corner which turned out to be another 26 inch fish. Bob's fish was another matter altogether... After a good battle, Bob worked a 43 inch, 31 pound bass to the net!”
Pete Santini at FishingFinatics in Everett says that there’s been some big surface feeding blitzes from big stripers and an occasional bluefish in Boston Harbor. There’s been a big early morning bite around Deer Island with fish in the 24-30 inch range. Rubber shad, bucktail jigs, metal jigs and plenty of action trolling with the Santini Tube and Worm rig with red, honey mustard and black looking like the best colors.
“Big fish in Revere along the Winthrop to Nahant shorelines trolling the tubes in shallow water close in around the rocks.”
“Squid are in thick and are mixed in with the stripers. Also lots of mackerel and some bluefish in the 7 to 12 pound range.”
“There’s been a nice bite with haddock on Tillies Ledge with a lot of big ones up to 8 or 9 pounds but also plenty of the smaller, just keeper sized fish.”
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