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June 30, 2015

  This week’s fishing has been mixed, both on salt and freshwater. On the saltwater, the storm had kept just about all the anglers off the water but earlier in the week there had been quite a lot of action on stripers and flounder, and the black sea bass have started to show up in numbers. We’d have to say that a 53 inch striper, caught by a friend while fishing for mackerel for bait was tops! He was using a Sabiki Rig that has tiny hooks and very light mono line but he skillfully played the fish to the boat and then quickly measured and released the huge striper.

Freshwater fishing, especially for trout and salmon was also hot and cold, depending on the conditions. In the lakes it seemed that a lot of the fish have dropped down into the thermocline levels but were near the surface very early in the morning. We’d have to say that bass fishing has been a very bright spot with the fish off their beds now and filling up on whatever will help them recover from the drain that spawning affects them. Also crappie and perch anglers seem to be having a hay-day on a lot of the ponds with small jigs bringing a lot of action.

MAINE: Master Maine Guide Stu Bristol fishes both the tidal waters as well as inland but lately he’s been so successful on the lakes and ponds he can’t pull himself away!

    “Conditions haven’t changed much since last week. More striped bass in the rivers and bay have dragged some of the inland anglers away from the lakes and ponds. That said, the salmon fishing on the mid to large lakes and ponds is red hot right now. Fish are hanging between 10 and 15 feet in the water column and are taking sparsely tied streamers.”

    “On the warm water ponds the bass have now accepted the cover of lilies and shoreline arrowheads. Aggressive milfoil harvesting continues and anglers are finding bass have reverted to normal covers.”

    “Crappie are becoming easier to find in the open water. My favorite is, of course, Sabattus Pond in Greene, where clients are taking more than they care to clean and take home. The same for white perch in Sabattus.”

    “Huge schools of white perch can be found by merely drifting in a light breeze and dragging a red and white or chartreuse chenille 1/8-ounce jig head. Anglers will be plagued with an occasional bite-off from roaming pike but the larger northerns have moved into waters along the rocky shorelines and points of land.”

    “The Saco river was perfect for all types of angling this week and recent rain should flush the river for a day or two, but smallmouth bass angling and brown trout are abundant in all riffles, runs and wherever current can be seen flowing.”

    Captain Tim Tower of the legendary Bunny Clarke Party/Charter boat reports: “Captain Jared Keniston and Alec Levine hosted the Chris Chojnowski/Mike Burta (MA) full day trip charter today. The fishing was good overall. Most legal fish landed were haddock. They were just shy of the bag limit for the boat. Legal landings also included twelve pollock and thirteen cusk. They released twenty-six market cod, none of which were as big as ten pounds. Drifting was the method. Jigs and cod flies caught the most fish.”

    “Jared did not tell me who was high-hook. Max Strickland (MA) won the boat pool for the largest fish with a 16-pound pollock. Ryan Chojnowski (MA) landed the second largest fish, a 10.5 pound pollock. The third largest fish was a ten pound pollock caught by Martin Lee (MA). Dakota Doucette (MA) landed the hard luck award for getting involved in most of the tangles on the boat!”

    “Captain Jared Keniston and Captain Alec Levine ran the afternoon half day (4pm–8pm) trip today. The fishing was fair overall. There could have been a much different outcome to the trip if Abe Bradeen (ME) had his way. A porbeagle shark was seen chasing one of the women's fish as she reeled her line to the boat. Many anglers saw the shark as it turned away from the fish at the last minute. Not too long afterward, a shark (maybe the same shark) was seen finning on the surface close to the boat. Abe, seeing the shark, casted a jig in it's direction hoping it would take the heavy lure. It didn't on the first cast. But Abe hooked up on the second. During the ensuing fight, Abe broke his fishing pole as the shark made a diving run under the boat. Compromised as he was with damaged equipment, Abe still managed to bring the shark into gaffing range. I'm unsure how long the fight lasted. The shark was a foot away from the reach of the gaff when Jared started to leader the fish to get it that much closer. In so doing, the line popped with the shark still too far away! Abe did land something though, the hard luck award t-shirt!”

    At Jordan’s Store in East Sebago, Greg Cutting reports that the Sebago Lake fishing has kind of settled into the summer-type conditions, with some anglers taking togue (lake trout) and landlocked salmon as deep as a hundred feet down.

    “They are finding some huge schools of bait and trying to stay with them while trolling. But the bait is down over a hundred feet in some areas so it’s mostly downrigger fishing, with the most effective method so far to run your baits just over the bait schools. It’s mostly lakers there with an average catch being in the double figures if you find the concentrations of fish—mostly in the 26–28 inch size range.”

    “But then there are other concentrations of salmon that are much closer to the surface, especially in the early mornings. Three colors of lead core line out on the shoals out in front of our beach have been working great using both sewed on bait or lures. I’d guess the average catch is from two to six fish per day there.”

    “Hancock Pond has been producing some incredible smallmouth bass fishing.  Also there’s been some real quality brown trout coming from that pond. Seems like fish around 20 inches are common.”

    There are some good reports coming out of Sebago, with anglers still landing salmon. “I talked to one angler who fished Monday, and he landed 20 salmon, all on streamers,” said IFW fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam. Francis noted that most were in the 13–16” range, but he has also received reports of some exceptional fish in the 3–4 pound range. Right now, coldwater fish are feeding 10–15 feet below the surface as lakes begin to heat up,” said Brautigam, who noted that the surface water temps were 70 degrees at Range Pond, and Lake Auburn was in the high 60s.”

    “They are also getting some decent size lake trout out on Sebago, including some good size ones that are over the 33” slot limit. Anglers should know that lake trout aren’t always in the same areas as in the past, as they seem to be moving around feeding on alewives,” said Brautigam.

    “Anglers are also catching some pretty nice browns on area lakes, and that means fish in the 18–25” range. One of the more effective baits has been live shiners. Bass fishing is still productive even though most bass have moved off their spawning beds. Those fishing for rainbows have been rewarded with decent fishing. Lakes like Norway, Little Ossipee and the Range Ponds have all been producing with daily catches from 2–7 fish in the 15–19” range.”

    At River’s Edge Sports on Rangeley Lake, Ken reports that he gets in an hour or two of fishing for pan-sized brookies and occasional salmon on Big Dodge Pond before work. But he and shop owner Jerry are also pretty serious about their early morning trips out on Rangeley.

    “I’ll usually catch and release a half dozen small fish before work over at Dodge Pond but Jerry and I usually can pick up a couple quality brook trout or salmon on our morning trips out on our lake. I like to fish sewed on bait while Jerry seems to be an expert on rigging the Power Bait plastic minnows and it’s surprising how effective his method is.”

    “We’ve had a lot of rain and our rivers are running hard, and in some places it’s difficult to keep your balance. But the fish are still pretty active.”

    “Up at Mooselookmeguntic Lake the action is faster but on average the fish are smaller, except that more really huge brookies in the five pound class are taken in that lake.”

    Master Maine Guide Dan Legere at the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville on Moosehead Lake reports: “Depending on the type of fishing you prefer, the entire season can be quite productive. Early season fishing during May is streamer and nymph fishing. Sinking lines and smelt imitations dominate. Stonefly nymphs are well as small mayfly and caddis nymphs also work well along the bottom. Remember, until the bugs start hatching the fish are not looking to the surface for food and getting your fly down is essential. You'll catch mostly bigger adult fish at this time but not the numbers that you can catch once the hatches start.”

    “Mayflies start about the first week of June, a bit earlier if the water warms, with caddis kicking in by the third week with big hatches continuing through July. Mid-June through mid-July being quite reliable dry fly action with mid-day hatches common. August is stonefly and terrestrial season. In the heat of the summer you may want to get up early and work a bit harder but fishing holds up especially on the tail water fisheries. September is spawning season with the biggest fish of the season entering the rivers prior to their October & November spawn. Water flows are usually increased just after Labor Day weekend to attract fish into the rivers. We traditionally use large attractor streamer patterns in the fall. Spawning fish do not feed often and the brighter flies invade their guarded territory provoking very aggressive strikes. Nymphing can also be very productive in the fall especially during low water conditions.”

NEW HAMPSHIRE:  Rick at Suds-n-Soda Sports says that there’s still a good variety of sizes on the striped bass locally with some of the largest ones coming from Little Bay lately. Also, the black sea bass have started to wake up and they’re hitting jigs rigged with tubes or jigs tipped with strips of squid. You need to stay on the rocky ledges along the shoreline in 30–50 foot depths.”

    “The key to successful black sea bass is to keep your lures or bait just off bottom without getting a lot of hang ups. You succeed at this by keeping your line vertical, not going out at an angle from your boat. We like to use a three ounce jig on the outgoing tide and a two-ouncer on the incoming as this tide is not quite as fast. You must manage your line all the time to prevent snagging bottom!”

    He noted that the size limit is 13 inches or larger and a ten fish per day bag.

    Captain Lester Eastman Jr. at Eastman’s Fishing Docks in Seabrook reports: “We had a Fipps trip (Fippany Lege, a long two day trip offshore) yesterday, with fisharkadventures, that is on her way home today.  ABSOLUTELY CRAZY is the fish report.”

    “The 20–30 lb pollock were so thick, it was difficult to get through them for the six allowed haddock. Only one halibut, but once again, it’s difficult to get within 100' of the bottom, so many huge pollock. We will do three of these trips for the public, all having rain dates (we will not sail if the weather is questionable).”
 
    The all-day trip boat limited on haddock on the LAM with lots of pollock, and mackerel are non-stop on the half day. The (stripers) bass are biting like crazy on the bass night trips. Really just good news. Summer is here, come enjoy.”

    Captain Rocky Gauron at Gauron’s Fishing Boats in Hampton reports that fishing was great on Saturday and Sunday. We had two all-day boats out and both reported great catches of haddock. The boats were crowded and they still managed to have a good day. On the half-day boat there were plenty of mackerel caught. When the schools of fish get under the boat you catch them real fast.”

    Fisheries Biologist Gabe Gries reports from the upper mid-state area: “I received a couple emails this past week from some happy trout anglers. Both commented on the high quality of rainbow trout they were catching this year at Willard Pond (Antrim) and the upper Ashuelot River. Silver Lake (Harrisville) continues to give up some nice rainbows as it has for most of the spring.”

    “Conservation Officers on patrol on the Connecticut River over the weekend reported anglers were doing well for bass, and especially walleye. I also talked with anglers who were catching channel catfish up to ten pounds in the Connecticut River below the Vernon and Bellows Falls Dams over the past week, as well as some big bullhead.”
 
    “Some quality smallmouth bass have been caught in Stone Pond (Marlborough) this year. This is a pond I hope to cross off my fishing list this summer. About half the pond is 20 feet or deeper, offering some great habitat for big smallmouth in summer and for anglers who like to fish drop-shot rigs and other deep water techniques.”

     North Country fishing guide Tom Caron at Tall Timber Lodge on Back Lake in Pittsburg reports: “Nymphing has always been a great way to catch lots of trout and salmon on the Upper Connecticut River in Pittsburg, N.H. This is particularly true when the water flow is higher than normal, as it is now on the Trophy Stretch – and it’s raining again today as I write this!”

    “Get your flies down to the fish by going “slow and low” – they’re staying out of the heavier current near the surface by hanging out on the bottom of the river. Add some weight and control your drift and you should be in business.”

    “The caddis emerger was an effective pattern for one of our guests this past weekend, so check out this video from Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions – we’ve featured many of his fly tying videos here before. Don’t worry; we have some “buggy looking” caddis emergers in our fly shop if you don’t tie flies!”

    Back Lake Hex Hatch Update—“We’re getting into the sweet spot of the hatch right now – lots of action last night from 8:30 pm until dark. While we had some action on dun patterns, the Woodduck Heron was better for our boat (fished as an emerger), and we heard that a Sparrow (Tan) was good for some of our other guests.”

    “Get up here for some of the most exciting fishing of the year,” Tom urges.

MASSACHUSETTS: The legendary Kay Moulton at Surfland Fishing on Plum Island reports that the fishing hasn’t been anything spectacular but there’s quite a few stripers lately of mixes sizes and not many complaints from the local anglers.

    “There’s been a number of fish caught in the 18–20 pound range and lots of small fish (stripers).  When you find ‘em you can have a lot of action but until you do there doesn’t seem to be a lot of stragglers. Best action has been on the last of the outgoing tides down at the mouth of the river. Also, the ocean-front at night can be fast and furious when you do connect with the fish.”

    “Seaworms, clams and mackerel for bait and if you’re a lure caster, you can’t go wrong using the SP Minnow by Diawa.”

    Pete Santini at Fishing FINatics in Everett says that Boston Harbor, both day and night have had some real hot spots for mackerel and stripers.

    “Get your mackerel on around the B Buoy and then head back into the harbor. Try drifting or trolling around Graves Light  and also casting poppers if the fish are showing on top. Fish there have been in the 15–20 pound range. Also trolling the Santini Tube-n-Worm rig has been on fire throughout the harbor. When you find the fish, stick with them!”

    “Flounder in the trench between Long and Rangeford Islands. Use the Zobo Flounder Rig but change the weight to four ounces to keep on bottom. Also some good action on Black Sea Bass by Peddocks Island. Stay on the rock bottom for them!

    No word so far this week from Little Sister Charters who concentrate on Boston Harbor Flounder but so far this year they have had mostly limit catches of big fish for their six anglers aboard.

   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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