June 21, 2016Things are really starting to heat-up on both the saltwater and fresh, with insect hatches and warming water temperatures on the freshwater scene making the fly anglers happy. River and stream anglers are finding water levels are starting to be stable as run-offs from rain storms have decreased. Trolling advocates are now finding a thermocline forming that is making it easier to find the depths at which gamefish such as trout and salmon are feeding.
With the bass off their beds and on the feed that fishing has improved along with panfish being concentrated in depths and areas that make for good fishing conditions.
Flounders continue to hit well along the coastal areas with Boston Harbor being the hot spot in our reporting area and striped bass are also being reported along most of northern New England’s traditional striper waters with our local Piscataqua River and Great and Little Bay producing good results. Stripers are also active along much of the seacoast with reports from local Maine waters as well as much of the coastal waters of Massachusetts supporting some very good striper action.
Offshore deep sea anglers have been frustrated with the amount of haddock that are just shy of the seventeen inch legal size limit and also report of catching and having to release lots of medium sized codfish because of the no-cod catch restriction that is being viewed by recreational anglers as a restriction that was meant to reduce the commercial fisheries impact on the species and should not have been imposed on the recreational anglers who would have been very happy with a one or two codfish limit.
MAINE: This report of a recent fishing trip off the legendary Bunny Clark party and charter boat from Captain Tim Tower: “The fishing was very good, primarily because of the seas. The catching was excellent. Landings came in at the good category. Again, there were a good number of market cod. But there were also a few large market cod as well, resident fish all. The dogfish count ran to fifty-six which isn't huge but just enough to keep the good fish off the hook and the hassle of chafed lines and tangles.”
“Legal landings included mostly haddock, by far. In fact, most fish caught were haddock. The cull was one to one, keepers to sub-legal fish. They caught a good number of legal pollock but about half as many legal pollock as legal haddock. Legal landings also included a cusk. Two wolfish were released back to the ocean alive. Anchoring was the method. All terminal gear worked well - that's always a very good sign!”
“Alexis Lailer (ME) won the boat pool for the largest fish with a 15-pound cod. The second largest fish was a 14-pound wolffish caught by Ryan Smith. This is the Bunny Clark's third largest wolffish of the fishing season to date. Jim LeMay (ME) caught the third largest fish, a 13.5 pound cod.”
“Other Angler Highlights: Rich Warner (ME) boated the largest pollock of the trip at 10 pounds.”
Peter Mourmouras at Saco Bay Tackle reports: “Lots of good stuff to report this week. We have had customers coming in and even I have been catching stripers one hour before and after tides in the Saco River. I hope this trend continues. Some fisherman reporting that WHITE is the popular color this week. Crystal Minnows, SP Minnows, and the Lonely Angler Secret Zipster.”
“Poppers! Don't forget poppers if the birds are working the water and try one 3/4 oz jig head to mimic the sand eel. Last week the color was green or yellow. White colored bottom lures typically have been most popular since the alewives and sand eels have been coming to town. Reports from the beaches and inlets from Kittery to Yarmouth have had stripers hitting mostly on surgical tubes, fishing worms on the bottom. Eels are working but you may be losing that eel to a small schoolie instead of larger ones that are starting to come in.
“Mackerel can be caught in Portland off the pier. Try the Jetties at Camp Ellis and Kennebunkport with a Sabiki rig or just one diamond jig. Alewives are still in the rivers but are running in deep water. Shad are being hauled up the fish ladder dam in Saco and have still been plentiful. Remember, only two shad per day if you choose to keep this game fish. If you see anyone taking more than they should, we always encourage calling operation Game Thief (1800-ALERT US). Also DMR Rule 55.99, It is unlawful to fish upstream of the Biddeford Saco Footbridge (towards the Dam) you can also call Marine Patrolman Adam Madore at 207-485-0376.”
“Ground fishing has been successful for fishermen who have been out. Platts and Jeffreys are great places to fill your haddock limit as long as you can get through the cod. Wait until August 1 for them.”
Master Maine Guide Dan Legere at the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville at Moosehead Lake reports: “Hatches have been frequent and heavy and fish are getting very fussy about what they want to eat. With the banquet hall full of food, fish can become quite choosy. Fish begin refusing the very flies they couldn’t get enough of a day ago. They get fat and happy and a bit fuzzy.”
“Deciding on what caddis to tie on can be a challenge at times. This time of season it pays to have a look around before you tie on your favorite caddis imitation. Before going through your fly box rattle a few alders along the river. There should be lots of bugs flutter out.”
“With an exception regarding size caddis can look very similar. Their wings will probably appear mottled in color. One might be a bit darker than another. Any natural elk wing caddis will imitate most naturals. The difference between them will be body color. Grab a few, flip’em over and have a look at the body. You’ll likely find a few different colors. Presently there has been bright green, olive, tan, and orange and brown bodied caddis. If there is one predominate color start with it but don’t forget about the others. These days we may see two or three different caddis in the air at once.”
“Now the plot thickens. Before you begin fishing, have a look at the water for feeding fish. Fish dining on adult caddis floating along on the surface film will probably show their nose or back as they take the bug from the surface. A boil of water shows fish are taking bugs just under the surface. And a splashy rise indicates fish feeding on emerging caddis. Feeding fish can tell you if your fly should be flirting around on the surface or just subsurface imitating a crippled or emerging caddis.”
“Doing a little homework before you get to the fishing part will improve your odds of fooling more fish. Oh, don’t forget to flick your caddis about on the surface. Hold your rod tip high and give it a flick. It doesn’t take much to make your bug look like the real deal.”
“Water levels in the rivers couldn’t be better and this time of season it can be dries all day long. The rivers are still fishing well but fat happy fish are beginning to be fussy.”
The words of the day are “If first you don’t succeed, try another fly. ”
It’s also time to dig out your Drake collection. The monster mayflies of summer are due to show on a pond near you.”
“Have a great week of fishing.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Some humor from the people at Tall Timber Lodges in Pittsburg, New Hampshire: “Good friend and accomplished angler Denis Fay seems to relish landing the rare fish species of the north country and that day that he fished with our guide Jon Howe last week was no different. On a drift down the Androscoggin River with our guide Jon Howe last week Denis always dresses for battle with the “Bronze Prince.”
“In the past, he has called this specimen the “Bronze Prince of the Androscoggin” (the common name for this fish is the “chubb”, a far too dull description for this exquisite fish to be honest, there’s plenty of these fish in the Connecticut River – they are not relegated to the Andro), and this latest one earned the moniker “Androscoggin Tarpon”. Great name – it does look like a small tarpon, though a shade too dark.”
Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist in New Hampshire’s Northcountry reports: “The recent cold snap appears to be over and warmer temperatures and calm winds are in the forecast for the next week or so. Bass spawning is winding down throughout the state and the catch-and-release season has ended as of June 15. Live bait can again be used to catch bass. The bass bag limit remains at two fish through the end of June. We hear the "alderfly" hatch is on up on the Androscoggin River. The trout can go crazy when the emergence of this caddisfly gets going. Give it a try!”
“Working hard is easy when you love your job. This idea may seem oversimplified but at the end of the day, it brings out the best results and everybody wins. Last week, I was called out to an unscheduled minor fish stocking emergency. Two of our fish culturists from the Berlin State Hatchery were driving a heavy load of brook trout into a remote pond and needed someone with a boat (in this case, your humble narrator) to meet them.”
“Wayne Paschal and Brian Newton have a great deal of expertise between them and they wanted these fish to be taken out to the deeper, cooler water rather than unloading them in a warmer shallow spot. As mentioned, the truck was densely loaded with beautiful one and two-year-old trout that would only benefit from this type of release. I hooked on to my 18-foot boat and drove the long road in to the boat launch. To clarify, the “boat launch” is as much of one as “the road” is a road. The drive was slow and bumpy and ended at a steep, rocky decent into the pond. I was able to back my trailer close enough to allow us to shove the boat off the trailer, across a few massive boulders, and into the water. This had to be done after removing the awkward, heavy motor, and re-securing it to the stern once the aluminum boat was afloat.”
“The fish needed to be unloaded quickly...we all knew what to do and spoke very little as we undertook this task under a 40 degree rainfall. When we were finished, the three of us took pride in knowing that the exercise was a success.”
“All of our remote trout ponds will be fishing well now. The recent cool weather has rejuvenated this type of fishery and I have been getting good reports from anglers who get to fish more than I do. I will investigate for myself this week and hope to include some pictures in my next report.”
John Viar, Regional Fisheries Biologist in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region reports that brook trout fingerlings (~3 inches) took annual flight on Thursday, June 16, as 47 remote ponds statewide from Newbury to Pittsburg were stocked via contracted helicopter services (JBI Helicopter Services, Pembroke, NH).
“Spawned and raised by New Hampton State Fish Hatchery staff, the fingerlings’ journey starts when trucked by New Hampton and Berlin fish culturists to predetermined rendezvous sites across the state. The helicopter is consecutively reloaded with fingerlings at each landing site, until ten full sorties are completed, with over 40,000 total fingerlings stocked. Thanks to the efforts of these dedicated hatchery personnel and an experienced pilot/helicopter team, this highly-coordinated, cost-efficient operation allows all the ponds to be stocked in just one day! This methodology also ensures the fingerlings are stocked into the ponds in the best possible condition, where, in these relatively less-pressured environs, they are afforded the ability to grow to catchable size -- these holdover, "naturalized" brookies exhibit many wild characteristics, including striking colors and a feisty disposition!”
“If you’re seeking an adventure that uniquely melds light hiking, scenery, solitude, abundant birds, insects, and other wildlife -- and of course, eager, vibrant brook trout -- look no further than a visit to New Hampshire’s remote brook trout ponds. Visit the Remote Trout Fisheries in NH webpage to begin your adventure at www.fishnh.com/fishing/trout-aerial.html.”
“In the Seacoast Region, Becky Heusse, Marine Fisheies Biologist reports that many people are getting their fill of striper fish action this year, with a great abundance of “schoolies” around Fox Point in Little Bay, and at the inlet of Sagamore Creek to the Route 1B Bridge in New Castle.”
“Shane Conlin of Somersworth reported success using poppers and stick baits at sunrise in Little Bay.”
“When you head out to New Castle for stripers, don’t forget to pack your squid jig. Squid have begun showing up under lighted areas at night in the Piscataqua. Squid make excellent striper bait, especially when there are squid around. As they say, “match the hatch.” Fish in general, and striped bass specifically, are most likely to take bait that matches what they are currently feeding on, or an artificial lure that mimics it.”
Captain Lester Eastman Jr at Eastman’s Fishing Dock in Seabrook reports: “Last Friday’s trip was incredible on Fipps, (Fippennies Ledge). Only thing missing was a keeper Halibut. We run these trips for our hard core customers that want that chance at a Halibut and of course the double limit of haddock. But the days of beating ourselves up to accomplish that are over and due to the forecast we have rescheduled this Monday nights Super to July 12. The weather really has to be perfect to run these trips.”
“If you can't rebook, a full refund will be given and if you can, grab some friends because I'm sure some can't. Both boats were sold out. Bass had a tough week, but as you all know it's a tide thing, mackerel have been strong, haddock are good but the sand sharks have reared their ugly faces.”
“We are officially in summertime mode. All day, half day and night trips, seven days a week. Bass trips Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Fireworks every Wednesday and we have charter boats available for anything you want to do seven days a week.”
MASSACHUSETTS: News from Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island. Well, for those of you that are telling us that there are big fish inside the Merrimac and that you can see them but can’t get them to bite, well these guys did! Andrew Santo, Joe Armano, and Brian Shea, all from Salem NH fished from their boat during the high tide through the outgoing tide from 11 pm until the earlier hours this morning. They used chunk mackerel and were mostly on the Salisbury side of the river, inside the river, upriver just beyond the mouth. The trick is to drift near the channel, keep moving, drift, and then return to do another drift. These guys caught 29–33″ fish and some schoolies. They kept two.. The night before, Joe Armano was also out in the river and said that they got into some fish again and they ranged from schoolie up to 39″. These guys know where the action is!
On 6/17 we had Joe Mayotte from Holliston who fished the Plum Island Sound from his kayak and he caught this 20-2 pounder. The sound and down through the mouth of the Parker River is always a popular spot this time of year. It is a hot spot for schoolies, and then you’ll get the occasional bigger fish that chase bait up inside the rivers. If you are out in this area remember to get close to the edges of the grass, the fish love to hang out in the deeper edges and wait for the bait to come to them!”
“And not long after that, Jamiel Ortiz from Lawrence came in with a 17-5 pounder that he caught in the Merrimac River casting a Sluggo from the shore.”
“This past week we have seen an increase for some fishermen catching the bigger fish. Have had a lot of boat guys telling us that Joppa is loaded. It’s getting them to bite that has been the issue.”
“Jimmy from Lowell hit the river one day this week and reported at lot of fish. But, unless you were going to get up and be at the river for the 3 am tide, then you were probably going to miss them the last few days. Don’t worry, the low tide is coming around to be at a better time for most people, so I would hit the river for daybreak over the next few days and fish through the low tide.”
“Other reports have fishermen catching small fish up and down the beach. Worms and clams have been popular along the oceanfront. Mackerel seems to have taken first place down the mouth of the Merrimac, especially on and near the Jetties.”
Little Sister Flounder Charter’s reports on fishing for Boston Harbor’s abundant black backed flounder: “Saturday morning was an open boat trip that I announced due to a charter cancellation and we were victims of our own success!”
“The trip started off slow, but I put us on the meat soon enough and we were limited out except for 5 final fish before we knew it. I called for 15 inches and up for the final five and I went to another place where the fish were "mostly big" but the fishing would be slower (or so I thought).”
“What happened there I didn't expect as we proceeded to hammer 15 to 17 inch fish right away and I had to stop everyone from fishing and took us to the dock an hour early. Just about everyone on this trip had at least one fish over 17 inches and James had the pool fish at 18 plus inches.”
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