September 30, 2014 THIS IS OUR LAST REPORT FOR THE SEASON - See you in 2015!
With many waters in Maine and New Hampshire closing this week, the underlying theme was that not much has changed since last week’s report. Many anglers have hung up their rod-and-reels and picked up their archery equipment for deer. There are still some die-hards who are trying to eke out the last few remaining opportunities for trout or salmon. The word on the striped bass front is that those who are willing to work for them are catching a few fish, and some of them are over 30” with some giant fish mixed in. Fall is a warmwater anglers paradise with crappie and white perch stacking up over basins and pike moving into the shallows.
“Mackerel were prevalent though much of the late spring and summer and supplied a lot of action to the saltwater angler, often coming into harbors far enough to be caught off docks and bridges. And the half-day party boats out of our local ports had a great supporting clientele that filled their railings on almost every trip and had plenty of macs to take home. The schools of mackerel also supported a lot of live bait anglers who were targeting stripers and other big game species such as bluefin tuna and sharks.”
“The fishing offshore for groundfish was very active, but the bad news was that almost 95 percent of the haddock boated were under the 21-inch size limit mandated by the feds, while commercial landings of haddock at 19 inches were allowed, much to the consternation of a huge number of recreational anglers. Recreational flounder catches will remain skimpy in most of our reporting area.”
“So here’s what we project for the remainder of the saltwater seasons; still lots of undersized haddock with a few more legal codfish than last year. Also we hope, but can’t project, that the big pollock that usually arrive for the late season will come this year as not that many big pollock have been seen so far. There’s a slight chance that bluefish may come up into the waters of Maine and New Hampshire but so far this year it seems that they prefer the warmer waters of the south, with Boston Harbor being the most northern area where a sprinkling of bluefish have been reported.”
“We really like the looks of the freshwater angling for this fall as good water levels and cool summer temperatures have energized the coldwater species of trout and salmon and also the warmwater species haven’t had to stay in cover for their comfort level as much as they have during the normal, warmer summer months. With water levels, the late season annual event of trout and salmon moving up into the rivers and streams of the North Country, especially in the Coos County area of New Hampshire and the Rangeley and Moosehead regions of Maine, great fly fishing for these regal species should become a reality,” Seth forecasts.
MAINE: Charlie Frechette at Sebago Lake Marina reports that with salmon season on Sebago Lake coming to a close this week, he can only reflect on what he refers to as an average season. “There isn’t much fishing going on right now. Those who are still fishing are doing pretty well. The area between Mason’s Beach and Spider Island has been producing some good lake trout 90’–100’ down. Trolling lead line with spoons is bringing in 6–7 fish per morning with some nice fat lakers in the slot. West Shore and Frye Island have been producing fish in 45’–60’ of water. 10–12 colors of lead-core line trolled 1.8–1.9 MPH with a DB Smelt have been the ticket.”
Master Maine Guide Stu Bristol of Lyman reports; “Fall fishing is just about at its peak this week. Over the past week the foliage has blossomed and the surface temperature of lakes and ponds has dropped, bringing trout and salmon back to the top of the water column. Brook trout are either spawning actively or stacking up at the mouths or tributaries waiting for the fall rains to allow passage to upstream spawning gravel. Anglers in the western mountains are having great luck in waters such as Upper and Lower Richardson Lake and Upper Dam pool. Two anglers reported taking brook trout in the 4-pound plus range as well as many fish in the 12–14-inch measure.”
“Southern Maine lakes and ponds are producing better than expected with double-digit catches of bass, crappie and white perch. Crappie anglers are finding fish in the 1–2-pound range plentiful in Great East lake in Acton, Shaker Pond in Alfred and, of course Sabattus Pond in Greene/Sabattus. White perch anglers are finding large schools roaming just under the surface making for excellent fly-rodding opportunities.”
“Bass anglers are enjoying the fall foliage as well as catches in the 5-pound and over range on Long Pond in Parsonsfield and Lake Arrowhead in Waterboro. The die-off of vegetation has caused bass to move to underwater structure that allows anglers to use spinner baits and crank and stick baits. Anglers need to look closely at the regulations for fall angling as many lakes and ponds have moved into the special regulation categories.”
Captain Tim Tower of the Bunny Clark had this to say about their September 28 trip: “The fishing was very good. The catching was very good. Landings were good. Most legal fish landed were pollock, by far. Legal landings also included seven cusk, six redfish, and two whiting. Twenty-four dogfish were released and about thirty haddock were released, five of which were over twenty-one inches. Twelve cod were released that were over twenty-one inches. Drifting and anchoring were the methods. The jig and fly combination worked the best for catching fish today.”
Ken at River’s Edge Sports at Oquossoc in the Rangeley Lakes Region also reports a slowing-down of fishing action. “The last couple of days we have marked a ton of fish, but getting them to bite is another story. The fish are there, we have been marking the 25’– 35’ down over 60’– 70’ of water, but they don’t seem to want to bite.”
“We are still badly in need of rain to kick off the river fishing. The fish are staging in the rivers, but we need some cooler water to get them feeding. The lower Magalloway has been good, mostly because it is a colder river than most, and Bemis Stream has been great, but it’s getting more crowded every day as more and more anglers discover that the fishing has picked up there,” Ken reports.
Penny at Maine Guide Fly Shop says that the fishing has been good, but like everywhere else in the state, things have slowed to a crawl. “The East Outlet and Kennebec River have been doing pretty well. Both places are wadable and the flows have been consistent. Other than that, not much has changed from last week. It’s just that time of year.”
At Naples Bait and Tackle, Dave Garcia reports some consistent fishing action. “Sewn-on bait and streamers have been doing very well for salmon the last few days, especially on Sebago. We got 19 fish the other day. You can’t keep salmon after September 30. The fishing pressure has slowed down quite a bit since we are nearing the end of the season.”
“The largemouth bass fishing in Long Lake has been really good with some 5-pound fish reported. The other day my biggest was 5 lbs. 1oz. and was beat-out by a 5 lb. 4oz. fish later in the day. The Crooked River still needs rain to get the trout bite going, but there are a few fish staging in the river. We hope it rains soon because you can only fish there until October 15. A little rain will cool the water and create the current we need to kick things off.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Jason at Suds N’ Soda in Greenland is still getting reports of anglers catching striped bass from the rocks and near the mouth of Portsmouth Harbor, “We are still getting reports of striped bass being caught in the back channel in Newcastle and out front along the beaches and rocks. A few of our die-hard regular customers are still catching fish, and some nice ones. The people who seem to be catching the biggest stripers are the ones who head out to the Isle of Shoals to load up on live mackerel before heading back in and live-lining them in and around the rocks.”
“The crappie fishing is heating up, but this recent warm spell has stopped both angler and fish in their tracks. Don’t get discouraged though, it’s only temporary. You can’t keep the fall crappie bite from happening so we have been telling anglers to get out there in spite of the heat. Just remember to bring a cooler with ice to put your fish on if you plan to keep any.”
“We have also been hearing reports of some excellent tuna action nearby. We have had reports of tuna being seen and caught around the Shoals and the Mudhole. Some reports are that some tuna guys are anchoring-up inside the three-mile line (NH state waters) and jigging for cod and haddock since the cod season in NH state waters doesn’t close until November 1, and haddock remains open all winter. We aren’t hearing about many cod being caught, but there are plenty of haddock with some as big as 27”. Once November 1 rolls around, haddock will re-open in federal waters and we expect that a few anglers will get out for at least one last shot at some haddock before the weather turns too ugly.”
Tom Caron at Tall Timber Lodge in Pittsburg, NH furnished us with the following report. “Fantastic weather in New Hampshire’s North Country lately, just in time for enjoying some fall fishing. We’ve had some alternating river flows this weekend, but it looks like the river will have some steady flows this week.”
“The Trophy Stretch was pretty low at 100 CFS for most of this week, but it got a boost up to 150 CFS on Friday, and this flow was maintained through this weekend. We are hopeful that this will be the river flow in the Trophy Stretch for the remainder of this fishing season, so we’ll see about that.”
“Below Murphy Dam, the flows wildly fluctuated this weekend due to some white water rescue training that was held Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After the training subsided, the flow below Murphy Dam was dropped down to between 200–300 CFS, and once again we’re not sure how long that will last, but are hearing that it may be that flow all week.”
“While streamers (smelt patterns, Soft Hackle Streamers, Woolybuggers) and nymphs (BH Prince, BH Pheasant Tail, Egg patterns, San Juan Worms, Hatching Pupa, Soft Hackle PT, etc.) have been doing their usual good job on the trout and salmon, don’t forget about those midge patterns. As the season goes on, the insects are getting smaller and smaller, so we must adapt with the conditions, and the Serendipity has been a good pattern lately, especially when following behind another offering.”
“If you’re drifting the Connecticut River south of here soon, this has been productive as well, especially if you’re using Ant patterns. There is still the occasional grasshopper falling in to the river on windy days as well, so make sure you have a few of them before you sally forth.”
“On Back Lake, the fishing has been consistent lately, especially if you’re using a pattern that has some yellow in it. The Golden Demon (a good imitation of an October Caddis), Yellow Hornberg and Mickey Finn have been the best patterns when trolled slowly. We’ve had some beautiful evenings for dry fly fishing too, but unfortunately I’m looking at it from the picture windows in our front room, so I don’t know for sure what would be working. If I had to bet some money on it though, I would tie on a Challenged Pheasant Tail or a small Klinkhammer just in case.”
“Just a little over two weeks left in our fishing season (October 15 is the final day), so get up here to get your last shot at our colorful trout and salmon!” www.talltimberfishing.com
The boats are still running at Gauron’s Fishing Charters in Hampton. “The all-day trips have managed to pull in some nice pollock with anywhere from 30 to 50 per trip. People have been going home with fish. A couple good days on nice pollock the past few days, some over 20 pounds. Our more seasoned anglers had six or seven fish each while the novice anglers had one or two. Lots of cusk and redfish in the mix, and lots of cod and haddock released. The macks were good Saturday,” reports Captain Rocky Gauron. www.algauron.com
Master NH Guide Tim Moore of Tim Moore Outdoors reports that the Lake Trout are schooled up over deep water and the crappie bite has taken off as expected; “I was in Minnesota for the Clam Outdoors Pro Day last week. The whole time I was gone I was getting reports from friends and colleagues back east who were hammering big crappie that were suspended over deep basins. Turkey Pond in Concord and Greenwood Pond in Kingston have been doing well. Small jigging spoons or even ice fishing jigs tipped with soft plastic are your best bet.”
“Although lakes managed for salmon and lake trout close to the taking of either species after September 30, there are some lakes that hold lake trout which do not have a closed season. Stinson Lake and Tarleton Lake are a couple that come to mind. Now is the time to take advantage of pre-spawn lake trout fishing. The fish are stacked up over deep water. Drift over 140’–160’ depths with a fish finder or sonar flasher and look for fish suspended around 100’ down. Vertical jigging with 1-ounce jigging spoons or bucktails will almost always produce lake trout this time of year. Just remember to keep your jig vertical to reduce slack in your line. Please use caution with these fish as hook-wounding and improper handling can hurt their already slow growth. As fun as it is to catch these fish, it is also important to protect the resource by releasing as many fish as you can unharmed, especially the really big lake trout. A 34” lake trout is usually around 40 years old and there aren’t that many fish that size. If you kill it, there isn’t another one coming up right behind it. That fish is gone forever.”
“I have unofficially named October ‘Northern Pike Month’ since we are booking kayak pike fishing trips on the Connecticut River like crazy. I will be doing one to three pike trips per week for the entire month. I’m not sure if it’s the attention we have been giving the pike or what, but they sure are popular this fall. Cooler water temps or not, the pike can’t seem to resist Mother Nature’s pull in the form of shorter days. Fish are feeding shallow early in the morning and then moving back to deeper water, especially on the warmest days. Overcast days are making for some great opportunities to cast my signature Daddy Mac Whisperer lure into shallow water. Look for the logs and cast beyond them. You’ll find that most of the ‘logs’ aren’t logs at all, but ‘northerns’ laying still waiting to ambush the first thing that swims past.” www.TimMooreOutdoors.com
MASSACHUSETTS: Kay Moulton at Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island says that the seaweed is gone from the beaches…for now. “We don’t expect the beaches to stay seaweed-free for very long since there is some bad weather and big seas forecast for this week. Regardless, there are some fish around, but they are on the move. You almost never catch them in the same place two days in a row and they are mostly small fish. They seem to be getting fish near the river at low tide and on the ocean front during high tide, but it’s still hit or miss. There are no blues anywhere either.”
Captain Pete Santini of Fishing Finatics in Everett, MA reports; “there are blues in Boston Harbor, and some big ones if you can find them. We have been getting fish in the 20”–30” range on Storm Shads, Savage Sandeels, and metals between Deer Island and Logan, and between Long Island and Spectacle Island.”
“Bass have been coming on purple, red, and orange tubes in as little as ten feet of water. There have been some 45”–50” fish caught in Winthrop near the Five Sisters all the way to Nahant Bay. Macks can be found off of Bass Point and near the BG buoy and cod are being caught near the B buoy. With cod fishing being closed in federal waters, many anglers are taking advantage of state waters remaining open.”
There are a few smelt showing up in Winthrop near the pier. Whether or not we will have a good smelt run remains to be seen, but we are hopeful since the runs seem to be every other year, and last year was poor. The trout fishing has been good in Jamaica Pond and Horn Pond too. Some very nice rainbows have been caught lately.”
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.