Regional waterways producing steady action for fishermen across the county

Bill Graves, Special to The County
17 years ago
    Although the last few sunny days have lead to receding water levels in regional lakes and streams, thanks to a series of cool nights, water temperatures are keeping trout, salmon and even smallmouth bass very active. Various sections of the Aroostook River are still deep enough to allow canoe and small boat trolling, especially the runs near Washburn and Maysville. Other stretches, near Otter Brook and Little Madawaska River inlets for example, are still a bit high but accessible with chest waders, and providing consistent fly casting action for trout.
Only a week ago I trolled one evening from the island below the Caribou dam, under the bridge and along the flatlands section of river beside the water treatment plant. Using Sutton spoons, small Mooselook wobblers and colorful tandem streamer flies we caught and released eleven fish from 10- to 16-inches and lost five more while playing them. Two nights later I waded the shoreline above and below the mouth of Little Madawaska River and cast small streamers and wet flies along the current’s edge. About dusk, a small hatch began and trout began to dimple the surface regularly all along the shoreline. Between wet and dry flies, two of us caught almost 20 trout in about two hours, but not a fish over 13 inches.
This week, and perhaps next, if we don’t suffer a series of 80 degree days, should offer prime daytime wet fly and evening dry fly fishing all along the Aroostook River. Try a muddler minnow, trout fin or March brown for sub-surface casting and if you’re lucky enough to be on hand for a hatch, tie on a Henryville special, gray slim Jim or an Adams. If the brookies are being too selective with the high floating dry fly patterns, try fishing them wet, just under the surface so as to leave a slight wake. This slight change can really turn fish on, and when this tactic is really working, tie on a large pattern such as a Hornberg to stir up the interest of larger fish.
Anglers near the Prestile Stream should be visiting the runs above the boundary line bridge and from Whitney Brook inlet down to the set of rips by the Canadian borderline. These are top rate wet fly stretches during the day, and on a warm night a hatch might crop up at dusk right at the mouth of Whitney Brook.
Just this past week a couple of friends traveled up the ATV trail beside Robinson Pond and fished the stream just at it starts to deepen into the head of the pool. Streamers imitating bait fish such as a size 10 long-shank black nose dace were really productive when fished slowly, cross current. There are two more really dependable pools that are long, medium-depth, slow-moving runs and can be reached by climbing down the steep bank beside the grass runway along the West Ridge Road in Mars Hill.
For a bit of variety, visit the Meduxnekeag Stream and check out Dow’s Hole or the Covered Bridge pool reachable via the Framingham or Foxcroft Roads in Littleton. Along with a healthy population of brook trout, the Meduxnekeag is the only stream in Aroostook where anglers can do battle with tough, tenacious brown trout. In fact, it’s not out of the question to tease a three-pound plus brown to grab a fly.
To ensure fast fishing, be on hand during a hatch. While most Mayfly hatches are likely to occur in the evening on many waterways, I’ve enjoyed fishing morning and afternoon hatches on several stretches of the Meduxnekeag. Try Compara-duns, blue-wing olive duns, light Cahills, or Hendricksons when hatches are taking place. For the chance at the largest brookies and brown, plan on starting to fish an hour before dark and on moonlit nights keep casting until at least 10 p.m.
Night fishing requires a different mindset. Big fish cruise the shoreline edges and creek mouths searching for minnows or large bugs that fall into the stream from the shoreline brush and high grass. Wooly buggers, muddlers and big Clouser minnows are deadly after dark when slowly fished in the shallows. When the fish in the middle of the pool are rising to take moths, June bugs or other insects riding and struggling on the surface, it’s time to tie on a large, puffy pattern such as a Royal Coachman or a white Wulff. Perhaps you will only take one or two fish while casting after sundown, but chances are they will be bragging size trout.
Smallmouth bass fishing is getting better every week. Baskahegan Lake is offering fast fishing already and Crooked Brook Flowage will offer larger fish and fewer anglers. If the time is available, a trip to the Penobscot River in Medway or Pleasant Lake in Island Falls will always produce some memorable tug-of-wars and surface splashing acrobatics.
Barring heavy rain, stream and river wet fly fishing should continue to be productive for the rest of the month, and then dry fly action should kick in. You’ve got to cast to catch ‘em, so get out and spend an evening on a favorite waterway this week.