In Maine Sport’s fishing department, we don’t just sell the stuff – we LIVE to fish! We’re out there all the time, as guides and just for fun, both locally and out of town, in fresh and salt water, in moving water and flat. And when we’re not out there, we’re in here, talking with anglers every day about their adventures, both successful and not so much. So we know what’s going on, and we can help you find fish. We won’t give up anyone’s ‘secret’ spot, but we can point you in the right direction, talk about what’s hatching, what techniques have been working, what flies or lures to try. We have thousands of flies in stock, many tied in Maine, some by us.

Our intention is to update this space weekly, since conditions can and do change on a daily basis.  Check this space regularly, stop by, or give us a call!

This Week's Fishing Report

Fishing ReportIt's officially Fall, but don't hang up your open water gear or even talk about shrink-wrapping that boat yet, please. Excellent opportunities for all types of fishing continue for probably at least a couple of more months if you bundle up tight and make the most of the conditions.

Striper fishing locally continues to be really productive, and therefore completely worth it from a staying out late, getting up early, going hard all day perspective. In recent days, we've been catching and hearing about fish being caught (even some keeper-sized) in all of their usual harbor, estuary and river haunts. Flies, lures, bait are all working. It's more a matter of fishing the way that you prefer to fish, and sticking to your method. Of course, if your preferred technique is fishing with bait, it's important to always use an in-line circle hook in order to be within the law, and to keep hook and release fishing mortality low. Make sure to grab some in-line circle hooks when you see them available in your favorite shop (or let us recommend a source). You'll be happy to have them on hand when the live-lining and chunking gets good.  And if it's streamer flies you need to chase these mighty line-siders just right, your local fly shop is stocked with plenty of feather minnows to match the sand eels, tinker mackerel and herring to suit your exacting, fly-rodding for big game needs. Keep your eyes peeled for a big, full moon hanging on the horizon in the evening this week. Fish along, into the night, with the incoming tide as the murky moon rises. Big, migratory stripers are out there feeding like they need to.

Bass fishing is at last coming off being steadily, ferociously awesome all summer. The bite, however, is not over, but the feeding pattern is a little different from this point into the cooler water months. Fly fisher-people, floating lines and surface bugs still work well and have a place late into frostier days, but Clouser minnows, big woolly buggers and other streamers will get big grabs too, especially fished off full-sink or sink-tip lines, keeping the fly in the strike zone longer. Traditional tackle anglers, I'd just recommend going large -- 4" baits and up. Things with paddle tails (or any shape soft latex type material tail), cranked slowly with deliberate jerks and pauses in the retrieving action , offer the bass-caster a true confidence-builder approach. Now's a great time in the season to creatively mix and match soft baits with different types of hook, jig, lure combinations, and to think big. Could you get away with rigging a soft trailer to your 1 oz. lead-headed bucktail jig? Do it! Otherwise, the larger the frog, mouse or minnow pattern, the better, is the general idea here. I wouldn't rule out the thought of trying one of the Berkley Gulp! offerings in the 3" Crawler range rigged straight on a 1/16 jig head from Zman if fishing the big stuff somehow became tedious or less than ideal for the situation. Think "Trout Magnet", but more worm-like and one tad bigger. Go big, go finesse, just go.

Fishing Report

Trout fishers delight in the chilly nights and rainy-ness. In fact, we would also feel much better about recommending local trout fishing ifthe water were cooler and there were more of it in general. That being said, it's in the forecast for the right mix of improving conditions for local trout fishing in rivers and lakes alike, and soon. For now, try fishing deeper presentation methods like large bead-head nymphs/streamers fished slow and low with full-sink or sink tip lines or deeply under an indicator. From a trout food perspective, bait is naturally also full grown for the cold water environments. So, in addition, to fishing deep, fish large bait fish, leech, crayfish, dragonfly/damselfly nymphs, especially at night or when it's dark out. Just in case, have a handful of small all purpose nymph patterns that could pass as imitations for small mayflies and midges that can hatch all Fall. And did we mention the October caddis ever? If not, we just temporarily forgot about the largest species of caddis. Adult October caddis make #8 or 10, roughly orange dry flies such as stimis', sofa pillows, and tarantulas very good replicas of the natural to skitter and drift... take an extra breath on the hook set so you don't prematurely pull the fly away before actual bite occurs -- that would be very bad. But not as bad as sitting indoors waiting for fishing to happen!

Yes, Fall has it all. Too much to shake a stick at almost. Let's all get out there and try shaking a stick 'em nonetheless, eh!

Thanks as always for reading, and the crew at Maine Sport fishing wishes you lots of luck until the next time we hear your reports or report back to you.

PS: secret mission -- pictures of large, mid-coast trout, caught on mouse flies, at night, in the rain, under the full moon wanted -- good week for it! Secret tight lines.

See you at Maine Sport,
-Seth, Paul and all at MSO Fishing/Camping


Laite Beach Camden Harbor: put in at 5am fishing a type 6 full sink 9 weight on 7wt. 10', and an 8 weight clear intermediate full sink on the 10' 6wt. Trolling and retrieving presentation with as little casting as possible, inching the the fly out further until you catch a fish or the tops of the weeds. On one of the first drops before sun we hooked up and after feisty play landed a really supercharged schoolie striper. Then had a take in similar water off Dillingham Point, but the hook dropped out too quickly and that one got off. Working our way across the harbor, we ran into more and more flotsam making it hard to give the fish a clean look at all. Nonetheless, after a good set with the line coming under tension and fishing the streamer fly right over the tops of the eel grass, we hooked and cranked in, through some terrific pulls, a 16" mackerel, which was allowed to shake off the hook at the rail, because, fair play is why. We had a few more bites on our way back through the mooring field, but no more solid big game fish connections to speak of. Attempted with the short spinning rod with braided line and a chartreuse over white bucktail jig on a short leader off the swivel connected to the braid. Braided line works so well sometimes, making good long accurate casts easy to perform -- all fishing involves constant line control. Eventually changed up fly choice to a chartreuse over white Clouser on the 7wt. and a white zonker on the 6. Might've had a take on the zonker near to taking out, but taking out had to happen. So, until next the next go... Please, everyone, do what you can to promote catch and release sport fisheries: I only wish there were more guide boats and other recreational anglers on the water -- we'd have a ton more data to share with NOAA is for sure.
The Stripers You Are Not Catching, would be an apt title to this little saltwater fishing report, and, Are Probably Everywhere Eating Everything Right In Front of You, a fitting subtitle. Our home water, Rockport Harbor, offers numerous spots where one can stand dry-footed and jig for mackerel, pollock, squid and, yes, even striped bass. Baitfish like sandeels or juvenile herring that use such sheltered harbor estuaries as their nursery provide a steady food source for all game fish. Down at the harbor this morning with only a few minutes to fish before needing to go punch-in at the shop, I observed a pretty large pod of stripers feeding intermittently on a bait ball of sandeels and a seemingly never ending supply of green crabs which nearly carpet the bottom in places. The fish along the bottom were nearly invisible, as they cast no shadow and blend in naturally perfectly, moving little, grazing on crabs almost constantly. The stripers rushing in from deeper water to coral the sandeels, however, were easy to pick out, darting after the schooling olive bait in their iconic, mouth gaping, line-sider, profile pose. I participated in the scene with the a large bucktail jig on a spinning rod, which was good for highlighting how the selectively the fish were feeding, if it wasn't obvious enough already. That is the crabbing fish would swim over quickly to inspect my jig, resting and hopping in the sand in about 6' of water, but stopped well short of taking when they noticed that a large bucktail jig was kicking up the plume of bottom debris and not the easy crab snack they were after. And the stripers holding in deeper water would track my jig when steadily retrieved, but just fast enough to keep up until the intruder was out of their zone when they'd turn back to the natural baitfish, flare their gills, open their maws, as they inhaled multiples on their way back to the refuge of eel grass, rock weed, and cooler, deeper water. I'm going back with a few crab patterns and some slender streamer flies tomorrow morning. We'll call the next report something different, I can feel it.
Midsummer float-tubing is divine: just shorts, fins and fishing. I've been hearing many positive reports up and down the midcoast from Bucksport to Damariscotta about a great striper/mackerel season thus far. Pogies and sturgeon are common sightings now, as are bait balls of other juvenille fish and sandeels. A simple approach pattern suggestions: Lakes -- bead-head woolly buggers of every description, and hex mayfly nymphs, emergers and dries. Salt -- a two-fly rig consisting of a clouser minnow and an unweighted sandeel type streamer.
It’s no secret to anyone who lives around these parts, and especially to river fishermen and boaters – water levels are WICKED low. In fact, I just checked the USGS streamflow chart, and the flow today on the Sheepscot River is 47.7 cubic feet per second. They’ve been keeping records on that river for 79 years, and the lowest previous flow for June 6 was in 1985, at 58.1 cfs! I checked various other reporting stations on four major rivers around the state, and each one was also registering record low flows. The only good news, at least for the trout in our local rivers, is that the weather has been unusually cool lately – let’s hope it stays that way, and that we get some serious rain. On a more positive note, I’ve been fishing the St. George River lately, and also hearing reports from my pals, and the fishing in Searsmont, Appleton and Union, has been pretty decent. The cool weather and rain of recent days has kept the water temperatures tolerable for trout. There have been decent mayfly hatches, and lots of small caddis. The zebra caddis have not appeared yet, but I’m hoping to see their large, dark shapes fluttering any day. I guided two gents last Sunday, and between them they landed several nice trout, both browns and brooks, as well as a few smallmouth, and several good sized white perch. And, for extra entertainment value, the alewives were streaming past us by the thousands. One important thing to keep in mind if you catch a trout in the river these days is to take the time to revive it when you’re releasing it. The trout we landed were pretty slow to swim away after the fight; I held them in the current for two or three minutes before they scooted off. I heard from two spin fishermen that they had very good fishing for largemouth in a local pond last week, and then they fished Lake Megunticook with guide Clifton Ames and got lots of small and largemouth bass. Up north, the fishing on East Outlet is beginning to heat up. Wet fly fishing has been excellent, and fly hatches are just beginning. Nymphing has been the best producing method, and some very large fish are coming to hand, as well as breaking off flies. And Dan Legere of the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville says that pond dry fly fishing for brook trout in that area is about as good right now as it ever gets. Salt water fishing isn’t really happening around here yet, although we have heard a few reports of striper sightings locally. It’s another story on the Kennebec River and Merrymeeting Bay, however. Lots of stripers are being caught, especially fishing deep with bucktail jigs from boats. Fly fishers are also reporting excellent fishing at Popham Beach, and we’ve heard of some very large fish coming from various locations on the Georgetown peninsula. They ought to be showing up here any day, as well as mackerel and squid.
Seth reports good fishing for bass, as they are in the shallows in spawning mode – see his photo of Barney Appleton with a nice smallie taken on a classic Kastmaster. Barney also took a 2# white perch while trolling a smelt-imitation tandem streamer; both fish came from Lake Megunticook. I’ve been trout fishing on the St. George river a couple times in the past four or five days, and the fishing has been good and getting better. Late last week I landed 9 or 10 brookies on nymphs in quick water in Searsmont, and my buddy I was with got about as many on dry flies. They weren’t rising, but he was able to bring them up in a slick run. A few days later I went to the river in Union; I started with nymphs and got a smallie and a brook trout, then the bugs started flying and the fish started rising.  Unfortunately, I’d left two dry fly boxes on my tying bench at home, and I called myself some very bad names. I did manage to hook and lose two fish, then broke off what felt like a very good trout. I called it a day and went home to find those fly boxes. The bugs I saw hatching were small caddis, about a size 16, and red quills and hendricksons. We’ve heard reports of wicked good fishing at Grand Lake Stream, and of suckers spawning in the rivers up north. If you go, bring pale colored egg patterns. Also, there are rumors of shad fishing in some of the larger downeast rivers, and they should be in the Kennebec and the Penobscot soon. One of my goals this season is to catch a shad; they’re called the poor man’s salmon, and I definitely qualify for that.
With sunny weather and dropping water levels, local fishing is starting to pick up. Lake Megunticook continues to produce some very nice fish, though the action seems a bit inconsistent. Seth has been getting his share of fish, but lately they seem to be very shy when the sun is on the water. Early in the morning, before the sun is up, he’s been getting some rainbows on flies. As soon as the sun hits the water, the action stops. Same thing at the end of the day; he and a friend fished hard for a couple hours with both flies and lures, and couldn’t raise a thing until the sun went down. Then, bang, bang, they got four nice smallies in quick succession. Anglers trolling with downriggers have been dredging up some beautiful rainbows on Megunticook as well. The water level on the St. George River is now at a pretty comfortable level for wading, and fishing is improving. There are still some of those huge breeder brown trout around that the state stocked on April 12. One of my fishing buddies landed one the other day that was pushing 25 inches, and he guessed it weighed over four pounds! He fished three different spots, and caught fish at all of them, including another brown that went about 20 inches, and some smaller browns and brookies . Another buddy has been getting fish consistently, especially at the Ghent Road access. On today’s stocking report, the state put a total of 1200 – 10 inch brook trout in the river, between Searsmont and Appleton. I just spoke with a fellow in the shop who had great fun last night getting a bunch of them, all on nymphs.  Several people have said they’ve been seeing Hendricksons hatching, but I haven’t heard anyone say they’ve gotten a fish on a dry. That will change very soon… From here on, it only gets better around here for the next month. Tight lines!
I’ve been checking river flows daily lately, and local levels are dropping towards where we want them to be for wading and fishing, though catching has been a bit slow. Other parts of the state are seeing really big flows, like Grand Lake Stream, which is running at 1510cfs today, where you’d like it to be at 300 to 400. East Outlet below Moosehead Lake went from 1008cfs on 4/28 to 6956cfs today. I like it at 1500 to 2500. Other parts of the Kennebec system, as well as the Penobscot, are way high but seasonal. Maine DIFW has done some stocking of 10” brook trout in local ponds and lakes in the last few days, including Hobbs, Hosmer, Alford, Chickawaukie, Sheepscot and St. George, as well as the St. George River. And there are still probably a few of those big breeder browns around that they put in the St. George and Medomak Rivers back in early April. Seth has been doing well on pre-spawn smallmouth lately, including this morning on Megunticook Lake. He’s been fishing black bead head woolly buggers on a sinking line, casting and stripping slowly, as well as slow trolling. I fished the Ducktrap River on Monday of this week with my smallest fly rod and a sinking leader.  I used my favorite little streamer fly, the Harris Special, but the trout didn’t show up.  The flow was still a bit big and the water cold, but the warm weather lately and the dropping level should improve things soon. Some friends of mine went to the Magalloway near Rangeley today, where the flows are still reasonable, and I’ll have a report on that next time. Black flies are beginning to appear, and the ticks are out in full force, so be prepared. But most of all, have fun out there!
We had 2 reports about trips to Grand Lake Stream in the past week. A couple who are good friends of mine fished there for three days last weekend with their teen-aged daughter. They’re all very good anglers and excellent fly-tyers, and they landed a total of three salmon. Then just this morning I heard from two of my fishing buddies who went yesterday just for the day. It was a gorgeous day, about 70 degrees air temperature, but the water temp was 39. They got three landlocks between them, all on the golden retriever (big surprise). Tim said there were chunks of ice coming over the dam from the lake ice breaking up. As soon as the water begins to warm up, so will the fishing. I’ve been to the St. George River in Searsmont twice in the last week, just for an hour or two each time. I got zero the first time, but the guy I was with got one of the big browns they stocked a couple weeks ago, and lost another. He was nymphing with a fly that’s tied by a friend of ours that looks remarkably like an earthworm. Go figure… Then last night I got skunked again, but I saw an old-timer (even older than I) hauling one of those big browns back to the car for supper. He was spin fishing, and got it on a shiny spoon. The water level had dropped noticeably in the five days between those trips, but now they’re forecasting 1 to 2 inches of rain tonight, so it may be a while before it’s where we like it. I did have a report of people catching a few sea-run browns in the St. George in Warren, by Payson Park. That’s usually a hit-or-miss proposition, but when you get one, it’s usually a fish to remember.
Local fishing for brook, brown and rainbow trout in the mid coast region has picked up decently at times over the last couple of weeks in both rivers and lakes. As air and water temps climb intermittently, focus your fishing in areas where visibility is at least high enough for your fly to be seen; as in around calmer coves, clear-running tributary mouths and slow, deep pools if possible. The warmest, brightest part of the day might be your best action; so, even though we recommend it, you don't really need to get on the water in the predawn hours to catch your share this time of year. If you're fishing lakes, try trolling or casting and retrieving your favorite smelt imitation, such as a gray ghost, pearl smelt or white zonker in either tandem or single hook versions. And if you're working rivers and streams, we'd recommend nymph fishing with a two fly combination including a weighted streamer fly like a bead or cone-headed woolly bugger, a small Clouser Minnow or a crayfish type pattern, trailed by roughly a foot and a half of lighter tippet material and a great all purpose bead-head nymph like a hare's ear tied to the terminal end. Large, pre-spawn largemouth are also lurking around prime stillwater holes for the smelt and crayfish possibilities, and will bite a slowly fished, deep-running fly, plug or jig-head with a soft bait trailer. From what we’ve heard at the shop, folks have been having great fun with those big breeder browns that the state stocked in the St. George and the Medomak a week or so ago. The recent heavy rains should spread out the fish, and increase their chances of survival. Remember to put them back, so we can all get more chances to see and feel them. A few days back we got in a large order of spin fishing gear: rods, reels, outfits, tackle boxes, rigging stuff and lures. And just today we put 60 dozen newly arrived flies in the cases, with a few new patterns among them. Dress warm, good luck and have fun out there!
My buddies and I did our official season opener trip to Grand Lake Stream on April 5, and it was, in a word, COLD. Temps were in the high twenties, with ice freezing in the guides all day long. The wind blew a pretty steady 20mph, with gusts to 40, and water temp was about 35. I did manage to land seven landlocks, with six of them coming in about a 45-minute span late in the afternoon. I must have stumbled onto a pod of fish, after fishing hard for about six hours and getting one. The last fish of the day was over 20”, and the only one that jumped – great fun. All of them took the Golden Retriever, a gold and red variation of the woolly bugger that is especially effective at GLS, as well as in the St. George and lots of other waters. The rest of the group caught another dozen or so fish, so it was definitely worth the trip, though there were several warm-up sessions spent in the vehicles. Dinner at Angler’s in Searsport was the perfect way to end the day. Locally, the Megunticook River has been producing some fish, including several nice rainbows that I’ve heard about. Also, rumor has it that the Medomak River in Waldoboro, as well as the St. George River in Searsmont, Appleton, and Union have all received some nice sized browns in the past few days. Our fly shop recently has received over 20 dozen spring streamer flies, including tandem trolling flies, all of them tied in Maine (some by us). And a huge shipment of spinning rods, reels, lures and accessories is due in any day. Come on by and see us, and check this space weekly for my fishing report.
Fish slow and low in local rivers, such as the Medomak, Megunticook and St. George, the water is icy cold, but trout fishing has been steady and good. If you have a full sink or sink tip line, now's the time to use it. Try running just 6-7.5' of stout leader (3x/8lb. range) to an all purpose,bead-head swimming nymph or marabou streamer We'd recommend the guide's choice nymph or a cone/bead head flashy woolly bugger, or both fished in tandem if possible. Work the fly or flies close to the bottom, adding action through mending and stripping the line as the fly swings through every likely looking pool and pocket. If no sinking line options are working for you, use a dense bead-head nymph like the copper john 4-6' under a strike indicator, or omit the indicator and high stick nymph if the water is open enough to do so. Dress warmly -- there's still the possibility of ice in the coves and in your rod guides too -- and fish hard!