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04/01/09 – up and down the river

04/01/09 – Happy April Fool’s Day

As I usually do on the 1st I drove to Bingham and took some pictures on my way back down the river. And as is normal for April 1st the river is high. Wyman DamHowever, not real high (it is running about 5,500CFS) and even in Bingham the snow is mostly gone. There was no snow at the top of the bank overlooking Wyman Dam and last year the snow was so deep only the tops of the guardrails were sticking out.

There is some in the woods and fields but mostly it has melted. When I walked down to the river at the cornfield on the Concord side I walked through patches of bare ground and maybe six inches of snow in the cornfield. Once I got into the woods there was a bit more but even in places where it got deep I wasn’t over my knees.

So, my guess is we’ll be wading Shawmut by May 12th. We’ll see how close I come this year. Last year I said May 23 and only missed it by a day. Anyway there were a number of people fishing Bingham. Mostly from boats (I saw 5 boats out) and no one was wading. There were 5 people casting from the rocks.

I didn’t see any fish taken until I got down to the boat landing and saw what is the biggest Brown Trout I’ve seen coming from the Kennebec. Big April Fool's BrownThis fish was humongous. I didn’t know they grew that big in the river and also didn’t know there were any Browns at all in Bingham – Mega Fish. What a thrill just to see it. I hope some of those drop downstream towards us.

Speaking of moving downstream by the bridge I got a look at the Bingham Boat Ramp and it is free of snow. I don’t think anyone even had to shovel it this year. Instead people were able to just back right in and launch.
As you can see in the picture there is some snow on the edge of the launch but the parking area and ramp are free and clear.

Down in Solon it was much the same. Water levels were up but the water was clear and there was little snow. Last year I took a picture of the picnic tables at Evergreen Campground and they were just peaking out of the snow bank. This year the picnic tables are sitting on bare ground. For those of you that are familiar with the Solon Stretch the rock pile above the bridge was under water. The old channel was iced over also.

Bingham Boat Launch

Solon was about the end of the clean water. When I got down to Madison the river was even higher as you would expect and it started to mud up. The Carrabassett and Sandy Rivers are running high but if you visit the USGS website they are still reading ICE so how high they are is anybody’s guess.

They’ll stay high for a bit as despite the snow levels in Bingham because Sugarloaf and Saddleback still have plenty of snow. And all that snow up there has to flow down past us the get to the ocean.

As I moved down the river I saw more dirty, high water so I’d say Madison, Skowhegan and Shawmut wouldn’t be worth the trip when it comes to fishing. We’ll, at the least, have to wait for the dirty water to clear up. Oh,and before I forget it did I mention that the Brown Trout above is an April Fool’s Joke?

Looking Upriver from the Solon Bridge

But Sugarloaf and Saddleback’s snow doesn’t change my prediction. We’ll be fishing Shawmut – wading – by May 12th this year. Or not. What’s your guess for a date?