04/23/10 – Well it doesn’t look like we’ll be wading Shawmut today. So once again I missed my date for safe wading. However, it shouldn’t be much longer as river levels are dropping. The inflatable bladder at Shawmut is working so, in a sense, the flashboards are up. They seem to work well. I was up there yesterday morning and one of them was deflated enough so that a lot of water was spilling over the top. About 5-minutes later there wasn’t a drop coming over so I guess I caught the end of the inflate cycle.
The water temperature is 44 degrees and fish are biting. In fact they are even chasing streamers. The Brown on the left took my Supervisor this morning and when it hit I was glad I had 3X tippet on because it hit hard and it hit during an aggressive strip retrieve. I guess it didn’t want that fly to get away.
I haven’t seen any hatches on the river other than the stones I reported last week. There are midges I’m sure but no mayflies and certainly no caddis. But with a 44 degree temperature the Blue Winged Olives should begin showing. That would mean a small Pheasant Tail might be a good fly to nymph with. Hendricksons won’t be far behind.
The flows up and down the river are high but dropping. They are keeping the East Outlet at 3,732CFS which can be fished but it’s certainly high. Most people stop wading and fishing the East at about 2,000CFS. But it should be noted that just because a river is high doesn’t mean you can’t fish it. There are always some spots that you can work. For example, the fish on the left came from Madison this morning and a lot of people stop wading that at 4,000CFS and this morning it is running at 7,740CFS.
There are plenty of spots like the small section I fished this morning at Madison all up and down the river but you do have to be careful and not push out into water that is both fast and cold. Moving down the river from the East Outlet to Harris Dam they’re starting to pulse the flow. That’s a good sign. However, the low flow for the day is 2,400CFS.
The Dead River isn’t going to add much to the Kennebec levels as Flagstaff is only flowing at 227CFS. Which means if you don’t want crowds you might not want to fish the regular spots on the Dead. Bingham is at 6,300CFS all day and that’s a high level for there if you’re wading. Again there are spots but you have to seek them out.
Pretty much the same thing for Solon, which is flowing at 7,800CFS. You can float that level and you can catch fish wading at that level but you don’t want to wade out far from shore. That flow is a lot of push. Madison Paper, as they should, are flowing about the same level as Solon and at 7,740CFS Madison is another “seek out the safe spots” water but as I said above the fish are biting there.
Shawmut is another story. I did fish it yesterday for the first time this year but no runs – no hits and no errors. The levels are such that I could only fish from the banks but soon we should be wading it. The other waters around the state are also coming down. GLS is at 446CFS which a lot of people consider too high but it’s a good level in my book. But don’t go by me I like a lot of water – mainly because I often fish between the named holes and high water populates those areas.
The West Branch is another area that’s a bit high but certainly fishable at 2,769 CFS. I’m sure the water is a bit colder up there – don’t expect 44 degree water if you make the trip. Fortunately Landlocks don’t seem to mind cold water as much as some fish do. The St George river level is actually on the low side. Some are describing the level as close to mid-June flow. I haven’t heard but I’d assume the Sheepscot is much the same.
If you want some dry fly action visit some local bogs or small streams. Some of them do have hatches now and have had for several days. And if fishing just isn’t in the cards for you tomorrow you can always come over to the shop at 11:00am and watch Tom Browne’s slide show on about 35 or so ponds. He’s going to follow that presentation with a talk on the techniques he uses to fish Maine Fly Fishing Only ponds. There’s bound to be some good information – stop on by.