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05/07/10 – high but fishable

05/07/10 – We’re so close to wading Shawmut it’s frustrating to have to post that it isn’t quite there. Some people can and do wade it at this level (8,257CFS) but it’s a real push and difficult if you don’t know your way around. The level is high but the White Rock is peaking out and the clarity isn’t bad. Water temperature is 51 degrees this morning and will probably read about 53 degrees by tonight.

MayflyActually, now that I think about it, there have been quite a few people in during the last two days that have been wading Shawmut but their wading has been limited to the West Shore just down from the sluice way. You see you don’t have to go out into the current or wade much at all – just enough to get a roll cast – because the newly stocked fish are all along that shoreline. Yep, IF&W put 2,000 new strain browns in the day before yesterday and those who have stopped in say they are hanging close to the bank and the pickings are easy.

Mayflies are hatching (still Hendricksons and Olives) and the fish are responding to them. My guess is with only showers forecast and the Carrabassett and Sandy down to about 1,000CFS today Shawmut will be wadable tomorrow and Sunday. If you come and fish Shawmut you should see rising trout.

The rest of the river is mostly wadable – if you don’t mind high end flows. The East Outlet is running at 1,528 (not bad really compared to the high flows we’ve had) and Harris is finally beginning to pulse. Harris will be at 720CFS until 7:00am and then it will jump to 1,700CFS until 10:00am. At 10:00am the flow will jump to 5,000CFS but at 1:00pm it will drop to 1,700CFS. 1,700CFS is a fishable flow in the gorge and the drop will be just in time for the Hendricksons – if the Hendricksons have started up there – I’m really not sure.

Flagstaff is running higher then most like. It’s at 1,800CFS. Moving down to Bingham the flow all day will be 4,700CFS – high for some but fishable from the edges. Solon is finally down to a fishable level – 5,500CFS and if I had the day off I’d probably run up there to check it out. While it may fish better at 4,000CFS or less you can certainly fish it at 5,500.

Madison is at a slightly higher flow than Solon. Madison is running at 6,340CFS which is also a high but fishable flow. Actually, I fished Madison yesterday at just slightly over 9,000CFS. At 9,000CFS it’s very limited for wadable water but I did have some success as you can see by the Brown Trout and Brook trout pictures.

That Brown TroutBrown was one of three (I was there about 2-hours) and the Brookie was the only Brookie I caught. I left pretty happy. You might wonder what I was thinking wading Madison at 9,000CFS plus and a couple of times I wondered also. But, I’m sick of not fishing the river because of high flows. My new attitude is if I’ve go the time I’m fishing the river. If I go somewhere at high flows I’ve still got a chance at fish and no chance if I stay home. And for the last several years of continued high flows I’ve given up too many mornings because of concern that flows were too high for wading. From now on unless the high water is so dirty I can’t see my feet when I’m knee deep I’M GOING.

If you look at the Brookie picture you’ll see a Mickey Finn is what I was using yesterday. I started out with a Sure-Bet but was getting short strikes. So since they were looking at bright but not slamming it I decided to try another bright fly. (conditions were poor – light was low and it was pouring yesterday morning) The Mickey Finn was the answer – no more short strikes – good solid takes from then on. I would have loved to be there Brookieabout 2:00pm to see if there were any hatches but alas I was here at the store counter instead.

GLS is still on the high side (495CFS) but people are reporting good fishing. The West Branch of the Penobscot is at a good level (2,467CFS) and since I’m going to camp this weekend I may run over there and fish it. However, if the smelt are still hanging around the mouth of Nahmakanta Stream I may save myself some travel and fish Nahmakanta. There is a small window of opportunity right around Mother’s Day each year for excellent salmon fishing in Nahmakanta and it all depends on the smelt. I’m afraid I may have missed it this year but there’s always next Mother’s Day weekend.

So if you get the chance this weekend get out and fish. The season is on us. It’s early and if you wait too long you might miss it. Don’t figure it’s like most years and Memorial Day weekend is a good kick off weekend. Much of the Hendrickson hatch will be OVER by Memorial.