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08/16/13 – We got through July

Well, we made it through July (and half of August). My records show the main stem of the Kennebec, in Fairfield, will drop into the high 60’s around the 20th.  With the coming of longer cooler nights it’s time to renew the search for cool water. Cool water has been hard to find. However, on my pond trip last month I discovered that cool water doesn’t guarantee trout.

Garden Hackle

After hiking to that 1,200 foot pond I mentioned I even “put the worms to em” and couldn’t catch anything. Yep, I admit it I hauled worms all the way up there.  The “No Name” pond (it really doesn’t have a name) is one that TU and IF&W has on the list of ponds they’d like volunteers to survey.

So I volunteered and was told that the goal of the project is to determine – Does this pond hold trout? – not – Can I catch a trout on a fly out of this pond?  In short, I was told to go prepared with whatever it took in this general law pond to catch a trout. So I went all the way as they say.

I spent three hours on that pond and fished the only cold section I could find (64-degree water) with worms that whole time – not even a nibble.  I guess I won’t send this Zero-Gravity fly rod photo in to Orvis.

This pond is where I found the moose skull that now hangs on the front of my camp years back and  moose still frequently visit the pond. I’m sure of this since there was a big bull moose there to great me on this visit. But no trout – no baitfish around the edges – no rises (on any trip I’ve made up there). And to make matters worse once I quit hiking around to ponds and beaver bogs in search of cold water I started looking for Pickerel in our lake. I know they’re there but couldn’t locate any consistent fishing for them. However, all I had to do was come home to the Kennebec for cooler water.

Bingham Buddy

Yep, Monday I headed up to Bingham hoping for water I could fish without breaking my self-imposed rule of not fishing water (for trout) that’s over 70-degrees F. and 70 was just what I found.  Not over – not under.  I couldn’t fish on Monday but made my way back yesterday.

I got there about 5:30am and set to fishing. Not much going on in the way of insect activity so I nymphed and swung wets. Nothing. So I figured I’d work back upstream and for grins I put on and Ausable Bomber and skittered it while moving along. It worked.

It’s the old saw about “give them what they want not what you think they want” in practical application.  I mean the air was in the low 50’s no bugs anywhere and big, skittering floaters were what they wanted – who am I to argue?

However, below Bingham I found no water that wasn’t 70-plus (71 at Madison).  It’s in the 50’s again this morning and that’s helping.  Now all we need is wadable flows and we have them for a change.

Actually except for the Harris raft release (10:00 am to 1:00 pm it’s 5,000CFS) you can find friendly water almost anywhere. Of course that could change by tomorrow but that’s always the case.  The East Outlet is running about 1,300CFS and Harris will be at 3,600CFS after the rafting bubble. That means The Forks will only be less than 4,000CFS since the Dead is only flowing at 251CFS today.  It holds like that all the way down with the high flow for Bingham being 3,400CFS. Williams (Solon) Dam is only releasing 2,300CFS and the Madison Gauge shows 2,800CFS – now if the water temp would drop just a couple of more degrees we’d be all set.

There is something strange going on with the Sidney flow level readouts.  I’m not saying the Sidney readout is wrong but something is off.  Normally if you subtract the Sebasticook flow from the Sidney flow you get Shawmut’s flow.  If you do that math today it would tell you Shawmut is flowing at 11,000CFS – way high for wading.  However, the White Rock at Shawmut is high and dry.  My guess is the flow is less than 5,000CFS. I’m certain it’s not 11,000CFS because at 11,000CFS I can’t see the rock at all and I can see the rock.

So flows are good and the temperature is close – coolest water in the morning but lingering hatches in the evening. Lots of caddis around, Leadwing Coachman showing and Grasshoppers everywhere.  Tie one on 🙂