03/10/11 Don’t look now but here comes the melt. I know you can’t tell because it’s snowing out today but the temperature will be in the 40’s by tomorrow and as Dylan said “it’s a hard rains a-gonna fall” most of tomorrow. Saturday too. So Sunday I’ll be out looking at water and trying a few spots. Heck, Kim L went out and caught something just last Sunday and I’ve got a case of “if he can catch one I can” fever. 🙂 (click to see the forum thread)
My fever and the fact that most years I can get a little Kennebec River fishing in during March before the real melt starts and the Kennebec goes to muddy, high and too dangerous for me to mess with. I’m not sure what section I’ll be fishing but I can tell you it will be below Madison and above Augusta since the river is closed to fishing above Madison. (East Outlet is open from the dam to the yellow markers at the Dam Pool)
As much as it hurts me to say it I’ll probably follow Kim’s lead by using a streamer. I used to fish my streamers spring, summer and fall using the tried and true method of making quartering cast downstream and then stripping it back to me at varying rates of speed. That retrieve has caught a lot of fish for me. But now I fish my Spring streamers much slower and with little retrieve.
The change in technique came for me one April 1st while fishing the dam pool at Grand Lake Stream. It was snowy day and John McLeod and I were standing knee deep on the sand bar that used to cross the bottom of the Dam Pool. We both had on Marabou Gray Ghosts and we were both using a sink-tip line – to no avail. Until one of us stopped to talk to the other and while talking paused in our retrieve and you guessed it – fish on. We caught a lot of fish that day – so many that the day still stands as one of my best days in the Dam Pool and I used to fish it a lot.
The secret was to cast out almost straight at the dam and to hold the cast back to about 20 feet. Then we’d strip in the slack created as the fly sunk and was pushed back towards our feet by the current. When the fly reached the sand bar we were standing on the current would push the fly to our left and then start back up towards the dam as we were standing at the start of an eddy that swung back towards the dam. All you had to do once the fly changed direction was wait. If no fish took you just repeated the same “non-retrieve” and let the current do the work. Like I said we caught a lot of fish that day and since then my early spring retrieve for streamers has been the “non-retrieve” technique we used that day.
So, Sunday that’s pretty much what I’ll be doing. I’ll have my trusty “Streamer Stripper” sink-tip line on my rod and to the end of that I’ll loop about 3-feet of 3X fluorocarbon. I’ll tie my fly directly to the 3X with a loop knot and for a fly I’ll probably use a yellow Conehead Muddler – at least to start. I won’t cast far in fact it will look more like I’m dapping a dry fly down along the shoreline. But instead of raising and lowering my dry fly to and from the water’s surface I’ll be raising and lowering my weighted streamer to and from the bottom of the river.
On straight stretches of shoreline I’ll even go so far as to hold my rod straight out over the water with the fly hanging somewhere down towards the bottom and then I’ll just walk along with it. I’ll walk at the same speed as the current – sort of like “walking the dog” only instead of stopping to spend time at each hydrant I’ll stop and spend time around slow spots and depressions. It’s a good technique – especially on a 40 degree sunny day in March. No fish – so what? Catch a fish – bonus!