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Maine Fishing Report: Week of July 16, 2023


Welcome to summer in Maine. The days are hot and scattered with rain showers that cool the air before clearing off to hot and clear again. The old saying is that if you don't like the weather in Maine, just wait 10 minutes and it may be better...or worse... I think it's best to fish as much as possible even on the showery days. Just take cover nearby during the storms and get back on the water after they pass.

Fortunately, all that cool water dropping from the sky has seemed to extend our fishing season for salmonid species in places that are normally too hot this time of year. The Magalloway has been holding in the low 60s and several spring fed streams in the Rangeley region are still in the upper 50 degree mark. We are still seeing caddis hatches in the late evenings of both tan and green and a few sporadic hatching during the middle of the day. I like to fish dries this time of year for trout and salmon. Especially an elk hair caddis or a parachute style. These patterns are so effective because the body of the fly sits in the film of the water where trout key in on emerging insects. For the more adventurous folk, anglers that fish in the late evening and into night, especially on a clear night with a moonlit sky may be rewarded with the fish of a lifetime. I recently witnessed a very large Brook trout devour a mouse that was swimming across the upper Kennebago River. I tied a Muddler Minnow on to my sports tippet and watched as the behemoth fish erupted on the fly and quickly snapped the line and never to be seen again. At least not by us.

Brown Trout caught in Rangeley Maine
A big Brown Trout caught by a recent sport, John

Another popular mehod this time of year is to troll with lead lines and downriggers. The latter being easiest when the fish are hanging at least 30 feet down as they currently are. Many anglers are reporting good catches of salmon and brook trout on Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic lake. Mooselook is currently overpopulated with small salmon and very liberal regulations are in place to allow anglers to keep a fair amount of fish. If you are a fish eater, then this is the place to go. Remember that fish like bright colors on sunny days and dark colors on cloudy days.

Further east, the penobscot river is getting really hot. Productive that is. Smallmouth bass in the 12-16" range are plentiful and few in the 16-20" that put up a great fight, especially on a fly rod. Some anglers are reporting catches of over 30 bass a day! Common food for the bass are crayfish, dragonfliies, big nymphs like stone flies and many minnows including Dace, Shiners, Alewives and juvenile rough fish. An angler would be wise to try to match these with their lures and flies for a good day of fishing. Look up Clouser Minnows and Whitlocks Near Nuff Crayfish and to get started. Also, brown or rust colored wooly buggers make a great crayfish imitation. See the video below to learn how to tie a simple bugger pattern.

There are plenty of boat launches from Old Town all the way up to Lincoln for access to the river. They can be found on the Maine Atlas and Gazetteer and most Map apps on your phone. If you don't have a boat, consider renting one or hiring one of the many Guides in the area.

That's all for now but I hope to see you out on the water enjoying the outdoors!

-Joe Gaboury

Registered Maine Guide

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