Weekly Fishing Report
Fishing Conditions & Updates for Maine, New Hampshire & Massachusetts
June 26, 2019
Most schools are out and the first day of summer has come and gone. Fishing remains steady on all fronts. Landlocked salmon are settling into their summer patterns, making them easier to predict after a cold tough spring for many. More consistent fishing should be welcomed by all. Reports indicate that weekday fishing has been a bit more productive than weekend fishing due to boat traffic, but the early anglers are beating the traffic and catching plenty of fish. More and bigger striped bass are arriving daily, freshwater bass fishing is still good, and trout and salmon are biting, making this an excellent time to get out fishing.
Greg at Jordan’s Store in Sebago says, “They’re still catching lake trout.” He reports that the lake trout have moved onto the back sides of the shoals and other deep-water areas of Sebago. He says that anglers are catching them trolling bait and Flatfish lures, but some are getting them with jigging Raps while vertical jigging. He has also had some recent reports of salmon in the 21-inch range being caught, a promising sign he thinks.
Dave at Naples Bait and Tackle in Naples says he did well for some post-spawn bass on Hancock Pond over the weekend. He did very well with topwater lures. He says the crooked river has been producing a lot of brook trout on copper johns. Dave says that Tricky Pond has been giving up some nice splake, up to 5-pounds, trolling down about 35-feet.
Maine guide Dan Leger at the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville furnished the following report, “We have been talking caddis for some time now. Maybe tomorrow, then tomorrow will be the day, then today’s the day. This went on for a while. Then the day came and that day was yesterday June 19 when bright green-bodied caddis hit the scene as well as dark brown and tan caddis, a nice way to begin caddis season. Two days ago there wasn’t a caddis to be seen but we still teased fish to the surface all day but nothing over 16”. Bigger fish wouldn’t come to the surface after one tiny caddis flirting about on the surface. Yesterday that all changed when there were lots of caddis bouncing about. The small fish must have been hiding because we saw few fish under 18”. In the morning big salmon meant business. The takes were deliberate and most takes ended with a bent rod. It’s a beautiful sight when you get to watch a salmon or trout start up from the bottom with your fly in its crosshairs. It’s what we wait for each season. It’ll be dries all day long for days on end. But they don’t always come easy. At times there will be a number of different caddis species hatching at the same time. Species overlap and one fish wants one species and another wants something different.”
“Feeding fish are often after crippled caddis drifting on the surface, or caddis bouncing about trying to take to flight, or dead adults in the film of the water, and even emerging caddis. The trick is figuring out what exactly are fish feeding on and how they want your caddis imitation presented.”
“One sure fire way to get a fishes’ attention during caddis hatches is by twitching your bug just a bit as it drifts along on the surface. Make your best cast, mend your line if needed then keep your rod tip high and flip the tip slightly every now and then so your fly scoots an inch or two as it drifts downstream. It’s that tiny scoot that convinces a fish it needs to eat it. We’ve watched crippled caddis flopping about along with hundreds of motionless caddis and it’s the cripples that get eaten every time. Also at the end of the drift skip your fly back upstream 5-10’ then dead drift it back over the same water. If you pick your fly off the water and dead drift it back over the same water they will often ignore it. The SKIP gets the fishes’ attention and the drift back that gets the fish.”
“Also a splashy rise often indicates a fish going for a caddis as it becomes an adult just under the surface. Pay attention to where the splash was. There is probably a rock just beneath the spot. That fish is always in a sweet spot right under the splash. Try skipping your fly over that spot a few times and you’ll probably fool the fish into making a grab for your caddis imitation.”
“If you spot fish just making a boil of water and no splash they are likely feeding on crippled caddis in the film of the water. These are fish you want to swing a soft hackle by, the slower the swing the better your chances. Cast 45 degrees drown stream and across the current then mend upstream to slow down the swing. We fool some of our biggest fish swinging soft hackle wets just under the surface.”
Captain Tim Tower of the Bunny Clark furnished the following info from a recent trip on their website: “The fishing conditions were excellent or close to it, the catching was very good overall and landings were somewhere between good and very good. Most legal fish landed were haddock. The passenger bag limit was not quite attained. The haddock cull was very close to 50/50, legal to sub-legal fish, the nod going to the sub-legal variety. Legal landings also included five pollock, two cusk and four whiting. Released fish included twenty-two cod of five pounds or better, a few smaller cod, one or two short pollock and two wolffish. Neither wolffish made it into the boat to be weighed, both fish being dropped while trying to get the fish in the boat by pulling on the snelled hook pendant. Drifting was the method. All terminal gear worked well.”
“Joe Columbus (MA) was high hook with the most legal fish. There wasn't anyone close. This is also about the fifth time in a row that he has attained high hook status. He leads all Bunny Clark anglers in that category so far. Linda Cates (ME) won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish, a 14-pound cod. The second and third largest fish were both caught by Zack Crocker (RI). Both fish were cod and both weighed in at 9 pounds each.”
“Other Angler Highlights: Joey Cramer (RI) caught an 8.5 pound cod and a 7.5 pound cod, his two biggest fish. Arnie Ulrich (NJ) caught an 8-pound cod, his best fish today. Dory mates, Patrick Newton (VT) and Amanda Buchanan (VT) shared the hard luck award as a couple can. Both were seasick today. They were the only two anglers on the Bunny Clark, today, afflicted by this malady.”
Full-time New Hampshire fishing guide Tim from Tim Moore Outdoors told us that the striper fishing is improving. “The size of the fish arriving is increasing a bit, but with waters warming we are needing to play the tide and time of day more now,” he said. Tim says there is no shortage of schoolie stripers to be caught and that while there aren’t a ton of keeper-sized fish in his kayak waters, you can’t catch a keeper if you don’t go. “There seem to be some bigger fish in the Newcastle area, but those launches are pretty muddy near low tide. I’m having a tough time finding clients who are willing to deal with the muddy launches or landings in order to catch fish,” Tim said. On Lake Winnipesaukee, Tim says he is having an easier time finding salmon, but the early bird gets the worm. He says the first hour of daylight has been the most productive for salmon. He was pleased to tell us that the lake trout look to be starting to move into deeper water, a sign that the vertical jig bite could be a long one this summer.
Hans at Suds N’ Soda Sports in Greenland reports that there are a few better stripers in the Piscataqua River as of late. “I haven’t been out for a few days myself, but my last couple of trips produced at least one fish in the 30-inch range on live eels at night,” he said. He did tell us that he has personally seen several schools of squid in the Piscataqua River while striper fishing from shore at night. He thinks the regularity of sightings should indicate some good squid fishing for those who put in the effort.
In Dover, Chad at Dover Marine/Covered Bridge Sports told us that the fishing has been decent. “There are still lots of schoolies around, but I’m hearing a lot more about bigger stripers being caught,” he said. He says he has had reports of striped bass in the 40-inch range. He says there is no shortage of mackerel, they can be caught from Portsmouth Harbor all the way out to the Isle of Shoals. Chad says their freshwater reports have slowed down, likely due to all the stripers around.
Alan Nute at A.J.’s Bait and Tackle in Meredith says the salmon and rainbow fishing is still on the slow side, but better than in weeks past. He says they are mostly being caught in the 25’-35’ range. Silver/copper spoons and white perch streamer flies are the reports he’s getting for salmon. He says the lake trout seem to be making up for the slower salmon fishing. Bass fishing is still very good, but with the spawn over and the water warming, he expects things to start winding down on that front.
George Tayglor at Taylor’s Trading Post in Madbury says the trout waters are still producing trout. “They’re not catching a ton of trout, but the catching has been steady. He noted Stonehouse and Lucas Ponds as potential hot spots. George says the bass fishing reports are picking up, especially with all the tourists beginning to arrive.
Martha at Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island says they finally have some mackerel around and some nicer fish are being caught. “The weekend was slow, but weekends are always slow with all the boat traffic,” she said. The surf has been good according to Martha. She says they saw fish up to 30-pounds caught off the surf, so there are clearly some bigger fish making their way through. She tells us their fresh mackerel, clams, and worms have all been catching fish.
Because of inherent time restrictions of gathering fresh, up-to-date information, editing & producing this report in a timely manner, occasional errors or marginal information may slip by us. We try our hardest to provide accurate information. We urge readers to use this report as a tool to increase their fishing pleasure and not to rely on as their sole resource. First or second hand information is offered by fishing guides, commercial fishing charters or party boats, bait & tackle dealers, well-known successful anglers and state & federal fisheries and natural resources enforcement officials. We also welcome and use reports forwarded to us by fishermen that use this report. - Kittery Trading Post Fishing Report Editor