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Gentlemen, Start your engines....

I launched this morning in the Kennebec River and prospected from Bath to Georgetown and back. I,too, saw plenty of signs of bait, warming waters, not nearly the usual crapola in the current, and three thoughts remain in my wind-swept brain...

       a. the conditions are very good for saltwater fishing for stripers and , while they are not here as yet, the table is set.

       b. there are so many seals at the mouth of the River standing guard in the perfect spot, just as Fort Popham still stands.  No fools they.  When I was a kid there was a bounty on seals...so much a nose as I remember. Yikes. Anyway, these guys arent there waiting for Godot.

       c. for the second time in as many days I saw an eagle chasing a cormorant.  This time I was blasting along at a good 25 mph and a cormorant passed me headed in the same direction. His wings were a blur. Nothing unusual about that. But hot on his tail came a juvenile eagle, same speed, but with wings that were lazy in comparison. To escape, the cormorant dove head first into the water and disappeared. At that speed, hitting the water, it must have been like slamming into concrete.  I thought, for sure, he would break his neck and be a goner. Two minutes later he popped up, swiveled his head looking for the eagle, and life resumed.

     d. did I say I had 3 thoughts?    The parking lots at the boat launches I passed were all empty. I was the only one fishing that I saw all day.  When the stripers arrive it will be "You read about it here first!!" for sure.  Stay tuned. We're working.

Capt. Gordon M. Gillies


Searching and waiting...

Fished the Kennebec yesterday afternoon/evening and again this morning but still waiting to catch that first fish. The river is loaded with bait of all sizes, from alewives to herring to something much smaller that I couldn't make out from a distance. The water is turbid but really not too bad for this time of year. The water temps are WARM, 58 degrees at Morse Cove, 59 degrees at Lines Island, 56 degrees at the mouth of the Back River. They've been this warm over the whole past week. Once fish fill in, they should be active. Any day now.

Reports from the south are encouraging. People are catching a few fish Portland south. Joppa has been hot. Boston Harbor and Cape Cod Bay are producing numbers of stripers and some good sized fish. Any day now.

Capt. Peter Fallon

Following advice to fish my backyard

Well, really more like my side yard or my neighbor's side yard. My backyard runs along the shore of the  Kennebec River and I fish there almost every day for more than four months but a quarter mile from my house is Center Pond. A fellow that I teach with at Bean's closes every fly fishing class with the advice to "fish your backyard"...the local golf course ponds that hold monster sunfish, the small brook that gets stocked with eight inch trout, the pond close to work that has never produced a state record for any species. After hearing his suggestion countless times I finally headed his words of wisdom. I'm embarrassed to admit that after living here for close to ten years I'd never fished Center Pond. The place is just down the road. I drive by it every time I go to the dump, to Popham Beach, to Anna's Water's Edge. I fetch the dog there with some frequency but I've never made a cast into that water.

I am very guilty of thinking that chasing brookies involves a trip to the Rapid River or a couple of days on the ponds between Jackman and Moosehead. I talk landlocked salmon with friends and it's always "when are we getting back to the West Branch of the Penobscot or going out to Grand Lake Stream". I'm trying to set aside a couple of days in late May to devote to smallmouth fishing and I immediately thought of Washington County instead of the Androscoggin River just up the road. A potential pitfall of living in a place with so many fishing opportunities is being mentally trapped into focusing on the "storied waters". I bite that bait every time.

I started this morning thinking about the items on my to do list - mowing the backyard, finish cleaning the shed, put away the tackle that currently covers every horizontal surface in the kitchen - while I waited for the coffee maker to brighten my day. After half a cup and a check on the Sox write up in the Globe I realized that I had rods rigged and ready to go from a pike and bass outing two days ago. Took me about four minutes to get out the door and down to the pond. About four minutes later I had an eight inch pickerel on the end of my line.

I ended up landing two nice largemouths, not huge, not lunkers, but decent sized fish that had me giddy. The town of Phippsburg recently rebuilt the alewife ladder into Center Pond. The run has not been very successful in past seasons but there must be some spawning alewives producing a forage base to fatten up a couple of bass. Hmmmm...might have to explore this place in my belly boat. I do have to go to the dump sometime today and the rods are still in the back of the truck.

I hope you make some time today to fish the body of water closest to your house.

Tight lines,


Capt. Peter Fallon