The fishing continues to be mixed, with some really fun periods interspersed with some really slow stretches.
The water ranges from muddy to stained, which has limited our sighting opportunities. I've been spending time in the New Meadows and around Harpswell, away from all of the runoff charging down the Kennebec and Androscoggin. We're now trending in the right direction but it will take a while to get that crystal clear water that we prize this time of the summer. When I've been in places with the best (relative term) visibility under bright sun with little wind I'm seeing the stripers just after they have seen us. I talked to another guide last night who's been spending some time offshore looking for tuna. He reported tea colored water 12 and 15 miles offshore. Wow.
All of the surface activity that I've found has been either one or two fish waking in wicked shallow water or individual fish coming up for very small prey. At times it has been a single fish on a flat and at other times larges numbers of bass that are really spread out. I had a successful couple of hours on a group of fish that covered an area of about two acres. The "rises" looked like what you'd see on a northern Maine trout pond at sunset on a still June evening. We fished them with that scenario in mind, waiting to cast until we could cover a rise and if we executed the cast we were rewarded. All of the fish that we landed were smaller slot fish but we did have one good chance on a pair of big bass that waked their way right towards us. We watched as they lazily turned just feet off the bow of the boat and meandered away from us. We tried...
The next morning we found rising fish again on a different flat but at a similar time of day and stage of tide. This was a much smaller group of fish on a much smaller flat. Their behavior was different, as were our results. These fish were also feeding on tiny prey, often popping alone, but with a much splashier, aggressive swirl. They were incredibly fussy. We had started our trip well before sunrise, but this was the second stop on the tour (after unsuccessfully targeting some much larger fish at first light) and once the ebbing tide slowed the stripers came to the surface infrequently. We just didn't have the time to fully figure them out before the show was over.
Bluefish reports from Harpswell to Saco seem to have tapered off since the last round of big rains. There are still scattered schools around and I suspect that we'll start to hear about big blitzes again this week. The weather pattern has finally shifted and we're set up for steady improvement. The approaching weak tides won't help to turn the bass on to feeding with wild abandon, but will let the sediment settle out of the water. If you're heading out, go early or go late.
Capt. Peter Fallon