May

May 31 Kennebec River Striper Fishing Update

Last Cast of the Trip

Here's Tim's best striper of the day, but certainly not his only fish. It crushed the Lonely Angler Zipster spook in a shallow backwater cove on the Kennebec River just down current of some nice moving water and rocky structure and came on his final cast of our outing. We were zipping back to the dock at a pretty good clip in the Maverick, working to make time to hit one last location before we had to meet the rest of the charter group. We arrived to find just the current I expected, but no fish (or at least no response) in the ripline. This is a spot where the bass usually key into the sharp demarcation between fast and slow water that is pushed off of a shoreline ledge. There were fish here similar tide yesterday but as we'd discussed early in our trip, past performance is no guarantee of future results. These guys had worked at the SEC and were now involved in futures markets, so they understood the disclaimer. I was hoping for one last eat before wrapping up, so we let the boat drop down with the current to make a couple of quick casts in a secondary lie where a backeddy flows across a mudflat adjacent to these ledges. Eric had pitched his spook into this water a couple of times when halfway through a retrieve, it just disappeared under water in a big gallooop! He landed a similar sized striper to the one in the photo above in some good current to cheers all around. I made the "last cast" call and Tim delivered in similar fashion out of the same water. It was a great way to end a really enjoyable morning.

Striper fishing in and around the Kennebec is improving. It's not yet bananas, but technically, it's not yet June. Every place where we stopped today we at least rolled, saw, or teased a fish and in almost all locations landed at least one. We had a couple of times where we found a good group of fish and landed quite a few before moving on. Once again, best fishing for us was in moving water adjacent to structure of some kind. Yesterday's trip was pretty similar. Both days we started just after high water and fished the dropping tide.

Pretty soon you should be able to run up and down the river, looking for surface feeds and diving birds, but right now I would concentrate on making good casts with decent sized streamer flies, top water plugs, or soft plastics (on a jig or unweighted) in areas where you see current seams close to rocks, marshy points, creek mouths, and other pieces of structure. Keep your eye on the sonar, and have close at hand a jig rod or 400 grain with a Clouser, as you may mark some under you as you drift. We didn't do any dredging yesterday because what we were doing was producing and catching on topwater tackle is too much fun. I don't think I could have pried the spook out of Eric's hands.

On our Thursday trip, we used a similar approach with similar success - fished dropping tide and focused on same type of water but not all same locations. Both outings felt far more productive and consistent to me than my scouting trips earlier this week. We even had a couple of instances yesterday where a fish revealed their presence, we made the cast, and boom. Results.

Tidal height is improving and water temps in the Kennebec were 53 to 54 degrees everywhere we fished yesterday. The water is decidedly clearer, though still quite stained, vs a week ago. I'm teaching all-day, both weekend days, so won't have any first-hand news until middle of next week, but I am in the process of activating my shoreside fish spotting network. It's good to have neighbors who are more excited to call me about breaking fish than to go out at catch them. 

I've got some open days in the beginning of June, so if you'd like to get out, please give me a call or send me an email. 

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com

 


May 29, 2019 Quick Kennebec River Striped Bass Update

Striped bass seem to have moved into the Lower Kennebec watershed in greater numbers over the past week, at least based upon my fishing (and catching) results. It's still not "going off", and I have yet to see more that a handful of single fish come up to the surface to feed (in total - not all at once), but soon it will bust wide open. There are stripers all up the Maine coast to the Kennebec. I haven't yet heard any news of fish east of here, but that doesn't mean that they aren't there for you to catch. 

On Tuesday I fished the dropping tide and it took a little exploring before I found more than a single, lonely fish. Tides aren't great right now, in terms of volume of water flow, so it takes a little longer for the current to get going. High water at Fort Popham is only 7.9 feet. The most consistent fishing was in quick (not ripping fast) current around structure adjacent to shallow areas. I wasn't marking fish in these locations as I was staying off the shore by about a cast. Of all of the offerings I tossed, best producer was a dark fly with lots of action. This dirty water version of the Eldridge Brothers Secret Weapon tied with purple ostrich hurl, purple rabbit strip, and black craft fur plus various darker flash material did the trick.

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This morning I explored different water, working deeper structure with strong current, on the incoming tide. I'll admit that I sipped coffee from the comfort of the kitchen from 4:30 to 5:30 before I decided to launch the boat. It was cold. And wet. And windy. My project list is long, and it was tempting to stay home, but as soon as I was pulling out of the driveway I was happy with my decision. And once I found fish and started to catch on almost every drift, it wasn't so wet, windy, or cold any more. I didn't see a striper come to the surface but they did push some mature alewives or herring up to the gulls and eagles. I didn't play around with different jigs or flies, but just focused on figuring out where the fish were tending to hold. I really do prefer to sightcast, especially when chucking a fly, and will take casting to moving water tight to visible structure as a second choice, but this time of year, catching feels good using any technique.

We'll see significant changes in numbers of fish and surface activity soon. Like maybe tomorrow. Or Friday. I've got trips both days and have tempered expectations but high hopes.

Fish more.

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com

824 Main Rd

Phippsburg, ME 04562


Fishing Charters For Striped Bass in Phippsburg Maine

Maine Saltwater Fly Fishing Charters For Striped Bass ~ Kennebec River, Phippsburg, ME

Thanks for visiting Maine Saltwater Fishing Reports. Here you'll find updates on striper fishing around Maine and beyond, insights into how I chase these fish, suggestions and techniques that may help you become a better angler, and recaps of recent charter trips. Scroll down for the the latest posts.

I specialize in shallow water sight casting to striped bass and chasing false albacore with fly and light tackle spinning gear. The only thing I love more than the challenge of hunting for these fish is sharing the elation that comes from playing this game. I guide a lot of experienced striped bass anglers who've never cast a fly or a top-water plug to a striper on a shallow flat that is pushing water like a redfish or bonefish. Watching the bass track the baitfish pattern or tail slap the spook and then (hopefully) eat your offering is incredibly satisfying and addicting.

I live in Phippsburg, ME on the banks of the Kennebec River, and guide full-time from May into November. Striper fishing in Maine starts in mid-May, with fish usually showing up just south of Portland before they start to fill into the Kennebec. To get a jump on the season I head south to Massachusetts to get onto bass before they arrive in Maine. I also plan a couple of weeks during May and June to target large stripers in Cape Cod Bay and around Martha's Vineyard. This is big water fishing and where I grew up and first started running charter boats. If I had to pick one week to fish the flats in midcoast Maine, it would fall in early July, depending upon the tides. Fortunately, our fishing holds up all summer and every year we have outstanding days when anglers to our south are lamenting the "dog days". By Labor Day I'm packing up to spend most of September and October fishing the south side of Cape Cod for False Albacore. 

If you're looking to improve your striper skills, or want to try to target them on the flats, or just become a better angler, I hope you'll read on and if you like what you find here, give me a call. Let's get out on the water together this season.

You can also see more frequent updates on Maine Saltwater Fishing Reports Facebook Page.

See the fish. Cast to the fish. Catch the fish.

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com


Kennebec River Scouting Trip

We looked for stripers in the Kennebec for a couple of hours on Saturday without success. With fish now in the Presumpscot River there should be some bass filtering into the New Meadows and Kennebec. The water visibility was not great, but typical for this time of year. There are plenty of herring in the River.

Here are a couple of quick suggestions for early season striper outing.

  1. Cover a lot of water. With few fish around, there's a lot of empty river out there. Hit the spots that you think might hold feeding fish, but don't get sucked into staying there for very long. Move. Move. Move.
  2. Good water movement is more important than time of day right now. In the Kennebec there are far more prime "moving water spots" on the dropping tide vs. the rising tide, but the intersection of hungry stripers and ample bait is more likely to occur at any peak flow for a particular piece of structure.
  3. Don't ignore the small stuff in your fly box. You'll likely see herring flipping on the surface as you travel up and down the river but there is a ton of other much smaller, less visible bait around. If you find fish feeding that seem like they should be biting your fly with greater frequency, try swapping out your big Grocery or Hollow Flye for something much smaller.

Remember to double check your safety gear, the stuff that you want to bring with you, that you did put the plug in the boat. Much of what will become routine and habit in short order has a little rust on it from a long winter. Make sure that whatever you do forget on the fist striper outing of the year isn't very important.

Fish more,

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

207-522-9900

mainestripers.typepad.com


Fish Arrive In Maine

I'm up early for an Andro River trip this morning and am greeted by a post from the Tackle Shop in Portland showing a photo of a schoolie bass caught yesterday. My guess would be Scarborough Marsh, but that's no secret. I heard from a friend who caught a few small fish on Sunday down around Kittery. It was a slow start to the season south of us. Word from Cape Cod and Boston was that stripers were about a week to two weeks behind last year in terms of arrival dates and influx of bigger bass.

This time of year the most common greeting I receive everywhere I go is "Are they here yet"? Well, now's the time to get out there and find out. Hope you get a chance to fish this Memorial Day weekend.

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon


Second Spring Is Finally Here - Time To Get Ready To Fish

Fishing season is finally, at long last, after much delay, upon us. Striped bass are showing up on the south side of Cape Cod and it won't be long before reports of the first schoolie stripers filter in from Southern Maine. Open inland waters in the lower half of the state are starting to warm, and anglers from Rangeley to Greenville on north are ready for smelt runs to kick into high gear. After what always seems like an interminable wait, everything seems to happen at once. At least that's my excuse for why I still have never been turkey hunting. May is a month of frenzy.

This year, all of us in New England had late season snow and many cold nights that kept extensive melting at bay. I think of spring as being two seasons. The first is tied to prime spring skiing weather and the second is all about final prep for fishing and finally getting out on the water. First Spring is marked by a noticeable increase in day length, softer snow, a beer outside after skiing, and a palpable excitement about the recognition that fishing season is really going to happen again this year. Second Spring features bug-free days in Phippsburg, the first supper on the deck, frustratingly high water in the rivers, and a distinct change of pace in fishing preparations.

I may get the Maverick in the water this weekend for the shakedown cruise. I'm always happier when that milestone occurs in early May instead of at the end of the month. The ski season is finally in the rearview mirror. I'm ready for what's next. I'm sure you are too. Here's to Second Spring.

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC


Striped Bass Are Here

IMG_0248There are stripers in the Kennebec and New Meadows and last night I heard from a good source about fish up in the Damariscotta around the oyster leases. The combination of heavy rain and big tides has our waters pretty messy, but the bass will tolerate surprisingly stained water. It does present challenges as it's more difficult to connect the fish with your offering, but it shouldn't keep you on land. Many anglers who fish these waters favor the stronger currents of an outgoing tide for good reasons, but keep in mind that the flood tide brings in clearer, cleaner water. There's no shortage of bait around but this early in the season the bass are usually pretty grouped up. If you're not finding fish, keep moving.

Boston Harbor is also loaded with bait...and dirty water...which I'm not loving. The fishing there has also been feast or famine, with some large schools of bass and a lot of seemly empty water. Once again this year we're seeing a lot of micro schoolies, always a welcome site. The weather has prevented runs down into Cape Cod Bay on days when I could go, but reports from fellow captains to the south are outstanding. Big bass chasing big baits.

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

mainestripers.typepad.com


Not Far Off - Striped Bass Working Their Way To Maine

Well, it is finally May (that took a while), and the striped bass are moving up the New England coast. I expect that any day now I'll get word of confirmed catches of migratory stripers from Southern Maine rivers and salt marshes. I've been hearing from reliable sources about fish in Duxbury Bay, Boston Harbor, and around Cape Ann. They've all been small schoolies, taken subsurface. Water temp at the Portland buoy this morning is a balmy 43 degrees and today is the only sunny day in the ten day forecast, but the stripers will keep moving north, and soon, we will feel whole again.

Alewive runs are off to a slow start in Phippsburg and people are blaming the high water. We've had a lot of rain and snow melt upcountry over the past couple of weeks. The Androscoggin River in Bethel is in the trees again. The snow is mostly gone but there's more rain headed our way. I don't know if all the freshwater really does hold off the alewives, but I do know that there's a lot of freshwater flushing down the Kennebec right now.

Early season stripers do seem to seek out warmer water, which you can find on shallow, dark bottomed flats and places where a source of fresh or brackish water meets the colder saltwater. Of course they have to pass by ocean facing beaches and points to get into the estuaries, so you could intercept them anywhere, but paying attention to water temps can really help when there just aren't many fish around yet.

I plan to get the Maverick in the water next week. I'll burn last year's fuel and make a few casts. It's been years since I've trailered down to Scarborough Marsh in mid-May, but maybe I'll get down that way before heading to Boston the following week to start the season in earnest.

Remember, Low And Slow If You Go, often pays dividends this time of year. Enjoy getting back on the water.

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC


New Saltwater Fishing Season Has Started

Saltwater Fishing Season - Let's Go

How do I define the demarcation line for the start of my saltwater fishing season? Preparation begins after the last trip in the fall so that doesn't work. Other people have now caught striped bass in waters that I fish in Massachusetts, but that doesn't feel quite right (kind of like "electricity" when tagging team mates free in capture the flag...?). I have yet to catch a bass and I haven't yet run any early season stripers charters in Massachusetts or Maine. How about this for qualifications? I spent yesterday helping my A#1 client take delivery of his brand new Southport 272 and then fished for stripers myself for an hour at sunset. I'll take it.

Southport 272
New Southport 272 - the ideal striper fishing boat for Boston Harbor, Cape Cod, and the Islands.

The Southport 272 (here's one review with photos) is a gorgeous boat that is incredibly well built. We went for a short sea trial in Boston Harbor from the Smith Yacht Sales base at the Hingham Shipyard and I spent some time playing around with the electronics, getting to know the impressive systems set up by Navtronics. The boat is equipped with an Optimus 360 Joystick Control from SeaStar and holy hannah, is this a game changer. I'll post much more about this boat, the way we set it up, how we equip it, and what we learn as we start to use it.

Cohasset Harbor Early Season Striped Bass Hot Spot
Cohasset Harbor early season striper fishing hot spot

When I got back from the boat I noticed that the tide was dropping out of the huge saltmarsh that drains the Gulf into Cohasset Harbor. I rigged a couple of rods and headed over to the location where I caught my first fly rod striped bass in May of 1992. I can tell you the exact spot on the ledge where I was standing, casting a Mickey Finn streamer (last fly I'd used to catch landlocked salmon on the West Branch of the Penobscot River back home in Maine) on my Sage RPL 5 weight that my folks had just given me for my UMaine graduation gift. I wasn't able to repeat those results, but it still felt great to be fishing for stripers again and I drove home with no doubt in my mind that the saltwater fishing season of 2016 has started for me.

Hope to see you on the water soon. If you're interested in a striped bass trip around Boston Harbor, Cape Cod Bay, Vineyard Sound, let me know. If you live in Maine or have plans to visit Maine this summer, I'd love to share with you the Kennebec River striper fishery that drew me to settle in Phippsburg, ME. A striper charter on the Kennebec and surrounding waters is an incredible way to experience the coast of Maine. I run half, full, and multi-day charters and focus on chasing shallow water stripers with fly and light spinning tackle.

Fish more,

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

824 Main Rd

Phippsburg, ME 04562

mainestripers.com

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com

 


Striped Bass Update for the Kennebec River

First Kennebec Fish 2012
Stripers are back in the River with plenty of feed available. In our expeditionary outing, Fritz Folts and I put our time in Saturday, fishing early and fishing late and we were rewarded with one nice "first fish". We saw about six more swirls, strikes or slaps but only landed the one striper.

The Kennebec is loaded with bait of all sizes. Little sand eels around the mouth, brit herring 2 inches long from Fiddler's Reach to Parker Head, macs up as far as Goat Island and adult herring throughout. Water temps ranged from 54 to 66 degrees. We found fish in water that was about 62, but there are sure to be more bass up and down river.

Time to fill the thermos and head back out. Make sure that you are aware of the special regulations for this watershed if you are fishing the Kennebec in May and June. Hope you get to enjoy some time on the water this holiday weekend.

Capt. Peter Fallon

Mainestripers.com