Maine Striper Fishing Update

Here's a short video from Friday, June 9, showing stripers moving into shallow water:

It's really cool when you can pattern fish, and as this video shows, there are times when they do what you might expect.

Hope you get out to fish, wherever you are. This is a special time of year.

Fish more,

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

mainestripers@me.com

207-522-9900

 


Two Herring Fly Patterns That Stripers Love

We're off to a good start here on the Kennebec River with more striped bass arriving daily. These fish are hungry and there's plenty of feed in Maine for them right now. I've done a couple of fly-only trips this week and can tell you that fly selection really hasn't seemed to matter. There have been some surface feeds where the bait was clearly small - 2 inches or so - but we weren't forced to try to match what the stripers were eating. There's a ton of herring in the river and I'm a big fan of larger patterns when fishing good moving water around structure. I believe it gives us the best chance at tempting a bigger fish to eat.

I really focus on two aspects of flies when choosing what to use: profile - size and shape - and action - does it look alive, how does it move through the water, does the fly do what the natural does, does it trigger the desired response. Then I also take into account the angler's ability to cast the flies under consideration. More on fly design and selection later. For now let me share two patterns that I really like to use.

 

I fish a mix of flies that I tie myself and flies that I purchase. The two in the video above are from S. S. Flies in Denmark, Maine. I also buy some fabulous patterns from Eldredge Brothers Fly Shop in Cape Neddick, Maine and The Tackle Shop in Portland, ME. All three of these suppliers are tying locally, producing patterns that have been tested and refined on countless numbers of Maine stripers, and creating flies that achieve desired profile and action with the minimum required materials. Check 'em out.

Fish more,

Peter

Capt, Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

 


Stripers Are In The Kennebec

There were plenty of stripers in spots this morning in the Kennebec between Bath and Popham on both the dropping and rising tide. The River isn't full of fish just yet, but they are there and happy to eat. The dropping tide produced some surface feeding activity but even when they weren't showing they were willing to come up top. The water is pretty stained but I couldn't discern a color preference. All white, herring colors, all dark all seemed to work equally well.

Keep moving, searching, casting. When you find fish, they won't be alone. There's no shortage of bait of all sizes and the talk of the town in Phippsburg is how strong the alewife run is this year.

Biggest fish of the morning was 24 inches, but I'm sure there are some larger fish moving into the river.

Pinching down your barbs makes the release so much easier for you and these bass. Remember that there are special regulations in the Kennebec watershed designed to protect breeding striped bass. Here's the link to the details: http://www.maine.gov/dmr/recreational-fishing/regs-tips/documents/2018_striped_bass_regs.pdf

It's finally June. Striped bass are back. Resolve to fish more.

If you are looking for a striped bass charter this June, I'd love to get you out on the Kennebec River. My few remaining open dates here in Maine are filling up fast as I'll also be fishing on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island this month.

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

pfallon@mainestripers.com

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


Albies Are Still Here

I finally got back out on the water Sunday at first light. Anticipating heavy fog and choppy waters, we stationed ourselves off Nobska and waited for the light to hit the water and for the albies to show themselves. We drifted, and made blind casts, and watched and saw nothing. At 7:00 we started exploring down the Elizabeth Islands at found fish off Naushon and in and around Robinson's Hole. What a relief! I just didn't know what to expect after the extended bout of shit weather. Finding the first pod of busting albies, followed by another, and another, and another was uplifting. Getting the first false albacore to eat was joyous. Ah, what we live for...

There were large sections of really dirty water, but for about an hour plus it didn't seem to bother a group of ablies that were roaming through the current and blowing up on hoards of peanut bunker. When the current slacked we made a run down to scout the waters east of Cuttyhunk and found no signs there or in Quick's, but back at Robinson's, on the Bay side, there we groups of fish that would stay up just long enough to get one shot at them. I couldn't tell if they were feasting on peanut bunker or bay anchovies or something else. The water was reasonably clean and clear and the fish were moderately fussy.

We followed those fish all the way up the west side of Naushon, taking shots as they came, leapfrogging the blow ups, until we got close to Woods Hole where all hell was breaking loose. It was great fun to be back in the game, fully and completely, with all worries about an early end to the season set aside. The pink albie snax was drawing some ferocious strikes and the pink and electric chicken Hogy epoxies were also greeted with glee by these happy fish.

Fog is the challenge early this week.

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC


Albie Season - Press Pause

IMG_1881The first week plus of chasing albies was really pretty fabulous. As is always the case with these fish, there are times when they eat with abandon and times when they are fussier than a four year-old at the dinner table, and we experienced plenty of both. Thankfully we usually were able to stay on the fish. The long runs across seemingly barren water only to find nada gets old. Much better to have albies balling and busting bait while you frantically search for THE fly or race to tie on a different color epoxy jig while the fish are still up.

Mornings were most consistently productive, but a couple of afternoons and evenings stand out in my memory. One of those late day cooperative feeds was in some reasonably rough water, with a good breeze kicking up against a stout tide all along the Falmouth shoreline, but last Sunday down in Robinson's there wasn't a ripple on the water and the fish couldn't have been happier. And the last day on the water prior to the storm, whoa. All of the overused superlatives don't adequately describe how good it was. Where's the photo of the biggest false albacore I've landed in five years? Due to an stupid iPhone that wouldn't f*ck1n turn on, only in my brain.

But...that seems like a long time ago. Monday was the last day I fished. One boat has been on the trailer and the other on a storm mooring since then. The wind and waves from Jose have us all on hold, waiting for the first weather window, wondering what we will find. Conditions had been incredible, with more peanut bunker than I'd seen in fifteen plus years and the usual clouds of bay anchovies that thankfully were not the fingernail sized bait that drives us crazy. There were lots of albies of all sizes spread from Harwich to Craigville to Falmouth and Woods Hole and on down to Cuttyhunk and up through Buzzards Bay. What has happened to all of that bait? Is this churned up water going to turn the albies back offshore? My guess and my hope is that all of the worrying will melt away as we find plenty of hungry and happy fish still blasting along the Cape and Island shores, blitzing plentiful bait and eating our jigs and flies, but until I get to see it, I'll keep fretting.

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC


Maine Striper Season - Off And Running

Striped bass are here, in the Kennebec, all over waters to the south, upriver as far as they can swim, in the Damariscotta and even up into the Penobscott north of Bangor. Both mornings this weekend fished very well and it's clear that there are more fish around above our past "slot size" than we saw this time last year. If you like to chase striped bass here in Maine, you want to go fishing now. Water temps are ideal, bait is everywhere, and the stripers are hungry.

We were seeing fish chase small herring that looked about two to three inches long and small sand eels . The size of the stripers ranged from "holy shit, I've never seen them that tiny" to "wow, that's a much bigger fish". We didn't land any bass over 30 inches but did get reports of bigger fish being taken on macs over on the Lower New Meadows. Best action for us came once the tide turned and started going out. We had acres of breaking fish and our only competition was an eagle. Not another boat in sight.

Peter

Capt. Peter Fallon

Gillies & Fallon Guide Service, LLC

824 Main Rd

Phippsburg, ME 04562

207-522-9900

pfallon@mainestripers.com


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