When September rolls around, many outdoor enthusiasts begin switching their focus from water-oriented activities to pursuits that take them deep in the woods.
Avid fly anglers, however, can tell you that the fishing they experience after the summer crowds have vanished is among the best they’ll see all year.
And guides like Greenville’s Dan Legere are happy to accommodate them.
Legere, the personable proprietor of the Maine Guide Fly Shop, keeps his customers (and other interested folks) up to date on the fishing situation in his neck of the woods with periodic e-mail reports.
In his latest update on the Moosehead Lake region, Legere says it’s prime time to consider a few more fishing outings before packing the fly rods away for the winter.
“September marks the beginning of our spawning runs when the biggest fish of the season show up as the water cools and the leaves magically transform the ridges into front-page photos,” Legere wrote. “Wild fish do live in beautiful places and the Moosehead Lake region is hard to beat anytime of the season and especially in the fall.”
Legere said the wet weather that plagued the state during June and July has led to an abnormal summer, but also made fishing interesting.
“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride this summer with water levels bouncing all over the place,” Legere reported. “The plug on the Roach River had to be pulled earlier for a time. All that did was pull in more salmon. [The river is] currently flowing at 115 [cubic feet per second] but will be increased to 200 cfs by the end of this coming week. We can count on an early run of fish, especially with water temperatures already back in the 60s.
“Fish are still taking everything, streamers, nymphs and dries. The tiny caddis of mid-summer have been hatching for some time, mostly in the morning and late evenings,” he wrote. “In the morning, look to the shaded side of the river. We have been seeing hatches of small, No. 16 Goddard caddis and tiny, No. 18 black elk-wing caddis. Small Hemingway caddis have been doing some damage on the feeding trout and salmon as well.”
And if you’re still unsure about how to utilize the flies that Legere has suggested in conditions you’re unfamiliar with, he’s got an opinion on that, too.
“Remember, when you are faced with higher than normal water levels, look to the shallower, slower-moving water near the river’s bank,” he wrote. “Fish often move from heavy water flow areas where they normally hold to lesser flows and shallower (two- to three-foot) water. Fish will be in places you never see them during normal, lower flows.”
If you’re one of those anglers who prefers ponds to flowing water, don’t fret. Legere has some advice for you, too.
“It won’t be long before the small pond trout emerge from spring holes where they have been spending their time during the heat of summer,” Legere wrote. ”When warming waters sent them to spring holes to wait out the heat they were fat and happy from all the insect hatches earlier in the season. When they decide to leave the cool water of the spring holes, trout do so because they are hungry once again and begin roaming the pond for a meal.
“Launch out a fluffy Wulff or a Hornberg, then give it a twitch once in awhile so hungry trout can find it, or try a traditional bright fall streamer or wet fly and strip it slowly in the film of the water if the dries aren’t working,” he wrote. “I can’t think of a much nicer way to spend a fall day than on one of our many small ponds.”
Legere will get no argument from me.
OGT fundraiser scheduled
For 20 years, Operation Game Thief, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Maine’s fish and wildlife resources, has fielded tips that have aided game wardens in the pursuit of lawbreakers across the state.
According to Chuck Allen, a former game warden who now serves as the chairman of OGT’s board of directors, over the past three or four years the organization has received an average of 350 calls per year, and those tips have resulted in the prosecution of 25 or 30 major fish and game cases.
Now Operation Game Thief is looking for your help.
On Sept. 12 OGT will hold a Harvest Fun Shoot at Hermon Skeet Club. The event begins at 10 a.m., and a 50-bird shoot and a 30-bird flurry are on tap, according to organizer Joel West.
In addition to the shoot, the entry fee entitles each participant to a ticket for the post-shoot raffle, and lunch.
Proceeds will help OGT, which gives rewards to those whose information results in the prosecution of fish and game law violators.
If you want to participate in the shoot, call West at 949-0985.
And if you want to pass along a tip about a suspected fish or game violation, call OGT at 1-800-ALERT-US.
PFF changes meeting venue
The Penobscot Fly Fishers will move to a new home pool beginning on Wednesday, when the group’s monthly dinner meeting will be held at the spacious Penobscot County Conservation Association Clubhouse on North Main Street in Brewer.
This month’s meeting will feature a presentation by Steve Campbell, the owner of the Thomas Rod Company. A ham dinner will be provided for $11.
The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and the public is invited to attend.