September can be a great time to get out and enjoy the last of open-water fishing. In the fall, brook trout become more active as the water temperature drops and they start moving toward their spawning grounds.
Fall fishing can be a little fickle in that you can fish one day and catch nothing but chub and wonder, “Where are all the trout?” Then after a cool, rainy night, something changes, and the trout come in and bite fast and furious. The something that changes is either the water level or water temperature.
Fishing in September is different from fishing in the spring and summer. The fish are more interested in spawning than feeding, so matching the insect activity is not really an effective method for catching fish. Those big, brightly colored brookies need to be enticed into hitting your fly. Attractor flies work best; my two favorite fall flies are the Hornberg and Mickey Finn.
Sometimes what you need to do is get your fly to dance across the water “just right” to get that big fish to rise to your offering. I have had many brookies come up and check out my fly without actually hitting it. When they do that, I have found that if you change your fly, you often end up with a fish on the line with the next cast.
Last year, my wife, Ruth, and I were at Churchill Dam on the last evening of open-water fishing. Even though we were excited about going bird hunting the next morning, I decided to go down and give the pool below the dam a try after supper. After catching a couple of chub, I was rewarded with a nice, fat 16-inch brookie. It was in full spawning colors with a hooked jaw.
It truly was a handsome specimen of a fish caught on a beautiful evening in the heart of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. It just doesn’t get any better than that!
The brook trout usually bite well when they first come into the river, so being on the river at the right time is somewhat of an educated guess. It is usually a pretty good bet that the fishing will be fast during the last two weeks of September.
There is no better time to be out on the waters of the AWW casting a fly or trolling a lure than in the fall of the year. Those big, fat, colorful autumn brook trout are out there just waiting to be caught.
Another fishing season will be over before we know it. So get out there and enjoy it while you still can!
For information on the AWW, go to www.maine.gov/doc/parks/ or call 207-941-4014, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Bureau of Parks and Lands, 106 Hogan Road, Bangor, ME 04401
Waterway notes: A volunteer crew led by Steve Barns has just finished the reconstruction of a 52-foot section of the tramway adjacent to the boilers on the Chamberlain end of the tracks. If you would like to donate time or money towards this restoration project, you can contact me at 695-3721, ext. 4, or at email@example.com
The draft management plan for the AWW has been completed and has been presented for public comment. The draft plan, which will guide management of the waterway for the next 15 years, is available to view at maine.gov/doc/parks/. Written public comments are welcomed.
Matthew LaRoche is superintendent of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.