Fair weather and great conditions mixed with fish that wanted to bite made for a great weekend in most areas. In the saltwater the stripers, bluefish, flounder, cod, haddock, mackerel and even the first sightings of football bluefin tuna brought smiles.
Freshwater action in many places centered on the catch-and-release fishing for bass. Crappies had been found schooling near shore and trout and salmon fishing included some nice hatches in the rivers and good lake fishing, especially early in the morning when the salmon were on top.
Chris Henson at Kittery Trading Post’s fishing department says that more and more fishermen are exploring the vast array of alternative boating methods to get themselves out on the water. “It started about thirty years ago with float tubes, or belly boats as most of the users call them. A tiny fleet of belly boaters were finding that these rigs gave you great mobility and freedom to fish a lot of water that was otherwise not reachable. Their stealth and easy transport as well as the low expense of owning and maintaining them were also a big attraction.”
“Float tubes still have a big following and have morphed into such things as U-boats, a float tube that has easy, front-end entrance and inflatable pontoon-style craft that can be used for both still water and fast water. Some of these inflatable pontoon boats are even being used as guide boats, capable of handling an oarsman-guide and a fishing client. They demand a bit more set-up and are more difficult to transport, but they are a fraction of the cost of a conventional boat. Although most can handle a small electric or gas motor, rowing is the main propulsion.”
“It’s strange that instead of turning to kayaks first, before the inflatable craze, anglers didn’t recognize the fact that the real hunters and fishermen of the 'land of the midnight sun’ had used them with great results for eons. But the angler-kayak connection is finally gaining ground—actually it’s a groundswell! Both fresh and saltwater anglers are turning to kayaks in a big way, as special models are being promoted for the fishing fraternity that have all the qualities that a fisherman demands.”
“Although many anglers are happy fishing from a conventional kayak, the stability, storage room and other special features of the specialty angler’s kayak are very important. And as important as the built-in features are, the accessories available for a sportsman’s kayak are often key to completing a full system for the outdoor sports person. Things like rod holders, anchoring systems, special tackle storage, coolers either built in or adapted for kayaking, and many more options make for a great fishing and even hunting machine.”
“Right here practically in our backyard, we have avid kayakers fishing the brawling Piscataqua River for stripers and bluefish and plenty of them fish out on the open ocean working the shallows and surf line. Fly fishermen probably make up a majority of the fishing kayakers, but this is not an exclusive fly fishing sport!”
Chris wanted us to mention that coming up this Saturday, June 16 from 10am to 3pm, Kittery Trading Post is hosting an in-the-water Kayak Demo Day to be held at Spring Hill in South Berwick, Maine (which is approximately 20 minutes from KTP). “At no obligation you have the chance to try out the best and latest of kayak designs.” Visit www.ktpevents.com
for more info.
Massachusetts: Cod fishing out of Newburyport was extremely active, according to Captain Leo Stevens of Leading Star Charters. “We had three trips last week and all were different in the results. On our first trip we came in with a boat full of really big codfish. The next day we couldn’t find them and only caught one fish about 20 pounds, but on our third trip we again got all we wanted.”
“Although we’ve been catching an occasional fish on bait, mostly our luck has come from drifting and jigging. The fish are in very small schools so when you get action you’ll usually catch more than one at a time. We’ve been mostly in about 180 to 200 feet of water.”
“We also did some offshore striper fishing. There have been some big schools of mackerel and the stripers have been busting them up pretty good. The secret here is to anchor and chum to keep the mackerel around. Fish with live and chunk mackerel and you’ll usually have some stripers find you.”
Captain Steve Courshesne of Steve’s Sportsmen’s Den in Hooksett, NH fishes out of the Merrimack River in Newburyport. Steve had some spectacular luck fishing the lower end of the Merrimack and a couple of places offshore. “One day we took three limits of stripers, with most of them being in the 40 inch and over size. The next day we had three big keepers and plenty of smaller fish. Both live and dead-whole mackerel fished near the bottom were working in the river while live and chunk mackerel were doing the job for us outside. We did get whacked by a couple of schools of bluefish in the six-pound range but that didn’t seem to drive the mackerel off for very long.”
At Surfland on Plum Island, Kay Moulton said that her daughter had fished out on Joppa Flats last night with Kay’s granddaughter and friend and had caught seven keeper-sized stripers as well as several others. They were using live eels.
“The boat-guys are doing very well both inside and out on the ocean. Surf fishermen are having the best luck on clams while the boat fishermen are using live mackerel when they can get them or chunk bait.”
Captain Jack Maz at Pete Santini’s Fishing FINatics in Everett reports that people interested in getting a free autograph from Hall of Famer Red Sox player Wade Boggs should attend the Friday night gathering at the Admiral’s Hill Marina in Chelsea, the start-up of the Boston Striper Shootout that starts the next day on June 16th and continues on Sunday the 17th.
“Wade will be fishing the tourney with Pete and some other anglers both days. All of the tourney proceeds go toward support of the Soldier’s Home in Chelsea. The tourney pays $5,000.00 for the longest striper caught. Go to Stripershootout.com for more info.”
Jack and friend Joe Dulcetta found some great flounder fishing Sunday afternoon at Hospital Shoals. “We had our limits of fish up to 20 inches. Seaworms fished on Chincoteaugue Rigs were working best.”
“Although the stripers are still hitting well, we had a little slowdown last week. The Santini Tube-n-Worm rigs were working well in the tide rips around the islands, especially at Deer Island, Faun Bar, Long and Spectacle. The mackerel have been in and out and when they are inside there’s a ton of them. Some football bluefins were spotted at the B Buoy and we’ve had lots of reports of schools of pogies at Winthrop Harbor and outside Boston Light,” he ended.
Maine: Penny Legere at the Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville reported that her husband, Registered Guide Dan Legere had been having some great fly fishing both on the East Outlet there at Moosehead and at the West Branch of the Penobscot River below Rip Dam.
“Danny is fishing the East Outlet today. We’ve started to see a good hatch of Hendrickson mayflies as well as the blue winged olives that have been hatching. The East Outlet has better flows right now—okay for wading but still a bit high. He’ll be fishing some streamers and nymphs. Last week he had fantastic luck over at the West Branch, where streamer flies were catching some really big salmon.”
“The Moose River is still running too high for wading but the boat fishermen are doing very well on salmon up to 20 inches.”
“Mooselookmeguntic Lake was just on fire last week,” according to Registered Maine Guide Ray Soriano at River’s Edge Sports in Oquossoc. “In two half day trips of only four hours each we landed 30 respectable landlocked salmon (up to 20 inches) and a couple of decent brookies. Most of the salmon we caught on the surface with streamer flies. Beaded tandem streamers—gray ghost and red/gray ghosts were doing the best. One brookie coming out of Mooselook weighed 3.4 pounds.”
“Rangeley Lake also continued to produce some quality fish. We weighed a brookie that went 3.7 pounds and a salmon of 4 pounds, ten ounces. DB Smelts continue to be the hot lure—pink with black spots and silver on the front with copper on the back was the hottest pattern with lures with blue also working.”
“The river flows keep fluctuating so it’s hard to forecast how they’ll be. Middle Dam was running 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) while Upper Dam was running 1,600 cfs. Now they’ve both been dropped to 800, which makes for good fishing. At the Aziscohos Dam, the flow is 630 cfs into the Lower Magalloway River, which is great for the fishing there.”
Gayland Hachey at Hachey’s Rod and Fly Shop on the Penobscot River in Veazie said that the count at the Atlantic salmon fish trap at Veazie Dam was 147 fish, while the counts for previous years were quite higher for this date, 338 in ’06, 229 in ’05 and 259 in ’04.
Dave Garcia at Naples Bait on Long Lake in the Sebago Region had been fishing in the Rangeley area last week, camping out at Aziscohos Lake. “We had to contend with a lot of rain but the fishing was pretty good—lots of small salmon with some up to 20 inches and some quality brookies—we had one 16 and one 20 inches. DB Smelts and streamer flies caught most of our fish.”
“Here on Sebago Lake the fishing continues to be very active. They are still catching some salmon at the Songo Locks when the currents are running strong enough to bring fish up from the lake. Last week a huge salmon of over seven pounds was caught at the ‘Locks. Out on the lake, salmon fishing remains steady while the togue (lake trout) fishing can only be called spectacular! Fishing only in water 40 to 50 feet deep, one party landed 39 togue in two day’s fishing! They were fishing with sewed-on bait behind one of those big single spinners. The trick to fishing those huge single spinners is correct speed and depth. You don’t want them spinning, just wiggling back and forth with the blade clipping the bottom.”
“We’ve got mayflies hatching in our rivers—the Crooked River should be very good. And we’ve got crappies on the spawn in several ponds.”
“Our ocean water temperature is running about 56 degrees, making for some real activity. The schools of mackerel with herring beneath them seem to be everywhere, with stripers and occasional bluefish after them. Here in the river it seems that you can use anything and catch stripers. Tube and worm trollers are having non-stop action and people casting lures from both shore and boats are doing well. Castmasters are working well when fished deep and catching some of the larger fish with rubber shad lures are also doing well.”
“Even close inshore we’ve had whale sightings that are working the schools of bait. We fished offshore yesterday with Craig (Bergeron) and loaded up on both haddock and quite a few wolf fish. We did catch a few smallish codfish but most of the action was haddock. We fished several spots on Jeffrey’s and caught fish at most places. We also had reports of football tuna on Stellwagon Bank.”
New Hampshire: Jason MacKenzie at Suds-n-Soda Sports in Greenland says that their All Summer Long Striper Derby was without a fish on the leader board until Saturday, and then in ten minutes they had three big fish on the board. “Ray Rehaume brought in a very fat fish that was 41.4 inches and weighed 24.5 pounds. Brian Healy had a 40 incher that weighed 21.5 pounds and Wayne Bateman brought one in that was also 40 inches and weighed 19.5 pounds.”
“The alewife runs in the rivers are still going strong and a lot of keeper-sized fish are being caught, mostly from shore. Hot spots are still the Lamprey in Newmarket, the Cocheco in Dover and the Salmon Falls in South Berwick. Great Bay around Adams Point and Little Bay also have been producing some steady striper action.”
“Codfish reports are still incredible, with a lot of those fish in the 20 to 40 pounds still being caught inshore. The offshore ledges are also producing some great cod. Eastman’s Party Boats out of Seabrook and the Bunny Clark Party Boat out of Perkin’s Cove in Maine are having some great luck on groundfish.”
“You’ll either be able to fill your boat with mackerel or not find any. That’s how it’s been the last week. Flounders are way better than last year, with Rye Harbor right now being one of the hotspots, both in the harbor and for fishermen fishing the surf off he jetties.”
Striper Guide Dick Pinney of Greenland reports that they had mixed results on two trips last week. “On Wednesday we found fish scarce for a few hours but finally caught up with some near the top of the tide, boating six schoolies and one really beautiful fish just under 40 inches landed by Jim Garland of Lee. We were finding that the black Santini Tube-n-Worm rig juiced with Seabait seaworm concentrate was working the best.”
“Thursday’s charter found Clay Lagasse and his wife Chris having a blast on larger schoolies than the prior day, with a couple of fish just under keeper sized. The fish were hitting both red and black Santini’s. Again, most of the action came on the top of the tide.”
Ty at his dad’s Taylor’s Trading Post in Madbury reports that the crappie fishing on some of the local spots has been great. “The Bellamy Reservoir in Madbury, Willand Pond in Somersworth (he says you need to approach the shoreline from the south shore because of high water) and Wheelwright Pond in Lee are all reporting good fishing. Nearby at our local trout pond—Barbados, the water levels have receded enough so you can get to the shoreline. My son and I fished for just a half-hour and caught a couple of pretty nice rainbows and some sunfish. He had a blast.”
Ty mentioned that the striper fishermen they deal with are having a great season with Dover’s Henry Law Park being a favorite.
Alan Nute at AJ’s Bait and Tackle in Meredith reports that except for the thousands of bikers in town for Bike Week, he’s doing okay. “Bike Week is one week where I usually go fishing as it just overwhelms this town. So I went cod fishing over the weekend. Fishing inshore of the fleet we did better than they did. We just killed the codfish and caught a lot of nice haddock as well. Here on Lake Winnipesaukee the fishing is finding it’s normal June conditions. If you get out on the lake early in the morning there’s still some great surface action on tandem streamer flies—my red Joe’s smelt pattern that we call the angler’s smelt as well as the red ghost and golden marvels.”
When the sun hits the water the salmon start to go down as deep as 40 feet on downriggers and seven colors of leadcore line. Lure colors seem to be transitioning from the red, purples and oranges to the fluorescent orange shades. Top Guns, Mini Guns, 44’s and DB Smelts are all catching fish.”
“Some of the smallmouths that had come out of shallow water and were bedding in the coves are done, but there are still fish on beds off the deeper water, especially out around the islands. The season for using bait and keeping fish starts this coming weekend so we’re stocking up with quality live bass baits,” he noted.