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Re: Summer Doldrums

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Re: Summer Doldrums In reply to
No doldrums here--May and June are trout/shad/striper season, so I'm too busy to post!

I've only been out twice for stripers, once on a lousy tide and once in pouring rain and 20-gusting-30 NE winds, and have a grand total of one strike for those efforts.

But the shad showed up in the Kennebec on schedule, and the fishing for them was fantastic--right up to the Lockwood Dam with its failed fishway which so far this year has passed a grand total of 5 shad. For comparison, my friend Willie, who probably knows the shad fishery better than anyone, can average 20-40 shad per hour with two anglers on his boat, often fishing within 200 yards of the fishway entrance.

And after two hot dry springs in a row, we've finally had a normal year with nighttime temps in the 40's and low 50's, at least a half inch of rain every week, and no long unbroken stretches of hot sunny days and warm nights that drive water temperatures too high and send the trout scurrying for the cold water in springholes or below the thermocline.

I've taken advantage, with a total of 14 days on trout ponds since mid-May, hitting 12 trout ponds, including 3 that were new to me this year, and catching trout in all but one of them.

That fishless pond is the best of the stories. It's accessed by a paddle of about a half mile, followed by an easy 1 mile hike. There is a canoe stashed there, so all you need to carry are fishing gear and a paddle. I access it a lot, because on the other side is another trail that leads to a different pond that is one of my favorites. Somehow, despite a reputation from people I trust and believe that the first pond is a good one and holds some big trout, and despite my having fished it off an on for at least 20 years, I've only ever taken a few trout from it--all small ones. In recent years I have completely given up fishing it--I just paddle across it, fly rod kept in the tube, on my way to the second pond where I have done much better.

But over the last two years, rumors of the first pond's literal dark secrets have accumulated. A fly shop owner and a retired game warden I know both said to me some version of, "The secret to ___________ Pond is you have to fish it on a lousy day. If the sun is shining, forget about it. Get in there in the rain, and fishing will be fabulous. And for GOOD trout.

This year, on my annual trip to the area, my friend Phil ended up staying in the camp three doors down from us, and came over for a drink. We talked about where I'd been fishing, and then he dropped his bomb. "It's going to rain on Wednesday. I've already got the key for ________ Pond. You know, I heard from Junior York himself that the secret to _____________ Pond is to fish it on a rainy day." (Junior York's family used to own the sporting camps we were staying in before the state took them over and turned them into cabins open to the public.)

The plan was hatched to head in there early Wednesday am. Our wives made other plans--moose watching and naps with good books were mentioned. We awoke to cold, and rain, and wind, and Phil came by as I was making breakfast we decided it was just too nasty to paddle across the first pond to the trail, much less to fish the second. We agreed that discretion was the better part of valor. Moose watching was cancelled; naps and books were moved to spots near the wood stove, and Phil and resigned ourselves to hanging around camp with plans for a mid-afternoon whiskey tasting. At least until about 10:30, when the wind dropped a little, and Phil came back, wearing full rain gear and carrying his fishing rod, a life jacket and a paddle. "I think I'm going to go. You look comfortable up there on the porch, so don't feel obligated to come."

With that gauntlet thrown, I really did have to go. Plus--it was going to be THE epic day on _____________ Pond. It would be hard to pick a darker lousier day. So I joined him, and we paddled across the first pond, then hiked the mile to the second in the pouring rain. We launched the canoe, and despite the rain, found large mayflies hatching on the pond, and we figured the fish gods had finally smiled on us. And proceeded to flog the pond with every fly in our vests, mayflies popping all around us for three hours, without a single fish, or even seeing a single rise to those big fat mayflies sitting on the surface.

We then walked and paddled back to camp, where it only took two hours by the woodstove to take the chill off, and another 2 hours after that to get all my wet clothes dried off.

It rained again the next day, and Phil went back to ____________ Pond on his own. I'd had enough and opted instead for a couple of my favorites, where the fishing was pretty good. Phil not only got skunked again, but he also managed to flip his canoe and take a thorough soaking. (He was fine and didn't even lose any gear.) He says he'll back the first week of June next year, and if it rains, he's fishing ____________ Pond again. God bless him, he can have it.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
Subject Author Views Date
Thread Summer Doldrums Carl 1863 May 27, 2022, 5:13 AM
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Rod VanZile 1794 May 27, 2022, 5:43 AM
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Carl 1737 May 27, 2022, 1:17 PM
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Dani 1748 May 27, 2022, 12:07 PM
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Nick Zito 1685 May 28, 2022, 8:35 AM
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Dale Wilcox 1499 Jun 27, 2022, 6:00 AM
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Jeff Reardon 1487 Jun 27, 2022, 7:50 AM
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Carl 1481 Jun 27, 2022, 8:48 AM
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Jeff Reardon 1480 Jun 27, 2022, 9:07 AM
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Rossja 1464 Jun 27, 2022, 10:23 AM
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Carl 1422 Jun 27, 2022, 5:02 PM
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Jeff Reardon 1419 Jun 27, 2022, 5:14 PM
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greg setter 1410 Jun 27, 2022, 6:07 PM
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Jeff Reardon 1402 Jun 27, 2022, 6:50 PM
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Carl 1368 Jun 28, 2022, 5:01 AM
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Vince Pagliaroli 1355 Jun 28, 2022, 7:22 AM
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greg setter 1314 Jun 28, 2022, 6:32 PM
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greg setter 1313 Jun 28, 2022, 6:46 PM
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Jeff Reardon 1278 Jun 29, 2022, 5:41 AM
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Vince Pagliaroli 1269 Jun 29, 2022, 6:34 AM
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James Woods 1251 Jun 29, 2022, 8:20 AM
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Jeff Reardon 1247 Jun 29, 2022, 8:30 AM
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Dani 791 Jun 29, 2022, 9:46 AM
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tod osier 778 Jun 29, 2022, 2:18 PM
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Jeff Reardon 772 Jun 29, 2022, 3:38 PM
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tod osier 768 Jun 29, 2022, 3:56 PM
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Jeff Reardon 767 Jun 29, 2022, 4:04 PM
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greg setter 751 Jun 29, 2022, 7:34 PM
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Jeff Reardon 729 Jun 30, 2022, 6:50 AM
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Carl 728 Jun 30, 2022, 7:14 AM
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rfberan 781 Jun 29, 2022, 12:57 PM
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Carl 1283 Jun 29, 2022, 4:55 AM
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Troy Fields 716 Jun 30, 2022, 9:26 AM
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Jeff Reardon 703 Jun 30, 2022, 12:13 PM
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Carl 1478 Jun 27, 2022, 8:51 AM
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Huntindave McCann 1451 Jun 27, 2022, 11:19 AM
Thread Re: Summer Doldrums: Finally got out fishing.
Carl 634 Jul 2, 2022, 11:34 AM
Post Re: Summer Doldrums: Finally got out fishing.
greg setter 514 Jul 9, 2022, 6:16 AM