Northern NE Fishwire

Casco Bay shallow water striper

Casco Bay shallow water striper

“Wow” is all I can say…within that wow is that I cannot believe it is mid-July already and we are well into the fishing season and “supposed” summer. I’ll try and give a brief synopsis of what’s been going on here in points north of NE. Some of the delay on reports has been my fault due to time,¬†as well as of the lack of reports from captains…

The season started out with high expectations after a tough fishing year for all in 2008…. great spring weather and clear waters for early June and things where looking good. Fish started moving out of the rivers and into the Bay and shallow water areas. We where seeing good numbers of fish throughout southern Maine. Nice schools of healthy looking stripers all in the 24″-34″ size range, covered in sea lice and hungry. Kind of reminded me of years past when the fish showed up in good numbers early June, the reports where steady and anglers where happy. The one concern aired was the lack of “micro” bass anywhere…the typical 13″-18″ stripers that once made up a bulk of the early season fishing.

Fast forward into mid-June… The RAIN came. Rain and more rain dumping inches per day. In one tow day period we reached 4 inches of rain in the Portland area…something I can never remember happening. Rivers where at flood stage in no time and dumping hordes of chocolate water in to Maine bays from Mid-coast down. Fishing reports slumped off, any of the clear shallow water fishing was over. We started struggling to find clean water to fish and finding very few “schools” of fish on the days we could get out. Mother nature playing a huge joke on us and we just couldn’t seem to catch a break. Some of us continued to find fish but worked hard for them. As of about 10 days ago we started seeing fellow guides from the Kennebec, Sheepscott and New Meadows rivers (the 3 larger striper fishery rivers in Maine) appearing into Casco Bay trying to get their clients onto fish the rivers where void of other than for the bait fishermen. Things began to get complicated… I was hearing from local Casco Bay guides on a regular basis that they where now competing with several other boats for the few fish they where consistently finding. Shore anglers where giving up all hopes of what started out as a “good” season.

OK – rains subdued but it took a good 6-8 days for water to begin to clear and lose the nasty brown color. Just this week I personally began to start to be able to sight fish again and have been seeing a decent number of fish moving around with some big bass in the mix. I had a angler land a 42″ close to 30lbs bass in very shallow water. The next morning break off another in the same size class and chasing other big bass around trying to get shots at these guys who act more like permit than bass in 2ft of water. Reports from Captain Eric Wallace in Casco Bay where sounding the same so things are looking up.

I plan to put a large sticky note on my forehead for regular friday reports and will be tracking down others for up to date reports as things get rolling here again and we get into tuna season.

Until next week…get out there looking and enjoy

-Capt. John Ford

Portland, Maine

Posted in Fishing Reports, Lead Article, Northern New England

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