Dick Pinney's Guidelines: Opportunities for fly fishermen
FLY ANGLERS and other trout and salmon fishermen needn't go underground for the warm months of summer, as there are unique opportunities that the warm water conditions make that concentrate these cold-water species in big numbers and they are willing and hungry, just like they are in the cooler months of spring and fall.
We're talking fishing the cooler river waters created by dams that have bottom releases that allow water temperatures much more to the liking of trout and salmon and often other species to gather in these below-the-dam stretches and our region has plenty of these.
Maine's Magalloway River System and the lakes and ponds created by both Mother Nature and human built dams is a great example on how you, as a cold water species angler, can take advantage of some terrific, middle of the dog days fishing.
In the center of the Rangeley Lakes Region, that has been world famous for years for it's great trout and salmon fishery, the Aziscohos Dam is one of those bottom release dams that pushes cold water down the river and concentrates a tremendous amount of trophy-sized native brook trout and wild landlocked salmon, throughout the summer.
What makes this dam stand out among the many bottom release dams in our area is that a huge white-water recreational business thrives downriver from this dam and because of the economic impact and tourism that the white water rafting and watercraft use, large releases of water are held back and done during the weekend.
The result being a very active trout and salmon bite the early part of the next week, with lower flows of water making for good fishing conditions and big concentrations of trout and salmon waiting in the still cool pools.
The Magalloway River is only one of several Maine rivers that do have bottom release dams, but is very well accepted by the coldwater anglers because their releases over the weekend do create larger concentrations of fish.
Maine's Kennebec River is another river that fish will gather below the bottom release dams and this river is also noted for its support of a large whitewater rafting industry that compliments the other tourism resources there.
Unlike the Magalloway River, where brook trout and landlocked salmon are king, in the Kennebec it's rainbow trout and landlocks and this river does produce wild rainbow trout, although they are not native. And landlocked salmon as long as your arm are occasionally taken here.
If you are unsure of your abilities and knowledge of the Kennebec, thriving river guide services on this famous river are not hard to find and usually can be booked at the various outfitters and lodges there.
New Hampshire also has several bottom release dams and those on the big, brawling Connecticut River are famous for their huge brown and rainbow trout as well as northern pike, walleye and a huge population of quality smallmouth bass.
Although landlocked salmon are in these same waters, regulations are in force that prevents the possession of these mostly wild fish.
One important caveat is needed. Fishing all rivers, but especially rivers below dams, can be a dangerous pastime and concern must be advised to be well equipped and prepared for flow increases. Below most dams there's a warning signal given before an increase in the release of water.
The Connecticut River has instituted water release policies that stop the boom and bust conditions, that in the past, have caused fish to be trapped in shallow pools during periods of low or no water flow.
Currently run-of-the river regulations are in effect that don't allow the complete stoppage of water flow and have resulted in none of those damaging results that occurred in the past.
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.