On The Water
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ON THE WATER

by Rick Lundstedt

 

Hope you all had a great summer. Weather was good, bugs weren’t terrible, water level and clarity stayed high and the fishing was pretty good…what’s not to like?  We did get a late start this spring which shortened the early season but a good September evened things out.

The IF & W’s stocking program seems to be working. Some folks, including myself, caught some Brown Trout. Most of my trout hit spinners and they got tougher to catch after late May/early June when the stockies switched to eating bugs. Only managed to get one on a fly. Tough to spend the requisite time to figure out what fly they want when I know the best bass fishing our lake offers is happening at the same time!  Not sure if the trout survived the summer as I didn’t catch or see any in September but that is certainly not proof. My guess (maybe more of a hope!) is that they went to deep springs and found enough forage and oxygen. If they were ever going to survive, it would have been this summer as the temperatures were relatively moderate. Some of Dick Harris’s buddies found trout early summer by trolling 15 feet down at the thermocline.  If you happen to catch a Brown in the 17 – 18” range, that could very well be a holdover, so please contact our area’s Fisheries biologist Francis Brautigam.  He is very interested in proving the holdover theory.  A growing trout population means that eventually there will be enough fish to positively change the character of the lake. Pods of trout will form and actively surface-feed during the correct conditions, thus giving the increasing number of anglers another viable target species (and some lucky folks will figure them out!).

Just talked to Francis and got the latest stocking schedule. This fall IF& W will stock 20 Brood Salmon (approx. 3 pounds each), 10 Brood Browns (approx 4 – 6 pounds each) and 400 12 –14” Browns. The trout will never supercede bass as the predominant species, but variety is nice!

The bass fishing this season was steady and didn’t tail off until late summer. Good catches were consistent until late August. Tripp is an odd spring lake in that the spawn happens quickly and it’s actually possible to miss the peak even though you fish every weekend. Consequently,  the fast and furious pre-spawn can also be fleeting. Another angler told me that his best days this spring were mid-week in the cold and rain. The good news is…even if you miss that, once the bass settle down post-spawn, solid catches are the rule. 

As is the norm, Anna and I did some canoeing on the Androscoggin River.  Always a good day trip, we hit the Bethel area a few times but also did some exploring in Turner.  We caught less quantity this year around Bethel but I managed a career brown (24” !!) on a day that yielded only 3 total fish. The Turner trip started @ Twin Bridges (tricky put-in) and we paddled 7 miles down to Center Bridge. Caught a bunch of “river” smallies and a large pickerel in a backwater area just off the main river. Hope to do more exploring next year.  Dell King had done the next leg (from Center bridge to Gulf Island) so he’ll be game to join in!  If anyone else is interested…..let me know!

Speaking of exploring, Anna and I finally arranged a striper charter out of Portland July 2nd. We went with Capt. Ben Garfield of  “Go Fish Charters”  on a morning trip. We started out by jigging up mackerel in the outer harbor with Sebakki rigs.  After the live well was loaded, we came back to the harbor and live-lined mackerel around rock islands and outcroppings where the current was best.  With lighthouses and old stone forts as a backdrop, we caught 4 stripers. Anna’s 30 incher earned the bragging rights!  Three weeks later (July 20th) a buddy of mine and I took his son and friend on a similar trip and caught 11 on chunk mackerel.  Everyone caught a few fish, the kids had a ball and I lucked out with 2 beauties….one 32” and another 33”.  A few weeks later Mike Shapiro took his grandson Drew and son-in-law Joel out with Ben and also did well.

The captain generally tags and releases a couple of fish per trip and we did so during both of our trips. Basically, a plastic tag is inserted just under the skin (of the fish…not the angler!) behind the dorsal fin.  Info. recorded is the length, weight, date and location caught.  If anyone catches a tagged fish they are supposed to record similar data and feed it back to the Littoral Society or Dept. of Marine Fisheries.  I received a letter stating that one of the fish we caught on July 20th  was re-caught August 15th, still in Portland Harbor.  So...the tagging process actually works, as does catch and release.  If you’re interested in striper fishing with an affable, knowledgeable captain who will work hard to ensure good fish and a good time, I highly recommend Capt. Ben! We’re definitely doing it again next year.

Congratulations to my neighbor and fishing buddy Bill Wert.  He bought a new 15 foot Sea nymph…sweet boat!  Seemed fitting that he caught the last fish of our year from his new craft…a dandy Columbus Day bass!  Also,  congratulations to the Richard Smiths on their new 17 foot “Pahty boat”…pretty comfy! 

Well…time to winterize the fishing gear and prep for ice fishing....but not before packing for the next venture.  Anna and I are heading to Green Turtle Key (in the Abaco’s chain of the Bahamas) November 14 for 8 days. Think we’ll squeeze some fishing in?  Oh yuh!

Have a good winter….see you on the water !