There are dozens of small ponds in the Rangeley area, many of which are “fly fishing only”. These are fished from a stable canoe or kayak. Pond action begins in early spring just after ice out on those bodies of water that have smelt as a resident bait fish. The smelt will run up the brook, streams and rivers on their annual spawning ritual. Fishing the smelt run can produce some of the best streamer fishing of the year as the fish are very aggressive and hungry from the long winter under ice.
As water temperatures raise toward the 50 degree mark surface activity can begin. The first Mayflies of the summer will begin to hatch during the warming afternoon hours. Hendricksons and March Browns are the most common hatches but other types of Mayflies can be present depending on the type of sediment that covers the bottom of the pond.
As summer progresses the Various types of Drake mayflies will begin to hatch. From the beginning of June to the end of August is “Drakes season” and is the most anticipated season for those dedicated pond fisherman. Drake season is so special because of the size of the bugs and the way that the fish abandon themselves to feeding on them. The Drakes hatches usually begin with the Brown then the Green and end in the dog days of summer with the Hexagenia.
As the days shorten and the water temperatures cool in September, fishing will improve as the fish prepare for their fall spawning run. At this time the Brook Trout will begin to “stage” at the mouths of the outlets of the streams and rivers. Fall fishing is a spectacular event. Surrounded by the changing foliage and crisp air of Autumn in the mountains. The Brookies are brilliant in color but can be very picky when it comes to taking flies. Fall fishing is a time when you might need to throw the whole box at them. Wooly Buggers and bright streamer might work at the beginning of the fall and size 20 emergers by the time the season is over. A great book with lots of tips for fishing still water in Maine is Flyfishing Northern New England’s Seasons by Lou Zambello.
Suggested Pond flies:
Olive Deer Hair Caddis
Soft Hackle Emergers