2019 Baxter Spring Report
Page 1 of 1

Author:  Jeff Reardon [ June 2nd, 2019, 8:33 pm ]
Post subject:  2019 Baxter Spring Report

As always--or actually, something like 25 of the past 30 years--I spent a week in late May/early June in Baxter State Park fishing ponds. We stayed at Kidney Pond this year, which has better access to hike-in ponds and tends to be a little quieter on Memorial Day weekend when much smaller Daicey Pond can be a bit of a zoo, but does not provide quite the same quality of fishing right in front of camp. More importantly, Kidney only has a cabin or two that allows a fire-ring--and a group of folks I know beat me out this year and got them both.

We went in on Saturday May 25 and came out yesterday. It was wet and cold. As others have mentioned, things are at least 2 weeks behind. Leaves were just starting to come out around Kidney and Daicey and the other ponds I fish, and just a little higher were still at "mouses ear" stage. This made it very pretty on the rare occasions when the clouds parted and we could see the mountains of with colored stripes in various shades of yellow and green. Lots of snow still up on Katahdin, and early in the week, even a little bit visible up on Doubletop. Early in the week I was still seeing ice in deep crevices between the boulders in some the shadier spots. In 6 days of fishing, I had two cosmically good days, two that were average to better than average, and two that were really slow.

One of the slow days was my annual attempt to add a new-to-me pond from which I have caught a trout. This year I targeted two that had been in my sights for some years. The night before the trip I ran into a friend in Shaws, and he gave me directions to a hidden canoe and advice that the first pond "has a few trout but I wouldn't bother to fish it", while the second was "worth getting to". I was skunked on both. There are enough boats in there--both on the BSP side and on the back side that would be accessed (I think) from off the Telos Road, that a bunch of people think they are worth fishing. I saw no rises or signs of anything but very small baitfish that I suspect were red bellied dace.

On the floating line, I fished my favorite orange muddler almost exclusively. If I saw a trout rise, covered it with the muddler, and went "strip, strip, pause", there was a strike at least 50% of the time. When mayflies were showing, I tried matching them and took some fish, but they were no more effective than the old favorite on rising trout, and a lot less effective searching between rises.

Wet, I fished a variety of things when I couldn't make it work on the surface. The fish I took deep averaged a little bigger, but came a lot slower. Various buggers, especially purple and an odd ball with a green body, olive tail, and blue hackle, seemed to work best, but fish also came on a black ghost, a Mickey Finn, a hare's ear nymph, and a wet hornberg. I confess that when fish can be found on the surface, I have a hard time playing the sinking line and count down game, so I was not terribly disappointed when I slammed a bead head bugger into the third section of my 6 weight and it broke in two on the next cast. Orvis says my replacement will take 4-6 weeks.

My favorite pond this year was the same as the favorite last year and the year before that. It's also the one at the end of the longest hike. The drag through the bog from the pond where I keep a canoe to the favorite was notably wetter this year, but I'm getting to know the trail and never got mud over mid-calf. (Most years I hit one of the holes and go past the knee.)

One pond really surprised me with a much better day than I have ever had there. It will get a little more time next year. I had a great day on another old favorite, with fish from all the usual honey holes, except for one spot, a sunken log in front of a ledge, where in past years I have almost always taken at least one trout and some years spent most of the day taking trout one after another. This year there was no sign of a fish anywhere nearby, although the other regular spots produced.

I think the highlight was the lunch spot one day, in a little cleared area where a small stream dumps into one of my favorite ponds. I'd never been down to that end before--it's shallow and I never thought it was worth fishing down there. But it was out of the wind and promised to be warmer than our usual lunch spot. We found a little fire ring, make a quick fire, and cooked up hot dogs for lunch. While waiting for the fire to burn down into coals I saw a few rising trout, and took 3 on 5 roll casts from shore. I think I could have kept going, but hunger got the better of me, and they were no longer rising when lunch was done.

Cold. 65 in Millinocket yesterday when we stopped for lunch felt like summer warmth compared to days that were mostly in the mid-50's and breezy. We were damn glad to have a woodstove every night.

Biggest trout might have been a hair over 15", but there were enough in the 12-14" range to keep things interesting on every day except the day I got skunked and the last day, when I kept the skunk off only by catching tiddlers when a small hatch of mayflies came on late. I'll do it again next year, and may need to plan an overnight later in June to stay at the campsite where that little brook dumps in.

If I could go next week, I would. Things are good and only going to get better as it warms up.

Author:  Jeff Reardon [ June 2nd, 2019, 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2019 Baxter Spring Report


For the second year in a row, did not see a single moose on this trip. We did see one in the median along Route 95 between Medway and Lincoln on our way home.


NO blackflies. None. Until yesterday morning, when I got three bites while loading the canoe back on the truck. One of the little buggers got me right at the corner of the eye, and it's still swollen.

Author:  Tinsnip [ June 2nd, 2019, 11:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2019 Baxter Spring Report

Thanks for that! I love hearing those kind of stories. Sounds like you had an excellent trip in spite of weather. I'm doing a similar trip over Jackman way starting Friday for a week. Unfortunately, the reports are that the blackflies in that area are horrendous. Which won't matter if the fish turn on.

Author:  Hutch [ June 3rd, 2019, 6:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2019 Baxter Spring Report

Good TR.


Author:  kennebecfly [ June 3rd, 2019, 6:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2019 Baxter Spring Report

Great Report Jeff.
I also have been spending my weekends on the ponds.
We have seen very few mayflies and no Caddis as of yet but orange body caddis have been producing well. My brother had one of the best days ever on Sat. Met my brother for breakfast at first light at his campsite boy that was one cold morning.

Author:  K. I. Joe [ June 3rd, 2019, 7:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2019 Baxter Spring Report

Sounds like a great trip ! Baxter is a great place.

Author:  oldman [ June 5th, 2019, 10:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2019 Baxter Spring Report

nice report tight lines

Author:  Vermonter [ June 6th, 2019, 8:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2019 Baxter Spring Report

Was there (Kidney Pond) the week before, a combination of volunteer work opening up cabins and fishing around work. Lots of cold, wind and rain. Fishing wise, Kidney saved the day for me. (2) fantastic evenings with larger than average trout and an early afternoon Hendrickson hatch that had lots of rising fish. As always, just being in Baxter is more than enough, the fishing being a bonus!

Author:  Rory [ June 8th, 2019, 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2019 Baxter Spring Report

Coincidences are amazing. I just got done telling my wife I'm not a fan of campfires, and I visit this board for the first time in a while and read how a fire ring is a prerequisite for a camp for you. The fishing report was fun reading and fantasizing, as usual. I may have to hit a pond or two in the next couple of weeks.

Author:  kidmma [ June 11th, 2019, 6:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2019 Baxter Spring Report

always like your reports Jeff!

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group