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PostPosted: July 2nd, 2019, 10:44 am 
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Joined: April 27th, 2003, 12:00 am
Posts: 785
I have to admit, predicting whether a hatch will come off is not a strength of mine, but so far this season it’s been ridiculously difficult to catch one. I’ve been hitting two well known rivers in the western mountains in mid to late June, as well as the Kennebec at Shawmut and only the sporadic Caddis, Mayfly and stonefly. No clouds of flies like you get with a good hatch, and no fish keying in on then. I figured “the conditions” were not right for a hatch to pop.

But yesterday’s experience on a large pond in north western Maine, known for epic hatches and big Brookies coming up for them left me dumbfounded. We were on the water from three till dark. It didn’t start off well from the get go as when we arrived we met some guys getting off the water lamenting the lack of bugs. I wasn’t too concerned about that as it was midday-ish and I figured they wouldn’t be coming off till evening anyways, but nope. Not one Mayfly was seen the whole day. Not one Caddis either, save for the single Adler fly I saw. (That really confused me as I thought they didn’t pop in stillwater, but I literally motored the boat right next to it to confirm it was an alder sitting on the surface).

In desperation, I spent some talking to other people fishing the pond and staying at the camps on it. Same story from all of them. No hatch at all. One guy had been there for the past four days, and he confirmed, not one hatch the whole time they had been fishing.

Any insight into what’s been going on?


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PostPosted: July 2nd, 2019, 10:59 am 
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Joined: March 24th, 2010, 9:49 pm
Posts: 542
Speaking for the western mountains my experience is that the rule of thumb is the 4th of July at the earliest for big hatches and to be on the safe side start looking for significant hatches July 10th on. Lots of people have in their heads that May and June are the best fishing months in the western mountains. Not my experience. Remember the ice goes out on May 10th. Now i'm sure there will be contradictions.There are always exceptions in fishing. We used to go to Deboulie every year. Our trip was July 10. Just my two cents.


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PostPosted: July 2nd, 2019, 11:02 am 
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Joined: May 21st, 2004, 12:00 am
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Location: Westbrook, ME
As one who fished ponds significantly more than moving water. My experience this year has been that things are just off. Initially I thought things were just "late" due to the prolonged winter. It's just been a strange year and I've had to work for the fish. That's my scientific explanation and I'm sticking with it. :lol:

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PostPosted: July 2nd, 2019, 11:18 am 
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Joined: August 7th, 2004, 12:00 am
Posts: 74
Location: Plymouth, ME
It seems like it's a bit of all-over-the-place to me. By that I mean that while I'm not seeing the cloud-like hatches I remember, I'm seeing lighter hatches in places I haven't seen much of any bugs for the past few years. So... maybe it's just that my brain isn't as smart as it thinks it is and mother nature doesn't care what I think anyway.


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PostPosted: July 2nd, 2019, 11:20 am 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Near the tying bench
Reardon and I spent some time on a western Maine stillwater over the weekend and saw bugs. Not a ton, but they were coming off enough to bring fish to the surface. By all accounts, the hatches on that water are about two weeks behind, but expected to catch up to normal in the coming week or two. The hatch was mainly mid- morning to mid-afternoon. Plenty of caddis were around, though I suspect the rain Sunday may have knocked their numbers down a bit.

Oh- and in the brief time we spent fishing before work duties, we managed a few nice fish on sparkle duns- including a hefty BKT with a humped back around 18” +/-. Loons know where the fish are, and the fish are following the hatches. Of course- the loons also follow boats, too- so take your chances with that logic.

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PostPosted: July 2nd, 2019, 11:36 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5396
Location: Manchester, ME
FWIW, the hatch that had not started yet last weekend is said--by our host who has fished it for 30 years--to come off "reliably" in mid June, with June 20 identified as the sweet spot on the calendar. So this weekend would be exactly 2 weeks late. In my fishing calendar, that would push Hexes from July 4 back to about July 20.

One odd year like this--very wet, lots of cool nights--I fished a Baxter area pond almost weekend from the end of June to the first weekend in August. Hexes came off every night I was there if it was fishable, and fish were on them the entire time. Have not seen one last that long since then.

I just lucked into a cancellation at a housekeeping cabin in the Nahmakanta area, so I'll see if that's right starting Thursday night. If not, I know a couple of small ponds where I can probably tease fish up on buggers if I need a fix. If that doesn't work, I can just look at Katahdin between swims in the lake.

I will say that the orange muddler hatch--when the trout just whack an orange muddler if you slap it on the water and strip three times, whether or not you are covering a rise--was on in late May/early June. That one is reliable, regardless of water temp. :lol:


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PostPosted: July 3rd, 2019, 9:45 am 
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Joined: October 15th, 2003, 12:00 am
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Location: Bangor
I spent June 15-22 at the West Branch. Caddis started on June 17 in earnest on June 17. We had red quill spinner falls until June 19. Last year, caddis started exactly a week earlier, but the spinner falls stayed strong through the entire week.


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PostPosted: July 4th, 2019, 12:53 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Ellsworth
All......

My wife’s family always has a big family get-together on Beech Hill Pond In Otis at their family camp over the July 4 th Holiday. We boogied back from Portland early this morning after flying in very late/ very early this morning.

Every year at this time the camp screens are loaded with hatched Hex’s.....Like clockwork. Nary a one bug this year. Whoever is saying the hatch s are almost all late 5his year is spot-on......at least for the Beech Hill Hex’s.

I’m hoping I can get to do a few days of Maine fishing before I head West in about two weeks.

Dave M

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PostPosted: July 5th, 2019, 1:01 pm 
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Joined: August 7th, 2004, 12:00 am
Posts: 74
Location: Plymouth, ME
My wife and I were on BHP yesterday as well and spent the night at my cousin’s place. Great fireworks viewed from the boat. I saw one large fly that could easily have been a Hex, hanging onto the window screen.


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2019, 12:44 pm 
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Joined: August 23rd, 2010, 6:49 pm
Posts: 102
Location: Rangeley Plantation, mooselookmeguntic
Hitting hatches is, well, hit or miss. I hit one of the densest hatches of BWO and Red Quills this season I have ever experienced and it was latter than usual. Recently I hit squadrons of Stoneflies splatting down to lay eggs and the big salmon were savaging them. Have not hit a good caddis hatch yet this season. In the last 60 days I have fished at least part of 29 days. In those 29 days there have been 4 or 5 days were there was a decent hatch, less than 1 time in 5. That seems about right. In the end there is no substitute for time on the water and although I have a lot of local knowledge of the streams and ponds I fish, it is still a matter of bumping into a hatch. Have not seen a Hex yet here in the western mountains this season.... any day now????


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PostPosted: July 8th, 2019, 3:09 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
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I'm a firm believer in the theory that hatches are related to water temp. This year temps are a bit behind previous years so hatches are also a bit behind as well.

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PostPosted: July 9th, 2019, 10:07 am 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5396
Location: Manchester, ME
There were periods in my life where I had the right combination of enough free time and proximity to quality trout water that I was fishing the same water 3-4 days per week, and sometimes more.

With that much time on the water, "predicting" hatches was a lot easier, because I was on the water enough to observe a lot of what was going on. Still, there would be good days and bad ones. The only places I know where hatches are pretty predictable are true cold tailwaters below huge impoundments (which we don't have any of in Maine), and spring creeks. In both cases, water temperature and flow conditions are stable and predictable enough that what happens on a daily or seasonal schedule is more or less just following a calendar. And still there will be good days and bad days.

If you think freshwater hatches are bad, try to predict what stripers will be feeding on, and when and where . . . .


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PostPosted: July 9th, 2019, 6:37 pm 
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Joined: December 4th, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Near the tying bench
For what it’s worth, I saw a nymph shuck float by me on a slow, silty segment of a small river north of a large lake today that looked a lot like a hex shuck.

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PostPosted: July 9th, 2019, 7:19 pm 
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Joined: December 2nd, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Ellsworth
I always used to say that in its heyday Shawmut had the most predictable hatches I’d ever seen in Maine; before or since

The most predictable hatches I now fish are the PMD’s on the Paradise Valley creeks, and the Trikes on the Bighorn

Dave M

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PostPosted: July 9th, 2019, 9:49 pm 
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Joined: December 5th, 2001, 1:00 am
Posts: 5396
Location: Manchester, ME
Dave M wrote:
I always used to say that in its heyday Shawmut had the most predictable hatches I’d ever seen in Maine; before or since

The most predictable hatches I now fish are the PMD’s on the Paradise Valley creeks, and the Trikes on the Bighorn

Dave M



Yup. Sometime in late May the Hendricksons and Cornutas would start, followed by a June rainstorm, followed by a Dave M. rant about the unfairness of high water. :wink:


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