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Tuesday, July 29 2014 @ 04:39 AM EDT
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Lost in the Maine Woods

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Lost Again in the Maine Woods
By Bill Thompson

    It happened again this year, just like it has for at least decades, Rick Davidson and I made our annual fishing excursion once again. I can always tell when school lets out; almost like clock-work Rick will call and a date will be set for the annual event.

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Summer Fishing Prediction

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Summer Fishing Prediction
By Bill Thompson

  


  It was nice of Mother Nature to provide some needed rain last week. OK, it might have been a little too much, it might have been better if it had been spread out a little. The Saco River hit 13,000 cubic feet per second last Thursday and was the color of chocolate pudding; not the best conditions for fishing. The good news was that the river was back down to a reasonable level allowing good fishing for the weekend. 

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First Road Trip

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
First Road Trip
By Bill Thompson

    So far this season Janet and I have been sticking close to home and up until last week we had not ventured out of the Valley to fish. High water had kept us from heading up to the Androscoggin, but tales of big salmon below the Pontook Dam enticed us to find out for ourselves. 

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Fishless Days Angling Nights

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Angling Nights
By Bill Thompson

    One of the most iconic fly fishing books is “Fishless Days Angling Nights”, written by a fellow who used the pen name Sparse Grey Hackle. His real name was Alfred Miller and the book was written long before the other book that went on to be a movie, “A River Runs Through It” came on the scene. If you have not read it you should. The title “Fishless Days Angling Nights” just about sums up what is happing on our own rivers right now. Those of you who fish during the day, especially on the Saco, are going to have a lot of casting practice. Those who fish the evenings or the very early mornings are going to experience “Angling Nights” and catch trout.

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Family Night

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Family Night on the River

By Bill Thompson

    Did some guiding this past weekend; I don’t do a lot of guiding anymore so it was fun to get out again. Guiding is a lot more fun when you have a good client and this weekend I was fortunate to have three great guys. Nate Hill does just about all of the guiding for the shop now and I just fill in the gaps once in a while. Which is how I happened to be guiding on a weekend as Nate was away at a wedding. It still amazes me why so many people insist on getting married in June when the fishing is at its best. 

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Happy Days are Here Again

Valley Angler

Valley Angler  
Happy Days are Here Again
by Bill Thompson

 

 

  Happy days are here again, at least for us trout fishermen. I have not seen the movie and the book doesn’t shed a lot of light on the subject, but I am betting that even Noah would have been depressed after all the rain we have had in the last forty days. At last the Saco is at a fishable level and it has been warm enough the last few days that we are starting to see some of the good bugs. The Gray Drakes have been showing up in the evenings giving the trout something to rise for. I like the feel of a heavy strike on a streamer fly, but after a while I grow tired of chucking heavy weighted flies. Nothing beats catching trout on dry flies.

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Getting Turned Around

Valley Angler

  Valley Angler
Getting Turned Around
by Bill Thompson

 Someone once asked an old Maine guide if he had ever been lost in the woods. The guide replied that he had never been lost, but after a moment of reflection he admitted that he “might have been turned around once or twice”. Last week in an attempt to explore some new trout water I got “turned around a bit”. I can honestly say that I was not lost as the stream I was on has a road on either end so that no matter what way I went I was bound to come out on one of the roads. Of course the idea was to come back out on the road where the truck was parked. 


 
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Floods

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Floods

by Bill Thompson

 

 

The first order of business, this week, is to offer a sincere apology to my readers. For those who might have read last week’s column you may have noticed that I made a prediction that we would have good fishing in the Saco by the weekend. On Saturday afternoon the Saco was running at 15,000 cubic feet per second and at flood stage. Needless to say fishing on the Saco was anything but good. Who knew that the havens were going to open up in the mountains? Certainly not me.

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In A Slump

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
In A Slump
By Bill Thompson

 

 

 After a spectacular start to the new fishing season I have been in a slump over the last few days. It happens. It doesn’t take long for trout to wise up and even the dumbest hatchery trout become wary after having been fooled a couple of times by feathered hooks. Water temperatures are also beginning to rise, forcing fish to deeper depths or to where there are spring holes. The smart angler will now start to fish earlier in the day or late into the evening. Perhaps if I was willing to switch to a sinking line I might do better.  


 
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Awesome Start to the Season

Valley Angler

Valley Angler   
Awesome Start to the Season
by Bill Thompson

 

 

 

Despite Mother Nature’s determined effort to keep us off the water the new fishing season has been awesome. I am of the generation that rarely, if ever, uses the word “awesome”, but the word does accurately describe the season so far. We have pretty much stuck to pond fishing with the exception of one uneventful trip to the Merrymeeting River in Alton.

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