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DFoster

Unsportsmanlike weather...

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I'm getting upset.  Our winters in Massachusetts are long, usually miserable, and never seem to end.  So in the months when the weather is not trying to kill me with hypothermia, I want to be out fishing and this year that is getting more and more difficult each day.  We are still in the grip of a very severe drought, something which is kind of rare here in New England, but this is a bad one.   Due to its growing severity, I have been leaving the trout streams alone.  For the past 2 months I've been fishing warm water streams which up until now have had some flowing water and pools.  But not anymore.  As of yesterday, almost all of my local streams and rivers are down to a trickle, and some are almost dry.  They are literally unfishable.  My wife hasn't cast a fly rod all year and she wanted to start getting tuned up for the Autumn trout season so yesterday we went on the hunt for flowing water.   After an hour of checking several of my local spots we did finally find some slowly flowing pools at the base of a spill over.   At least she was able to work on her cast and drift even though the water was painfully slow.   And she did catch a few Fallfish, Largemouth and Bluegills - probably the last fish I'll see for a while if we don't get some damn rain. The last time we were in a drought this bad I do recall the few remaining shallow pools were perpetually surrounded by very well-fed Blue Herons.  It's astonishing to me that they didn't eat every last wild trout out of the rivers that year. 

  As I write this a light rain is falling and it's supposed to continue until tomorrow evening.  Even so the local meteorologist is saying it won't be a drought busting rain and that we still need 10 inches to get us to back to normal.  After tomorrow night there is no meaningful rain in the forecast.  Other than a few brief thunderstorms I can't remember the last rainy day we've had.  I'm talking like May?   All of this has me beginning to worry about our Autumn river fishing, which can either be ruined by no water or too much water all at once.  Normal is always normal and we will get it sooner or later in one form or the other. The question is how?    A week of steady rain would be perfect. Two or three tropical depression/hurricane remnants back-to-back would be trouble.   But this being New England it's more likely to come in the form of snow which is a whole other rant.

Is anyone else out there being sidelined do to weather?

 

 

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Down here in south Florida “cooking” is our best reply when asked about the weather… You have be one tough guy to fish in the backcountry this time of year and every afternoon it’s lightning and the storms that bring it… not to mention clouds of mosquitoes.  
 

We’ll finally get some reasonable weather in a few weeks -if a hurricane doesn’t bite first…

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So far Hurricane season seems to be slow in '24. I'm told people in the U.K. are enduring a major drought as well.  It's just a dry year I guess.

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The ponds here have incredible weed growth in them.   Also a lot of algae. 

Not sure why, but hard to fish.

Rick 

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I'm not exactly sure what you mean. In Alaska, we never get a drought. We have multiple species to fish from warm water to cold water to the ocean. We have about a hundred species to fish and daylight 24 hours a day in the summer.

Still, there are some people that don't like Alaska (Mike Chell)

This weekend we fished for 20 inch grayling in crystal clear running water. Later this this week, halibut, rock fish and ling in the ocean. Sorry to gloat. (Occupational therapy)

Sorry for you, come up here for a bit, we got water.

 

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Never said I didn't like Alaska.  I like it just fine, at the exact opposite corner of North America from here!  😁

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I haven't been out much this summer, and the lack of water has played a small part, but it's more my lack of time than the doomsday drought that's keeping my line dry. 

I do like to take advantage of the summer to wet wade the warm water streams for small and large mouth, fallfish, and the occasional holdover, but don't enjoy it so much when those streams are as low as they are now.  Still, I can still find sections that are fishable, especially around this part of Mass with so many damned dams all over the place, and most of the lakes around my area aren't too low yet.  

And, there's always the Swift.  Its running well, the water is always cold, and the trouts are ever-present.  

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Water levels have been low for about the last 4 weeks but I’ve seen lower water for far longer so I wouldn’t put my local waters at drought levels.  I just don’t go out when it gets in the upper 80’s and 90’s. It’s to hot for me and the fish so I pretty much have sat the last 4 weeks out. It also helps that 3 years ago I took a new job and went from 11 weeks of paid time off each year to 2 weeks off so I’m forced to pick my fishing trips wisely. Oppressive heat is a no go so I’m really getting restless for fall and winter to arrive. 

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21 hours ago, Mark Knapp said:

I'm not exactly sure what you mean. In Alaska, we never get a drought. We have multiple species to fish from warm water to cold water to the ocean. We have about a hundred species to fish and daylight 24 hours a day in the summer.

Still, there are some people that don't like Alaska (Mike Chell)

This weekend we fished for 20 inch grayling in crystal clear running water. Later this this week, halibut, rock fish and ling in the ocean. Sorry to gloat. (Occupational therapy)

Sorry for you, come up here for a bit, we got water.

 

Gloating is fine Mark, I would be as well- you forgot to mention "no other anglers for miles".  In these parts when the water gets scarce it seems like every angler in the state along with every Kayak, canoe, tube and partying college kids that float in them find there way onto the last few dam controlled flowing rivers.  My favorite ones have portable Bose speakers blaring the latest rap hits.   Not for me thanks- I'm still searching out a few small pools usually after a long walk in 3 inch water that hold fish.  (Warm water only until things cool down).  I don't like to use up too much of my time hiking in but it beats the crowds or hooking a canoe.  During the last major drought I was fishing in one such  crowded place.  I was the last angler down stream of about 60 others when a guy and his girl came paddling up behind me in and I damn near hooked her in the face on the back cast.  I don't hear well and had no idea they were there plus I was shocked to see them. At that point I had fished that spot on the river for 10 years and had never even seen anyone in a canoe, that day they were a constant nuisance.  Some did their best to avoid spooking fish but there were plenty under the influence of various substances the would sail right through the hole I was fishing.

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Although our weather is awful this time of year (and the heat and humidity will certainly spawn a bad hurricane somewhere…) we are blessed with some first rate night trips on an outgoing tide… After the sun goes down the urban portions of Biscayne Bay and similar areas turn magical - no matter how grubby they look in daylight… Docklights big and small hold snook, tarpon, and other species like they were on stage in the center of a spotlight… I mostly have my fly anglers with an 8 or 9wt rod and we stay at the limits of their casting ability (get too close and the fish get lockjaw…).  A few casts at each light, then we’re either hooked up or moving to another dock light… all while that five hour falling tide is keeping them feeding.  
 

The best part?  As long as it’s not a weekend - we have the water to ourselves….  There’s always a falling tide every night but when I tell someone that on that particular night the tide won’t get started until after midnight… I don’t get many takers.  At least twice every month, for a five day period that falling tide starts near sundown and we’re in business.

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Capt'n- fly fishing in the salt, from a boat and at night are an alien planet for me.  I've seen such things on T.V. but I've also seen the surface of Mars thanks to the rovers.  I live in the central part of Massachusetts and yes the Atlantic is only an hour and a half drive from my area.  The problem for me is my passion is fly fishing our cold water flowing streams.  The type of water that you will never see a guide on because generally our wild trout are small, there are no easy trails for their clients to walk in on and the casting is usually difficult at best. Most people don't want to pay a guide for a half day's frustration and plenty of thorn scratches.  On the plus side I almost never run into another angler and I'm almost never fishing behind someone. The current lack of rain has really ruined the summer small stream fishing in these parts.  Being a Floridian you may not know that once water temps hit 70 degrees it's irresponsible to catch trout.  With high water temps they often they don't recover from the fight and die.  It doesn't really matter this year because at a lot of my spots there's no water to test anyway, sooo.....for the immediate future I've got to be satisfied fishing warm slow rivers, or drive out to our Berkshire Mountains. 

You have found a way to capitalize on what it sounds like the "slow season" in Florida, that is the mark of a true professional and my hat's off to you sir.  Most of the river guides in our local fly shops turn to salt guiding during the summer as a way of staying busy because the ocean always seems to be there 😄.  Unfortunately and fortunately fly fishing isn't my profession.  At this point in my life though, it's a lot more to me than just a pastime, my wife would use the word "obsession".  As you can imagine with each passing rainless week it gets tougher.   

We did get over an inch of rain this past week so only 9 more inches to go-  Things are looking up!

 

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That night scene... was very nearly one of the first kinds of fishing out of a boat down here (way back in the winter of 1972...) for a young man going to school on the GI Bill.  No matter where you are (if you're not way up north...) there's probably some pretty good night time fishing and anyone can find out about it - by simply getting to the water in places where there are bridges, piers, docks, etc.  -and in my early years a boat was a luxury... What I'd say to look for is any place that has docklights or any lights that shine down onto the water (a great spot, locally is where a restaurant is on the water and has a few lights)... diners can watch small tarpon,  snook, and other species feeding while they're having a meal.. Of course places like that frown on fishermen - but at least it gives you an idea of what you're looking for.  Many a motel on the water with a dock of some kind will also have a light or two...  I can remember more than one night when the bed I was paying for didn't get much use since I was out back, rod in hand, as long as the tide (whichever way it was going) held fish.. 

I scout bridges for fish differently these days.  If I want to know a given bridge is holding tarpon, snook or other species I drive from bridge to bridge, park my truck, and simply walk the bridge on the up-tide side (where feeding fish are usually found) - particularly at each light along the bridge.... Stick your head out past the railing and look straight down... If the fish are there - you'll see them in the bridge shadows and get to watch how they feed and exactly where on each bridge they're holding in the existing conditions.  Simple matter the following night to work your skiff into position to take advantage of what you've learned... Locally, there are five bridges that connect Miami (the mainland) out to Miami Beach and one or all of them will hold fish on a given night.  Very handy to have done a bit of scouting in advance when you're not getting booked night after night... 

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DFoster as I share the same state as you I can confirm that the drought has brought on

heartbreaking conditions not only for the fisheries but for all life that is water dependent. 
Sadly our weather pattern for the near future looks pretty much the same.😢

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On 8/24/2022 at 2:32 PM, Capt Bob LeMay said:

Although our weather is awful this time of year (and the heat and humidity will certainly spawn a bad hurricane somewhere…) we are blessed with some first rate night trips on an outgoing tide… After the sun goes down the urban portions of Biscayne Bay and similar areas turn magical - no matter how grubby they look in daylight… Docklights big and small hold snook, tarpon, and other species like they were on stage in the center of a spotlight… I mostly have my fly anglers with an 8 or 9wt rod and we stay at the limits of their casting ability (get too close and the fish get lockjaw…).  A few casts at each light, then we’re either hooked up or moving to another dock light… all while that five hour falling tide is keeping them feeding.  
 

The best part?  As long as it’s not a weekend - we have the water to ourselves….  There’s always a falling tide every night but when I tell someone that on that particular night the tide won’t get started until after midnight… I don’t get many takers.  At least twice every month, for a five day period that falling tide starts near sundown and we’re in business.

Capt LeMay

Love night fishing for many reason and fine it helpful for my Greta Garbo syndrome as “I prefer to be alone”.Only

problem is I’m a wade fisherman and the mighty Whitey has increased in significant numbers up here and the beaches I fish have a very good population of seals. It adds a little spice 

to the game  !  Lol

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On 8/23/2022 at 8:56 PM, niveker said:

I haven't been out much this summer, and the lack of water has played a small part, but it's more my lack of time than the doomsday drought that's keeping my line dry. 

I do like to take advantage of the summer to wet wade the warm water streams for small and large mouth, fallfish, and the occasional holdover, but don't enjoy it so much when those streams are as low as they are now.  Still, I can still find sections that are fishable, especially around this part of Mass with so many damned dams all over the place, and most of the lakes around my area aren't too low yet.  

And, there's always the Swift.  Its running well, the water is always cold, and the trouts are ever-present.  

"There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want." - Calvin and Hobbes. 

True for me as well.  I work full time weekdays and play music professionally most weekends.  I have 2 married daughters and 6 grand children along with a very large extended family.   It seems like a member of the family is always having a birthday party or graduation or a baby or a housewarming or some kind of event on whichever weekend afternoon that I'm not playing music.   I'm also a working class home owner which means I get to be the on call maintenance guy... 

I consider myself blessed by God to have the life I have but it also means that fishing time is really precious.  As fishing to me is a massive stress reliever a few years ago I made the decision that I would avoid a 2nd heart attack and that I would simply make time to fish. I have family and friends who are every bit as passionate about golf as I am about fly fishing.  They simply just make the time to golf.  So It's ok that sometimes my grass is a little longer than it should be or that I was a little late to a 5 year old birthday party.  While I can make the time to fish I still can't make it rain and water is pretty much a requirement in fly fishing.

IMO the Swift is the best Brook Trout fishery in the state and I fish it whenever I have the time get out there.  But the more rare flowing water becomes in central Mass the greater the swift kayak/canoe hatch on the Swift will be.   Your really fortunate to have that awesome river close to home-

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