June 23 – 29, 2023Vol. 25, No. 2

Crepuscular Fishing

Emily Shea holding her son, Henry, and Ginni Bradbury holding her dog, Oliver Clark.

by Pete Kallin

Like last year, this has been a cool, wet, and windy transition to summer, with some occasional very hot days. The fishing has continued to be productive, especially early in the morning and late in the evening.

I love fishing these crepuscular periods when the lake is typically dead calm, and it is easy to spot fish feeding on or near the surface. Surface feeding fish often indicate an insect hatch taking place with some fish (often trout or small bass) sucking the bugs off the surface, creating dimples. Often larger fish will be just below the smaller fish at the surface, eating the smaller fish or the nymphs (insect larvae) just below the surface waiting to emerge.

In our lakes, we also get schools of landlocked alewives disturbing the surface while spawning in relatively shallow (less than about 25 feet) coves. Often these schools are being chased by larger fish and you will see occasional large splashes as a bass or brown trout picks one off.

A White Zonker fly next to landlocked alewife.

For this situation I like to keep one of my flyrods rigged with a White Zonker, a streamer that nicely mimics the landlocked alewives in the lake. It’s usually easy to catch several nice bass or white perch under these conditions. A spinning rod (I prefer an ultralight) rigged with almost anything silver, such as a small jerk bait (such as a Rapala), Mepps spinner, or Weeping Willow spoon is also quite effective.

I was recently surprised to catch a nice splake in Long Pond. A splake is a hybrid between a male brook trout (often called a speckled trout, especially in Canada) and a female lake trout (typically called Togue in Maine). Fisheries biologists like them because they grow faster than either of their parent species. Splake are not stocked in Long Pond, but some are stocked in Messalonskee Lake. With the very high flows we had last month, some of them likely were able to swim upstream over the Wings Mill Dam into Long Pond.

A 14″ Long Pond splake.

By the time this article is published, the water temperatures will be over 70°F in the lakes and the bass will be in the shallows either sitting on their own beds or chasing the sunfish on theirs. It is a fun time for fly fishermen to catch a lot of fish on streamer flies or surface poppers, especially at dawn or dusk. Spinning gear also works well with surface lures, especially at dusk.

It can be a great time to teach a youngster how to fish because the action is fast. A worm-baited hook and bobber off the dock is especially effective in getting kids “hooked on fishing.” My friends, Chris and Andy Cook of Rome, have grandkids near and far that have a way of showing up “Cook’s Camp” throughout the year to hike, swim, fish, and otherwise enjoy the lake with their cousins. As I pointed out last week, kids who spend a lot of time outside tend to be healthier and sleep better at night!

Sleeping off a long day at the lake!

Recently, I stopped off for a quick hike at French Mountain. As I was headed up, I met Emily Shea, of Winthrop finishing a hike with her son, Henry, and her friend from Colorado, Ginni Bradbury, holding her dog, Oliver Clark. Emily says she loves to bring her out-of-town friends to French Mountain to get a spectacular view of Maine with a nice, short hike.

Check the 7LA Website and Facebook page for upcoming events. I encourage everyone to take advantage of the wealth of recreational opportunities this area offers. Do like they used to in “the good old days” and take a kid fishing, or on a hike, or paddling in a canoe. It’s how memories are made. Or take a parent, so they can become a kid again.

©2023 by Summertime in the Belgrades. All rights reserved.