A short trip which is available all year long. Is a trip to Madison to fly fish the Kennebec River. I have many fish and photos of the area that I post to Instagram. The fishing is great when the water is high. You can catch splake, brookies, salmon, rainbow, and browns for cold blooded fish, which they call a Kennebec grand slam. Lots of bass large and small mouth.
We the hydro dam and trees that make its way down the river, which always creates new habitat and flows, seams, and riffles to fish. Many deep holes for trout to hide as the Eagles and the osprey love to patrol that part of the river. Trout and salmon love structure even the foam on the water always holds a pod of brookies.
Lot of hold over trout, big 1 ½ or 2 pounders and it also is well stocked. Lots of fly fisherman fish for wild native brookie but I don’t care as much. They all fry up the same, they claim there is a taste difference?
A few years ago I started fall fishing and fall in love with it no pun intended. Went up north to Grand Falls and met another fly fisherman there who was saying he fished in Madison almost up to December. It was my first fall trip to Grand Falls and caught many salmon and loved it. So, I decided to stay closer to home and fish in Madison. I look for the higher flows, fishing down with intermediate line and streamers, very productive.
So once parked at the Kennebec, I went on a hunt. The trout and salmon seem to pool together that time of the year feeding on the seems next to the slow water. So I usually walk and fish down stream checking and checking to where they are yarded up. At the rock cliffs where I could go no more close to sunset. I started casting the pool next to the cliffs with no luck. I had some hits earlier but not much success. Then I casted to the seem where the slow water end and hit the jackpot. I caught two salmon, rainbow, twelve brookies and one brown. Salmon where small, but brookies were in the 1 ½ pound range…
Like I said earlier I fish down with intermediate line. I take a dry system with a mouse, but they didn’t seem to be looking up. I use a nine foot leader mono nothing fancy and a number four Grey Ghost. I caught more trout and salmon on that fly than any other. I didn’t even change it up. I will use number four wood special or a number eight Golden Retriever.
The catch of the day was the rainbow. Even though I didn’t get a Kennebec Grand Slam I was surprised of the variety and how all those fish were schooling together. The rainbow was the first time I had caught one there, not a fan of rainbow mostly stocked fish. I love the taste and how easy the brookies fry up. I lost ten other fish they were all down clinging to the hydro cushion behind the rock.
One thing I do when the water is low. Is not fish as much but scout to see where these big rocks, water logged trees, or ledge are. So in the future I have some idea where these fish are hanging. Low water conditions can really change the whole flow and look of a river. Access can be easier to get to the hard to reach areas, where you could not reach at higher water.
One other smaller pool held one brown trout I caught earlier. I find that one single brown will dominate a pool of any size water. Not with other fish like salmon or brookies. But brown trout I find a very territorial unlike brookies. So the smaller pool that I caught the brown did not yield anymore fish of any species. I find too that many times fish are concentrated to one or two pools.
The trick in the larger pool by the seem was to cast to the fast water and swing out into the seam. This proved very productive. I lost twelve more fish in the process. That truly is the difference between spring fishing and fall fishing. The fish in the fall are fattening themselves up for the winter and are very hungry. The larger fish have moved in from the deeper pools as the water temperature had dropped because of the fall season. In the difference between fall and spring is in the spring you have a very narrow window to catch fish. Water temperature has to be almost perfect, and flow need to come down. I only catch a few fish in the spring. But same spot in the fall I catch a dozen or more…
I is nice to be out on the Kennebec that time of year. Deer everywhere and eagles overhead. Fish tend to be larger and hungry. The Kennebec is coming back slow and surly. That area is well stocked too. So I hope you have a chance to go in the fall and try for that Kennebec Grand Slam.