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Fishing 2021


Whineminster
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1 minute ago, tamarack said:

Brownest salmon I've ever seen.  Seems early for kyped jaws, too, but maybe that's an effect of their southerly locale, or the fact that Sebago is one of the only 4 Maine waters where they are native.

Those are some older fish, He put them back as there breeders.

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On 4/21/2021 at 9:47 AM, dryslot said:

Even the snow can't stop a fisherman when the ice goes out.

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About 20 years back a couple of coworkers were out on Rangeley Lake in early May and had to keep clearing the snow off the fishfinder screen.  Don't think they caught anything that day except maybe a cold.

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2 browns and a brookie at the local spot today, surprised about the brookie unless it was a holdover as they weren't listed as stocked. Throw em on the grill tomorrow.  I'm done for the year I only need a few.   Funny how there's some guys who will go everyday and bag out.... Let some of the fish go grow and be merry and live to the end, seriously. 

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13 hours ago, Whineminster said:

2 browns and a brookie at the local spot today, surprised about the brookie unless it was a holdover as they weren't listed as stocked. Throw em on the grill tomorrow.  I'm done for the year I only need a few.   Funny how there's some guys who will go everyday and bag out.... Let some of the fish go grow and be merry and live to the end, seriously. 

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Agreed, those natives are hard to come by. I'm always nauseous when I see people taking tons of smallies from the Quabbin to eat or "fertilize" their gardens. Damn things take a decade to get 4 lbs.

Speaking of the shallow lake trout convo from earlier. Stumbled across one the other day while smallmouth fishing in about 12' of water. Went 28" and just over 7 lbs. I looked down and couldn't see the blade bait with its mouth closed and knew he would be moving on to the big pond in the sky. Us and our neighbors enjoyed him for dinner though. Did get a couple dozen bronzebacks between 3-4lbs. 

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20 minutes ago, PowderBeard said:

Agreed, those natives are hard to come by. I'm always nauseous when I see people taking tons of smallies from the Quabbin to eat or "fertilize" their gardens. Damn things take a decade to get 4 lbs.

Speaking of the shallow lake trout convo from earlier. Stumbled across one the other day while smallmouth fishing in about 12' of water. Went 28" and just over 7 lbs. I looked down and couldn't see the blade bait with its mouth closed and knew he would be moving on to the big pond in the sky. Us and our neighbors enjoyed him for dinner though. Did get a couple dozen bronzebacks between 3-4lbs. 

Wow what a beaut! You're good at catching those things. Yeah eating a fish once in a while is fine, but some people just keep everything.  Sad.

You think it's a native brookie? I wonder if DFW just threw some in there even though they said brown trout only was stocked. 

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55 minutes ago, Whineminster said:

Wow what a beaut! You're good at catching those things. Yeah eating a fish once in a while is fine, but some people just keep everything.  Sad.

You think it's a native brookie? I wonder if DFW just threw some in there even though they said brown trout only was stocked. 

I throw 90% back, if I get a big trout or salmon Ill eat it though but throw most bass back and all the smaller fish.

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4 hours ago, Whineminster said:

Wow what a beaut! You're good at catching those things. Yeah eating a fish once in a while is fine, but some people just keep everything.  Sad.

You think it's a native brookie? I wonder if DFW just threw some in there even though they said brown trout only was stocked. 

One way to tell is the taste/texture. The "old legend" I've heard from DCR folks is it takes about 12-18 months for the diet of the fish to change the meat. I can see some truth to it.

The stockies are more soggy/mushy no matter how you cook them, thus why I make a version of "crabcakes" with the meat. Whereas native fish/long-term survivors the meat flakes and chips, so those are filleted and seared/baked. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

What a difference on the east and west sides of the Quabbin. Monday, gate 8 (west side) 48-50* water, lakers up shallow, smallies still in early pre-spawn mode. Wednesday Gate 43 (east side), 53-55 degree water and smallies in 2-8' on beds. Thursday gate 8, still 48-50* water but fish are transitioning from 15-20' and moving onto the edges of spawning flats. Gate 8 was a challenge all week but put out big fish, although numbers were not there. Wednesday at Gate 43 had over 40 fish, but none over 3 lbs. Only got about 20 fish from my two trips to Gate 8 but I don't think any were under 3 lbs. Fish are the fattest I've ever seen, typically you need a smallie to be over 20" to be 4 lbs, these were all 4+. 

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Caught this one mid cheese stick. She is loving it out there again and listens better than at home. Definitely need to find some different snacks because I will be vacuuming Ritz crackers out of my new carpet until I decided to sell it or do it over again in 10 years. "

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1 hour ago, PowderBeard said:

What a difference on the east and west sides of the Quabbin. Monday, gate 8 (west side) 48-50* water, lakers up shallow, smallies still in early pre-spawn mode. Wednesday Gate 43 (east side), 53-55 degree water and smallies in 2-8' on beds. Thursday gate 8, still 48-50* water but fish are transitioning from 15-20' and moving onto the edges of spawning flats. Gate 8 was a challenge all week but put out big fish, although numbers were not there. Wednesday at Gate 43 had over 40 fish, but none over 3 lbs. Only got about 20 fish from my two trips to Gate 8 but I don't think any were under 3 lbs. Fish are the fattest I've ever seen, typically you need a smallie to be over 20" to be 4 lbs, these were all 4+. 

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Caught this one mid cheese stick. She is loving it out there again and listens better than at home. Definitely need to find some different snacks because I will be vacuuming Ritz crackers out of my new carpet until I decided to sell it or do it over again in 10 years. "

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Awesome 

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4 hours ago, DavisStraight said:

Used to go in at Gate 43 and go to the small island near the buoys, there were always nice smallies in  the pile of boulders surrounding the island,  used to catch them on crawfish.

Every smallmouth I've caught and kept that had food in its stomach had one or more crawfish, sometimes with other items as well.  Have not killed a smallie in more than 40 years but I'd guess their dietary habits haven't changed since then.

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My theory is craws make up a small part of their diet, but it is when smallies are most active. <50*  water smallies are more likely to be in deeper water focusing on smelt, perch, etc. Crawfish are not exactly dormant but not exactly active in water <50*. Once the water hits around 50* you have craws and smallies looking to reproduce. Smallies like building beds on harder bottoms around rock (compared to largemouth) which put them around areas with craws looking to do the same. Craws are also easy picking at this time because they are active and  easy spot, early on craws either have a vitamin deficiency which creates an olive/blue pattern or they are molting and get that orange color. It's one extreme or the other.

Since smallies are in these shallower rocky areas for a few weeks (this coincides when they are easiest to catch given their aggressiveness) they rely more on craws because it is all that is around them for a food source, along with the occasional bluegill looking for eggs to eat/a bedding area. Unlike largemouth, the gravel/rock areas where smallies spawn attract many other smallmouth. It's not uncommon to have 15-25+ smallmouth bed in one small area. This grouping sets them up for the next stage. Once they finish spawning, post-spawn smallies move to the first drop/grassbed off the area they spawned to recover. Whereas after reproducing, craws - specifically males, go into hiding and really only come out to feed during low light times.

Once the smallies have recovered, these groups hunt in packs for perch which are in that 15-25' range late spring/early summer. They follow the perch off-shore, typically onto humps once the water gets into the mid/upper 60s. When the water gets >70*, smallies head out to off shore humps for the cooler water and are around more smelt which are also looking for cooler water. Once there are some cool mornings in August, smallies start to move from off-shore humps onto long points to have access to the shallower water in prep for their "fall feed." Perch do this as well so when on those longer points they feed up on perch. Once the water temp starts dropping  and you get a full moon in September, the craws are looking to reproduce again and get very active, which coincides with smallies starting to feed up and moving shallower for anything they can eat. And round and round we go. This is my working theory and how I fish for smallies. You can always find some oddball smallmouth cruising the shallows for an easy meal, however bigger (and more successful) smallmouth typically hunt in packs or just massive schools. It's easier for a couple dozen smallies to corral perch or smelt than it is a single fish.   

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Most of the smallies I kept came from Seboeis Stream, about 40 miles north of BGR, and the crawdad feast apparently (judged by smallie tummies) continued throughout the warm season.  A rocky stream bed offers wall-to-wall crawfish habitat and the bass know it.

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1 minute ago, tamarack said:

Most of the smallies I kept came from Seboeis Stream, about 40 miles north of BGR, and the crawdad feast apparently (judged by smallie tummies) continued throughout the warm season.  A rocky stream bed offers wall-to-wall crawfish habitat and the bass know it.

Oh jeez then yes. At least that post helped me organize my thoughts for fishing larger lakes LOL

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The Quabbin is like a damn aquarium right now. For a bit yesterday I just watched. Could see small packs of 4-5 lbs smallmouth just cruising around the 10-15' range waiting for males to build beds - which there are very few of. Going to be a wild next 2-3 weeks as the first waves are just moving up. Also saw lakers and some big salmon cruising around shallow as well. Ended up with 2 smallies over 5 lbs yesterday fishing some old stone walls in 15-20', and then lots of 2-4lbs fish up shallow. Clearly the biggest fish are still off-shore waiting. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
1 hour ago, moneypitmike said:

A few fish have begun jumping in the Kennebec.  They'll become much more numerous now as we head into June.  Let the stripers and sturgeon runs begin.

Hope the one knocked off the tube was okay!  A former co-worker (now retired) had numerous near misses when fishing for stripers in Augusta.  Also caught fish up to 42" long with his fly rod and giant (alewife-size) streamers.

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38 minutes ago, tamarack said:

Hope the one knocked off the tube was okay!  A former co-worker (now retired) had numerous near misses when fishing for stripers in Augusta.  Also caught fish up to 42" long with his fly rod and giant (alewife-size) streamers.

I'd imaging s/he was pretty banged up.  Getting hit by something that large at whatever speed the boat was going (let's say it was 30mph) is going to do some damage.

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Those striper pics remind me of a time several decades back when those big "cows" were right behind the surf chomping on fish stunned by the waves.  F&S had an article "First Catch a Mackerel" describing how anglers would motor out a half mile, catch a bunch of tinkers then go back to a few yards outside the surf and heave the bait into the maelstrom, and would pull out 40-50 lb fish right and left.

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12 hours ago, tamarack said:

Those striper pics remind me of a time several decades back when those big "cows" were right behind the surf chomping on fish stunned by the waves.  F&S had an article "First Catch a Mackerel" describing how anglers would motor out a half mile, catch a bunch of tinkers then go back to a few yards outside the surf and heave the bait into the maelstrom, and would pull out 40-50 lb fish right and left.

I went on a small charter out of Maine a few years ago, there were 3 of us on the boat fishing and the captain did just that, we caught mackerel then caught some nice stripers, no 40-50 lbs but some nice one's nonetheless.

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