As July starts in Maine, rivers, streams and brooks can still produce excellent brook-trout fishing if water temperatures seldom get into the 70- degree range.

Not surprisingly, brooks offer a great bet in July and August because they may stay colder than rivers and large streams in summer. After all, wider flowages have less of a foliage canopy and absorb the sun’s heat during the season’s long days, raising temperatures. However, overhanging trees with dense foliage shade smaller brooks and keep the water in the magic 60-degree category.

How magic?

Before William Woodward retired as a fisheries biologist for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, he had told me more than once that the secret to finding trout brooks begins with a thermometer at the height of summer.

Here’s how it works. If water temperatures maintain a 68-degree or less level in droughts, expect a good brook-trout population. Many Maine brooks fit into that category, too, particularly ones that come from springs and not from surface water flowing out of ponds and lakes. Cool water bubbling from the earth keeps brooks icy cool for trout.

Exceptions may exist to the Woodward rule, but that’s exactly what they are — exceptions.

In short, according to Woodward, the very definition of a trout brook insures cool temperatures for summer angling.

Late last month, Tom Seymour of Waldo was telling me about fishing a Waldo County brook the previous day, and brookies filled every deep pool, run and undercut bank, many trout in the 8- to 9-inch range. He said the brook held brookies and more brookies — just chockablock full of them — words from a man not into hyperbole.

Seymour had great fun, using an ultra-light spinning rod, 4-pound-test line and Trout Magnets. According to him, Trout Magnets resemble small bass lures and produce better than actual bait for brookies, white perch and black crappies.

And, just for the record, Tom rates as one of the finest fly rodders in my circle of acquaintances and also has no problems with fishing worms or baitfish, but he said a single Trout Magnet on a spinning rod works well in tight quarters and can catch fish after fish without him changing or adding fresh, organic bait.

In short, for Tom, a huge appeal of Trout Magnets strikes him as a pig-simple concept. No one needs to dig worms or fool with a bucket of live baitfish. He just grabs his rod and box of trout magnets and heads off.

Seymour mentioned a point that serious brook anglers followed with a reverence when I was a kid. He had to keep low and sneak up on each pool or run while hiding behind tree trunks, shrubs and what not so fish didn’t see him. He also avoided making vibrations on the bank. The result of such stealth was an enchanting day full of success.

“If I didn’t use such caution,” Seymour said, “I know for certain I wouldn’t have caught a single fish.”

This regimen appeals to me, too. Anglers in the know approach a pool, run or undercut bank as if each spot were a trophy buck or bear. Like a lot of serious brook anglers, my plan for brook fishing includes hiding and making no noise or tremors that frighten fish.

A fly rod suffices for my tool of choice, but flashing line in the air can frighten fish. Consequently, I keep casting to a minimum.

Seymour emphasized the value of furtiveness. While fishing that day, he blundered by one shallow run, thinking it would hold no brookies.

Several fish darted downstream as frightened as a herd of deer.

Fishing that requires the skills of a hunter appeals to me — the best of both worlds — and we all live within a few miles of a wild trout brook.

Seymour notices a point that also catches my eye during brook-fishing outings. Not many people fish central, southern or mid-coast Maine brooks anymore. This illustrates that brook fishing has pretty much died in the 21st century.

Because of that, Seymour has no problem with killing a brace of brookies for a meal. He spreads his brook-fishing activity around and chooses to limit his kill to two trout per brook per season — quite admirable.

Ken Allen, of Belgrade Lakes, is a writer, editor and photographer. He can be contacted at:

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