March 31, 2013

Allen Afield: April fishing is hit or miss, but the hits are worth it


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This particular day, backswimmers were hatching in still water next to the bank, and many swam too close to a strong current. Off they'd go downstream.

Trout gathered downstream near the bank and fed like mad, and an old-fashioned Wooly Worm with a yellow-gold body and brown palmering fooled the fish -- a wicked trout-feeding spree that created a lasting memory.

In April, stoneflies occasionally hatch in the water and break from the shuck while sitting on the meniscus, a tad abnormal for stonefly species. They typically climb on top of a river rock or fallen trunk or swim to dry land before metamorphosing into a flying insect.

When we find stoneflies hatching in water, dry-fly fishing can turn into a lasting memory. A few years ago, I had one of those April afternoon fishing orgies on the St. George River below Sennebec Pond and another one with Tom Seymour on a no-name Waldo County brook.

April dry-fly fishing feels mighty special because, typically, most of us in Maine don't have dry-fly action until early May when red quill or blue quill hatches begin. For me, it's usually red quills.

This month can be feast or famine, all right, and when we go forth, we're naturally hoping for a feast. Success may be somewhat rare, but it is just common enough to keep us trudging forth into the cold.


Ken Allen, of Belgrade Lakes, a writer, editor and photographer, may be reached at:


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