Where have all the trout gone, long time passing…

I’ve been fishing my entire life, but, until this summer, it was always spincasting, usually for small-mouth bass and almost always in ponds and lakes. I picked up fly fishing this summer and fell in love (which is a euphamism for ‘became obsessed’). Anyway, I picked up my first batch of fly fishing stuff on Father’s Day, a bit late in the season for trout, but nonetheless made every attempt I could to catch a trout. All in all, I’ve gotten reasonably good at catching things, especially considering I’m entirely self-taught as far as fly fishing goes (none of this ‘dunk and reel’ stuff). But I still haven’t caught a trout – ever, in my entire life. I’ve caught tons of bass – but never a trout.

So yesterday, I said ‘screw it’ and I headed up to the upper Presumpscot River just off of Route 35 on the Windham/Gorham line here in Maine. Why? Because this stretch of river is so heavily stocked with trout and salmon that I have heard anglers refer to it as ‘unsporting.’ The water was nice and cool despite the oppressive heat of the day. Cool enough for brown trout, at least, or so I thought.

Now, mind you, I caught some great fish yesterday including small-mouth bass measuring 14″, 11″, 9.5″, and 7.5″ long. Nice-sized fish. And the bass were everywhere. I probably could have caught even more if I’d had a couple more arms. Nonetheless, I didn’t catch any trout. I didn’t even see any trout. Toward the end of my day, a guy dropped by and told me the day before all the trout were huddled in a spring-fed hole, just under the main current a bit north of where I was. Said he caught ten and that there must have been 200 (so he said). So, after a quick dinner, I set out for the hole which I found rather easily after about five minutes of wading. Needless to say, the hole was empty. No fish of any kind.

But I have hope! The lower Mousam River, which runs about 400 yards from my house, is heavily stocked in the fall (of course, the Presumpscot is stocked year-round – and it’s only a 50 minute drive) with both brown and brook trout and it contains sea-run brook trout. So, there’s still time. But, despite numerous fishing trips this summer, I have seen only two trout – both here in the Mousam. It’s like I’m chasing a ghost fish. Do they even exist? Or are they really just some old-wive’s tale or a legend like the Loch Ness Monster? I say they’re real. And before too long I may even have a picture to prove it…


6 Responses to “Where have all the trout gone, long time passing…”

  1. You say you have not seen any fish, have you got yourself a pair of polaroid sunglasses – they realy help with cutting down the glare on the surface. When I go fish spotting it usually takes around 20 mins of studying the pool before I see all the fish – they are supposed to be like that…as nature intended. Another thing is maybe you are scaring all the fish away, today I walked over a tiny bridge over a small burn, I looked down into the water and watched a half dozen trout dart into the shadows, if I had looked a moment later I would have thought the pool devoid of trout.

    Have fun with the fly rod, you may well end up never using a spinning rod again 🙂

  2. Quantum Moxie Says:

    Well, I have seen plenty of bass, sunfish, chubs, and minnows – just virtually no trout. However, I am aware that I would see more with polarized sunglasses. The water in most of the places I fish is exceptionally clear and mostly shaded by trees so I rarely have glare problems. Nonetheless, the sunglasses are definitely on my “must have” list.

    As for trout being skittish, I had read that and so I do my utmost to move as quietly as possible. Unfortunately, I’m not the most graceful person. i will say that having felt soles on my water shoes has really helped me. It was kind of hard to be quiet in the water when I couldn’t stand up straight since I was always slipping and sliding. So the felt makes a huge difference.

    As an interesting aside, that 14″ bass I caught was parked about three feet from me and slightly downstream, so he had to see me. Anyway, I saw him and I literally spent half an hour trying to get him to bite at my Copper Jon. I nearly bopped him square on the nose once. I was psyched when he finally took it – literally. I had him in my net and was positioning him for a picture, and he wiggled free, snapping the leader, and swam off with my Copper Jon still in his lip.

  3. Trout Underground Says:

    Couldn’t the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle apply to trout? I mean, couldn’t the simple act of trying to observe them be affecting their location?

    Frankly, I think this one’s a “go”…

  4. Tripped in here by sundry means…heartily enjoyed this post. It is a shame that the trout are evading you. If you are ever forced to come to Idaho, we’ll go fishing and trout will be the result.

    Incomplete thoughts from a complete stranger…



  5. flyfishertc Says:

    I also stumbled in and enjoyed your post. It reminded me of my first year fishing for trout on a river – “zero”! I was completely self-taught and with hindsight (- is there any other kind?)made every mistake there was to make. Not actually seeing any trout at all did not help, and I almost gave up.

    Eventually caught a trout in my second season, but did not know why or how. You may wish to try fishing a wet-fly across and down -it is a little more forgiving and probably more productive as it was the method used by rural fishermen in Yorkshire when the motive was food.
    Tight Lines!

  6. Quantum Moxie Says:

    flyfishertc: Thanks for the suggestion. I gave it a try the other day and definitely had a nibble from what appeared to be a rainbow trout (it’s not yet spawning season so I’m assuming only the rainbows have the pink coloring on the side). I had to run so I didn’t get a chance to keep after him, but I plan to go back and give it another try.

    The thing is I realized I was tying my wet flies and streamers on with the wrong knot! I needed a Duncan to make them more maneuverable but I was just cinching them on. Ah, well, live and learn!

    On the other hand, the day I caught those bass I was fishing one of my incorrectly knotted streamers. But I managed to find a way to move it around without recasting that made it look – even to me – like a dead ringer for a minnow. Can’t wait to see if the correct knot improves things!

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