Summer Doldrums


Well-known member
Staff member
Seems like the summer doldrums have set in, not new post in over 24 hours!

What's everyone up to??

I hope to get out fishing for grey snapper & spanish mackerel this weekend.
I know what you mean Carl! I have been busy at work all week and hoped that someone would post SOMETHING fun for me to read/look at when I needed a break at work....ah well....I'll post a story so that maybe someone else can enjoy a break from their work

After I am done with work vacation starts....I am super excited. I will be heading to Africa with my Gramma (the same one who took me polar bear watching!). It is gonna be a lot of fun I am sure!!! We are going on a wildlife viewing safari in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana as well as getting to see Victoria soon I'll be absent for a little while....I MIGHT have some internet in one or two places that I could post a teaser picture or two.....
Probably just fish the Fort DeSoto Pier down in Pinellas County.

Unless I can find time to get my carb rebuilt, then I'll head to one of the bridges. Finally got the parts, just hadn't had time to do the work.

I agree with your sentiment, I haven't had any bathroom reading from this site lately. I'll be starting the rehab of my two man layout and adding a skeg to make it towable per conversations with Steve Sanford sometime soon. Something to entertain the crowd soon enough.
Well, I am kind of bored too this summer...... here are a few pictures of what appears to be a hybrid between a widgeon and a gadwall. I was hunting with my 2 sons up in KS one evening when one of us shot it. We did not notice it being different till the next morning. [ after we had field dressed/gutted them after the evening hunt] Any way what do you think? The first pic is a hen gadwall, the hybrid and hen widgeon for comparison, the 2nd pic is the hybrid and hen widgeon and 3rd is the hybrid wing and a hen gadwall wing for comparison. I wish we had taken some better pictures but that's all I have. gad widg 3.jpeggad widg 2.jpeggad widg 1 2021.jpeg
No doldrums here--May and June are trout/shad/striper season, so I'm too busy to post!

I've only been out twice for stripers, once on a lousy tide and once in pouring rain and 20-gusting-30 NE winds, and have a grand total of one strike for those efforts.

But the shad showed up in the Kennebec on schedule, and the fishing for them was fantastic--right up to the Lockwood Dam with its failed fishway which so far this year has passed a grand total of 5 shad. For comparison, my friend Willie, who probably knows the shad fishery better than anyone, can average 20-40 shad per hour with two anglers on his boat, often fishing within 200 yards of the fishway entrance.

And after two hot dry springs in a row, we've finally had a normal year with nighttime temps in the 40's and low 50's, at least a half inch of rain every week, and no long unbroken stretches of hot sunny days and warm nights that drive water temperatures too high and send the trout scurrying for the cold water in springholes or below the thermocline.

I've taken advantage, with a total of 14 days on trout ponds since mid-May, hitting 12 trout ponds, including 3 that were new to me this year, and catching trout in all but one of them.

That fishless pond is the best of the stories. It's accessed by a paddle of about a half mile, followed by an easy 1 mile hike. There is a canoe stashed there, so all you need to carry are fishing gear and a paddle. I access it a lot, because on the other side is another trail that leads to a different pond that is one of my favorites. Somehow, despite a reputation from people I trust and believe that the first pond is a good one and holds some big trout, and despite my having fished it off an on for at least 20 years, I've only ever taken a few trout from it--all small ones. In recent years I have completely given up fishing it--I just paddle across it, fly rod kept in the tube, on my way to the second pond where I have done much better.

But over the last two years, rumors of the first pond's literal dark secrets have accumulated. A fly shop owner and a retired game warden I know both said to me some version of, "The secret to ___________ Pond is you have to fish it on a lousy day. If the sun is shining, forget about it. Get in there in the rain, and fishing will be fabulous. And for GOOD trout.

This year, on my annual trip to the area, my friend Phil ended up staying in the camp three doors down from us, and came over for a drink. We talked about where I'd been fishing, and then he dropped his bomb. "It's going to rain on Wednesday. I've already got the key for ________ Pond. You know, I heard from Junior York himself that the secret to _____________ Pond is to fish it on a rainy day." (Junior York's family used to own the sporting camps we were staying in before the state took them over and turned them into cabins open to the public.)

The plan was hatched to head in there early Wednesday am. Our wives made other plans--moose watching and naps with good books were mentioned. We awoke to cold, and rain, and wind, and Phil came by as I was making breakfast we decided it was just too nasty to paddle across the first pond to the trail, much less to fish the second. We agreed that discretion was the better part of valor. Moose watching was cancelled; naps and books were moved to spots near the wood stove, and Phil and resigned ourselves to hanging around camp with plans for a mid-afternoon whiskey tasting. At least until about 10:30, when the wind dropped a little, and Phil came back, wearing full rain gear and carrying his fishing rod, a life jacket and a paddle. "I think I'm going to go. You look comfortable up there on the porch, so don't feel obligated to come."

With that gauntlet thrown, I really did have to go. Plus--it was going to be THE epic day on _____________ Pond. It would be hard to pick a darker lousier day. So I joined him, and we paddled across the first pond, then hiked the mile to the second in the pouring rain. We launched the canoe, and despite the rain, found large mayflies hatching on the pond, and we figured the fish gods had finally smiled on us. And proceeded to flog the pond with every fly in our vests, mayflies popping all around us for three hours, without a single fish, or even seeing a single rise to those big fat mayflies sitting on the surface.

We then walked and paddled back to camp, where it only took two hours by the woodstove to take the chill off, and another 2 hours after that to get all my wet clothes dried off.

It rained again the next day, and Phil went back to ____________ Pond on his own. I'd had enough and opted instead for a couple of my favorites, where the fishing was pretty good. Phil not only got skunked again, but he also managed to flip his canoe and take a thorough soaking. (He was fine and didn't even lose any gear.) He says he'll back the first week of June next year, and if it rains, he's fishing ____________ Pond again. God bless him, he can have it.
Great story Jeff!

Is there any insight on why the fishway is not working as designed??
My vote is gadwall x widgeon.

If it was gadwall x pintail, I believe the head coloration would be different,.

Cool bird
Carl said:
Great story Jeff!

Is there any insight on why the fishway is not working as designed??

Lots of theories. It's not just shad it does not work for, but also alewife and blueback herring.

It seems to be better for Atlantic salmon (57 passed as of June 20 this year), but there are still some big inefficiencies.

One clear problem is the shape of the dam, which results in an attraction flow to the river left side of the dam during periods of high flow (like May and early June when alewife, bluebacks, shad, and salmon are all on the move). The fishway is on river right, and the dam is L-shaped such that fish attracted to spill on river left are ~1500' upstream of the fishway attraction flow on the other side of the river. So they beat themselves up on the ledges below the dam trying to find a passage that does not exist.

But shad have poor passage at dams everywhere on the east coast. Every historic shad river that has had a dam removed has seen rapid increase in shad numbers as soon as the dam was gone and fish could access upstream habitat. The same has not been true when fishways were constructed, and that includes fishways of many different types. Some pass more shad than others, but none of them come close to passing enough shad for meaningful restoration of upstream habitat, especially on rivers where they need to pass more than one dam.

There is a reason the undammed Hudson, Delaware, and Potomac--and now the lower Kennebec, up to the first dam--are the best shad fisheries in the Mid Atlantic and Northeast. All the other large rivers that formerly supported big shad runs--especially the Connecticut and the Susquehenna--have multiple dams. A few fish pass the first dam; fewer pass the second; and when you get to upstream habitat the numbers are very small.
I've been doing a light restoration on the 12' Higbee; sanded, fiberglass repairs, more sanding, paint, lights and wiring repaired on boat and trailer (although it's a steel trailer and is disintegrating, need a new one), installing new latches for cockpit cover too.

Bit of fishing, not much luck, although my wife has consistently been catching to my dismay. Saturday I didn't catch anything while she constantly reeled in pan fish and large mouth bass.

Repainting plastic mallards with black and white spray paint to make my first diver rig.
Carl said:
What's everyone up to??

Too busy to post.
Rebuilding a 1995 Yamaha Virago 1100 motorcycle. Needed the entire fuel system cleaned out and rebuilt. Still waiting on a few parts but the twin carbs have been stripped down and put back together with new pieces. All the pieces fit and no left over pieces, always a good thing. [smile]

carb diagram.jpg

Then it was onto a trolling motor that was having issues. Opened it up to find that one of the armature brushes was frozen and no longer making contact with the armature. Armature itself had excessive surface oxidation on the commutator bars. It cleaned up very well. New brushes, seals and O-rings and I'm back in business.

PS; grey snapper and spanish mackerel sounds like a fun excursion. Color me jealous.
Sounds like poor design that didn?t account for fish behavior.
Our company is involved with dam removal in the northeast and PNW, your are definitely right about recovery of fish population and migration afterwards. Sometimes in amazingly fast.
That's true for the attraction flow issue at this particular dam, which is a really difficult site, but I can't think of any Maine fishway that moves shad in significant numbers.

Milford Dam on the Penobscot is the best, and in some years moves as many as 10,000 shad (and several million alewives and bluebacks). It's only 7 years now since the two dams below it were removed, so time will tell if those numbers start to grow.

On the Kennebec our fishing success went up a lot about 10 years after Edwards Dam came out. We did not see shad passage at the dam go up as angler catch rates were indicating a larger population.
I fly fish in the summers. Where I live in south Jersey there is no trout water, so I have to travel a little. I generally go to PA on Saturday afternoons to the Pocono's. There is both stocked and wild trout fishing-and mixed of the two. I have a found a really nice piece of water that is wild trout managed and I rarely see anyone else, and have caught some very nice brown trout so far this year. I have a few other spots that I will go this summer in PA for a weekend gig, like Penns, Spring, or the Little Juniata. I also fish the South Branch Raritan here in central Jersey on occasional weeknights, there is a nice catch and release walk in section that produces some wild trout also. And I have to tie a lot of flies to keep up with it. I typically go the Catskills and fish Esopus creek several times in the summer also, but haven't been able to get up there this year. Will also try and get to the upper Delaware in the late summer, I've found August is a good time to stand in 50 degree water when it's 90 and throw a flying ant.
brodhead brown.jpg
Greg, we may have discussed this before, but after college and before coming home to Maine I was in exile in Newark, teaching and coaching at St. Benedict's. The Poconos, the Delaware shad run, and a few nice little wild trout streams in the Water Gap were my refuge. Strangely, I never fished the Raritan, though I fished a lot of places more obscure and farther away. The school owned an old boys camp out on Flatbrook, and I used to take groups of kids out there hiking and fishing a little.
Good stuff Greg. Nice brownie.
I grew up in Wayne County PA and loved to fish small stocked & wild trout stream back in the day.
My sister lives in Tannersville and I really need to get back up and spend a week at her place, exploring the streams in that area.
My sister lives in Tannersville and I really need to get back up and spend a week at her place, exploring the streams in that area.

If you do that let me know, you are within an easy drive of a lot of good water.
Jeff-you did give me a couple of ideas about some water near the water gap, and though I still haven't been to those, I have been fishing around some and enjoying it. Your fishing stories prompted me to chime in on this one. Maine fly fishing is really classic. I have fished in the Rangely region and the Androscoggin over the border and it is just great. The landlocked salmon is as fine a freshwater gamefish I have ever caught, and the brook trout ponds are very unique. One day I hope to go to Grand Lake Stream for that. You have some great fishing there.