Fly-fishing the St Croix River in Maine

Summer is almost over. Before we get ready for our travels out west for the fall hunts, I wanted to flyfish for smallmouth bass and pickerel.  My wife, Patricia, wanted quiet time to work on her photography and needlepoint. For that, there is no better place than Weatherby’s Fishing Lodge and Guide Service in Grand Lake Stream, Maine. Here I looked forward to trying my skill with my fly rod on the Saint Croix River near Woodland, Maine.

Getting Fly-Fishing Gear Ready

The first night we arrived, a fantastic dinner prepared by Chef Dean Tsantillis greeted us.  Spending the evening in our cabin, the comfort of a warm fireplace took the chill from the air forecast with rain. In the morning after a hearty breakfast, Jeff McEvoy, guide, checked out my fly-fishing gear and made sure I had a supply of crayfish and poppers before we took off in the light drizzle for the Saint Croix River in the Woodlands area. Arriving at the boat landing, it  rained steadily as I put on my raingear. We unloaded Jeff’s prize Grand Lake Canoe. The boat was designed a long time ago by fishermen from Grand Lake Stream.  It sports one end squared for an outboard motor, with the body and front end contoured so it can be easily paddled.

Catch and Release included 20″ Smallmouth Bass

We spend the next 5 hours catching and releasing over 50 smallies. I used my Douglas 6 wt. 9 ft. fly rod, with an Airflo Streamer 200 Grain, sink tip and a short Rio 3 X 9.5 lb. leader.  Also, I used a crayfish and an occasional black popper. The best fishing was near a bed or rocks or vegetation or submerged logs. Cast the crayfish out close and let it settle for a couple minutes with the sinking line.  Then give it slight motion and strip the line. Doing that in a repetitive motion usually got a hit in a couple minutes. When they hit, it was aggressive and they put up a fight. By the end of the day, I was able to land a couple 20″ smallmouth bass which made the Weatherby 20″ Club for 2018.

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