Alder Flies 2019

The alder fly hatch is a massive hatch on the upper Androscoggin. It draws a large number of fish (and, occasionally, some monsters) up to the surface. I’ve missed this event over the last two years because of conflicts in my schedule. However, this year I was fortunate to find a day off during the hatch.

I arose early on July 4th with nervous anticipation to make the three-hour drive up north. My excitement grew as I geared up at Spot A and saw large numbers of alder flies everywhere without sight of another angler.

However, it soon died down, as the fishing was very slow. I threw dries and nymphs, but only managed one fallfish over three hours. I feared that my Androscoggin Curse would never lift. Eventually, I walked back to my car for lunch at high noon, scorched and dejected. Before I left, I decided that I would try one more spot.

My expectations were low as I geared up at Spot B, for fishing at high noon on a hot summer day spells the end to all fishing at large rivers. However, a light breeze and some clouds had cooled the air somewhat.

Suddenly, the fishing just seemed to turn on. Within 10 minutes, I felt a violent take and, after a pitched battle, landed a nice brown. I proceeded to land a pile of fish over the next couple hours.

Despite the number of spent caddis on the surface, all takes occurred on stonefly and caddis nymphs. Nothing else worked. The majority of them were fallfish, with a few browns and smallies mixed in. Some of those fallfish were quite large and fought incredibly well. They reminded me of the giants Jo and I caught in Maine.

About two hours in, I looked downstream and noticed a group of spin anglers heading up towards me. Eventually, one of them overtook me and started casting five feet upstream of me. The others followed suit. I was flustered, but they seemed nice enough, so I let it slide.

I sat down, ate a snack, and saw one them land a smallie before they decided to move on. There was a small moment of victory when I moved into their spot and caught a pile of large fish immediately afterwards.

After a while, I decided to move up to Spot C to find rising fish. Unfortunately, the situation was much the same, and I saw no rises despite the large number of naturals. I tightlined a few spots in heavy rapids and found a baby smallie, a small wild bow, and a larger fish that escaped.

On my way out, I ran into a father-son pair who reported rising fish at a spot I fished last fall. Unfortunately, I got lost on the now overgrown trail leading to that spot, and I decided to call it a day after getting eaten alive by bugs. On my way home, I stopped at Mr.Pizza in Gorham and enjoyed a cheese steak and a couple beers. A perfect way to end a 10-hour fishing day.




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2 thoughts on “Alder Flies 2019

  1. I remember stopping by the Androscoggin for a break on my way to Rangeley and experiencing that massive hatch. Every tree limb you shook would cause dozen’s of Alder flies to flit about! Quite impressive!
    Glad you got out and had some action.

    1. Thanks Steve. This hatch was pretty impressive, but I didn’t see too many risers unfortunately. Did you have more luck on top?

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