Black fly advice…

Home Forums Paddlers’ Place Hitting the Trail Black fly advice…

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #135

    We are planning on going to the Bow Loop Trail from roughly May 29th to June 4th. Any thoughts on black flies? I know that it always depends, but are they manageable earlier in the summer vs. later? Is it worth finding a better date for our trip? We know how to prepare, but also know that there is little you can do if they are really bad. Anyone else do a trip around those dates in Northern Maine? Thanks!

    Steve Boal

    In general, black flies in the north woods are at their worst from mid May through mid June, sometimes later. Although the season varies with location and the temperature cycle of the particular year, May 29th to June 4th is pretty much a sure bet for large, near peak, numbers of black flies. They are fascinating creatures. They reproduce in cold moving water. The time of hatching is influenced by water temps, thus the surge in late spring. There are many species, and some feed exclusively on individual animals species. They are mostly active in the day and will not bother you at night (unlike mosquitoes). Wearing light colors can help – they tend to be more attracted to dark colors. Some people say dark blue is the worst. Strong DEET is an effective deterrent, but you will still likely get some bites and inhale them too if they are swarming thick. If they are swarming thick head nets and bug jackets can make life much more comfortable. Some people can tolerate black flies more than others. But in general, you will find the north woods fairly empty of fellow paddlers from late May to mid June, because of the black flies. A few paddlers I know love to paddle at this time because the woods are full of singing birds and are empty of people. These folks are loony. You can learn more about them at these links and many others as well: , ,


    To answer your last question: I paddled the Allagash a few years ago roughly May 28th to June 3rd. We had frost the first night, and swarms of black flies the second and third days of that trip. It’s a nice time of year for wildflowers as well as for birds. I like Steve’s advice: pack the head nets and bug jackets, and choose your campsites to take advantage of breezy locations and that days prevailing winds. Have fun and good luck with bugs and weather! – K


    Thanks for the advice. We love the idea of the trail being empty, so this may make it worth it. It’s the only weekend that works for us and we can’t seem to locate any remote canoe trails in southern New England that would even remotely compare. We will embrace the black fly…or go crazy trying to.


    Tapestry Hotline – Building on its track record of over 50 years in real estate development, CDL continue to transform the eco-landscape as well as to set benchmarks in innovation and sustainable developments. And to press on for our biggest reward; a better home for everyone to live in.

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.