Monday, November 30, 2015

2015 Wrap-up

This was quite a year for me - both very bad and very good.  For fishing in New England, it was terrific.  Fished the Farmington a few times in the spring and summer and did very well. The Swift River was an oasis in the desert this summer and fall.  NH had a lot of rain in June, but then it pretty much dried up until late October. I did a bit of fishing on my own there, but got some of my FF students into nice stocker 'bows and wild brookies. Swift 2015 videos The Pemi in Lincoln/Woodstock was a major destination in July and August.  Water temps held up well and there were always a few fish to be found. Pemigewasset videos When the Pemi wasn't producing, I could usually find a few wild brookies in other White Mountain streams and ponds. White Mountain videos  My trips in September and June to the Androscoggin River in Errol were fun, as always.  The June trip was tough due to high water.  We couldn't fish the river for the entire two weeks in June, but fortunately the ponds and small streams fished well. June Errol videos  In September the river was back to low/normal levels and the fishing was good, especially in the FFO area in Errol.  In November, Jim and I took a trip to Sandy Creek near Rochester, NY.  Our friend/client Matt helped make arrangements to get us on some private water, and although the river was very low, we were able to find a few big browns and even a nice Atlantic salmon, seen being held by our guide Jason Franz.

Jason's guide service is called Trout-n-about charters Jim and I have hired him three years in a row and he has always come through for us.

This is one of two nice browns that Jim picked up in the same riffle in a small feeder creek that shall remain nameless.

 This big male brown trout must have gone close to 13 pounds.  It was the biggest I caught on this trip.

I'll be going to Florida after Christmas until April.  In the meantime, be sure to look at my YouTube channel  Also, I have posted the calendar for next June's Androscoggin River Alder fly and hexagenia all-inclusive trip. Check it out while there are still good dates available.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Bitterroot River video

In August I traveled to Montana and Idaho on a fishing trip with Jim, Barb, and my brother Garry.  The first river we fished was the Bitterroot.  We also rented a house right on the Bitterroot.  Click the picture to view the video..

Friday, December 12, 2014

2014 Year-end wrapup

Rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated!  It was such a busy year, that I relied on YouTube rather than the blog to get the word out.

Yes, the year 2014 will go down as one of my best fishing years.  In general, we had a cool, wet summer, which was good for the fish and good for fishing.
Our Northeast Fly Fishing School had a record number of students.  Most classes had good weather and good water conditions.  We added three sessions in Lincoln, NH at the foot of Loon Mountain.  That worked out really well; as the two July classes offered an evening on-the-water session and students caught brook trout on dry flies as the large hexagenia mayflies were hatching.  The good flow of water in the Pemigewasset gives us the opportunity to work on nymph and streamer fishing, as well as dry flies. I have posted the class dates on the website for 2015, in case anyone wants to pass it along to friends or relatives.  Also, there is an Intermediate fly fishing class scheduled for May 9.
Also this year, I did more guided trips than any time in the last 11 years.  Unfortunately, it was partly due to my partner Jim being laid-up with a bad back and a bum knee most of the spring and summer.  This year I applied for a special use permit for guiding in the White Mountain National Forest, which really came in handy for trips in July and August.  The water in the Mad River near Waterville Valley stayed cold throughout the summer, and the fishing held up well.  This was also true of the Pemigewasset River in Franklin, North Woodstock and Lincoln, as well as the Ellis River in Jackson. We had enough rain to keep water in the rivers and the fish responded well. 
The Androscoggin River fished well, too. In June the insects and the fish got more active as the trip went along.  The Alder fly hatch came out around June 21.  We had a couple rainy days that kept the hatch down, but overall the second week of the June trip was outstanding.  The hexagenia mayflies were out on the pond by the end of the trip, so a few folks had good fishing in the morning and late evening, as well.  The September trip was highlighted by the most dazzling display of foliage I can recall seeing.  Fishing was good on the river, as well as the fly fishing ponds.  The September trip was also an opportunity to work with my new housekeeper Patty, and Dave Masson, my drift boat guide associate in Errol.  Jim has mentored Dave on the Androscoggin and Connecticut Rivers, showing him all the good spots.  Dave is a retired med-vac helicopter pilot, is a real good guy and an excellent guide.  He will be working with me next season, as well.  Also, my brother Garry retired this summer and will also be helping me in Errol next June.  I have posted the dates and availability for the June and September package trips to the Androscoggin River on the website. 
In addition, to Dave Masson, I am mentoring a new associate, Dave Kolesar.  Dave is president of the United Fly Tyers, and an avid fly fisherman with many years of experience. Dave is studying for the NH guides’ licensing exam and will be my apprentice until he gets some guiding experience under his belt.  Dave helped out in Errol in September and will be a welcome addition to the NH Rivers Guide and Northeast Fly Fishing School team.
The first week in August my brother Garry, my partner Jim and his wife Barb and I saddled up and headed west for a 10-day trip to Montana and Idaho.  We had wonderful weather and terrific fishing.  Especially interesting and fun was our trip to the St. Joe River Lodge in the mountains of Idaho.  This is a wild river offering catch and release fishing for wild, native west slope cutthroat trout.  It is truly remote, as we went 80 miles beyond the last cell signal to the end of the road and then got on a horse and road another 6 miles to the lodge.  We had the entire river to ourselves. Amazing. Jim and Barb had been there before and it was even better than he had described to me. It was also great being able to share it with my brother and my best fishing buddy. Glad Jim was feeling better and able to enjoy a great trip.
As the season wound down, I made a few trips out to the Swift River in central MASS.  I guided there a few times this summer and fall, as well as fishing on my own.  It is always good for at least a couple slab rainbows in the two to three pound range, but also produced a lot of wild brookies this fall.  I think the trip I took last Thursday was the last one before I head for Florida after Christmas. I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the outdoors in 2014.  If not, grab your 2015 calendar and plan a trip or two now.  This time next year you will be glad you did!  Remember: God doesn’t count your days fishing against your allotted time on earth.  Enjoy it while you can!
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a very happy and healthy 

Here are a few links to get you up to date on what I have been up to:
My YouTube channel with 160+ videos:

Androscoggin River all-inclusive package trip calendar and availability:

Keep watching the YouTube channel for Florida fishing videos. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Concord Outfitters Date Change

Just a quick heads up on our presentation.  It is moved out one week to Thursday April 24.  We'll do some fly tying starting at 6:00 PM and presentation at 7:00 PM, finishing up around 8:00PM.
The presentation is about Fly Fishing the Great North Woods of NH.  It will have pictures and videos of the Androscoggin River, including the famous Alder Fly hatch, ponds with the hexagenia hatch and some remote trout streams. Concord Outfitters is located a half mile from the Route 2 rotary. See Concord Outfitters website for directions.

See you there!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Good news from the Swift River

I opened my New England fishing season today on the Swift River.  I am happy to report that all indications point to a strong economy among a$$hole litterbugs.  As shown in the following picture, the lowlife creeps have upgraded their beverage selection.  It used to be that I only picked up Bud Light empties along with the ubiquitous worm containers, but apparently the creeps got a raise and moved up to Shock Top beer, Mikes Hard Lemonade and Vitamin water. I wish I knew what compels some people to crap all over our beautiful coldwater resources.
Today I was happy to be able to try out a new net.  For a few years I have very happily used a wooden net with a rubber bag made by Alan Stevens of the Stevens Net Company in Maine. He makes a beautiful net and I like the fact that it has a rubber net which keeps hooks from being caught.  The only downside is that the rubber net is pretty heavy and somewhat cumbersome to haul around on  your back all day. (They now offer a lighter rubber bag, but I have not seen it.)  Over the winter I learned of The Measure NetTM from JTA Products in Montana. It has an aluminum frame with a foam handle, both of which make for a lighter net, if not as elegantly styled as the wooden net from Stevens. The real unique feature is the zip-on light rubber bag that has a built-in measuring capability.  The combination of aluminum and light rubber mesh creates a noticeably lighter net.  The only downside is that it will be tougher to exaggerate the fish tales told over a round of adult beverages.  My first rainbow of the year taped-out at a smidgen over 13 inches - without The Measurenet I would have called it 12.  I give two "Thumbs Up" to The Measurenet and it is now an important piece of my fly fishing gear.
Swift River report: I stopped at the route 9 parking area and after counting all the cars, I continued down River Road to the Pipe area.  Nobody there.  Since the Catch and Release regs reverted to Hook and Cook downstream of Route 9 as of January 1, trout tend to be scarce as hen's teeth.  I did find a few. After surveying the water upstream of Route 9, there are even fewer fish there. I think another couple visits from the hatchery truck are needed to get things really rolling.  The water temp was 37F so in addition to being scarce, they were lethargic. It won't be long before all the rivers are down to good fishable levels and topped off with fresh hatchery stock. Tight lines!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

From the far north to the far south . . .

Last Friday the conditions were finally good, concerning water temps, tides, winds, etc. and I was able to get out on the water for a serious fishing trip.  Last fall I had been poking around trying to find a trustworthy guide to take me out for some SW Florida fly fishing.  Wouldn't you know it?  I found a renowned Maine guide guiding local Florida waters.  The deeper I dug, the more I like going with a known entity, rather than trusting online hype.  So I contacted Dan Legere, owner of The Maine Guide Fly Shop in Greenville, Maine.  I have been in the shop numerous times, but usually dealt with Penney, while Dan was out guiding the East Outlet or West Branch of the Penobscot.  I had booked trips through Dan's shop, but always was assigned one of his guiding associates.  So, when I saw that Dan had been guiding winters in Florida for a few years, I couldn't resist booking him for a day of back country fly fishing here in Florida.
Since I spend three months in Florida on winter vacation, there was not any sense of urgency in the timing.  I had told Dan to contact me when the conditions were good. We were going to go in January, but being at the tail end of weather systems generated by the "Polar Vortex" (sounds like a character in a kids' animated Christmas video) there was too much wind and cold weather for a good trip.  Then about 10 days ago I got an email from Dan announcing mid-day low tides and light winds in the upcoming week.  I picked a day and away we went.
When I met Dan in the big box store parking lot he gave me a choice of two fishing scenarios:  a shot at sight fishing to tailing redfish (a long drive and run to the spot with no guarantee of results) or a short drive and run to a mixed bag of fish, but unlikely to have sight fishing.  I chose the closer trip with more time on the water.  Turned out to be a good choice.
Within a half hour of meeting, we were motoring out on Rookery Bay, a huge mangrove preserve area dotted with islands and connecting creeks, located between Marco Island and Naples.  We saw a kayaker and a canoe at the launch, but for the next 8 hours, we didn't see another person or craft. We fished our way into the remote areas of the huge preserve, catching the occasional baby tarpon or jack around oyster bars or holes near points of islands.  Then we started to hit some holes where connecting creeks pinched between islands and began to get some snook.  Snook are kinda like bass on steroids.  They hit hard, do head-shaking jumps, try to wrap your line in deep cover and generally fight like hell.  Most of the snook were in the 12 to 16 inch range, but fought like much larger fish. We had been working our way deeper and deeper into the back country and at dead low tide we stopped for a sandwich.  Then we began to fish our way back as the tide was coming in.  You want to fish the back country at low tide, so the bait fish (and predators) cannot get back into the deep mangroves. At low tide, the bait and the bigger fish are forced into creeks, holes and channels where we can have a chance of fishing to them.
We had a great time catching snook in the creeks and channels and baby tarpon and jacks in the deep holes near oyster bars.  Then we made a short run to a narrow connecting creek and got a couple nicer snook.  As we moved deeper into a narrow pinched area a much larger fish sucked in my fly and all hell broke loose. Head-shaking jumps,deep runs, diving under the boat, and headlong dashes towards the cover of the mangrove roots.  This was the fish of the day - a 28+ inch snook.  We fished a couple more spots and got a couple more fish, but nothing approaching the excitement of "The Big One."
All-in-all it was a great day on the water.  Challenging fish, but catchable with the right approach; good company with terrific local knowledge and time away from my usual winter routine of golf, tennis, beach!  I'll post a link to the video, when i get it edited and uploaded.
I'll be back for another trip with Dan next winter.  In the meantime, here is a list of coming attractions:
March 1 & 2 Fly Fish NH Show in Pelham - my partner Jim is show chairman - stop by and tell him I sent you
Our  Northeast Fly fishing School Classes start in April and run weekends through July. Check here for dates and locations. In addition to classes in Greater Boston (Hollis, NH), we have locations in Henniker, NH and Lincoln, NH.  On April 24 (note the date change from April 17  ) at 7:00PM we'll be giving a presentation about fishing the Great North Woods of NH at Concord Outfitters Fly Shop in West Concord, MA. Stop in and say hi.
Tomorrow I am going fishing with a long-time friend and fishing buddy on Charlotte Harbor.  I don't expect any big snook, but watch for my report in a few days.

UPDATE:  I uploaded the video of the triop to my YouTube Channel:

The trip to Charlotte Harbor was a bust.  REAL windy and just about unfishable, although I discovered you can make a REALLY long roll cast downwind with a weighted fly in a 25MPH wind.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Good start to the year

Yesterday my Florida fishing buddies and I rented a pontoon boat for a few hours and cruised Matanzas Pass area and caught a few fish. A few days ago we got the tail end of the Polar Vortex, and suffered through a couple days in the upper 50s and low 60s.  The water in the gulf cooled quite a bit and we figured a few fish would be coming "inside" looking for warmer water.  We caught a few fish, so I guess we'll call it a success, although the operative word is "few."  Not exactly fast action, but fun.  We had a mixed bag of fishing techniques.  Some live shrimp, some plastic on jigs and of course, Stan and I flinging flies.  Getting room to cast was a challenge, and quite a few flies were sacrificed to the mangroves, but not too many tangles with spin fishing buddies.  In some ways, fishing the Swift River was good practice for contending with four guys fishing out of one boat!
A couple years ago I bought a cheap 9ft 8wt rod at Bass Proshop. Last year I slammed the tip in the door of the glove box. I didn't feel it was worth getting the tip repaired, so when Orvis had a big rod sale as part of their OrvisPro program, I snatched up a 10ft 8wt Helios2. Sweet rod. Should be a good salmon rod, as well as my goto rod in the salt. The first fish I caught with it was a nice snook, which put a nice bend in the new rod. 
My buddy Stan caught a nice jack. We thought it was a pompano, but later divined its true identity. In any case, it fought like a much bigger fish and was clearly the trophy of the trip.
Chuck, esteemed president of our fishing club, organized the trip and served as navigator.  As an old salt, his experience was invaluable in getting us to the launch point and finding the elusive secret spots where the big ones were holed-up.
My buddy George was our captain and brought along G, his grandson, who proceeded to catch snapper and snook like an old pro. It was fun sharing our day with an up-and-coming angler. Soon he'll be heading north to go back to school and an internship, but he'll have a few fish to dream of on those cold, snowy nights. In addition to the fishing fun, I think he learned that there is hope for fun in his elder years.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A fitting end

to the season
Yesterday I made my final-final outing of the year, to where else but the Swift River.  The forecast was for overcast skies with temps in the mid-40s.  A bonus was a few hours of sunlight to make it feel even warmer.  As I made my way down River Road towards the turnoff to the USGS gage parking area, I saw a car on the side of the road with two guys getting out.  It was two NH buddies looking to sample the Swift River fishing.  They had fished above route 9 before, but not downstream.  In particular, they wanted to fish the vaunted hatchery pipe area, but had no idea where the access was. I told them I was going there and to follow me and I would show them around.  Ronnie had fished with me on the Androscoggin a couple years ago and we had been on a salmon river trip together a few years before that. I had met Herm, but not fished with him before.  Ronnie is the nicest guy you would ever want to fish with and I discovered that Herm is just as nice a guy as Ronnie.  With all the snow we have had over the last week, the road was rutted with snow and the parking area was even worse.  There were a couple people fishing the pipe outflow and a couple more fishing downstream.  Herm and Ronnie were concerned about crowding other anglers, but soon got into the Swift-River-synchronized-cast-and-drift-without-snagging-your-neighbor's-line scenario. Ronnie was sandwiched between Terry and George (Swift regulars) and got some tips and flies from them. As all this was going on, now and then a fish would sip one of our tiny offerings and add a little spice to life at the pipe. 
It struck me as the day went on that this friendly environment meant more to me than the occasional strike of a slob rainbow.  If we were fishing in Montana or even the White Mountains, we would all have been trying to get out of sight of other fishermen.  If somebody ventured within 100 feet he would receive a dirty look or a curt comment to ward off the unwanted approach.  Not at the Pipe.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but the total package of standing in crystal clear water with slabs of rainbows swimming around your feet and eying your tiny fly with disdain is part of a shared experience unlike few others.  Yes, everybody stakes out a small piece of liquid turf. But that little fishing territory is not vigorously defended.  The entire Swift River experience is so unreal compared to most fishing environments that it seems to foster a different set of unwritten rules of etiquette.
When I first started fishing there in the 70s there was a certain novelty about being able to fish over nice specimens twelve months of the year.  But the often crowded nature of the small river with localized concentrations of fish put me off.  In the last few years I guess I have mellowed.  I understand that some people look at the Swift with disdain as not being "real fishing."  Stocked fish; crowded conditions; limited hatches, etc. Fly fishing junk food.  I am not certain I could take a steady diet of it, but there is enough variety available most of the time, so you can get away from the crowds if you want.  There may not be as many fish, but you can still fish over nice fish in solitude if you are willing to do some walking and exploring. Enough philosophizing for now. It's not for everybody, but it serves a purpose when you just need to get out and have a shot at a fish that will put a serious bend in your rod. I know Herm and Ronnie will probably get their fill of fishing it over the next few weeks.
I have a few more days of cleaning and organizing my gear for next season before I head to Florida for the winter.  I added a couple more flies to my salt water box, made sure I have some stout tippet and cleaned my 8 weight line. Now I need to organize my mayfly dries, and my nymph boxes, so I can hit the ground running when I get back in April.

I have posted the calendar for the June Androscoggin Special Package trip, check it out and let me know if you want to go.  It is an especially good deal for singles.

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy 2014!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

SE NH Late-season

Yesterday Dick and I fished the Lamprey River. We started by scaling down a cliff at Packers Falls.  The rapidly changing weather chased us out of there after we fooled a few lethargic rainbows on egg patterns.  We then moved up to Wiswall Dam area and got a royal skunking in the run below the dam.  About 30-minutes was about all I could handle in the misty, breezy, cold environment.  Based on the forecast, that is surely my last foray for 2013.  (Maybe one more outing if the temp creeps above 40F.)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Swift memories

Yesterday I went fishing with an old buddy.  Actually, I went fishing with the bamboo rod he made for me right before he passed away a few years ago.  Every time I use that rod I remember Dan.  He was a good guy, a real gentleman. I have a lot of rods. A couple I wrapped myself that I particularly enjoy fishing. But as the years go by, what I fish with means less to me. Not that I don't appreciate the high performance characteristics of the new technology.  New rods are so light and powerful, they almost cast themselves.  I also appreciate the craftsmanship of the various bamboo rods I have.  But a rod is just a tool.  How you use the tool is what counts. To me the satisfaction of fishing with a fine tool is to be able to get the most out of the tool. To fulfill the vision of the rod maker. If the rod doesn't get in the way of my fishing experience, that's enough to ask for.  When I fish with Dan's rod I know that it does what Dan wanted it to do.  The taper he designed creates the smooth action. The craftsmanship he put into the construction and finish of the rod clearly show the pride he took in his work.  A little bit of Dan is there in the rod.  He would be glad to know that his work was fulfilled on the Swift River yesterday.
Tomorrow I'll be fishing with my friend Dick on the Lamprey River. It is one of the "Three Rivers" that get a late season stocking. I hope I tie into a rainbow or two to equal the ones from the Swift.
If you are looking for some winter fly fishing entertainment, check out our events/presentation page for some ideas.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanks for your concern

Sorry to be such a lazy bum and not update the blog all summer and most of the fall. No excuses. Thanks for the concern many of you expressed.  Your emails, phone call, and questions when I met some of you on the river or elsewhere have finally stirred me to action.  Now that old man winter has raised his blustery head, I am not sure how many actual reports I will generate before I hit the Gulf of Mexico and the backwaters in search of snook, redfish and sea trout this winter.

Some of you may have already realized that I have posted dozens of trip videos on my YouTube channel - more than 100 to-date.  It is something I do for my clients and students, as a memento of their time on the water.  I also really get a charge out of looking at the videos, which remind me of how fortunate I am to be able to share a fun time on the water - one more thing to add to the list of things for which I am thankful.  As I look over the list of videos, I can trace my progress from the Everglades last winter, to the Swift River in early April, through the the Squannacook and Contoocook Rivers in April, May and early June, to the Androscoggin for the Alder fly hatch, to the Pemi in White Mountains in mid-summer, back to the Androscoggin and then fishing the Pemi for salmon with a couple side trips along the way back to the Swift.  Hopefully, the weather will break and I'll have one more Swift River trip before heading back to Florida.

Over the last couple weeks I was busy creating a new presentation (Fishing the Great North Woods of NH)  that my guiding partner Jim and I can use on the "rubber chicken circuit" this off-season.  In creating the presentation, I looked numerous times at every picture and video I have taken over the last three or four years - probably over a thousand photos and a couple hundred videos.  Last night we debuted the presentation at the Squanna-a-tissit TU chapter meeting in Pepperell.  I think it went over pretty well.  Jim and I each spend 30 to 40 days guiding in the Great North Woods of NH in and around Errol. NH.  We are guiding the Androscoggin River from below the Pontook Dam in Dummer all the way up to the dam in Errol - about 20+ miles of river.  We also guide a lot of ponds and streams in the area. The new presentation gives an overview of all the water available to fish in the Androscoggin watershed in the Great North Woods of NH. Soon, I'll be updating the presentation/event schedule on our website with dates and locations where we will feature that presentation.
Thanks for your interest and patience.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

May flies fast - pun intended

It seems like yesterday that we fished the Hendrickson hatch on the Farmington River. That hatch is long gone. Since then, there have been a lot of new new fly anglers initiated in the way of the gentle art.
Yesterday my buddy/guiding partner Jim and I hauled a new (to us) old boat up to northern NH and dragged it on a one-way trip into a trout pond.  We bought the boat early last winter, patched it up this spring and now it resides alongside a few other dilapidated craft, waiting for a few hours of glory called the evening hatch. This particular pond is one we had fished in September from a couple of the forlorn pondside craft.  We caught so many fish that we immediately decided to find a craft large enough to provide a fishing platform for two people with a third rowing.  I can hardly wait for our initial voyage in a couple weeks.  After lugging the boat into the pond, we ran into another friend/fishing guide Dave in Errol. Having fished (and lived) for such a long time, it no longer surprises us when we run into somebody on a river 185 miles from home. It has become rare that I DON'T run into a friend, former client, student, reader of this blog or subscriber to my YouTube channel when I am fishing.
How about a fishing update?  The story I hear from a ot of people is that the fishing this spring in New Hampshire has been pretty underwhelming.  Not as many fish and smaller fish than in past years. Massachusetts streams seem to have more and larger fish.  My experience has paralleled this, with a few exceptions.  I fished the Pemigewasset River in Woodstock/Lincoln area in early and mid-May with poor results.  Also fished the Newfound River a couple times with only one decent smallmouth bass to show for all the time and effort expended. We had three Northeast Fly Fishing School classes since my last report and all the classes caught some fish, but fewer than in past seasons.  The good news is that plenty of fish are now stocked in the central and southern NH rivers and the recent rains and cooler nights bode well for June to be an improvement over May fishing. Or maybe I am just being the eternal optimist. Probably.
I have topped off my fly boxes with Alder Fly and hex mayfly patterns. Made sure my Frogs Fanny bottles are full and stocked up on 4X and 5X tippet.  I have worked on the menu and started the shopping list.  We hauled the boat into the pond and are ready to pack the car, load the canoe on top and head north next Thursday for a couple weeks on the Androscoggin River in Errol.  We have a couple spots open on June 24 and 27th, so if you find yourself jonesing for dry fly action,  check the website and get ready for epic topwater trout action. We are also starting to book dates for the September trip, too. 
For May fishing reports, scan through my YouTube channel. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

It's official - Dry Fly season is here!

Some people measure the season by when the stocking trucks begin to roll.  Others by the first bugs they see on the water.  I know the season is in full swing when the Hendricksons emerge.  On Thursday my fishing buddy/guiding partner Jim and I headed down to fish the Farmington River in northwest Connecticut.  I have been following the fishing reports and online forums, so I knew that the hatch started a little over a week ago.  I wanted to make sure we not only hit the emergence in the afternoon, but the spinner fall in the evening, which doesn't happen until there is a critical mass of adult may flies to start the mating swarms.  It is a 2.75 hour drive from my house to New Hartford, so I wanted to make the most of the trip.

No worries. For once we hit it just right. For the afternoon emergence we fished the upper river, not too far from the village of Riverton, having parked in one of the People's Forest parking lots.  There were a few cars in the parking lot, but only one guy fishing in the main pool.  Jim and I moved upstream of the main pool into the area where a fast riffle ran into a deep run and then into the final riffle above the pool.  We had the whole run to ourselves.  There were a few insects buzzing around, but no hatching may flies.  While we waited for the emergence, we fish nymphs.  I used a size 12 flash-back pheasant tail and caught 4 or five rainbows and a brown trout.  None were much over 12 inches, but all fought hard, using the fast current to their advantage.  When we started to see more hatching may flies, I added a soft hackle as a dropper behind the nymph and caught a couple more fish.  Around 3PM the hatch got pretty strong and fish were actively rising and we had quite a few hook-ups.  About then another angler came squeezing in between Jim and I.  We thought we were fishing fairly close to each other already, and felt crowded by the interloper.  We didn't say anything and after getting only one fish during the height of the action, he left the water to Jim and I. We each caught a few more fish until the flies stopped hatching and the rises slowed down.  After eating our lunch we looked at a few more pools, going as far up as the Beaver Pool, where we saw no rises and few flies.  The water temp had been 56F where we caught all the fish and it was only 46F when we checked the temp in the run below the Riverton Bridge, so it appears that the hatch still has ways to go above where the Still River dumps warmer water into the Farmington River.
We went downriver to New Hartford to one of my favorite pools for the spinner-fall.  WE hit that lucky as well.  When we got there one guy was just leaving and another was fishing in the lower part of the pool, leaving the entire upper pool vacant.  Jim and I set up in a prime location and before long we started seeing Hendricksons.  None were on the water yet, but soon we saw the females swarming with their bright yellow egg-sacs aglow. To make a long story short, we reeled up at 7PM while there were still bugs over the water and fish still rising.  We had caught enough fish, so we decided to leave a few for the next time.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Hitting the ground running

This has been a busy few days.  We wrapped up our first Beginner Class of the Northeast Fly Fishing School yesterday.  As usual, the new fly fishers were an inspiration to us old guys.  It was fun sharing our knowledge about the sport we love.  Comparing our pictures from this class to those from April 2012, last April had leaves on all the trees and bushes - obviously not the case this year!  The water in the
Squannacook River was 51F, which is not too bad, but the air was the same temp. Our next class May 4-5 should have more leaves and more trout-food flying around.  Think like a trout, act like a bug!
Yesterday was also the day my partner Jim and I were quoted in the Boston Globe Travel section about beautiful spots in NH.  As I told the reporter, I actually revealed my fourth or fifth most beautiful spot, since I was not ready to share the very best ones.  Truth be told, I could name hundreds of "most beautiful" spots.  On any given day on the water there are bound to be multiple awe-inspiring views. As they say, "God didn't put trout in ugly places."  So fortunate to able to hang around in beautiful places with such nice people.
And tonight we have our New England Fly Box presentation at the Greater Boston TU meeting at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA.  Hope to see some of you there.
UPDATE:  There were over 30 people at the meeting last night, who attended our presentation.  At least a couple are regulars here on my blog. Thanks for coming and saying hi.  I hope you enjoyed the presentation.  I would be interested in your feedback, either as a comment, or via email if that is more comfortable to you. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finally feels like spring

There is still snow in the woods and a few vestigial plow-drifts at the shady end of a few driveways, but today it finally felt like spring. My guiding partner Jim and friend Dick and I scouted a couple rivers today for our upcoming Northeast Fly Fishing School classes.   Last week the Squannacook and Nissitissit River in Massachusetts and the Souhegan River in New Hampshire were stocked.  Stone flies and a couple mayflies were buzzing around on the Squannacook River.  We all stung a few fish and some were even landed.  We ran into to David (Hi David!) who had been fishing since early morning.  He probably caught every fish in the river at least twice!  David attended our Fly Fishing School a few years ago and then we guided him on the Androscoggin River at our lodge.  Our prize student!
The water temp in the Squannacook was 47F and the flow was about 200CFS. If you got deep and bounced a fly on their nose, they would take, but weren't in the mood to chase anything.  After hitting a few spots on the Squannacook we hopped over the border to fish the Souhegan DHZ in Greenville. Water was 48F and the flow reported for Milford was 560CFS, although up in Greenville it would have been a lot less. Stocking occurred the week of April 1, but no fish were evident in the two spots we hit.
Next Monday, April 22, my partner Jim and I will be on the program at the Boston TU Chapter April meeting.  We will be presenting our New England Fly Box presentation, which describes our favorite flies, the hatches they target and some rivers to fish them. The meeting is at Drumlin Farm on Rte. 117, Lincoln MA. Doors open at 6:30PM.  We hope to see you there!