Thursday, June 18, 2009


Monday and Tuesday I guided a couple clients in the White Mountains. The Ellis River fished pretty good, but the Pemi in North Woodstock/Lincoln continues to be a bust for me so far this season. Thank goodness for the Newfound River, even if they have been releasing high volumes of water from the lake. I stayed at the AMC Highland Center in Crawford Notch Monday night. What a deal! For $40 I got a comfortable bunk and a terrific breakfast with a fantastic view of the mist rising on the mountains. One of my clients stayed at the MT. Washington hotel, and I doubt if he slept any better or had a better view than I did. Tomorrow I throw the canoe on the truck and head north for a couple weeks guiding the Androscoggin River in the Thirteen Miles Woods section. Hopefully the river will remain at a fishable level, unlike last year when it was running at near flood levels from mid-June to late July. I have a whole box of Alder Fly patterns and another of hex. The hatches are sure to emerge and I'll be ready when it does. Stay tuned for the report when I get back on the 4th of July.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Mainely Salmon

Early this week the BSC (Bull Salmon Club - a bunch of guys who have been fishing together for 20 years or more) spent a few days fishing the West Branch of the Penobscot River near Ripogenous Gorge. We actually stayed at Nesourdnehunk Camps on the lake of the same name, alledged to be the home of wild brook trout of prodigous proportions. Well, if you consider eight inches to be prodigous, you would be happy. We weren't, so we took the 18 mile drive to the West Branch every day. In short, the fishing was fantastic. Caddis were everywhere and the fish were feeding on top from morning 'til night. The largest I caught was about 18 inches, but the average was almost 15 inches, and they fought like hell in that fast current. A few Little Yellow Sallies were around and my single most effective fly was a chartreuse Usual, although I caught fish on almost every caddis pattern I threw at them, as well as a couple mayfly patterns. This is a picture of Dick and Randy fishing one of our favorite spots.
After I got back I innoculated a couple beginner clients with the fly fishing bug and they caught a couple brown trout on the Contoocook River (the Usual strikes again!) This continuing cool weather pattern is great for the fish. I hope it holds up, since I'll be guiding in the White Mountains a couple days this week. Then on Friday I'll be heading north with my partner Jim for two weeks guiding on the Androscoggin River in the Thirteen Mile Woods section. We have one spot open for a single angler. If you are interested, here is the link for more info .

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Grin and bear it

Funny how sometimes things just fall into place. Yesterday the young lady shown below with her first trout had asked me if I ever saw wildlife in my travels, specifically bears. I said, yes a couple times, but usually it is just a brief glance as they go diving into the bushes to get away from you. Well, after today I have a different answer. Yes, I have seen a bear up close and personal! I was with a couple clients today fishing the area around Lincoln, NH. We were going to have lunch near Canon Mt. and then head down to fish the Newfound River after not finding any fish on the Pemigewasset River. As we drove through the parking lot of the Canon Mt. tramway station, I was looking up at the ski slopes to see if there were any bears grazing. In the morning and evening you can usually see them grazing the sweet new grass high above you. I didn't see any bears on the slopes, but as we approached the lunch spot I had selected I saw a bear grazing on grass and flowers. This was a full-grown bear probably 3+ feet at the shoulder. We looked at it from about 30 or 40 feet away and it just kept munching on the grass, totally ignoring us. We drove up the road a few hundred feet near the Echo Lake boat launch area, parked and ate lunch. As we were eating, one of the guys exclaimed, holy cow, look at that! The bear must have smelled our lunch and was heading towards us, but suddenly it stopped, having recognized the sight, sound or smell of humans and took off into the woods. Luckily there were no cubs in sight - just a curious hungry bruin.
We finished our lunch and proceeded to the Newfound River where we found plenty of willing fish. . . but no bears!

First steps

Every year I guide a lot of beginners - usually a couple family members, husband-wife, father-son, etc. Sometimes 15 or 20, in addition to those that attend my Learn-to-fly-fish classes. Every trip is different, but every trip has the same excitement and anticipation of many "Firsts." First successful cast; first fish on a fly; first fish on a dry fly, etc. This is all new to my students and they are naturally pretty excited by all these Firsts. But sharing all those Firsts keeps me energized, as well. Every time my students score a First, I get to share it, and it becomes my First, too. This week I had a lot of Firsts. For one, it is the first time I was a 25th anniversary gift. Yes, I took a husband-wife team out to learn how to fly fish for their anniversary. If that doesn't beat a honeymoon suite in the Poconos, I don't know what does! We fished the Contoocook River in Henniker, and although the hatches have slowed a bit, there were still a few fish looking for food and we fed them. First fish on a fly, First brook trout and first brown trout - sweet!
Then on Friday I took a father-daughter to the Farmington River in CT. Last year the father had spent a couple days in September with us on the Androscoggin River in the 13-mile Woods section near Errol, NH. He caught a lot of fish, improved his casting skills and had a great time. He convinced his daughter, a BC college student, to give it a try and they both had a great time. We chose the Farmington, since they live near "The City" and it is a river they can fish from home. After a few casting and mending lessons, we caught some of those highly-educated browns that the Farmington River is known for. Can you remember the excitement of your first fish on a fly? How about your son/daughter's first fish? How about their first fish on a dry fly? I do!