Friday, July 24, 2009

Keep the rain coming!

All the rain we have had may be messing up the beach vacations, but it sure is helping the fish. I was guiding the Saco, Ellis, Pemigewasset and Androscoggin Rivers this week and we had late-spring conditions, instead of mid-summer doldrums. The rivers in the White Mountains are running at wadable levels with water temps under 60F. Perfect! There were enough BWO, little yellow sallies and sulphers to keep the trout interested, as well as some caddis. I had both very experienced anglers, as well as beginners and all got some nice fish - almost all on dry flies. I hope the warmer weather in the forecast doesn't spoil the fishing.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Ellis and Saco River Bonanza

Yesterday I guided a very experienced salt water fly fisher for a little NH trout fishing. He was staying in SW Maine, so we agreed to meet near North Conway, where the water has been dropping after all the rain we had in June and early July. The water on the Ellis was 59F - perfect! We had a mid-day start with a plan to fish until dark. A couple of places I scouted in the morning before we met had rising fish, so I knew it would be a pretty good day. Well, that is an understatement. Apparently they have been emptying the hatcheries and the Ellis and Saco are now home to a good part of the excess trout. There was already a good supply of holdover and previously stocked fish that would rise to a well-fished fly, so when we tired of hauling in the recent stockers, we found some finicky browns, a 14+ inch rainbow and a number of 12+ inch brook trout to test mettle. Here is a really nice brook trout that took a beadhead caddis pupa.
There were not a lot of insects on the water until early evening. There were a few Little Yellow Sallies, a couple BWO spinners and later on, some sulphers. At any given time, we were likely to see a rise or two, but nothing really consistent. We fooled fish on a wide variety of flies, including my favorite chartreuse Usual, some sulpher emergers, soft hackles and comparaduns. We are now reaping the benefits of earlier rainfall, with ideal temperatures and water flows. Get out there while you can before the hot weather takes a toll on the fish.

New Fly Fishers

Last weekend we had another session of the Northeast Fly Fishing School at Evening Sun Fly Shop in Pepperell, MA. We had 8 students for the classroom portion of the school and added a ninth for the on-the-stream fishing lesson. It was very encouraging to see so many enthusiastic and interested people wanting to get into our sport. My partner Jim and I partnered with Charlie at Evening Sun Fly Shop to offer what we believe to be the most professional and best value fly fishing school in New England. The water level on the Squannacook and Nissitissit Rivers was ideal and a number of fish were fooled and even a few were landed. Here is a look at some of the pictures from the class. <Pictures>

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Androscoggin River Alder-mania

The trip up north to the Androscoggin River in Errol, NH and the 13-Mile Woods wilderness area was fantastic. Our Androscoggin Special Package was booked full for 14 days straight. We had 17 beginners out of 27 anglers and all of them caught fish. One got a fish on his second cast with a fly and another took all of two days, but finally landed a (measured) 18-inch landlocked salmon. (See the picture)
We were really lucky dodging rain and high water. The first week we were there the river flow was low and we only had some occasional drizzle. All of our clients were relieved to find that the heaviest rain fell south of the White Mountains. During the second week we got a little more rain and they released more water from the dam, but we were still able to find quite a few fish. Jim drifted the CT River one day and had his best day this year with client Jerry D. who hooked into a lot of fish there and when I took him to a couple hot spots on the Androscoggin. We had a lot of father-son and husband-wife teams on the trip, which was a lot of fun for us and for them. Obviously, fly fishing is a life-long sport and it is satisfying to know that many of the people we taught on this trip will be fly fishing long after Jim and I are no longer around.
We target this trip for the Alder Fly hatch and this year we hit it good. I was able to get clients into fish on zebra caddis patterns starting around June 22 and continuing through July 3 when we left. Although there were huge swarms of Alder flies, the fish were not really turned on to them. Rarely did we see a fish rise to a natural, although we caught loads of fish on caddis dries. For those that haven't experienced the hatch, here is a video that will give you an idea of what it is all about.

In addition to Alder flies, there were plenty of golden stone flies, and Little yellow Sallies around also. In the evening we fished the hex hatch and our clients caught some beautiful brook trout This one was landed by good friend and client Dick Peterson. Here is a link to more pictures and videos of the trip. That is it for the June 2009 Andro-Adventure, and we are already planning the September trip. We will be offering the same Special Package the last week of September. Last year the September trip was spectacular, with crisp weather, peak foliage and lots of willing fish. Let me know if you want more info.