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.

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