Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sorry for the gap!

Gang, the good weather has turned on the early hatches and it seems like everybody has been anxious to get out on the water. Since my last posting in April I have taken more than 30 people out on the streams of northeast MA and southern NH to practice the art of the limber rod. If I count the 44 people we gave a casting lesson to on May 1 at the culmination of TU Learn to FF classes, the tally jumps to almost 80. And this week I start to get busy! So what has been happening?
The bad news first: I went to the Sugar River once on a scouting trip and once (foolishly for about an hour) with a client and did not see evidence of any fish. Beautiful water level, terrific hatch activity and not a fish to be seen. What the hell is NH Fish and Game thinking? They have a beautiful 2.5 mile FFO section in Newport and they don't stock it once as of late May?
Now you might realize why I took so many people to the Squannacook and Nissitissit Rivers in MA. There have been two stockings of really nice trout in those rivers, while the Sugar is a river waiting for occupants. There is decent insect activity and the FFO section of the Nissitissit should hold fish well into June if we get a little rain in the next week or so. There were Quill Gordons a couple weeks ago and now we have Hendricksons and caddis. Bring your rusty spinners for evening and early morning dry fly fishing. But the meat anglers are out in force, so you better hit the Squannacook while there are still some trout to be had. Over half of the people I had out were via the Northeast Fly Fishing School that we operate in Pepperell, and those anglers had a blast learning to fly fish, identifying the bugs and hooking some fish in the process. Here are links to some of their exploits for May 8-9 and May 15-16.
I have also fished/guided on the Souhegan River and the Piscataquog River in the last couple weeks. We caught fish all over both rivers, except the Delayed Harvest Zone of the Piscataquog River in New Boston.  H-m-m-m-m, is there some kind of pattern here?  You have two of the best stretches of river with special regulations in southern New Hampshire and neither the FFO section of the Sugar nor the Delayed Harvest Zone of the Piscataquog have been stocked and it is beyond the middle of May.  No floods or other lame excuses can be blamed.  If this was the first year it happened, you could call it a fluke, but this is a pattern that has repeated itself for the last few years. No, this doesn't appear to be mere incompetence, as you might suspect.  Could there be some motive behind it?  What do you think it could be?  "Stick it to the elitists?" "Save the hatchery fish for the hook-and-cook crowd?"   If any of you happen to talk to those that call the shots in NH F&G in Concord, NH, ask them what the devil is going on.   Tell them that the sound they hear is the cha-ching of people buying a fishing license in MA to be able to fish for decent fish while the water is still cool and insects are still hatching.
The rest of this week I'll be guiding on local waters and then take a quick trip to the Farmington River.  I have been itching to get down there all spring, but other priorities have prevailed until now.

Let me know how you have been doing.  Matt gave me a call from Upstate NY with tales of great fishing on the W. Br. of the Delaware, some spring creeks and the Salmon River for resident trout, as well as some spring steelhead.  Feel free to email, call, or use the Comments feature of this blog.  Tight lines!


  1. Gerry - you have been a busy boy...

    I have been having a bad spring...
    I had the one good day on the Newfound...
    One miss after another.
    Even went to Pittsburg - went 0 for 4 going after landlocks. My buddy went 4 for 7. Including a nice 23" salmon on his 6wt.

    But I have to agree with you- the Picataquog has been scarce. I picked up a couple salmon parr on the Souhegan. I can't catch the broadside of a barn right now. 3 trips to the Pemi for broodstock was a bust.

    I will figure out what I am doing wrong.

    But it is great to see that you have such a good turn-out for fly fishing classes. I have 2 friends that have tried and are hooked. I think there is a resurgence going on for fly fishng. I have been seeing a lot more people with fly rods than ever before. It's nice to see.


  2. Yup--I had the same experience in New Boston. No fish!
    Mayhaps that road work upstream scared the trucks.
    Don't know, but it was disappointing.
    The Souhegan has been fishing well all over, although this morning I only caught a few small ones. The river is in good shape considering storms and such.


  3. They finally put the fish in the end of last week in New Boston. If we don't get some rain soon, they will all be doing the "belly-up backstroke" and that will be the end of the season in that river. In case anybody thinks it is a bunch of crap about how poorly managed the stocking is in the special regs areas,look at my fishing reports for May 9-14 and for June 13, 2007. (http://www.flyfishnewengland.com/fish_log-2007.htm) Is the trend continuing?

  4. Gerry,
    I think it is...
    But I think stocking this year has been down from past years. I am getting fish- but they are harder to find and the usual spots/techniques are aren't producing. I have had some luck at Newfound this week, but not like in the past- where I would catch 10-15 in a night- I am seeing 2-3... Piscataquog has been a joke. The chubs are out in full force. I have pulled in 2 trout. Where last year- I landed some really nice brookies, browns, and rainbows out of there consistently. And I won't even go into the broodstock.

    I do think they are cutting back and cutting back all over the place- not just the special reg's areas. Oh well. We just have to get better at our craft.


  5. According to the COs (conservation officers) I have talked to they have not cut back on stocking numbers. In fact, there is an excess of fish in the hatcheries and they will do extra stocking in June. The problem is that now the rivers are low and the waters warm, thus fish keep moving until they find decent holding water or they die. I wish they would stock them in early May, even if the water is somewhat high (but not flooded.)Let's hope we get some rain next week.