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!