Yesterday Stan and I paid a visit to the "Three Rivers" of the NH seacoast area - the Lamprey, Cocheco, and Isinglas. The Three Rivers Stocking Association raises money to buy fish from a private hatchery and stocks the Lamprey and Cocheco rivers in October. Waste Management Inc has large facilities that abut the Isinglas River and they stocked it last week. You won't find a lot (or any!) dry fly action, but a well-drifted nymph or egg pattern, or a skillfully stripped woolly-buggerish pattern can be deadly. We caught fish on each river, with the Lamprey tops in both quantity and quality of fish. Of course, the next time it could be the Cocheco or Isinglas that comes out on top. I think one key is to find a seam, slot, or depression that has not been pounded by anybody else for a few hours or a day or so. At this time of year that often means being first into a pool or run. In summer, it is good to get out early to take advantage of cooler water temps, but at this time of year, cool water (or air) temperature isn't an issue, but fishing pressure is.
Another key tactic is to show them something they haven't seen before. For the first few days after stocking, trout are "testing for food" - meaning that they will bite almost anything to see if it is good to eat. After getting caught by olive woolly-buggers and prince nymphs, they pretty soon take those off their preferred menu. Sometimes something as simple as going smaller or bigger, or using a weird color is enough to arouse curiosity. Trigger colors like red or chartreuse often will bring a strike, when brown and gray flies are ignored. Yesterday I had success with red serendipities and white diamond braid egg clusters, but tomorrow those could be forsaken in favor of yellow softhackles or chartreuse/black woolly buggers. Get creative at the tying bench and you might get lucky on the river.