Friday, August 31, 2012

Hardy natives

This afternoon I took a drive to the local farm stand for some corn and tomatoes.  As luck would have it, my trip took me past one of the two streams in town that are designated by NH Fish and Game as wild trout streams. Since the season on my little gem of a stream closes after this weekend, I thought I would see how the wild ones fared this summer, considering the heat and lack of rain.  We have had no appreciable rain in weeks, so the  flow is incredibly low, and there is almost no current. The water is crystal clear and if I had the patience, I could have counted the dozens of brook trout holding in the pool.  I had a small Alder fly dry on my 6'6" 2 wt rod, since I had one of my grand-kids using it yesterday fishing for sunfish. I tossed the fly into the center of the pool, gave it a couple twitches, waited a couple seconds and WHAM! Little wild brook trout came to hand.  Although there were plenty of fish and I had seen a couple of them take insects off the surface (ants?) I was concerned that I would be stressing the fish.  I stuck my stream thermometer into the inlet of the pool and it showed 58F.  No wonder this stream qualifies as a designated wild trout stream.  I caught a couple more, just to see these little gems up close and then cut off the fly and went home. I'll be swinging by there every now and then to make sure nobody is poaching them, and let them spawn in peace and quiet this fall. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Like an oasis

If you took a map of New England and circled all the places with good river fishing this summer, you would see quite a few little circles separated by a lot of space. I spent most of the last 2 months trekking between the White Mountains and the Swift River, with a few side trips to the Connecticut River.  Even reports from the usually-dependable Farmington River don't hold a lot of positive news.  Same story everywhere - low flows and warm water.  It looks like the string of 90F days has been broken.  Can the rains of September be far behind?  (I guess I should be careful about what I wish for - remember Irene from last August:(
Ellis River brook trout NHLast weekend I spent a few days in the Mount Washington Valley teaching fly fishing on the Ellis River and exploring a few cold water tribs on my own.  Here is a picture of a father/son team that learned the way of the skinny-stick, caught their first NH brook trout on a fly and had a great time together. Here is a link to a video of their trip. This was the third father/son(s) trip I had last week,  What a pleasure to share my passion/obsession/addiction with some folks that will have a lifetime of fun together in the outdoors.
Here is a picture of another fly fishing team that came to NH from Florida to hike the Whites and learn to fly fish. Quite a change in altitude, topology and just about any other thing you would like to compare between Florida and NH.  It is funny to think that our hottest summer here would be a cool one in Florida.
One observation I have is that even though there a limited choices for summer river fishing, there is still plenty of room to fish in solitude, if that is what you are after. There were times when I was almost ready to skip fishing a few of "my spots" because there were cars at the parking areas, but often they were not anglers, but dog walkers, hikers, picnickers or general sight-seers.  For the most part, we had the rivers to ourselves. even on weekends.
Gerry with typical "pipe rainbow"
This held true yesterday when my friend Dick and I headed down to the Swift River for a try at some nice Massachusetts stockers.  We went directly to the hatchery pipe area and one guy was leaving as we got there.  A couple times in the course of the afternoon another person stopped by for a while, but we had the whole area to ourselves most of the time.  (As we left to head north, there were over 15 cars spread along the route 9 parking spots, so the Y-pool probably did not offer much in the way of solitude!) The hatchery pipe run trout were very cooperative, too.  Quite a few nice rainbows fell victim to an assortment of soft-hackles, scuds, etc. I also got a brown and a couple brook trout to round out the variety of species.
The "Maven of the Millers" Ken Elmer, famous for his Millers River Fly Fishing Forum stopped by to share some ideas about fishing the Swift.  What a pleasure to meet in person an angler whose exploits I have followed on the Internet for a number of years.  He is as nice a guy in person as he comes across on his blog, and just as knowledgeable, too.
Well, this weekend will bring another trip north to indoctrinate another beginner in the way of the willowy wand.  Let's hope the White Mountain oasis continues to deliver its trouty bounty.
PS We still have a few openings in our Northeast Fly Fishing School class of September 8 and 9 in Henniker, NH. This is suitable not only for beginners, but self-taught anglers of a year or two who need help with casting, presentation, knots and entomology.
PPS Our Special all-inclusive package trip to the Androscoggin River the last two weeks of September still has a few prime dates open. Check the webpage for details and calendar of open dates.