Monday, April 22, 2013

Hitting the ground running

This has been a busy few days.  We wrapped up our first Beginner Class of the Northeast Fly Fishing School yesterday.  As usual, the new fly fishers were an inspiration to us old guys.  It was fun sharing our knowledge about the sport we love.  Comparing our pictures from this class to those from April 2012, last April had leaves on all the trees and bushes - obviously not the case this year!  The water in the
Squannacook River was 51F, which is not too bad, but the air was the same temp. Our next class May 4-5 should have more leaves and more trout-food flying around.  Think like a trout, act like a bug!
Yesterday was also the day my partner Jim and I were quoted in the Boston Globe Travel section about beautiful spots in NH.  As I told the reporter, I actually revealed my fourth or fifth most beautiful spot, since I was not ready to share the very best ones.  Truth be told, I could name hundreds of "most beautiful" spots.  On any given day on the water there are bound to be multiple awe-inspiring views. As they say, "God didn't put trout in ugly places."  So fortunate to able to hang around in beautiful places with such nice people.
And tonight we have our New England Fly Box presentation at the Greater Boston TU meeting at Drumlin Farm in Lincoln, MA.  Hope to see some of you there.
UPDATE:  There were over 30 people at the meeting last night, who attended our presentation.  At least a couple are regulars here on my blog. Thanks for coming and saying hi.  I hope you enjoyed the presentation.  I would be interested in your feedback, either as a comment, or via email if that is more comfortable to you. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Finally feels like spring

There is still snow in the woods and a few vestigial plow-drifts at the shady end of a few driveways, but today it finally felt like spring. My guiding partner Jim and friend Dick and I scouted a couple rivers today for our upcoming Northeast Fly Fishing School classes.   Last week the Squannacook and Nissitissit River in Massachusetts and the Souhegan River in New Hampshire were stocked.  Stone flies and a couple mayflies were buzzing around on the Squannacook River.  We all stung a few fish and some were even landed.  We ran into to David (Hi David!) who had been fishing since early morning.  He probably caught every fish in the river at least twice!  David attended our Fly Fishing School a few years ago and then we guided him on the Androscoggin River at our lodge.  Our prize student!
The water temp in the Squannacook was 47F and the flow was about 200CFS. If you got deep and bounced a fly on their nose, they would take, but weren't in the mood to chase anything.  After hitting a few spots on the Squannacook we hopped over the border to fish the Souhegan DHZ in Greenville. Water was 48F and the flow reported for Milford was 560CFS, although up in Greenville it would have been a lot less. Stocking occurred the week of April 1, but no fish were evident in the two spots we hit.
Next Monday, April 22, my partner Jim and I will be on the program at the Boston TU Chapter April meeting.  We will be presenting our New England Fly Box presentation, which describes our favorite flies, the hatches they target and some rivers to fish them. The meeting is at Drumlin Farm on Rte. 117, Lincoln MA. Doors open at 6:30PM.  We hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Local trout rivers are finally . . . Trout Rivers!

I had heard that the trucks would be rolling this week to the Squannacook and Nissitissit Rivers.  I couldn't find any evidence of trout on the Squannacook River yet.  It was running quite high, and there were no anglers at any of the early stocking locations in Townsend.  Either it hasn't been stocked or the locals are holding off until the water level drops a bit.  On the other hand, the Nissitissit was stocked yesterday, April 10.  There were plenty of people and trout at the Prescott Street bridge and the oil company.  I walked into Gilman's Pool in the FFO section and saw no trout or fly fishermen.  The only place I actually fished was the run downstream of the 111 bridge, along with four other guys.  I was too lazy to put on the waders, so that is a spot where I could cover a little water without wading.  Using a white clouser-bugger, I found a slot that yielded 6 strikes, with four landed - all nice, colorful, chunky rainbows.  The biggest was over 12 inches and the smallest probably 10.  Hopefully there will be a few fish still left in the water when it warms up next week.
Last week the Souhegan and Piscataquog Rivers were stocked. Both are running VERY high.  They should also drop by next week.  Finally, we will have lots of choices of where to fish.  In a couple weeks we should start to see some quill gordons and that will mark the real beginning of the fly fishing season on local waters. Get out there and educate those fish before they all get taken home as table-fare.
We still have a couple spots open in our May 4/5 fly fishing school as well as the Intermediate class

Friday, April 5, 2013

Breaking the ice on the new season

Last Wednesday I got back from Florida to a chilly homecoming.  The first five days back I don't think the thermometer got to 40F.  Finally the forecast got friendly and I needed to get my trout fishing itch scratched.  I checked all the stocking schedules, FF forums and fishing reports, as well as tapping into the informal network of fishing buddies. Cold water, no stocking, not a fish to be found.  Then I saw the MASS Wildlife stocking report and noted that the trucks had rolled to Ware and Palmer. I tied a couple flies; packed up the gear and headed to the Swift River.  After parking at the route 9 bridge area I hiked up to the Y-pool, noting any sign of trout on the way.  I counted only 6 fish - not good.  There were a few trout lethargically cruising the Y-pool, but none in the bubbler arm.  I worked my way back to the car, hooking one fish in the cable pool area.  Not a total skunking, but not what I had envisioned. But hey, it was a beautiful day, there WERE some fish to been worked, and it was just great getting onto a river again.
After checking the run from the bridge down to the duck pen, I found a couple guys working a pod of recent stockers without much success,  The fish were kind of milling around, chasing their buddys' tails and doing what recently stocked trout do.  Not much fun to be had there.  Then it was off to the always-reliable hatchery pipe - hopefully the meat hunters hadn't cleaned it out before I got there.
There were a few cars in the parking lot, but considering the usual pressure it gets, it wasn't too crowded.  Three guys congregated below the pipe and two more fishing across from each other in the run-in to the fallen tree pool.  One of them was the ubiquitous George. I was able to prevail upon the kind generosity of Dick L. to join him at close quarters in the tree pool.  George soon reel-up, but soon returned with Bob O who set up across from Dick and I.  We had a great time educating a large quantity of trout and enjoying the day and enjoying the shared experience.  After an hour or so, Dick observed that fly fishermen were really nice folks. That has been my experience, too, but when you think about it, how you you be cranky or rude in such a beautiful environment?
Dick left first, then Bob O and finally, after my feet went from cold, to numb, to painful, I took the hint and started to leave.  Well, maybe a couple drifts up by the hatchery pipe, since the folks there had left shortly before.  I got into position and where I could usually see a half-dozen or more fish, I could only spot one trout.  After about 5 drifts through the run, the chunky rainbow took the orange size 20 soft hackle.  As soon as the fish felt the hook it took off down-river on a short run. I hadn't taken any pictures until then. Although it wasn't the first trout of the year, or the largest trout, it was probably the most energetic.

 With the weather improving daily, it looks like more rivers will get a fresh supply of salmonids, so next week we should all be able to fish close to home with some expectation of success.  Have a great season, and leave a comment telling us about your local FFing experiences.
Also, our Androscoggin River package is almost booked out, but we have a couple openings if you want a shot at the Alder fly hatch, the most prolific hatch in the northeast. And if you know someone who wants some formal fly fishing instruction we still have a few openings in our Beginner and Intermediate fly fishing classes.