Rumors of my demise were greatly exaggerated! It was such a busy year, that I relied on YouTube rather than the blog to get the word out.
Yes, the year 2014 will go down as one of my best fishing years. In general, we had a cool, wet summer, which was good for the fish and good for fishing.
Our Northeast Fly Fishing School had a record number of students. Most classes had good weather and good water conditions. We added three sessions in Lincoln, NH at the foot of Loon Mountain. That worked out really well; as the two July classes offered an evening on-the-water session and students caught brook trout on dry flies as the large hexagenia mayflies were hatching. The good flow of water in the Pemigewasset gives us the opportunity to work on nymph and streamer fishing, as well as dry flies. I have posted the class dates on the website for 2015, in case anyone wants to pass it along to friends or relatives. Also, there is an Intermediate fly fishing class scheduled for May 9.
Also this year, I did more guided trips than any time in the last 11 years. Unfortunately, it was partly due to my partner Jim being laid-up with a bad back and a bum knee most of the spring and summer. This year I applied for a special use permit for guiding in the White Mountain National Forest, which really came in handy for trips in July and August. The water in the Mad River near Waterville Valley stayed cold throughout the summer, and the fishing held up well. This was also true of the Pemigewasset River in Franklin, North Woodstock and Lincoln, as well as the Ellis River in Jackson. We had enough rain to keep water in the rivers and the fish responded well.
The Androscoggin River fished well, too. In June the insects and the fish got more active as the trip went along. The Alder fly hatch came out around June 21. We had a couple rainy days that kept the hatch down, but overall the second week of the June trip was outstanding. The hexagenia mayflies were out on the pond by the end of the trip, so a few folks had good fishing in the morning and late evening, as well. The September trip was highlighted by the most dazzling display of foliage I can recall seeing. Fishing was good on the river, as well as the fly fishing ponds. The September trip was also an opportunity to work with my new housekeeper Patty, and Dave Masson, my drift boat guide associate in Errol. Jim has mentored Dave on the Androscoggin and Connecticut Rivers, showing him all the good spots. Dave is a retired med-vac helicopter pilot, is a real good guy and an excellent guide. He will be working with me next season, as well. Also, my brother Garry retired this summer and will also be helping me in Errol next June. I have posted the dates and availability for the June and September package trips to the Androscoggin River on the website.
In addition, to Dave Masson, I am mentoring a new associate, Dave Kolesar. Dave is president of the United Fly Tyers, and an avid fly fisherman with many years of experience. Dave is studying for the NH guides’ licensing exam and will be my apprentice until he gets some guiding experience under his belt. Dave helped out in Errol in September and will be a welcome addition to the NH Rivers Guide and Northeast Fly Fishing School team.
The first week in August my brother Garry, my partner Jim and his wife Barb and I saddled up and headed west for a 10-day trip to Montana and Idaho. We had wonderful weather and terrific fishing. Especially interesting and fun was our trip to the St. Joe River Lodge in the mountains of Idaho. This is a wild river offering catch and release fishing for wild, native west slope cutthroat trout. It is truly remote, as we went 80 miles beyond the last cell signal to the end of the road and then got on a horse and road another 6 miles to the lodge. We had the entire river to ourselves. Amazing. Jim and Barb had been there before and it was even better than he had described to me. It was also great being able to share it with my brother and my best fishing buddy. Glad Jim was feeling better and able to enjoy a great trip.
As the season wound down, I made a few trips out to the Swift River in central MASS. I guided there a few times this summer and fall, as well as fishing on my own. It is always good for at least a couple slab rainbows in the two to three pound range, but also produced a lot of wild brookies this fall. I think the trip I took last Thursday was the last one before I head for Florida after Christmas. I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the outdoors in 2014. If not, grab your 2015 calendar and plan a trip or two now. This time next year you will be glad you did! Remember: God doesn’t count your days fishing against your allotted time on earth. Enjoy it while you can!
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a very happy and healthy
Here are a few links to get you up to date on what I have been up to:
My YouTube channel with 160+ videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/gerrycrow5190
Androscoggin River all-inclusive package trip calendar and availability: http://www.nhriversguide.com/androscoggin-special-package.html
Northeast Fly Fishing School: http://www.nhriversguide.com/Northeast-fly-fishing-school.htm
Keep watching the YouTube channel for Florida fishing videos.