Fishing Reports - 2007
This is a running report of what is going on in New England (and wherever I travel!) in the way of fly fishing. If you have something for me to add, just drop an email. If you would like a guided fly fishing trip go to NH Rivers Guides .
With another storm on the way, I fear my fishing for2007 is done. Be sure to check back for the 2008 report, starting in January. In the mean time, plan to see one of our presentations this winter.
Thanks to those that attended our presentation today at the Evening Sun Fly Shop in Pepperell, MA on fishing the North Country Hatches. We had a great turn-out and it was a fun afternoon! At the presentation we announced our Special Package deal for fishing the great hatches on the Androscoggin River.
Today Stan and I hit the Farmington River for what is probably the last time this year. We each got four or five fish. Mine were caught on orange softhackle, white softhackle, and parachute Adams all a size 20 or 22. One fly Stan used with success is the parasol midge pupa. It seems like every time fish started to rise the wind came up. When we got there around 10AM there was only one other angler fishing the Church Pool and later at the peak, there were a total of about 9 anglers there. Considering the usual crowds there, this wasn't too bad. We drove around and looked at our favorite spots, but based on the other people we talked to and our observations, the Church Pool offered the best chance at a fish, especially on top. Here are a few pictures.
A political strategist for a candidate in the NH primary wanted to sample some New England fly fishing. Since most of the trout streams in NH either closed as of Oct 15 or are too cold to offer prime fishing, I took him to the Swift River in MA. Good choice. As always, it was loaded with fish below route 9. He hooked into rainbows on small egg patterns, and size 20 and 22 soft-hackles - white was the best color. I am not a counter, but he hooked into a remarkable amount of fish, but he was a novice and the small hooks made it tough to keep them on, so we only landed a small fraction of them. Air temp was about 40F and the water was 48F. We were prepared for the weather and it was quite comfortable with only a little breeze. I can't wait for a day in the high 40s to get out there on my own, although Stan and the guys want to make a trip to the Farmington, which is fine with me. Jim is out at the salmon river after steelhead and big browns. I would have been out there if I didn't have this trip booked.
I went to the Swift River today with Stan. I lost track of how many fish I hooked into. It was a warm sunny day in the mid-50s with the water temp about 53F. The river below Route 9 was loaded with fish. Somebody on the river told me they restocked the lower area, but not from route 9 up to the dam. We caught fish on small egg patterns, softhackles, TC Specials, and size 16 copper John. The river above route 9 had fewer and warier fish. I wish I had taken some pictures, but I was too busy catching fish. I have one more guide trip booked this month, so guess where I'm going to take them?
The fishing in MA is still going strong. I haven't gotten very many reports lately out of NH. Jim and Dick fished the Isinglass River last week. They got a few in the area below the washed out dam. Anybody doing anything in the Piscataquog or Lamprey?
I stopped by the Nissitissit and Squannacook Rivers for a couple hours this afternoon to take advantage of the nice weather and the year round open season in MA. I stopped by the Pescott St. Bridge and spotted fish for Paul, who was fishing the pool above the bridge. He got one on a woolly bugger while I watched and coached. Then I went over to the Squannacook River and fished the Bertozzi Area. Got two in one of my favorite pools. One on a size 12 beadhead Zugbug and the other on a size 18 pink and chartreuse egg. Both fish were nice healthy looking rainbows. When I went back to Prescott Street Paul was still there and I watched as he got a couple on top on a BWO parachute, size 20. Paul was using flies recommended by Charlie Shadan at nearby Evening Sun Fly Shop. Charlie has some great flies at great prices. Then I stopped by the shop for a spool of 7X and shot the bull with Charlie, Richie and then Paul stopped in, too.
Stan and I fished the Deerfield River in western MA. I had been wanting to fish there for quite a while, but was turned off by the erratic release history. I used to go out the all the time, but the flow phone recordings were so unreliable that I stopped going there for 3 or 4 years. Imagine getting up at 3:30AM after having called the flow phone number the night before and being told that the release would be 125CFS until 12 noon. Then calling the flow-phone again on the drive out to the river in the pre-dawn darkness to make sure nothing had changed. Then arriving there after driving two hours in the dark and finding the flow at 900CFS - enough to float a coal-barge down the Mississippi River! What a bunch of a$$holes.
Well, I have been watching the USGS charts and calling the flow phone for a few weeks and it looks like they may have finally gotten their act together. When we got there at 8:15AM the flow was 125CFS - as reported on the flow-phone. (BTW, you can find the USGS graphs and Flow-phone numbers by clicking the Resources tab above.) We started fishing the pool a hundred yards or so below the dam and I hooked into a nice rainbow right away. After that it was pretty slow fishing. In total I landed 4 rainbows, broke off one and had a LDR on three others. It is hard to land them with small hooks in the fast current. All were caught on small softhackles, size 20 to 22. Orange and white with gold wire ribbing were the two best colors. There were no insects in the air until about noon. Then we saw some midges, a few BWO, one or two caddis and one large unidentified mayfly. We only saw a couple rises all day. Air temp was 27 when we got there and water was 53. Stan is still looking to christen his new Tea Stick bamboo rod - a sweet fishing tool! Maybe a trip to the Y-pool?
I took a client to fish the Swift River in central MA. He hooked quite a few nice rainbows and a couple small brook trout. This is very technical fishing. We mostly used softhackles and nympsh on size 20 to 24 hooks and 7x or 8x tippet, although the last fish he caught was on a size 16 BWO parachute dry.
Stan, Ron and I took a ride to the Pemi in Bristol and the Merrymeeting in Alton. The Pemi was flooded. The flow-phone message was off by at least a couple thousand CFS. The water coming over the Ayers Island dam looked like Niagara Falls. The Merrymeeting was a good level and everybody and their brother was fishing it. We stood on the bridge and watched as large rainbows and landlocked salmon made their way upstream through the gauntelet. Two more days and that closes for the season, too. Fishing possibilities continue to shrink in NH. Watch for reports from MA coming soon!
Spent a couple hours on the Nissitissit River in Pepperell at the FF-Only area above the Prescott St. bridge. Fish were active, but very picky. Got three - one on a grey softhackle, one on a blue-quill emerger and one on a rusty spinner. There were a lot of small midges, a couple caddis and some sort of mayfly in the air. Get out there and enjoy while you can! Had to go to 6x to get any strikes.
Fished the Isinglass River and the Lamprey River with Stan. Got a couple "natives" (fallfish) on the Isinglass and a few stocker rainbows on the Lamprey. Nice day to be out.
It is a nice sunny day in NH. A great day to fish. Oops! Sorry, but most of the good trout waters are closed until next year. If you think this is as stupid as I do, send an email to NH Fish and Game <Executive Director Email> asking why the good rivers and ponds are now closed. If you live outside the state, that is even more important, since out of state license sales are an important source of revenue.
Stan and I fished the Lamprey River this morning. Yesterday the Great Bay TU chapter stocked the river with a couple hundred rainbows. Today we exercised about a dozen of them. Most took some kind of nymph or streamer - Zug bugs, beadhead softhackles, and heron streamers and even a Moby Dick streamer. Here is a picture of Stan landing a rainbow. Click on the picture to see a video.
Fished the first day of unofficial winter - Echo Lake had white-caps, 34F and snow mixed with rain. Profile had all of that plus sleet. The Pemi in Woodstock was warmer and less windy, but no fish anywhere.
We are finally getting a little rain. Let's hope it doesn't turn into a flood! Some of the rivers that have held up through the drought are the Sugar River in Newport, NH and the Pemigewasset from Franklin all the way up to Lincoln and North Woodstock. The Sugar River has been running low, but cold. There have been some pretty good Isonychia, tiny blue winged olive mayflies and a few caddis and stone flies hatching. The season ends there on October 15, so enjoy while you can. The broodstock salmon were stocked this week in Bristol and Franklin. Once again, the fish are smaller (2-5 pounds) than they were a couple years ago, when they ranged from 6 to 12 pounds. As nights cool and the water temp drops, the fishing should improve even more. Remember, it is fly fishing only, catch and release from October 1 to April 1 for these broodstock Atlantic salmon. Here is a client with one caught in Bristol this week.
The rivers are cool, but still running low. Trout are still holding in most of the rivers and Fish and Game has done some fall stocking. The Contoocook River in Henniker is running extremely low, but the water temp is fine. Fish the pocket water, since most of the good pools are too low and slow to hold fish. The Pemigewasset River from Lincoln/Woodstock all the way down to Franklin is also running low, but with more water than just about any other river in the central/southern part of NH. There are still a few fish in the delayed harvest zone of the Piscataquog River in New Boston, like this little brown that took a softhackle.
The rivers in Northeastern MA are really producing. The fall stocking of trout was made beginning last Monday and they stocked lots of big fish in skinny water. I guess they had to get them out of the hatchery. Go to any bridge crossing over the Squannacook and Nissitissit Rivers and chances are you will see 2 to 4-pound trout swimming around gasping for O2. If we get a little rain, the rivers will fish well right into December. Let's hope when the rains come, they are gentle and not the floods of the last couple years.
The drought of August is still with us.Most of the smaller rivers have just about dried up. Some showers should move through the area in the next couple days. Stick to fishing the larger rivers and the ponds. The Connecticut and Androscoggin Rivers are really fishing well. Flows are good and can be fished by driftboat, canoe or wading. The ponds are also producing. The cool nights have dropped the water temps and the brook trout are actively feeding. Look in the NH Fishing Regs for ponds managed for trout, especially the fly fishing ponds. Next week I hope to have some pictures and reports.
The BSC went to Little Lyford pond camps (LLPC) for our Fall trip. Eleven of us went there to fish for native brook trout in pristine remote ponds. We found plenty of beautiful wild fish, but all were quite small. The LLPC borders the West Branch of the Pleasant River, which also held many beautiful wild brookies.One of the highlights of the trip was a huge bull moose who decided to eat some water plants along the edge of Little Lyford Pond. We watched him for about 20 minutes before we had to leave to go eat our dinner. Here is a movie. On the way home we stopped at the East Outlet to fish for some salmon. Here is one of the four I caught. Check the Gallery for more pictures.
With quite a few trips booked in September, Jim and I thought it would be a good idea to scout some of the likely rivers to see how the fish fared over the very hot and dry August that we had. As we expected, we found cool water (62-64F) and quite a few fish in the upper Pemi. We caught quite a few small rainbows on grouse and flash and white diamond braid BHSH fished as droppers behind streamers or under a Royal Wulff. (I also caught one on the size 12 Wulff, but none on the BH woolly buggers.)
We stopped at a couple other spots with poor results. The Newfound River was running low and hot (74F). All the fish that were stocked in early July were gone. Not a fish to be seen in the entire upper stretch of the river, including the dam pool (so calm and clear that you could count the rocks on the bottom of the entire pool.) Hopefully, we will get a little rain and some cooler days very soon.
This evening I caught a couple beautiful brook trout at my local Wild Trout Stream. Caught them on small olive woolly-bugger.
We spent the night in the Errol Motel. They have really done a lot of renovation and the price is still right. After breakfast we fished the Magalloway R. below Aziscohos dam for a couple hours. I got a small brook trout and Jim got a salmon. At 10AM they released a lot of water for the kayakers. We poked around on our way home at the Wild River where it joins the Androscoggin. I had one strike and that was it for the day. It felt good to be out on the water in cool temps for a change. The overnight low was below 40F and the high was about 60. The water temp was 64F in the Androscoggin and 62 on the CT.
Jim and I went to Pittsburg for the NH Guide's Association meeting. We took advantage of the opportunity and fished the CT River around the Junction Pool of Perry Stream for an hour and a half. I got two rainbows and two beautiful brook trout. All were caught on a new pattern I developed, called the Lightening softhackle. The body is a piece of white diamond braid and it has a hackle collar of brown partridge. The area we fished gets a lot of pressure and I was trying to present something that they might not have seen before. Also, I saw a couple sulphur mayflies in the area, so they may have taken my fly for a sulphur emerger. Jim adds:After a windy day with scattered showers we headed to a pond for the evening hatch. The wind died down and the temperature dipped into the forties. The HEX hatch was still going and we picked up a few brookies to close out the day.
Hot weather has warmed up the water, so I have been tending garden and tying flies. Jim fished the lower Androscoggin in Shelburne and got a couple nice rainbows. I will not be reporting again until late August or September, so be patient!
Barb, Jim and I went to Newport to check out the Sugar River. We had heard they stocked some fish there last week and the cool rainy weather should be good for the fish. We fished from about 7:30AM until about 11AM. In my secret spot I landed three nice rainbows on a small Stimulator and missed strikes on three others. I then moved downstream from the second RR bridge and got a double hook-up on a dry and dropper. Take a look.
A family from DC was in Manchester for a wedding so they called me to sample some NH fly fishing. They had not fly fished before, so after getting them equipped with waders, rods, etc and orienting them a bit to the sport, we hit the Professor's pool on the Contoocook River. After some casting instruction, we started to move out into the river, and before I could mention what to do if a fish bites, a fish bit! No setting of the hook equals no hook-up. After some more explanation of how to set the hook, the father set the hook on a nice rainbow, tried to horse it in, and lost the fish. We were using elkhair caddis and various other caddis dries, because it is easier to see and cast them for a beginner. The fish liked them too! After a little tutorial on fighting/landing fish, we moved over to the DHZ on the Piscataquog River. The overnight rain had affected the Piscataquog more than the Contoocook, so we dragged a woollybugger through all the likely spots and hooked-up with another nice rainbow. It started out quite rainy and finished up beautifully dry and sunny.
Stan and I made an early morning run down to the Swift River in MA. Didn't seem to be as many fish in the river as usual. We each managed to fool a couple fish. Landed a nice rainbow on a size 20 black flashback BH nymph.
Took a father and daughter out on the Pemigewasset River in Woodstock/Lincolm and Echo Lake in Franconia Notch. The father caught a nice brooktrout in the Pemi and both father and daughter caught MANY brooktrout on the hex hatch. Here is the young lady with her first fish on a fly rod.
July 10 + 12
An expert New Jersey fly fisher vacationing in the :Lakes region wanted to find some trout on the fly. We went to the Newfound River and proceeded to fool a lot of rainbows and a couple really nice brookies (and a smallmouth bass or two.) We fished the fast, well-oxygenated water with dries - various caddis and red quills/Adams patterns all caught fish. Line control and mending is key to success as the fish get more educated and the water level goes down. Water temp is getting close to 70F, so this river needs some rain and cool nights or it will need to be rested until September. We moved to Sky Pond to fish the evening rise. We got one on a parachute Adams and one one a parachute hex before the thunderstorm once again chased us off the water and down the mountain. We returned to Sky Pond on Thursday night and got a few strikes and landed one on my snowshoe hair hex dry. We fished the hex nymph as a dropper and got a few strikes, but no hookups. Ran into my old buddy Dennis G. and he told me about his terrific trip to the Green River in Utah.
Took one of my former fly fishing class students for on-the-water experience. We had thunderstorms roll over and around us all afternoon and evening. She fooled a couple rainbows and a nice brookie on the Newfound River, but we never got to launch the canoe on Sky Pond, due to thunderstorms.
A father and three sons were up from Florida and wanted to try fly fishing. They had mainly fished in salt water and very little fly fishing experience. We went to the Piscataquog River in New Boston and got a couple browns on dry flies. Water is still around 64F, which is very good for this time of year. <pictures>
Upper Pemigewasset R. in Lincoln/Woodstock is where we started. Lady client was new to fly fishing and had never caught a trout on a fly. Got 3 nice rainbows on the river and LOADS of brooktrout on Echo Lake. the hex hatch is really pooping there and she must have had 50 strikes and boated about 20 fish. A good start for her fly fishing career! <pictures>
The Pemigewasset and Newfound Rivers were the destination today. They must have just dropped a load of fish into the Newfound. Clients caught some BIG trout - 2-pound brookie and 5-pound (yes!) rainbow. Then went to Sky Pond and caught a couple brookies on the hex. The hatch us still slow.
Went to the Newfound R.with Garry and Matt. We got a few rainbows and a brooktrout on caddis. The Alder flies are still active. Then Ron met us and we went to Sky Pond. Only got a couple brooktrout. The hex hatch is just starting.
Took my brother and nephew to the Piscataquog for a couple hours in the morning. Action severely limited, but we managed to catch a nice brown and a couple rainbows before the sun hit the water and put the fish down. Still a lot of fish in the river and the cold nights have kept the water temp in the low 60s.
Fished the DHZ on the Piscatquog again and the clients got a few rainbows and a brown on Goddard Caddis and Shadan soft-hackles. Action starting to slow down. The hook-and-cook crowd in beginning to take their toll on the population.
Fished the Newfound, Pemi and Sky Pond with a couple clients. Caught some beautiful rainbows and brooktrout in the Newfound. I think we were in the river not too long after the stocking truck paid a visit. Nothing but a couple small bass on the Pemi and one brooktrout on Sky. The hex hatch was just starting up and the fish were not on them yet.
Stan and I hit the Saco River in North Conway scouting locations for warm-weather trips. Very few trout seen or caught until right before dark, when we got quite a few on caddis and soft-hackles in the surface film. We were fishing a few hundred yards apart in the Glides, and we each had our own encounter with a full-grown moose. Pretty exciting to be casting for rising fish and have a 800 pound moose cross the river 50 feet from you.
I spent the week on the Androscoggin River in Errol, NH with some good friends and our TU chapter. We hit the Alder Fly hatch perfectly. Big zebra caddis had the fish leaping out of the water for the naturals and our flies.From 6:30PM to 9PM Ron, Mack and I must have caught close to 80 browns, rainbows and brooktrout. on dries and soft-hackles. The few days before that we caught a lot of fish on nymphs and soft-hackles. After fishing Alder Flies for a few days, we hit the wild brooktrout ponds and the hex hatch was in full swing. We got some rally nice brooktrout on dries. Stan caught a wild brooktrout almost 20 inches long!
With limited options, I took the client to the Newfound River and had a great morning on caddis dries. The Alder Flies/Zebra caddis are emerging and the client fooled about 40 fish, bringing about 10 to hand. then we went to the Contoocook River in mid-afternoon and didn't see a fish. (My old saying held true again: Don't leave fish to find fish!) He wanted to learn some of the local waters, so even though we didn't catch anything there, it was a successful afternoon. On Sunday we hit the Piscataquog River Delayed Harvest Zone in New Boston. Due to some strange management practice, Fish and Game had left this area very sparsely stocked all spring and then dumped in hundreds of fish just before the regulations changed to hook-and-cook. Well, since there were so many fish in the river, we had a ball catching nice browns and rainbows on small nymphs and elkhair caddis.
Scouted the Sugar River in anticipation of a client trip Saturday and Sunday. Saw only one small rainbow. Once again, a lousy job done by NH Fish and Game in relation to the Fly Fishing only zone on this river.
Briefly fished the Piscataquog River in the Delayed Harvest Zone in New Boston. Got one brown trout on an elkhair caddis right under the bridge. Fished way down into the DHZ and did not see a gosh. NH fish and Game has done a lousy job managing this area. (I learned from a friend that they stocked the DHZ with about 800 trout on June 14, the day before General Regulations go into affect.)
Took a guy from California, who had never fished in the east before. He was excited to get into some dry fly action and the Newfound R. did not disappoint us. Lots of rising fish all day on caddis and Little Yellow Sally patterns.
June 2 and 3
Fished the Newfound River and Pemi in Bristol with a fly angler new to freshwater fishing. Got quite a few on the Newfound River. On Sunday we went to the Pemi in Woodstock and Lincoln and didn't see any fish.
Taught some new fly fishers the ropes. Started on the Pemi in Bristol near the dam and on Coolidge Woods Road with no action, other than a smallmouth and a brookie. Moved on to the Newfound River where everybody got their first trout on a fly. Quite a few rainbows and a few brookies in the mix. Some on red quill mayflies and others on small elkhair caddis. It was exciting to take new anglers from never having cast a fly to casting, mending and hooking fish on dry flies.
Sorry guys, I have been too busy fishing to update the Fish-log! Thanks to David and Richie for yanking my chain and getting me to take a minute to update it. I don't remember all the dates, but here is a summary of the last week's action: fished the Millers, Pemigewasset, Contoocook, Newfound, Nissitissit and Squannacook since I posted the May 21 report. Today I scouted the Contoocook, since I have trips booked Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will probably go there Friday. I got a nice brown at the Millers, but the water was still pretty high and it was a bright sunny day, so conditions were kind of tough. On the Nissitissit, I got a couple rainbows, but the water was pretty warm. (Just ask me in case you need an excuse for not catching fish!) On the Squannacook I hooked into a couple nice rainbows dead-drifing beadhead pheasant tail nymphs. Today on the Contoocook I caught a nice brown and a brookie on small elkhair caddis. There were some Little Yellow Sally stoneflies hatching and that’s what I think they took the caddis for. Oh yeah, I also hit the Newfound and Pemi a few days ago. Hooked into 6 rainbows on the Newfound and landed a couple of them. Nothing on the Pemi. I taught a new guy how to fly fish tonight on the Squannacook and didn't see any fish, which is no surprise since we were beating the water to a froth!
The weather dried out a bit today, so this afternoon I went in search of trout. I was going to go to the Squannacook, but after stopping to take a look at the Nissitissit River, I decided to fish there for a while. The water was a little high, but very fishable. After exercising a couple MA rainbows, I went to my local Wild Trout Stream and got a nice little brookie on a yellow humpy dry and another on a size 14 micro-bugger. Great fun!
A client from Arkansas and I started the day on Willard Pond. The forecast was for light mist. After two hours of getting drenched by "light mist" we went looking for drier waters, if that makes any sense. We got a nice rainbow on a woolly bugger and that was it for the day. Every place we went was pouring rain and the rivers and streams were all very high.
The rains brought the rivers up once again. Mass Div of Fisheries and Wildlife gave the rivers a good stocking and I sampled the fare at the Squannacook River. MDFW stocked some really nice rainbows. The fish I caught in the Squannie averaged 15 inches and about 2 pounds.
Fished the Contoocook River in Henniker and Hillsborough numerous times with Jim and with clients. There were some Hendricksons buzzing around on the first two trips and then no mayflies, but plenty of caddis. All the fish we caught were wild browns and a beautiful wild brooktrout. I don't know where all the stocked fish are, but they were NOT where we were fishing which was all over the Special Regs area in Henniker. We also explored the North Branch River - a beautiful stream, but no fish seen or caught. Also looked at a couple of the larger brooks in the area, but didn't fish them. This is prime fishing time - get out and enjoy it!
Fished the Farmington with Stan. We planned to hit the Hendrickson hatch. We saw flies, but not many fish. Mid-morning I got a nice holdover brown in the church Pool on a nymph. It was a holdover, since they didn't stock the TMA until the day after we fished. We didn't get a lot of fish, but the ones we caught were bigger than average, since they have been in the river since last October. We fished Peoples Forest, looked at the Beaver Pool and 20 other pools. Quite a few mayflies, but not many rising fish. We hit the Central Riffle at the end of the hatch around 3:30 and I caught a really nice brown on a Hendrickson dry. Missed a couple other strikes in the fast water. Moved down to the Boneyard and Stan got a couple and I got one more. We then went to Ovation pool for the spinner fall and got skunked - almost no spinners!
I fished the Wild Trout Stream again and most of the yellow perch have left the pool (probably only a dozen or so still there out of the 40 or 50 that were there a couple days ago.) I caught and released a couple nice (8 or 9 inch) wild trout. There is nothing like catching fish that were spawned and reared in a natural stream instead of a hatchery raceway. I look forward to the time when enlightened fishery management, habitat improvement and an educated public result in more wild fish. (I am probably dreaming that will ever happen, but every fisherman is an optimist!)
I fished the Nissitissit and Squannacook Rivers. It appears that the nor'easter of a couple weeks ago really moved the fish around. Most of the good holding water was not holding many fish. I also fished a local Wild Trout stream and found a huge amount of yellow perch in my favorite brook trout pool. I caught a few on wooly buggers to confirm they were yellow perch. I hope they didn't eat all the young of the year brook trout (suspect they did.)
I spent the day on April 26 stocking Atlantic salmon fry in the Souhegan River and some tributaries in the area. I always find a new pool or run that looks "fishy" and this day was no exception. The water level is finally good for fishing. The 27th I cruised around and hit a few spots on the Squannacook River, the Souhegan River in Ashby, MA and then into NH. It was cool and drizzly, so I didn't even put on my waders. Also, a bunch of kayakers were in the pools I wanted to fish in Greenville, so I left those for another day.
It hasn't taken as long for the floods to recede as I thought it would. Stan and I checked some of the local rivers, and while some are still too high, others are quite fishable. We looked at the Wachusetts Res. tribs and they were still a bit too high for good fly fishing, although the Trout Brook/Quinnapoxet junction pool looked pretty good. There was a guy already fishing there and he had had a couple hits when we talked to him. We then moved to the Squannacook and looked at a couple likely spots. No trout were in evidence at the first couple spots we checked. Then at my favorite pool I picked up a couple on the old-reliable olive BH woolly bugger. The water was 53f which should have the fish on their feed. The water was still a little high, but I just checked the USGS gauge and it is down another foot, so it should be prime fishing in a lot of places. Insects should start to hatch and in a couple days the fish will discover that those little things are food and the dry fly action should begin. Get out an enjoy - Spring has finally arrived!
Well, the floods came and the floods are starting to recede. All of the local rivers are still very high, but some are (barely) fishable. Today I checked out the Squannacook River in West Groton and the Nissitissit River in Pepperell. The Squannacook is clear but still running too high to fish. Next week it should fish really good. I saw some caddis and a couple mayflies buzzing around, so when the water goes down, the hatches should start in earnest. The Nissitissit River is high, but fishable. I fished the Fly Fishing Only area near Prescott Street. All told, I caught 5 nice browns and 3 rainbows. All fell victim to various color woolly buggers and Clousers. I saw one or two rises, but other than a few small black stoneflies, the only insects I saw were a few midges. I hope to make it to the Farmington River in CT if the waters go down enough, but I am not optimistic about that for at least a week. My home waters in NH are probably a week or ten days away from being at good, safe levels to fish with confidence.
I can't stand this weather! Now we have a nor'easter bearing down on us! I heard that they stocked the local streams in MA, so I took a few minutes to hit the Nissitissit River at the lower end of the Fly Fishing-only area. In 20 minutes I caught a rainbow and two nice browns. I expect that all the local streams will be blown out for a week or more with this rain and snow. When the weather breaks and the rivers go down there will be limitless opportunities to catch fish in both MA and NH.
The BSC took a trip to Arkansas to fish the White River. We stayed at Rim Shoals Resort near Cotter and had a great time catching browns and rainbows. See the pictures in the Gallery. The White River is the tailwater of Bull Shoals Lake, which is the same size as Lake Winnepesauke. It is cold and crystal clear. It is lined by limestone bluffs and has a limestone bottom. Rich in insect life, we caught most fish on small midge nymphs, such as size 20 zebra midges. On Friday we had a heavy hatch of white-winged, green-body caddis. Here is a picture of Randy with guide Clint with a big brown caught on a size 24 midge nymph.
Well, my Florida trip is winding down. I head north in a couple days. On my last fishing adventure of the trip I went to the canals on the Tamiami Trail and visited Everglades City and the Everglades National Park visitor center. The first spot I stopped at had a big gator sunning himself right where I wanted to stand and fish.
Needless to say, the gator retained the spot and I fished a different place. It was a little windy and I saw no tarpon rolling, except in a canal that I couldn't get to in the park-employee housing area. Dick and Marsh know right where I mean. I also spent a day on the beach (a rarity for me) and saw this interesting critter:
This is a gopher tortoise. It lives on land (can't swim) near the ocean and eats grasses and other tender greenery. This one was nibbling weeds near my car at Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs. It is called a gopher tortoise because it digs a burrow to escape from the sun and predators.
Dave sent me some pictures, so here is a flash file of our trip on Pine Island Sound with Capt. Paul Hobby. Click on the picture to launch.
Our friends Dave and Cheryl came to visit for a couple days and Dave and I hired a guide to fish the flats in Pine Island Sound near Sanibel Island. Captain Paul Hobby ( www.fishinghobby.com ) took us to all the good spots and we saw lots of redfish and a few snook. The tide was in a little too much for ideal tailing conditions, but we had shots at some nice redfish. Unfortunately, they were real spooky and we didn't have any hook-ups. Just as we were getting ready to wrap things up, Capt. Paul said to make a final cast to the mangroves where we had seen a big snook cruising. I made another cast - nothing. Then I made one more cast and - fish on! The snook grabbed the fly, thrashed around for a second and then took off on a drag-screaming run away from the mangroves (good news!) and across the flat to more mangroves (bad news!) The snook dove into a a tangle of downed mangroves that were remnants of damage from hurricane Charlie that roared right through here two years ago. It was too shallow to pole the boat across to the mangroves where we could see the snook frantically trying to get free from the hook. I jumped out of the boat and slogged across the mudflat; lifted the downed tree where the line was caught and pulled the fish out of the mangroves by the leader. Thank goodness for 20-pound flourocarbon tippet! I got the fish on the reel and landed it after a couple short runs. We estimate it at 27 to 28 inches and 6 or 7 pounds. Not bad for the "bottom of the ninth with two-outs!"
Dick, Pete and I fished Hunters Creek and the Peace River today. After a friendly conversation with a Florida Environmental Policeman (Game Warden) who checked our licenses and the boat equipment, he loaned us a life preserver and off we went in search of redfish, tarpon and snook. We saw no redfish, a few rolling tarpon and very few snook. The snook we saw were mostly on the end of our line! It was a beautiful warm day around 75-80F after a few days of cold (low 60s) windy weather. I updated the pictures, so take a look.
Dick, Pete and I fished the canals on the Tamiami Trail. We launched Pete's canoe and in one set of deep canals I boated a 22-24-inch snook and had a tarpon (8-10 pounds) on for about a minute. When I first hooked it, I thought it was a large snook, because it fought hard and deep, but then it gave a patented head-shaking leap revealing a good-sized baby tarpon. Then we moved to some other canals in the area that also held lots of snook and tarpon. Way in the back of the first canal I hooked a snook that we conservatively estimate at 20+ pounds. Pete said it is the biggest he ever saw and was certainly bigger than any I have ever seen. It was in a cul de sac at the end of the canal and it was the last cast before we turned the canoe around to fish our way back down to the road. This enormous snook was holding in about 18 inches of water and after making a tremendous lunging leap, it turned and headed towards it's refuge in the mangroves. Seeing the direction it was heading I cranked down the pressure and the fly broke off just as it reached the cover of the mangrove roots. What a rush! We then explored the Turner river and saw a huge quantity of alligators.
Here are some pictures and a video of Dick catching a snook. Pictures
Welcome to my fish log, 2007 version. I have been in southwest Florida all month and have been fishing a couple times. Once in Charlotte Harbor with my buddies Dick and Pete and once on Tamiami Trail canals with my friend Marsh.
We went out in Dick's flats boat on Charlotte Harbor and fished the flats near Burnt Store Marina on the incoming tide for redfish. I saw lots of them, but they were very spooky and none were hooked or landed.
Marsh and I fished from daybreak until after noon right after a cold front came through. We saw lots of tarpon and some big snook. The tarpon wouldn't bite, but I caught a nice snook on a finger mullet pattern.Home