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Fishing Reports - 2006

This is a running report of what is going on in New England in the way of fly fishing. If you have something for me to add, just drop an email.

December 1, 11, 17

Each day I thought it would be, "The last good fishinng day of the year."  The weather keeps surprising me.  I don't know if is a result of global warming, el Nino or something else, but it sure has been nice. Air temp was about 50F and the water temp was 47.5F. I don't count my catch, but I caught a lot of fish each day. Most were caught on size 20 or 22 small nymphs - beadhead Pheasant Tail, being one of the more successful patterns, but also caught a couple on large tan egg patterns fished in the surface film (they wouldn't even look at them if fished on the bottom.)  Most were caught by the hatchery pipe run and a few at the Y-pool, and the hemlock pool. Here are a couple pictures and a Video Link.  Today was MY "Last best fishing day of the year."  Happy New Year! Watch for 2007 reports.

 

November 29

Jim and I took a ride to Bristol and did some casting practice.  Nice day to be out, but no fish caught or seen.  Water was pretty cold, so the fish are lethargic.

November 9

Another out of state trip for Stan and me, this time to the Swift River in MA  It is less than a 2hour drive, beautiful water and lots of fish!  We each caught quite a few good rainbows.   Stan got a couple that were close to 20 inches.  My biggest was probably 14 or 15 inches. I got mine mostly on size 24 BWO dries.  I got a nice rainbow on a small BH woollybugger and the biggest rainbow on a lime green serendipity.   I caught my bggest fish in the Y-pool and Stan got his big ones near the Hatchery Pipe. The temp was about 7-F and the water was 55F (which is the typical temperature there just about every day of the year.) This was also the initiation day for my new Orvis 7.5 ft 5wt bamboo rod.  It casts like a dream.  I think I'll keep it.  Well, that was one more "Last good day of the year!"

October 30

Once again Stan and I headed out of state, this time to the Farmington River in CT.  We thought fishing a tailwater would get us some water that wasn't at flood stage, like the few rivers available to us in NH that didn't close on Oct 15.  The water was a little high, but very fishable.  Unfortunately the fish were not very cooperative.  We fished all the likely spots up and down the river that usually produce for us: Beaver Pool, Hitchcock Chair factory in Riverton, Church Pool, Greenwoods, and Black Bridge. There were a few size 64 midges in the air and some sporadic tan caddis, but no rises.  Stan broke a good fish off on a woollybugger and I deftly avoided hooking up with the only fish that rose to my fly all day.  Nevertheless, it was a gorgeous day around 70F and we had a great time on the "Last good day of the year."   I also should mention that Stan went down to the Swift and caught fish in the Y-pool and the hatchery-pipe run a few days before we went to the Farmington. That will probably be the most productive water to fish until next spring.  (BTW, hi Ron, say hi to Charlie for me!)

October 23

Stan and I took a ride down to the Swift River in Belchertown, MA.  It is a little less than  2-hours ride.  What a beautiful river and beautiful trout.  We started out in the "bubbler branch" right below the dam of the Quabbin Reservoir.  Lots of fish thinking about trying to spawn.  I think Stan got a couple browns - one about 16 or 17 inches and a brook troout.  We then hit the Y-pool and a couple other favorite spots.  I fooled a couple rainbows in the Hemlock pool.  Stan's favorite bend pool was empty.  As we walked back down to route 9 we saw a lot of large fish.  Many loked to be over 20 inches.  We saw some that were trying to spawn and a number of redds that had been scratched out of the gravel on the bottom. We then moved down to the hatchery pool and each got quite a few fish.  I was using a dry and dropper and most fish hit the dry.  I had on a size 12 Royal Wulff and a Stimulator.  There were some very small BWO flying around and maybe a couple caddis.  It you haven't fished the Swift, you are missing out.  Fortunately, although NH closes the season on most of the decent trout water on Oct 15, we still can fish MA, and the Swift River in particular.  I hope to make another trip or 2 down there before the snow flies.

October 12 & 14

Fished the Pemigewasset River in  Bristol both days.  Still catching lots of small broodstock Atlantic salmon.  These fish look more like "racer" landlocks than Atlantics.  Most are 14 to 16 inches with a couple pushing 18 inches. Most took streamers, with the Black Ghost leading the list of effective flies.  About a third of them were taken on top with large Stimulators twitched across the surface.  Stopped by the Sugar River Thursday afternoon, but it was running bank-full, chocolate-colored and loaded with leaves and twigs from the big rain we had Wednesday night. It might be fishable today (Oct 15), the last day of the season on that river and most others managed for trout.  Don't get me going on that regulation!  IMHO NH F&G is missing the boat big-time on closing most of the rivers and ponds on October 15.  Any river or pond that is stocked with rainbows, browns and tiger trout should be open with catch and release regs after October 15.  If you agree, send an email to that affect to Steve Perry Division Chief of Inland Fisheries and Lee Perry Executive Director of NH Fish and Game.  They listen to input and your email might make a difference. In any case, the Pemi and the waters in MA and CT will be my haunts until late April 2007. 

October 9

Columbus Day was one of the best I can remember. The fishiong wasn't too bad either.  Started on the Pemi in Bristol and picked up one salmon, about 2.5 lbs. Pretty slow catching, but a great day to be on the water.  Then we moved over to the Sugar River FF area in Newport. Got three nice rainbows on dries. There were some tiny BWO coming off, but we caught fish on size 10 Isonychia spinners.  I guess the fish just couldn't resist the juicy protein floating through their feeding lie.  Water temp on the Sugar was 53.5F.  Too bad the season closes on the Sugar River on October 15.  It will probably fish well right into November and beyond. At least the Pemi in Bristol will be there, when I don't feel like driving to the Farmington, Swift or Millers Rivers.

October 8

The state finally stocked the broodstock salmon on Thursday the 5th.  I caught 4 of them this morning in Bristol.  They are really puny compared toprevious years.  They looked more like "Racer" landlocks than Atlantics. Went down by the Smith river, but didn't see any down there. Had a little success along the Coolidge Woods Road.  Caught them on Black Ghosts and Moose River streamers.

September 26

I had heard through the grapevine that MA would be stocking some of the rivers this week.  I went on an exploratory mission to the Squannacook River in W. Groton. It looked like some tire tracks from the stocking truck on the entrance trail, but it also could have been ATV tracks.  After hiking in the half mile to my favorite pool, I sat on a stump to rig my tippet and flies.  Suddenly I heard the unmistakable sound of a truck engine. Yep, the stocking trucked crept along the trail on the oposite side of the river.  I watched as the stockers heaved 4 netfuls of brown trout into my pool.  No spreading of the fish up and down the river - just heave them into the pool.  I took a walk up and down the river to let the fish settle down and then caught a couple, just to see what had been stocked.  Nice browns about 11-12 inches, with a few bigger and smaller mixed in.  I released those I caught downstream into the next pool to spread them out a bit.  I imagine they will naturally move around to find their own feeding spot. Before fising for them again I'll wait until they settle in to a more natural mode, but it is nice to know they are there.  Especially since the NH season closes on most streams and ponds on October 15, there are some places where there are fish to catch nearby!

September 23

Made the rounds of my favorite rivers in central NH.  Started the rainy morning at Profile Falls on the Smith River.  No rises, no fish seen.  Tried the Pemi in a few spots in Bristol to no avail. Then we hit the Newfound River and found plenty of fish at the dam pool.  Landed a couple nice rainbows and brookies.  Moved up to the Pemi in Woodstock/Lincoln.  Picked up a couple rainbows sipping tiny stuff in the surface film.  I almost fell off a slick granite cliff casting to one pod of risers, but it was worth it when the rainbow sipped in my Griffiths gnat and began leaping when he realized he had been fooled.  The hatchery folks have clearly been making the rounds of the popular spots on the rivers, in addition to their public notice of stocking the trout ponds. 

September 22

The Sugar River once again was loaded with willing fish.  Only a few mayfly spinners, but quite a few BWO hatching throughout the day.  We caught fish on dries almost all day.  Light Cahill parachutes, Isonychia spinners size 10 and size 18 parachute Adams all produced.  Apparently the river was stocked yesterday, because we caught tons of small browns and a couple 20+ inch bruisers.  Here is a beautiful rainbow with a large Isonychia spinner in its jaw.

 

September 15

Fished the Pemi in Woodstock, Lincoln and Thornton.  Found some rising trout and tricked a few into eating flies.  Caught a couple nice rainbows on size 20 Griffith Gnats and a couple brookies on olive woollybuggers.  Water is cooling down nicely and some fish have held over in the deeper pools.  This would be a great area for some special regs.

September 7-10

Fished the Sugar River FF-Only area in Newport a couple times.  Lots of mayflies - Isonychia and Cahills - bouncing on the water laying eggs most of the day.  Caught quite a few on larger spinner patterns.  Some nice rainbows in there.  Dry-fly action began to tail off, but nymphs were the trick as the week progressed.

September 4

Today I closed out the Wild Trout Stream season on my favorite local WTS, which shall remain nameless. All summer I have been stopping by this local stream and making sure everybody has been playing by the rules: barbless single hook artificials, no bait, immediate release. I have chased out and/or reported about 10 different people using worms, powerbait, etc.  One guy even told me the Powerbait he was using was an artificial lure, since it wasn't natural!  In any case, the season is now closed until January 1 and I will be continuing to keep an eye out for poachers.  Here are a few pictures of the beautiful wild trout that inhabit this great little stream. (Water temps all summer were about 60F or less.) 

August 28-31

Eight of us took a trip to Quebec in search of big, wild brooktrout.  We found plenty of wild brooktrout, but few of any size.  We caught hundreds of 9 to 12-inch trout in spectacular colors. Most were caught on streamers, but quite a few took dries, as well.  The area we went to was called Pourvoire Clauparo. I don't know the exact size, but we had exclusive access to dozens of lakes, ponds and rivers. We were the only people fishing this area, and most of the water we fished had only seen a few people fishing it this year.  Some ponds had not been fished in a few years.We had a bit of rain and it was breezy just about every day.  Take a look at the pictures in the Gallery.

August 8

I took a whirlwind camping trip to Lafayette Place campground in Franconia Notch. After a little hiking, I waded the shore of Echo Lake for about an hour. It was quite breezy and I couldn't tempt any fish on a woollybugger for small nymphs. Then about 8:30pm I saw a couple hex floating on the water. Only saw one rise and got no hits. I bet there is still enough of a hatch to entice some of those nice brookies when the wind dies down.

August 2

Stan and I decided to get some natural air conditioning today for relief from the incredible heat-wave we are having. Our destination was the Swift River in Belchertown, MA. We got up at 0'dark:30 and were on the road by 4:30AM. Rigged up and on the water by 6:30am. The water was much lower than recent trips to the Swift - and much colder! Less water was coming over the spillway from the top of the lake and more from the "bubbler" at the bottom of the dam. I measured the water temp at a shade under 53 degrees from the bubbler and about 60 degrees down at the Cady Lane access point. Nice cold water for a 100 degree day! Stan caught a bunch of fish on size 16 copper johns and other nymphs. I got some brooktrout and rainbows on ants and beetles on top and size 20 silver beadhead nymphs as a dropper. Stan got a nice brown and a couple other fish on Winter Caddis dries - I think size 18. All-in-all a great way to beat the heat!

July 25

Ron, Stan and I hit the Farmington River. It was the "shake-down cruise" for my new/old bamboo rod that I bought on EBay a couple weeks ago. On my third cast I caught a brook trout on an ant pattern. (Only fish I landed all day!) I hooked into four others, but they all got off before I could land them. The rod worked well and I am quite pleased with it. There were a few sporadic rises most of the day, but with sunny skies and few insects hatching, the catching was tough. There were a few tiny Needhami mayflies on the water in the morning, and some Winter Caddis around from time to time. In the afternoon we saw some Isonychias laying eggs and a few sulphurs, as well. We went to our favorite pool for the spinner fall, which did not occur. I got two strikes on parachute sulphur dries, but could not bring them to net. All-in-all a great day of fishing, but not so great catching!

July 13

Echo Lake redux. Calm night, lots of hex hatching. Caught quite a few on dries with a twitchy retrieve to get their attention. Caught 2 nice ones - around 14 inches - see picture. Others were 9 or 10 inches and a lot of fun on my 6'6" 2-wt rod. All were healthy, strong fish and all were released in good shape.

July 10

Stan and I took a ride out to the Bearsden section of the Millers River in Mass. Nice looking water, but the water temp was almost 80F! We figured we were wasting our time there, and even if we caught and released fish, the heat would stress them and they would probably die (if they had survived the high water temps.) so we drove to the Swift River in Belchertown, MA. Beautiful cold water (67F) that was running at a good level for wading. I think water must be coming over the top of the spillway, or it would be colder than 67 degrees. In any case, Stan caught a few down below the hatchery pipe and missed quite a few other strikes. I spent all my time rerigging tangled nymphs rigs or tieing new tippets after losing flies in the trees or on rocks. Around 8pm we moved upstream a ways to see if there was a "golden drake" emergence, as there had been when I fished this area a few years ago. We didn't see any flies, but lots of fish rising to something. I landed a nice brown and lost a couple others on a large sulphur parachute dry. One of the few times I have fished there in uncrowded conditions and catching fish on flies larger than size 22.

July 8, 9,10

Saturday I went with Jim up to Echo Lake to explore the progress of the hex hatch. After replacing the tire on my trailer, buying a new hitch (I left mine in the closet in the garage, and it was easier to buy a new one than waste a couple hours retrieving the forgotten hitch) we made our way to Echo Lake at the base of Cannon Mtn. In the past we have fished Profile Lake, but I wanted to get my boat out on the water, so we went to Echo, which we had been told has the hex hatch. We were told correctly. For about an hour and a half we had fast action on big dry flies. I lost count after a dozen fish, but Jim thinks I got between 2 and 3 dozen. For every fish landed, we probably missed 3 or 4 strikes. Numerous times (6 or 7?) we had double hookups. Jim had such a good time, he went back with another friend Sunday and his wife Barb on Monday. Each time they caught a lot of fish.

July 2

Hiked into Wachipauka Pond in Warren; fed a big swarm of mosqitos; and didn't catch a fish. A fun afternoon! Here are a couple pictures of the pond and some hex naturals that I saw at 3:00pm.

 

June 18-22

Spent the week in Errol, NH fishing the Androscoggin River, waiting for the Alder Fly hatch.  It finally occured Thursday morning, as I was leaving!  Still caught a lot of fish, even before the big hatch..  Also fished some of the trout ponds and the hex hatch was going strong.  Caught a lot of brook trout up to 3 pounds - most were in the 1.5 to 2 pound category, if you can believe that!

 

Caught brookies, rainbows, browns and smallmouth in the river.  Got most on nymphs, a few on my black ghost Clouser (some nice brook trout) and quite a few on skittering caddis, large yellow stimulators (yes, there were golden stone files buzzing around, too!)  There were also some sulphurs, but not many risers to those.

June 9-16

June has been a busy month. Lots of rain, which is good for the fish, but makes for tough fishing.  Fished the Contoocook a couple times around 15th and 18, and caught quite a few rainbows and a couple browns, mostly on woolly buggers.  Also fished Sky Pond with great results - lots of nice brook trout on dry flies in mid to late afternoon.

June 1

Took a drive out to Wilton/Greenville and fished the Souhegan River and a tributary.  No fish seen or hooked in the DHZ, but got a small brook trout and broke off what I believe to be a good sized rainbow near the Monadnock Water factory.  Also caught a few salmon parr - might have been some that I helped stock last year (too big to be those we stocked this year.) 

May 27

Explored some tribs of the Bearcamp River.  Beautiful rivers, but no fish seen or caught.  Then fished some ponds off the Sandwich Notch Road.  Caught lots of small brook trout, but nothing of any size - almost all on dries.  Moved around the ponds to stay out of the wind.  Finished up at Sky Pond - more small brookies.  The state must have emptied the hatcheries of small fish.  Should bode well for Fall and next Spring.

May 26

Fished Stonehouse Pond and caught some small brook trout on dries and a couple on trolled steamers.

May 23

Fished the Squannacook river for a couple hours in the late afternoon.  Water is still high, but fishable.  Hooked up with one fish on a size 20 PT nymph, but didn't land it.  Tough to control a fish in high water on such a small hook.

May 14-18

The BSC made a pilgimage to the cradle of American flyfishing - the Catskills, Delaware and Beaverkill Rivers. First time I ever fished there.  What a beautiful river.  Good hatches, wild fish - what more could you ask for?  Take a look at some of the pictures here.  Due to the weather, (showers, breezy) the hatches were pretty good, but not prolific, but we had a really good spinner fall Wednesday night.  We had March Browns, Blue Quills, a few Hendricksons, caddis, Sulphurs, yellow Sallies, many times all at the same time.

May 8

Ron, Stan and I took another run to the Farmington.  We didn't have fast action like a couple weeks ago, but still got quite a few fish. Although a Monday, there were quite a few people out, but we didn't have trouble finding a spot with rising fish.  Not many Hendricksons left, and it was pretty breezy.  Late afternoon there was some blue quill action and we got some on a fly Stan dug out of his box.  It was an emerger with mahogany antron tail, segmented body (stripped peacock herl?) and a small white foam wing case and sparse dun hackle.  Off to the West Branch of the Delaware May 15 - hope we don't get washed out.

May 7

Joined scads of spin fishers and worm-dunkers on the Squannacook in W. Groton. Quite a few spinners around 2:00pm.  Got a nice brown on a rusty spinner and LDR a couple more before the action shut down.

April 28

Took a run out to the Millers River in Erving and Orange.  Got one nice rainbow near the bridge in downtown Erving. Nothing in the C&R area in Wendell Depot.  Lots of caddis on the water, but no rising fish.

April 25

Fished the Contoocook with Jim.  We each picked up a couple nice rainbows and I got a 10 inch smallmouth.  Flow was good and some small caddis were bouncing around on the water, but no rises.

April 21

Ron, Stan and I took a day-trip to the Farmington River in CT.  What a great day!  We arrived abound 9AM and after checking out various pools, we started at the Black Bridge pool.  Lots of spin fishermen caught a very few fish, although looking from the bridge we could see quite a few fish in the water. We (and the fish) were waiting for the water to warm up a bit for the Hendricksons to start hatching.  A few BWO and a very few Hendricksons started hatching around noon. We caught a few fish and then after a quick lunch we moved upriver in search of a better hatch situation.  We found it.  We got a few fish on the hatch, but really cleaned up on the spinner fall.  We lost track of how many fish we caught.  Most were browns around 12 inches.  Here is a video of Stan landing a fish, while Ron fishes on. Quicktime   Windows

April 19

Fished the Pemi in Bristol and Franklin in anticipation of the broodstock salmon.  Apparently the water is still too cold, because we never saw a fish and talked to other people who also never saw a fish.  A great day to be on te water, but not a great day for fish.

April 14

Another beautiful day to be on the water. I explored the Souhegan River from Milford up to Greenville. In downtown Milford I ran into one of my new neighbors fishing an ultra-light spinning rod.  He took 4 recently stocked brookies home for dinner using a small spinner.  I caught and released one from the same pool and then went upriver a few miles to see what was happening.  After looking at a few spots along 101 and 31, I tried a couple spots in the Delayed Harvest Zone (catch and release until June15.)  No hits, no follows, so I suspect the upper reaches haven't been stocked yet, or the locals hauled out the stockers before I got there.

Jim filed this report from the Contoocook River special regs area in West Henniker:

"Barb used a small olive bead headed WB and took one rainbow. Switched to a pair of brown bead headed ice nymphs size 16 & 12 which she was using when I took the picture. Lots of action on the ice nymphs. Today the water was 54.4 up from 43.3 Monday, flow was 534. Lots of stone flies and a few mayflies. Unlike Monday there were no rises today."

April 10

What a great day to be on the water!   I guided a client from Iowa on his first fly fishing adventrure in New  England. We started out fishing the headwaters of the Souhegan River in Ashby, MA for brook trout.  After landing a few speckled beauties we moved down to Willard Brook.   We then hit the Squannacook River in West Groton for some nice rainbows.  A good hatch was coming off and there were stoneflies, big Mayfly spinners (looked like March Browns) and lots of midges.  Fish began to rise aggressively and there were numerous hook-ups and 3 or 4 nice rainbows landed.  Water was 47F and at early summer flow levels.  Let's hope we get a little rain in the next few weeks to keep things going into summer. Jim N. and Jim B. hit the Contoocook River and landed a nice rainbow.  Stan J. keeps hitting Alton Bay with no fish landed, but he got some follows from humongous landlocks cruising for smelt. Our Learn to Flyfish class at the Salem, NH Library and the Merrimack, NH YMCA is going smoothly.  This week we learned about fish food- how to identify and match the insects found on trout streams.  Next Monday April 17 at the Merrimack Y we will do an intro to fly tying.  This is a free beginner/intermediate course on fly fishing jointly sponsored by TU and the NH Fish and Game Let's Go Fishing program. Send me an email if you want to attend or for information about Trout Unlimited.

April 6

After a few fruitless initial forays, we finally had a decent day on the water.  Stan and I hit the Squannacook River in Townsend and Groton and got into a few nice rainbows.  The water had been very low and very cold, but a little rain picked up the flow, and although the water was still about 40F we got a few fish. If the water warms up about 10 degrees over the next couple weeks, it should really turn on the fish.  They are in there, but the cold weather makes them lethargic and you just about have to whack them in the nose with your fly to get a bite.  Low and slow is the name of the game for now.

April 1

I was out of town on a non-fishing trip to Pennsylvania, but from what I heard, the fishing on opening day at Winnepesaukee was real slow.  The salmon were real deep and were definitely not biting.

March 30

Stan and I hit some of the laocal Massachusetts waters on a beautiful early Spring day.  The weather was warm, but the waters were cold.   We hit a couple spots on the Millers River and the Nissitissit River. Both had been stocked, but we couldn't move any fish. The water temp was about 44 degrees, which is still a bit cold for the trouts' metabolism.  We should be getting some warm rain that will get the fish into a feeding mood.

January 20-30

I spent a good ten days in Florida escaping from mid-winter New England cabin-fever.  I fished some f the canals along the Tamiami Trail in the Everglades and the Ding-Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island.   Here is a link to some Florida pictures and videos.

 

Here is the 2005 report, in case you are interested: 2005 Fishing Report

Here is the 2004 report, in case you are interested: 2004 Fishing Report