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.
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.
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!"
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
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
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
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.
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!
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
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
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.
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
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.)
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.
Fished Stonehouse Pond and caught some small brook trout on dries
and a couple on trolled steamers.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Here is the 2005 report, in case you are interested: 2005
Here is the 2004 report, in case you are interested: 2004