A fly on the Connecticut River

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We kayaked a section of the Connecticut River on Memorial Day weekend hoping to avoid crowds on other more easily fished water. The thing is…this is big, wide, flat water. I trolled a leechy- looking bugger with a bead head for the length of the 10 mile trip with out a single bump. I did try to cast to the bank in a couple of sections that seemed particularly “fishy” without result. This is the kind of situation that one gets in touch with that inner sense of fisherman helplessness. Lost. Such is the desperation that leads to all kinds book seeking, map reviewing, and interrogation of those fisherman who have paid their dues parsing the water.

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Gale River Pools

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Top Pool, Gale River

Another friendly fisherman from Littleton directed me to a wonderful spot on the Gale where I found a succession of pools and chutes.  I started with a bead head, light brown wooly bugger.

Casting into the Top Pool, Gale River

No interested parties.  I moved down river, repeatedly delighted by the ledge walls and deep basins.  This section is almost like a miniature gorge.

Brook Trout, Gale River

Here we go.  A decisive strike form a small brook trout on the bead head wooly bugger.  He took the fly just on the above the ledge drop that cascades into the next pool.  I caught seven of these; three on the wooly bugger and four on a black ghost.  There were no signs of bigger fish, even in the deepest pools.

Middle Pool Section, Gale River

The most lively section this morning…

Brief Sun Spot, Gale River

Cloudy and raining for most of the morning, but the sun did peek through briefly…

Bottom Linear Pool, Gale River.

My guess… if there are bigger fish around, this would be a good home for them.  The river emerges from the ledge just below this bottom section.  This is the deepest spot and offers some still water on the tail of the pool.  I tried a couple of weighted wooly buggers and a minnow streamer here to no avail.

Warren shares…

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Warren’s Fly

This is Warren, from Manchester.  Another courteous fisherman I ran into at Streeter Pond today.  He spent the morning trolling with streamers and a sink tip line.  He caught some beautiful Rainbows that his friend will be enjoying for dinner this evening.

I caught nothing.  But Warren did set me up with some of his streamers.  It’s a joy to meet nice people when you are getting “skunked”.  I will admit, I was a bit jealous of his stringer.

New Hampshire Fly Shops

New Hampshire Area Fly Shops and Supplies

Upper Valley outfitter

The Fly Shop: a dying breed?  Not if I can help it.  While it is a joy to sit in bed and peruse your favorite mail order catalogue with its slick pages full of tasty-priced fly fishing regalia, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that can replace the a “local” fly shop.  Currently, I have only two options in New Hampshire, both of them over an hour drive from my home.  Recently, I stopped in at Upper Valley outfitter for the first time and was pleased to find Steve, who set me up with everything I needed to take a stab at tying my first fly (black ghost).

While we only have two dedicated fly shops (UVO and The North Country Angler), New Hampshire is fortunate to have shops that are attitude/hazing free…

Streamer Trolling on Streeter Pond

New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout

17″ Rainbow Trout at Streeter Pond

I have to say, when I saw people trolling about with lines trailing I thought “not my kind of fishing”.  I had a change of heart after I had a hit and miss on a dry fly from one of these holdover Rainbow Trout.  I got my line out there and paddled…until I landed one a couple of weeks later.  Method?  Trolling in a kayak.  My kind of fishing…

Lower Pond

New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brook Trout

Native Brook Trout.  Bethlehem, NH.

They’re biting: My dad called in the afternoon to say “they’re biting all over the lower pond.”  I wrapped up and headed over to meet him.  He hooked the first fish, a 4 inch long horned pout.  A surprise to both of us.  After multiple aggressive strikes on his dry fly by infant horned pout, he eventually managed to bring in the beautiful young native brook trout.  I caught a 12 inch brookie just under the surface a little later in the afternoon.