4 Miles for a Native


4 miles of interesting, seemingly trout-friendly water revealed one fish, a little native brookie.  A solo jumper feeding on a hatch menagerie, he was hanging in shallow, slow water. Perhaps it was the beaver dam 5 ft upriver and the confluence of a clear stream just downriver that attracted him to this lackluster spot on the Pemi. As thrilled as I was to catch and release him, I have to confess a certain sadness stuck. With a squadron of bugs around every bend of river, this singular trout is the reality of our trout fishery if not for the support of New Hampshire Fish and Game’s stocking program.  While I am ever grateful that we have a stocking program, I am even more regretful of our impact on their habitat that prescribes such a practice. 

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6 thoughts on “4 Miles for a Native

  1. What a wonderful post. I don’t think most people are aware that the majority of fish are stocked. I’m glad you got to see that cute little guy!

  2. That fish is a trophy, despite the size. Something about catching a fish that was born in the water body that’s sooooo much more satisfying than put and take.
    I’ve experienced similar, and had the similar ponderings… I live on the Andro and it’s quite sad how it fishes before the stock trucks make their way round. šŸ˜¦ I did read an interesting story about what they did in Montana after being in a similar situation to what we face here… they stopped stocking, and instead put those resources into habitat improvement, and now their fishery is very good. It seems that stocked fish displace natives and are detrimental to the natural fishery. I’d rather see a few lean years and a self sustaining fishery… would be less expensive in the long run and a natural, sustainable harmony would be realized. šŸ™‚
    Regards,
    Chris

    • Oh, Chris, it must be very interesting to be witness to this on the Andro. My HOPE would have been that perhaps the fact that much of the Andro is less accessible than a river like the Pemi, there would be more holdover fish and a less noticeable difference pre vs post stock. But, it sounds like you and I have been fully educated on the specialness of a native fish and just how pristine the habitat needs to be to support them. Interesting to hear about successful interventions that address the problem from a more macro perspective. A stocking program is sort of like dropping the water from helicopters while addressing the health of the habitat is akin to “building the well”…always the better longer term intervention for sustainability. Thanks for you thoughtful reply, Chris.

      • Stephanie, I don’t think it has so much to do with fishing pressure on the Andro as it does how warm the water gets in summer. I know folks like brookies and rainbows, but I honestly think browns would be better in this river, or some other species that could be introduced and thrive, and wouldn’t need to be replenished every year. I fish a lot in a Scadden pontoon, similar to your boat, but horseshoe shaped, and I hit all the out of the way places, mile after mile… and the fishing is really no better in the more remote before the stock trucks get here. You’ll hit a fish here and there, but it’s not uncommon to fish hard for a few miles, seeing a trillion bugs floating by, and not having a bite. I’ve had numerous people tell me I’m full of beans, and how the Andro is a very good trout fishery, but none of them spend any significant fraction of the time I do actually fishing it. Granted, I’m no Curt Gowdy, but I have some idea what I’m doing.

        I find myself enjoying fishing for native fish more and more, regardless of the species. Yes, it’s fun to fish after the truck arrives and catch big brookies. These 3 from earlier in the season weighed nearly 5 pounds (apologies if the photo doesn’t show up – not 100% sure I know how to put them on here.). I release nearly all I catch, but about once a month I like to give the frying pan a good workout. šŸ™‚ https://www.dropbox.com/s/33tx97qve51iq2l/2016-05-10%2018.23.14.jpg?dl=0

        But I actually got more satisfaction catching this little little native guy a couple of weeks ago. I fished for nearly 6 hours without a hit, then got him on a little #20 buggy looking dropper fly I tie with squirrel body hair and a glass bead head. Call me crazy, but I was grinning like a kid in a candy store when I finally tricked something into biting on a cold, windy day. šŸ™‚

        I’m in the process of building a little 6′, 2wt fiberglass rod that I’m going to attack some of the small, out of the way streams with over the summer. I don’t care if it’s brookies or dace or whatever… I’m going to put some serious miles on and catch lots of fish that have never seen a human before, and I’m going to have a ball. šŸ™‚

        Anyhow, I just wish for a more naturally sustaining fishery or some sort… even if it’s not the pretty cold water species most fly guys dream about.

        Good fishing to you. šŸ™‚
        Chris

  3. I don’t think it has so much to do with fishing pressure on the Andro as it does how warm the water gets in summer. I know folks like brookies and rainbows, but I honestly think browns would be better in this river, or some other species that could thrive, and wouldn’t need to be replenished every year. I fish a lot in a Scadden pontoon, similar to your boat, but horseshoe shaped, and I hit all the out of the way places, mile after mile… and the fishing is really no better more remote before the stock trucks get here. I’ve had numerous people tell me I’m full of beans, and how the Andro is a very good trout fishery, but none of them spend any significant fraction of the time I do actually fishing it.

    I find myself enjoying fishing for native fish more and more, regardless of the species. Yes, it’s fun to fish after the truck arrives and catch big brookies. These 3 from earlier in the season weighed nearly 5 pounds (apologies if the photo doesn’t show up – not 100% sure I know how to put them on here.). I release nearly all I catch, but about once a month I like to give the frying pan a good workout. šŸ™‚ https://www.dropbox.com/s/33tx97qve51iq2l/2016-05-10%2018.23.14.jpg?dl=0

    But I actually got more satisfaction catching this little little native guy a couple of weeks ago. I fished for nearly 6 hours without a hit, then got him on a little #20 buggy looking dropper fly I tie with squirrel body hair and a glass bead head. Call me crazy, but I was grinning like a kid when I finally tricked something into biting on a cold, windy day. šŸ™‚

    I’m in the process of building a little 6′, 2wt fiberglass rod that I’m going to attack some of the small, out of the way streams with over the summer. I don’t care if it’s brookies or dace or whatever… I’m going to put some serious miles on and catch lots of fish that have never seen a human before, and I can’t wait. šŸ™‚

    Anyhow, I just wish for a more naturally sustaining fishery or some sort… even if it’s not the pretty cold water species most fly guys dream about.

    Good fishing to you. šŸ™‚
    Chris

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