Trout Quilt

Fly Fishing: Photography, Flyfishing Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brook Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized

I asked Maria to make me a quilt that evoked all of my favorite trout markings.  She delivered. I can now dream of next season’s catch into the dead of winter while wrapped in brookie, brown, and rainbow spots.  Perhaps she wants me to sleep right through May without complaint re: frozen waters….

Thanks, Maria, for a wonderful interpretation of my favorite river dwellers!

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Leave the Big Net at home…

Fly Fishing: Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, Uncategorized


I have been thirsty for a big brown trout for years, only catching 12 inch stockers in between brookies and rainbows.  As we set out for a float today, I am mainly prepped for some bird watching and a little smallmouth bass wrangling. But we will be on slow, warm water in the middle of the day so I am not feeling lucky.  “I’ll leave the big net behind”, I announce as we load the car with what is already too much to move without motor assist. 

And wouldn’t you know, after 2 eagles and an osprey, I find a willing brown trout hanging behind a rock in shallow slack water just off the bank.  


He provides plenty of nerve raising excitement, taking line and towing me around a bit by my woolly bugger. Once in (BARELY!) my not-very-big-net, we settle in for a breather before dashing back to the depths. The intense golden glow of the brown trout is unlike any other trout I have held before…radiant. 



Now, I have fished this very spot many times. In fact, many times with better water flows, better times of day, more trouty times of year, and with a BIGGER net. But today I am lucky?  Perhaps I will discard the bigger net. 

Flying Zebras: A magical hatch

Fly Fishing: Photography, Flyfishing Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brook Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized


The Alder Hatch.  Wow.  There are few things this special that can be experienced without going to a whole lot of trouble.  Its cast, drift, and set a rhythmic fly fisher’s dream sequence…on a loop. 

Thanks for alerting me, Chris!

The Hidden Joy of an Empty Net

Fly Fishing: Photography, Flyfishing Photography, New Hampshire Fly Fishing Multimedia, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brook Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized

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September is behind us and the crisp October morning air has taken to painting leaves. For a fisherman, this is a somber and quiet time where memories of spring and summer intrude without warning leaving the fisher with a gratitude that will transform into longing when snow falls. Knowing this, it has become important for me to honor and punctuate the ending of a fishing season, a ceremony of thanks for the rivers, skies, herons, eagles, friendships, post fishing coffee outings, colorful fish, and moments of pure peace that found me in water.

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This Fall, I have convinced my friend Art to let me organize an overnight float on one of our favorite rivers. A forecasted overnight temp of 29 degrees required that we dress and pack accordingly;winter bags in 3 season tents did the trick. I added an additional comfort for my sleeping satisfaction which included Hot Hands stuck in my socks, pants, hat and wherever else I could get them to stick close to my body. Hot coffee in front of a fire after a chilly night in the bag is a pleasure hard to describe and Art and I quietly colluded to stretch this activity out late into the morning. We decided a hot breakfast would be the pinnacle of delight and drove to the nearest restaurant treating ourselves to a full plate of eggs and bacon, a hot water soapy rinse in the diner bathroom and MORE coffee resulting in a late start on the river.

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The river was high offering 4 sets of class 2/3 rapids consisting of waves that felt Hawaii “surfable” from the perspective of our tiny boats. The sound of this kind of water is a pulse raiser for both of us. We have a tendency to use caution when there is a potential for an injury consequence. So we both reel in for these sections and find our route through the waves avoiding the many boulders that can’t be seen until…well, when they are immediately in front of you. We learn that even 2 foot waves make it nearly impossible to see bad things that lurk behind them. We tackle the route together and meander our way through with nothing much to talk about other than the thrill of a little adrenaline.

The weather is 50 in the afternoon with a chilly breeze and a warming sun. Perfect for lunching. We take long pb&j breaks taking every opportunity to experience the combination of color, temperature, and light that are ever changing as the sun arches over the river throughout the day. Poking fun at each other and reliving memories of other trips this season are important past times that are slipped in between the currents.

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At this point you may be wondering how the fishing was, I mean this is a post about a fishing trip, right? Additionally, the above telling of events seems to indicate that our fly lines spent more time spooled up tight rather than unfurled in water.
Well, the fishing was “what it was” and to spend any effort reporting on it further would be a distraction. The most important lesson I have learned this year was highlighted on this outing: whether it be mile 21 in the marathon, a slow/no fish day, a tough life transition…the way to find lasting meaning within the variable momentum of life is to accept and appreciate what things are for the moment. “It is what it is for now” was my mantra at many difficult points along the 26.2 journey. Some people are smart. They can read and practice Eastern philosophy and integrate this way of being without resisting it. Not me. I had to run a marathon, get skunked on the river repeatedly , and waste lots of energy before getting good at patience. Enjoy the extra moments for sipping and conversing with a friend (even when the fish are biting). Take time for the simple sensations that remind us of our primal selves (i.e. a warm mini tubby in the diner bathroom). All together, these moments are the path to realizing an empty net… full of uncrushable hope.

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On a final note, if you are are a social scientist buff, you may be aware that there are markers that can sometimes indicate a pivotal shift toward a more “evolved” species, group, or society. In the fly fisherman niche, I think the following exchange would be a good marker of such a shift:
Fisherman #1: “Mornin’. Catch anything?”
Fisherman #2: “Yeah. Lots of fish, too many to count!”
Fisherman #1: “That stinks. Sorry to hear it…better luck next time”

 

What’s “SUP” with that?

Ammonoosuc River: Our NH "Home" River, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brook Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Uncategorized

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Yep.  That’s Maria.  My test pilot. She is undertaking a mission to gain acces to out of reach rising trout just upriver from the dam by stand up paddleboard (“SUP”).  Considering the water is mildly stinky and there are small armies of leeches, I imagine passers by will be wondering…what’s up with that?  Results are pending….

“Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”

New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout

On the way to First Bridge put in, Sam and I had the pleasure of hearing Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get enough. After some shoulder rolling, head bobbing and other embarrassing seated dance floor replications, I pondered that maybe this song was a good soundtrack for our recent fishing binge. We paddled the Saco from Conway to just above Davis Park and had good luck with woolly buggers. We split the bounty evenly, each catching two beautiful Brook Trout and two Rainbow Trout. The last fish was a devilish large one who, jumped and dove only to wrap my line and leader around a submerged tree. Sam (upstream of me in his kayak) was able to grab the line and pull him up by hand eventually nabbing him with the net. So, it is here, in trying to release this fish, that the true meaning of Mr. Jackson’s ode as it applies to our reality comes to light…this rainbow trout would not leave us. He hung around my knees and the kayak for minutes after being revived and free. It was, in fact, this large trout that was living the Jacksonian Dream. He just couldn’t get enough of these two interlopers, even as we tried to encourage him back to the deep. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough of these strangely dressed, curious folk. We like these friendly trout. Very hospitable.

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the fish that wouldn’t leave…

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And a head shot for his portfolio…

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Brook Trout at the Putting Hole

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Scary Wader Clad People…I wouldn’t stick around!

Fishin’ Trolls

New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Streeter Pond: A NH Gem of a Trout Pond

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My Dad and I are fishin’ trolls…as evidenced by his special issue hat. We sing songs in helium like voices while vacuuming up trout beauties in the drop off lanes on a windy Streeter Pond. Glad to have a motor and room for a thermos of coffee this morning…Dad’s canoe setup outwits the kayak in weather.

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So, I live about an hour away from the nearest fly shop in northern New Hampshire.  It is for this reason only that I committed to learning to tie 3 of the most tried and true flies for my neighborhood.  Number one on the list…the black ghost streamer.  And to my joy and amazement, I nabbed two hefty, acrobatic rainbows and a small brown trout on my pedestrian, mis-proportioned, bastard “fly”.  Okay, that’s pretty fun!

New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Brown Trout, New Hampshire Fly Fishing: Rainbow Trout, Streeter Pond: A NH Gem of a Trout Pond, Uncategorized