Fishing Reports

Mid June Report

Overview:

Conditions this June have been all over the board. From high water and cold temps to hot temps and average flow we have done a lot of work to figure out the ever changing behavior of our trout. Our clients have worked hard as well and have landed some impressive fish on both floats and wade trips. See below for a synopsis on our fisheries right now.

Androscoggin River:

Fishing on the Androscoggin river has been good overall. The fishing has been most consistent further north where flows have been most stable. That being said flows have recently become more stable on the lower river and we have had some great success on recent trips there. Right now we are seeing a variety of golden stonefly, green and tan caddis fly, sulfur and red quill mayfly hatches depending on conditions. Terrestrials like dragonflies and beetles are filling in the space between hatches. The Alder fly hatch has yet to start as of this writing but should begin any day now. Look to fish the nymphs this week to see if the hatch is on it's way.

Charlie Houghton caught this guy on a stonefly nymph.

Charlie Houghton caught this guy on a stonefly nymph.

Client Shelly Seagers landed this beauty on a dry fly!

Client Shelly Seagers landed this beauty on a dry fly!

Cleint Robin Taylor of England with one of many big fish he landed to complete an Andro grand slam!

Cleint Robin Taylor of England with one of many big fish he landed to complete an Andro grand slam!

Robin Taylor with his biggest landlocked salmon of the day.

Robin Taylor with his biggest landlocked salmon of the day.

Saco River:

The Saco river has seen a slow start to dry fly fishing this spring. While we have had some epic hatches the trout have taken their time in looking up. As I write this more positive reports have been coming in as to more rising fish. Our guess is that the major fluctuations in temperature and flow had the fish in a funk for a bit. With another rainstorm today it will be interesting to see how this effects the fish. The silver lining in all of this is that if you are willing to forego numbers of fish and hunt for big fish these higher flows bring out the bigger wild and holdover browns. With freshly stocked trout in the water don't be afraid to throw large patterns up to 8". One of our friends recently watched an eight pound brown blow up on a school of new brook trout!

Client Garry Kolanda with a wild Saco River brown.

Client Garry Kolanda with a wild Saco River brown.

Ellis River:

The Ellis river has been slow as well. Flow changes due to dam construction put the fish in a funk but it appears the dam has been fixed and fish are being taken on a more regular basis. Fish are well spread out through the river and searching for good habitat vs. trying to track down exactly where the state stocks will pay off in the long run. Caddis hatches have been picking up along with yellow sally mayflies.  Streamers have been deadly on colder cloudy days.

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Smaller streams:

Our smaller streams are fishing well right now especially later in the day. While these streams fish better than the bigger rivers middle of the day you will still catch more and bigger fish later in the day when hatches are more prolific and sun angle is low. The other day we were on a bigger mountain stream and fished through a good pool around 4pm. We landed one fish the first time through and moved upstream. On our way back downstream we fished through again at 6 pm and caught 6 more trout. Needless to say timing can be everything.

Summary:

If you were unable to book a trip with us this spring we have dates available through July and August. With a rainy forecast our fishing should continue to improve as we get into the summer months. Thanks to all who have booked with us this season. It is turning out to be another record breaking year of trips!

Tight lines,

Nate

 

Late May Report

We have had quite a start to the NH spring season here in the White Mountains. With a heavy snowpack and frequent rains we spent much of May hunting big brown trout on the Saco river. It was the first time in the past few years that we have had consistently high enough water to allow us to float the river every day. This time on the water gave us a deeper understanding of how these mythical fish behave from day to day. We are looking forward to studying these fish even more as we should have high flows through much of June.

head guide Nate Hill with a Saco River monster.

head guide Nate Hill with a Saco River monster.

Brian Boyle with a fine specimine...his biggest brown trout to date!

Nate with a bright male.

Nate with a bright male.

Tom with a very healthy specimine.

Tom with a very healthy specimine.

When not chasing big brown trout we have been doing well fishing our trout ponds and wild brook trout waters. On colder days baby brook trout patterns and herron flies have taken a good number of fish while red quill emergers and midge patterns have done the trick on warmer days.

A large brook trout taken on a brook trout pattern in a local pond.

A large brook trout taken on a brook trout pattern in a local pond.

Renee Lewis with a wild brook trout also caught on a brookie pattern.

Renee Lewis with a wild brook trout also caught on a brookie pattern.

Last week we were finally able to get on the Androscoggin river. While flows have been high they dropped enough on Monday May 22nd to allow us to float a few different sections last week. We did well on most days fishing pheasant tail nymphs, grey baitfish patterns, as well as bright worm and egg patterns. We were happy to see a good number of healthy wild rainbows in the lower river as well as brookies, salmon, and holdover/ wild rainbows in the upper river. Since Friday flows have jumped back up to 4,000 cfs in Errol. While this is a bit high, fishing should be productive in slower waters where fish will concentrate to avoid the heavy flow.

Jeff Dow with an 18" rainbow he hooked after flows jumped from 1,500 to 3,500 cfs. Fishing a soft inside seem with a bright worm was the ticket.

Jeff Dow with an 18" rainbow he hooked after flows jumped from 1,500 to 3,500 cfs. Fishing a soft inside seem with a bright worm was the ticket.

Jeff Dow with one of several healthy salmon he landed this past Wednesday.

Jeff Dow with one of several healthy salmon he landed this past Wednesday.

A healthy 18" wild rainbow caught by Client Brian Donnovan. This fish did some amazing acrobatics!

A healthy 18" wild rainbow caught by Client Brian Donnovan. This fish did some amazing acrobatics!

So what is to come? With a cool spring fishing on our bigger rivers should hold strong through at least mid-July. While cold days may put hatches a bit off of their usual schedule expect mayfly, caddis, and yellow sally hatches on any days that reach above 70 degrees. The Androscoggin river may be hit or miss if flows rise higher but if flows stabilize or drop we should be in for some exceptional fishing. The Saco looks to fish well once water temps rise a bit more. Right now the big brown trout are still a good target if you are willing to put in long hours to land a trophy. Fish drop offs and boulder fields with mid to large streamers on a full sink or sink tip line to give yourself the beset shot at one of these beasts. With cold temps the ponds will continue to fish well through at least mid-June. We have a good shot at seeing big trout rise to some of our better pond mayfly and caddis hatches this year as surface temps will be friendly to rising fish even on our bigger lakes. Smaller streams like the Ellis will be the slowest to turn on this year as snowmelt and high flows will keep fish metabolisms lower. These streams should fish very well late June through July. We are still booking a few dates in June with Tom, Steve and Mason. Our July schedule has more openings available and should be on your radar if you are looking for some good summer dry fly fishing! Please give us a call asap to book as we are getting many inquiries daily.

Tight lines,

Nate

Brown trout bite is on! Salmon, bows and brookies too!

We've been putting in a lot of hours on the water searching for wild and holdover browns. We are beginning to see more activity with water temps rising into the high 40's. With rain in the forecast flows should be favorable for at least another week. 

Bill Thompson with an early season Saco brown.

Bill Thompson with an early season Saco brown.

We've been experimenting with different flies and techniques and we really started cracking the code this week. Of course hunting big browns is never a numbers game and we are always happy if we get one or two fish to the boat. The excitement that comes with seeing a golden ghost materialize out of the depths to engulf a big streamer is hard to put into word. Every time I close my eyes I'm replaying every predatory attack I've seen over the past week. 

Guide Nate Hill with a text book Saco brown. 

Guide Nate Hill with a text book Saco brown. 

If you are interested in pursuing these Alpha fish do give us a call. We have some dates available over the next few weeks. 

Nate displaying another brown caught by Bill Thompson. Had a great visual eat with this fish! 

Nate displaying another brown caught by Bill Thompson. Had a great visual eat with this fish! 

Aside from hunting brown trout we've also been finding good pushes of lake run rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. These fish will be around longer than usual in areas where anglers do not keep too many fish. We've been disappointed to see even some fly anglers killing these early season trout. This is a unique early season resource that has the potential of providing wade angling during a time of the year when many rivers are too high to fish. Let's conserve this resource as best we can! 

A lake run landlocked salmon. These fish will be active as long as waters remain high and cold. 

A lake run landlocked salmon. These fish will be active as long as waters remain high and cold. 

A lake run rainbow...these fish are almost always holdovers and average 17" in length with fish over 20" not uncommon. 

A lake run rainbow...these fish are almost always holdovers and average 17" in length with fish over 20" not uncommon. 

Last but not least the brook trout fishing has been good to great as of late. Both stocked and un-stocked wild trout ponds should be fishing well as of this writing. We had the pleasure of guiding Client Andre on one of our local trout ponds last week. Andre has been fishing this pond for almost 50 years but has been unable to fish his favorite pond in recent years due to lack of mobility. We were happy to help Andre fish...and catch again! 

One of Andre's many brook trout. 

One of Andre's many brook trout. 

Our wild brook trout streams are also turning on. With plenty of water these fish should be healthy and fat this spring. We've begun to see some sporadic hatches of caddis and mayflies which should increase as we get warmer days. Dry fly fishing will be upon us before long! If you are looking to get on the water over the next few weeks we have dates available. Please contact us asap! 

Early season wild brook trout taken on a pheasant tail nymph. 

Early season wild brook trout taken on a pheasant tail nymph. 

Tight lines,

Nate

Arkansas wrap up and NH outlook!

Arkansas wrap up

We had an exceptional last week of guiding on the White and Norfork rivers of north central Arkansas. The fishing last week was some of the best all around trout fishing I have ever seen. From big browns on small nymphs to cutthroat sipping dries to big rainbows crushing swimming leach patterns.... there wasn't much we didn't catch fish on. 

Client Dick Peterson with a large brown that he finessed to the net on 5X!

Client Dick Peterson with a large brown that he finessed to the net on 5X!

More impressive than the action was the average size of fish taken. On most days we were catching 40-60 trout with about half of those fish measuring over 15" and about 10 fish a day over 17". We landed at least one fish over 19" on most days with 20" browns and cutthroat being common. Our clients did an exceptional job of landing the vast majority of these large fish caught. We also must admit that our Cortland Competition nymph rods made a big difference in getting good hook sets and protecting light tippets while fighting these large trout. We'd also like to thank Trout Hunter tippets and leaders for making some seriously tough tippet material and offering their tippet in half sizes. Being able to go from 4X to 4.5X and 5X to 5.5X made a big difference in fooling large trout without worrying about being under gunned. 

Client Matt Dormer with a healthy cutthroat trout...fish like these were common this one sipped a foam Elk Hair caddis from the surface!

Client Matt Dormer with a healthy cutthroat trout...fish like these were common this one sipped a foam Elk Hair caddis from the surface!

One of the biggest keys to our success on the White and Norfork rivers was our focus on stealth. Guiding out of our raft we were able to slide into spots without spooking fish and were able to rest on spots where we knew big fish were willing to eat when not spooked. 

Bernie Dormer with a chrome bow taken on a small leach pattern. 

Bernie Dormer with a chrome bow taken on a small leach pattern. 

We focused on fishing flies far away from the boat and with long leaders to small strike indicators to eliminate line crash. Keeping a long drift with moderately weighted flies allowed for stealthy natural drifts that often produced the biggest fish. Over the weeks we were able to fine tune our fly selection based on conditions. Early morning midge hatches usually petered out by noon and we'd switch to attractor patterns like eggs and worms. Then if a caddis hatch turned on we would switch to caddis pupa and even dry droppers when the big fish got on the surface. Windy conditions warranted fishing small leach patterns and streamers that would wiggle in the chop. These often produced fish when nothing else would. When the nymph bite shut off we found success bouncing sculpin patterns over the bottom. 

Bernie Dormer took this 20" brown after we slid the boat upstream and cast upstream before the fish knew we were there.

Bernie Dormer took this 20" brown after we slid the boat upstream and cast upstream before the fish knew we were there.

Lastly we found some of our biggest fish in what might seem non-descript water to many. In these cold tail-waters big trout do not need the fast riffles we often associate with good trout water. Instead they can often be found in the middle of a slow pool behind an unseen submerged rock. Or resting on a patch of gravel between weed beds in frog water.

Through working with and fishing with other guides such as: Lance Wilt of Outcast anglers John Holsten of Straight Outta Cotter, Larry Babin of Hogs on the Fly, Barry Annalora of Trophy Hunter Guide Service, and last but not least Jeremy Hunt of Flies and guides. we were able to gain a wide range of knowledge and ideas that we blended with our own knowledge base. I can't thank these guides enough for sharing time on the water and many of their strategies and flies to catching these large Arkansas trout. 

Jeremy Hunt with a sunny day brown that he caught right after he said, " There is a brown trout right behind that ledge."

Jeremy Hunt with a sunny day brown that he caught right after he said, " There is a brown trout right behind that ledge."

Nate Hill with one of many brown trout caught while fishing with Jeremy Hunt. 

Nate Hill with one of many brown trout caught while fishing with Jeremy Hunt. 

New Hampshire Outlook

With a heavy snowpack in the mountains things are looking bright for a long and productive trout season here in the White Mountians. Snow melt has begun in earnest and the Saco and Androscoggin rivers were both right around 9,000 CFS today April 11th. With this heavy snowmelt water temps are running right around 33 degress and fish metabolisms are slow. Best fishing will be had early in the day before water levels rise. As snowmelt begins to moderate and flows drop below 4,000 cfs both rivers should begin to produce good fishing. Nate will be out of town from April 15th to April 22nd. So if you are looking to book a trip for late April or May please contact Steve at North Country Angler. 

Saco River Browns

We are looking forward to hitting the water later this April in search of large wild brown trout on the Saco river. We've been disecting this early season fishery over the past couple of seasons and are excited to employ some new ideas and strategies to fool these mythical browns that we believe may reach 30" in our waters. We have had some inquries for guiding over these large trout and we are taking tentative reservations but not deposits as we do not want to take people out unless we are confident that the conditions will offer us a good shot at these fish. 

If you are interested in pursuing these fish the best time frame is from Late April through Late May when flows are between 1,000 and 4,000 cfs. We will be sure to keep you posted on what we are finding this spring. 

Lake run Rainbows and Salmon

As I drove through NH on my way back from Arkansas I was happy to see our lake tributaries swollen with water. This push of water will draw LL salmon and rainbow trout into lake tributaries where we fly anglers will have early season (Late April through May) opportunities at large lake run fish. While traditional streamer patterns like smelt are often effective. We have done even better with mohair leach patterns, sucker spawn, hares ear nymphs, and when waters begin to warm caddis dry flies. If you'd like to book a trip to fish for these large trout please let us know as this fishing will be heating up shortly! 

Wild Brook Trout Waters

Over the past five years we have been exploring the vast array of well hidden spring fed brook trout streams that slither through the forests and meadows of the lowland areas of NH's White Mountains. While some of these streams require hiking we have some on private property that require less effort to fish. Since these streams are spring fed their hatches begin earlier than those in the mountain streams. Good dry fly fishing begins with Hendrickson hatches in early to mid-may and is followed by caddis hatches in late May. We are happy to report that last fall we saw many wild brook trout to 12+ inches and we are excited to see how these fish are doing this spring! 

Androscoggin River Float fishing 

.The Androscoggin River from Errol NH to the Maine border will begin producing fish as soon as levels drop to around 3,500 cfs. This is mainly rainbow trout water with LL salmon, brown trout and brook trout also present. If you are looking to fish this river we highly recommend floating from a boat as you will be able to cover much more water in a much more efficient manner than if you were to try wade fishing this brawling fishery. 

 

 

 

 

 

White Mountains fishing outlook: Spring 2017

New Hampshire Outlook

With a heavy snowpack in the mountains things are looking bright for a long and productive trout season here in the White Mountians. Snow melt has begun in earnest and the Saco and Androscoggin rivers were both right around 9,000 CFS today April 11th. With this heavy snowmelt water temps are running right around 33 degress and fish metabolisms are slow. Best fishing will be had early in the day before water levels rise. As snowmelt begins to moderate and flows drop below 4,000 cfs both rivers should begin to produce good fishing. Nate will be out of town from April 15th to April 22nd. So if you are looking to book a trip for late April or May please contact Steve at North Country Angler. 

Early season Saco River Browns

We are looking forward to hitting the water later this April in search of large wild brown trout on the Saco river. We've been dissecting this early season fishery over the past couple of seasons and are excited to employ some new ideas and strategies to fool these mythical browns that we believe may reach 30". We have had some inquries for guiding over these large trout and we are taking tentative reservations but not deposits as we do not want to take people out unless we are confident that the conditions will offer us a good shot at these fish. 

HCG Guide Tom Freedman with a two foot Saco River brown trout caught May 3rd 2016.

HCG Guide Tom Freedman with a two foot Saco River brown trout caught May 3rd 2016.

If you are interested in pursuing these fish the best time frame is from Late April through Late May when flows are between 1,000 and 4,000 cfs. We will be sure to keep you posted on what we are finding this spring. 

Lake run Rainbows and Salmon

As I drove through NH on my way back from Arkansas I was happy to see our lake tributaries swollen with flow. This push of water will draw LL salmon and rainbow trout into lake tributaries where we fly anglers will have early season (Late April through May) opportunities at large lake run fish. While traditional streamer patterns like smelt are often effective. We have done even better with mohair leach patterns, sucker spawn, hares ear nymphs, and when waters begin to warm, caddis dry flies. If you'd like to book a trip to fish for these large trout please let us know as this fishing will be heating up shortly! 

Client Michael Lewis with a large lake run rainbow Taken May 7th 2016.

Client Michael Lewis with a large lake run rainbow Taken May 7th 2016.

Wild Brook Trout Waters

Over the past five years we have been exploring the vast array of well hidden spring fed brook trout streams that slither through the forests and meadows of the lowland areas of NH's White Mountains. While some of these streams require hiking we have some on private property that require less effort to fish. Since these streams are spring fed their hatches begin earlier than those in the mountain streams. Good dry fly fishing begins with Hendrickson hatches in early to mid-May and is followed by caddis hatches in late May. We are happy to report that last fall we saw many wild brook trout to 12+ inches and we are excited to see how these fish are doing this spring! 

Spring creek wild brook trout May 15th 2016

Spring creek wild brook trout May 15th 2016

Androscoggin River Float fishing 

.The Androscoggin River from Errol NH to the Maine border will begin producing fish as soon as levels drop to around 3,500 cfs. This is mainly rainbow trout water with LL salmon, brown trout and brook trout also present. If you are looking to fish this river we highly recommend floating from a boat as you will be able to cover much more water in a much more efficient manner to target the rivers larger trout. Last year we saw a record number of fish over 16" with many topping 20" see below! 

Massive 28" Androscoggin River Rainbow trout taken by client Charlie Houghton during the Alder Fly Hatch June 17th 2016.

Massive 28" Androscoggin River Rainbow trout taken by client Charlie Houghton during the Alder Fly Hatch June 17th 2016.

Ellis River and Mountain Streams

The Ellis river and other high elevation mountain streams are often the last to turn on for spring hatches. Expect these streams to fish very well from mid-June through mid-September. With the healthy snowpack in the mountains fish will head to these thermal refuges as the bigger rivers warm. You may be surprised by the size of some of the fish you can find in these smaller streams. 

Ellis River Brook trout Late June 2016.

Ellis River Brook trout Late June 2016.

Wild rainbow trout taken from a small mountain stream mid-July 2016.

Wild rainbow trout taken from a small mountain stream mid-July 2016.

Again, we would like to remind you that we will be out of the country until April 24th. If you'd like to book a trip for this coming season please leave us a voicemail 603-835-3358 or email info@whitemountainflyfishing.com and we will be sure to get back to you on the 24th. If you'd like to book sooner please contact Steve Angers at North Country Angler 603-356-6000.