Fishing Reports

Mid-August report and Arkansas update

Overview:

Fishing has held on through the dog days of summer this season! Fall is in the air and we are already seeing Fall hatches begin on our local rivers! Now is the time to plan your Autumn fishing getaway!

Saco:

The Saco has fished very well throughout the summer. Fish are still being taken on large terrestrial patterns like hoppers and beetles. Black ants have been productive but any day now the Cinnamon ants will arrive and provide some of the best dry fly fishing of the season. Early morning and cloudy days are seeing BWO hatches. Fish in the more popular pools are becoming well educated so be sure to have your "A" game on. Often hooking one fish in a given spot will spook the other fish in the area and require you to move on or give the pool a good rest. While rare, a good summer thunderstorm can raise water levels and lower visibility enough to get the big trout active and feeding during daylight hours. Our good friend Brian Boyle was able to land this beauty the other day while fishing with the Author. Bright streamers are key to get these big fish to bite!

Angler Brian Boyle with 23" of Saco brown. As always released to fight another day!

Angler Brian Boyle with 23" of Saco brown. As always released to fight another day!

Saco Rainbows are typically Camera shy...got this guy just in time! August 14th.

Saco Rainbows are typically Camera shy...got this guy just in time! August 14th.

Saco river brown trout release. Always fun to watch them go!

Saco river brown trout release. Always fun to watch them go!

Andro:

The andro has been hit or miss depending on when you hit it. Yesterday I had the good fortune of fishing with our newest guide in training Will Schmitt. Will worked on his rowing skills and was kind enough to put me on a large salmon and a few spunky rainbows and browns. It was good to see fish throughout the float and I was able to dial in on a few more hot spots for future trips. We had a sporadic Isonychia hatch throughout the day. This mayfly will be important from now until early October when BWO's will become even more important. With hot weather over the next two days the Andro will not be your best bet. BUT...a cold front will reach the region by Wednesday and it looks like we enter a cool, "Fallish" pattern from Thursday through Sunday. This should spur more Isonychia hatches and possibly some October caddis will show up. If we get a hot humid day after this cool front be prepared for that flying ant hatch I mentioned earlier. The key on the Andro is that the water temps are cool enough to bring fish to the surface when the ants drop. Otherwise you will have plenty of bass and fallfish to play with on top.

The Author with a healthy Andro Salmon caught August 19th.

The Author with a healthy Andro Salmon caught August 19th.

A bright Andro Rainbow taken on an Isonychia pattern August 19th.

A bright Andro Rainbow taken on an Isonychia pattern August 19th.

Ellis:

The Ellis has been fishing well in the Upper River for wild brook trout. Fishing flashy dries like hippie stompers and Stimulators is effective. When the fishing slows drop a nymph off the back of one of these buoyant dries.

Small Streams:

Our small streams continue to fish well but even here fish are becoming more educated. Head further into the woods to seek less pressured fish. Flying ants have been very productive as have red hippie stompers and red humpies (red seems to be important). If fish are not taking dead drifted dries a small muddler minnow or baby brook trout pattern stripped through drop offs and undercut boulders can produce well. Fishing a dropper such as a red copper john is a good idea when fish are even less willing.

A wild brook trout stream is a great place to introduce people to fly fishing!

A wild brook trout stream is a great place to introduce people to fly fishing!

Arkansas Update:

We have set dates for our Arkansas 2018 trips. Dates for booking are March fifth through April 30th. Please give us a call if you want in on this phenomenal tailwater fishing! If you haven't heard we had an epic 2017 in the Ozarks with many 50+ fish days and countless rainbows, browns and Cuts from 18-22". This was definitely the best trout fishing I have personally ever seen! Let us know ASAP if you are interested in booking!

HCG Client Dick Peterson with Arkansas Gold.  Spring 2017.

HCG Client Dick Peterson with Arkansas Gold.  Spring 2017.

The Author with an average Arkansas brown.

The Author with an average Arkansas brown.

Summary:

After a serious drought last season it has been a pleasure to see our rivers in good shape this August. It was impressive to see the size of some of the brown trout that survived last seasons drought and it is good to see that many fish stocked earlier this spring are still alive and well in much of the Saco. We are happy to see the wild rainbows in the andro doing well as always with some very big fish seen by our anglers this season. All in all it is shaping up to be an exceptional fall to fish in the White Mountains of NH. We still have dates available for this September and October but they are going fast so be sure to book soon!

 

 

Mid Summer Report

We have had a record setting season thus far. The Saco river has been fishing very well as of late as have our smaller streams. The Andro has been okay with the best fishing early in the day. Look for the Andro to improve as waters cool heading towards September.

Saco:

The Saco has fished very well as of late. Early morning through about mid afternoon has offered consistent dry fly fishing. Early in the day BWO's and swung nymphs have done the trick. As the sun comes up it seems the dry fly bite actually improves as ants, beetles and hoppers are on the move and offer irresistible protein for Saco trout. Evenings offer a good bite on stoneflies and ants right at dark but this window can be small on hot days.

Hailey Lewis with her first Saco Brown trout

Hailey Lewis with her first Saco Brown trout

Ryan Mahan with a dry fly eating Rainbow

Ryan Mahan with a dry fly eating Rainbow

Andro:

We floated the andro almost every day last week. Results were mixed depending on conditions. Cloudy cool weather gave us some dry fly opportunities and nymphing was deadly early in the day. Bright sun and heat made for some slow hours later in the day. We are trying to stay off the Andro until temps drop over the next week or so. We feel the Saco is colder and we would rather not stress out the Andro fish that we know will be more than willing to bite once waters cool. This cooling process usually begins by mid-August and the Andro should be fishing well again by at least early September. Since the start of my beginning this report we hit the andro again on Tuesday August 8th. We had a good Isonychia hatch with fish taking both nymphs and dries. We landed fish to 13" and lost two over 15 inches with one in the high teens to low 20's. Fall is right around the corner!

A fine Andro bow that came on an Isonychia nymph.

A fine Andro bow that came on an Isonychia nymph.

Ellis:

The Ellis has been slow in the lower reaches with most stocked fish concentrated in the deeper pools. The upper river and even the upper fly only sections are actually seeing some decent wild brook trout enter the system. This may be due in part to the states reduction in stocking this stretch. We hope to see more wild brook trout over time but we hope the state will move to improve the regulations if they decide to eliminate stocking.

Small Streams:

Our smaller streams are fishing well right now. We have seen good numbers of both wild brook trout and wild rainbows on different streams. Fish have been taken on a variety of patterns depending on weather and time of day. Black Flying ants in a size 14 worked for me yesterday. Red and green hippie stompers, stoneflies, and yellow sallies have all taken fish on top. Prince and stonefly nymphs have been go to droppers and a small baby brook trout streamer has worked well to coax bigger wild brook trout.

Double on the dry!

Double on the dry!

If you are looking to book with us for this coming September and October please contact us ASAP as dates are going fast. We are looking forward to a productive August and fall!

Also if you are looking to book a trip for Arkansas this spring we will be planning to guide on the White and Norfork Rivers from March 5th Through March 30th. See our reports from last March to get an idea what happens down south!

Tight Lines,

Nate

July report

It has been way too long since we've posted a report. We have been busy on the water keeping our clients on fish. Funny to say the fishing on the Saco and Ellis rivers is much better right now than it was in mid-June. The Androscoggin also continues to fish very well.

Saco:

The Saco has truly turned on over the past few weeks. We had some very successful floats in late June and Early July with a lot of surface activity and some ridiculous streamer bites. Right now the terrestrial season is underway. We had a great trip with our Client Tory Cardinal on Wednesday morning fishing a red hippie stomper. Tory landed three solid browns and a rainbow and missed a few more good fish. The Saco should continue to fish well through July with ants and beetles becoming even more important. Slower pools will get an early morning black caddis hatch as well. Please be sure to release your fish and handle lightly. Our rivers could use some better regulations but we are happy that most anglers choose to catch and release.

Ate the Hippie Stomper

Ate the Hippie Stomper

Ate Big!

Ate Big!

Terrestrial eater.

Terrestrial eater.

One of many doubles we saw over the past few weeks. Fish ate gray drake emergers.

One of many doubles we saw over the past few weeks. Fish ate gray drake emergers.

Ellis and smaller streams:

The smaller streams are fishing very well right now. I've done well with the red hippie stomper and other mid sized attractor patterns. If you aren't getting surface bites don't be afraid to drop a nymph off the back. We have had some higher flows on small streams as of late. In this case fish streamers like baby brook trout, muddler minnows, herron flies, and zoo cougars.

Androscoggin River:

I was on the Andro yesterday and was happy to see fish rising throughout the float. With cooler temps the black caddis hatch was on fire. This is a tricky hatch to fish as the dark flies hatch in dark water on dark days. If you can't get fish on top fish subsurface with a light colored nymph in orange or yellow size 18-20. Along with black caddis there was also a good Isonychia hatch and BWO hatch yesterday. In this case I typically fish the bigger Isonychia. An adams dry or purple haze works well to imitate this bug. I will also fish a size 12 PT nymph as a dropper to up my chances. This fishing will continue as long as the cooler temps and clouds are around. On the warmer days, switch to bigger and smaller bugs. Midges, or stoneflies, and dragonfly nymphs work well. We have hooked many big fish on dragonfly nymphs this season.

Netting an Androscoggin River brook Trout.

Netting an Androscoggin River brook Trout.

Wild bow taken on a dragonfly nymph.

Wild bow taken on a dragonfly nymph.

Right now we are booking dates for late July and August as well as September and October. Late July and August are filling fast so please let us know asap if you want to enjoy some of this excellent summer fishing. We'll try to keep you posted more often for the rest of the season. If you haven't heard from us in a while it is probably because we are very busy getting our clients into fish!

Tight Lines,

Nate

 

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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