People often ask me, "When is the best time to come fly fish the White Mountains?" While I usually say, "June." I quickly follow that with, "Or any time during the summer." While June is predictably the start of good fishing, the fishing often remains strong throughout the summer. While a few hot days in a row can slow things down on the bigger rivers, the small streams fish very well on such days. And when the heat resides the fishing on the bigger rivers quickly picks back up. I was out on a float trip this past Saturday and the water temp on the Andro Was at 66 degrees at noon. Consequently, we began getting strikes right from the put-in. The black caddis were swarming and we took four fish on size 20 emergers. Many more were lost or missed. As we moved downstream we caught a few fish on nymphs and then the black caddis gave way to some mayfly activity. The fish were exploding on the surface and I think that our hook-sets were actually a bit too good, meaning too fast. The strike of a wild rainbow is so explosive that the angler often reacts too quickly. Finally, Peter was able to slow things down and landed a plump 13" wild rainbow that pulled drag and had me running up and down the river with the net. Peter was in awe, "I can't believe how hard these fish fight!" I love seeing a customer come to this realization. People often ask me how I can tell a wild from a stocked trout. While crisp fins are the best way to tell visually, you can usually tell when you set the hook, as the fish takes drag instantly. We ended the evening with Four more fish on dry flies from the boat with, of course, more missed.
On Sunday I decided to take the girl and the dog on a reconnaissance mission to float a new stretch of water. I was happy to find a good take out spot that I'd been eyeing on satellite imagery. Then I found a few put in options. The option furthest upstream needs some maintenance so I'll have to go back and work on that soon. We put in just downstream of this site and Alicia got into fish right from the start. A few misses and then a few fallfish to net. Then she hooked into something more lively, a small wild rainbow trout. A few casts later the line went tight on the swing and a foot long rainbow shot into the air. I may have been a bit too stern in my fish fighting advice but Alicia still managed to get the fish to the net. After her accomplishment she was content to watch the scenery while I rowed and fished. I landed three rainbows and lost a few more before the girl and the dog were ready to quit. All in all I was just happy to see the potential of this water. You can be sure that I will be back with a headlamp on my next expedition there.
Yesterday I had a full day trip on one some of our smaller streams. The brook trout were feeding voraciously on Japanese beetles. We landed many and lost many more. The highlight of the day were a few visitors to the stream (see below). After guiding I hit the Saco just before dark and caught three of the five fish that I hooked. The fish came on a Turks Tarantulla and hit like speeding bullets. Enjoy the pictures, and don't let August keep you from the water...the fishing is hot!