In my last report I was pretty amped at how good the fishing was getting. At the writing of this report I am grinning because it is only getting better! Last Sunday I guided France Daigle over wild brook trout and Saco rainbows. We had a great day chasing native squartails on a spring creek and France had some big hits and landed quite a few nice fish. Then we hit the Saco and landed two big rainbows on dries that launched themselves into the air on the hook-set.
On Monday I was scheduled to film for NH Chronicle with WMUR. As occurred the previous Monday, rain cancelled our plans. I still took out client Charlie Houghton to scout some water I hadn't fished in a while. The fishing started off hot with four fish landed in our first anchor spot. Then at our second spot Charlie got a nice brown. From there the fishing seemed to slow with three more browns landed through the float.
On Tuesday I guided RD Jenkinson who had never fly fished before. RD was a fast learner to say the least. He quickly got a brook trout on a dry fly in the Saco then figured out the streamer game landing five browns and a rainbow on streamers. There were plenty of close calls as well. I think he is the one who is hooked now.
On Wednesday I guided long time friend and client Richard Johnson. I knew Rich was a good fly fisherman and I wanted to make the most of our time on the water. With flows up on most of our rivers I told Rich that we could float a stretch that might not produce high numbers but could produce a monster at such high flows. I also explained that it would take some work getting the boat into said location. Rich was up for the challenge and we were on the road by six am. We got the boat in the water two hours later and I set Rich up with a seven weight and a large streamer. We fished through the first half mile with a few bumps but no solid strikes. Rich seemed surprised that nothing had swallowed the juicy looking streamer he was throwing. I explained that this fishing is not a numbers game. We were after the buck of the forest. As we moved down the river we approached a stretch strewn with mid river boulders. I anchored the boat and switched Rich's large light weight bank banging streamer with a heavy and flashier mid river fly. I pulled the anchor and instructed Rich to wing the fly through the boulders as we approached. On his second cast the fly swung directly below the boat and the rod was nearly pulled from his hands. I knew immediately that it was a large brown. When the fish surfaced Rich made a nervous cheer...after all we still had to land the beast. With the boat off anchor and in fast water I instructed Rich to fight the fish towards the boat as we floated. We were missing fishable water but I feared throwing the anchor in the swift currents would give the fish the upper hand. Rich managed to muscle the fish towards the boat putting the 7wt to the test. I grabbed the net and jammed it under the weight of the fish, then turned and quickly dropped anchor. We managed a couple pictures and a measurement 21" on the dot. The rest of the day was quite an adventure as we spent about an hour hauling the boat up the shore and a side channel to access a productive island we had slid past. We got one rainbow at the island and missed a few good pulls on nymphs. Then we were back in the boat throwing streamers for the rest of the day. Rich was just getting the swing of throwing to the bank when another buck shot out and blew up on his fly. The fish thrashed three times before throwing the hook. It was a day I'll remember for the rest of my life...I think Rich would agree.
Yesterday I guided Nat Smith of Hanover NH. Nat is new to the Granite state and wanted to get a feel for fly fishing in NH. We floated the Andro and found fish from put in to take out. The first anchor point had fish rising in a foam Eddy. Nat landed three rainbows there. Then we fished a long riffle where I lost track of how many rainbows Nat hooked, landed, and lost on a nymph rig. Then we moved down and set up at the point of an Island. On about his third cast Nat's indicator dipped. He lifted and his rod was fully bent, he swallowed...WOW. I grabbed the net and jumped into the shallows. I thought the fish might be an over-sized fall fish but it was fighting too erratically. Then as it came into view I saw the spots... a large brown, no smaller than Rich's. I coached Nat on keeping his rod at a sharper angle, bent and to the side. But the fish moved with authority and was able to shake just enough to throw the size twelve nymph. Nat turned to me, jaw dropped..."That was awesome!" I always admire a person who smiles in the face of a half defeat. Fly fishing is mostly about the fight anyways right? Well of course landing the fish is much preferred so we fished on with a vengeance. Nat continued to land rainbows on the nymph rig throughout the rest of the float. Then as the sun became golden against the horizon it brought up what I had been hoping for...golden stones. When I saw the first stone I tied one on to the dry fly rod and told Nat, "Watch this" I threw the fly to the bank and a rainbow sharked out and slammed the fly. I handed Nat the rod and explained, "This will be fun."
Needless to say Nat caught and lost fish on the stone for the rest of the evening. Some large and some small, but all crazy aggressive. One of the last fish will stay in my memory banks for a long time. We were throwing the fly into the center of a large riffle when a head that looked like the end of a chrome football thrashed out of the water missing the fly twice. We rowed back and tried in vain for another strike but the beast had vanished. Of course if you'd like to try for him...I know where he lives. The good news is that the golden stones should last through the summer and always produce my biggest rainbows of the year.
As for business I am booked solid this month with only June 24th still available. I have more openings in July when the golden stones are at their zenith.