Well July has started off with a bang...no pun intended. Fishing has been phenomenal on all local rivers and ponds. On June 29th I guided Tim Lobello from the boat on the Saco and we landed many big rainbows and browns on streamers. Tim, thanks for buying an HCG hat to help promote the company through your pictures. I think it was a good luck charm.
On June 30th we finally got WMUR's NH Chronicle out on the water. With a delayed start time of 10 am and bright sunshine I was a bit worried. Fortunately we got our first fish, a brown trout, right off the bat. You'll have to catch the rest of the action on WMUR channel 9 July 22nd at 7pm.
On Wednesday I took out Kurt Perham and his son Carter. It was pouring rain on this day, but the fish were rising. Carter had never caught a trout on a fly rod but now he's caught more than a dozen...I think he's the one who is hooked now.
On Thursday I was back in the boat on the Saco guiding Garry Rownsley. We fished through the first pool with only a few strikes. As the water was very high I decided to try a back channel that I often float past. This turned out to be a good idea as we were into fish for well over an hour. Both brook trout and browns came to hand with large ones in the mix. We managed another large brown on a streamer further down and then ended the day with three large rainbows on dry flies to complete the Saco grand slam.
Last Friday was a very busy day as HCG had three trips on the water. Steve Bowman of Wolfeboro was helping me out and after my trip I joined him on his second half day trip. I was pleased to see Steve getting his clients into fish with ease and we all had a good time catching rainbows until dark. It was a great day for all trips with over fifty fish landed.
On Sunday I guided Jenny and her husband Paul up on the Ammonusuc near the Mount Washington Omni resort. I love being able to pick clients up at the Mount Washington to fish the crystal clear waters of the Ammo. Our fist spot held some good fish that we could see holding in the crystal clear flow. Paul missed a few and Jenny got a couple in the faster water on a muddler minnow. The fish seemed slow and with a water temp in the low fifties I decided to head downstream to find warmer water and hopefully more active fish. At our next spot we were into fish right away. Paul landed the first and Jenny was soon to follow. as we fished down the river we approached a large pool. I watched the water from afar and could see the splashing of rainbow trout from two hundred feet away. As we approached I saw a tan caddis flutter by. I switched flies to an emerging tan X caddis and Paul was into his first fish within minutes. We must have landed over ten rainbows before the half day was over.
That afternoon I met up with good friend and author Bob Mallard. Bob vacations in the whites the last week of June/ first week of July, every year. Bob stays at a cabin, "Camp Uno" up in the hills accross from Bretton Woods. I met Bob at camp Uno, the cabin is a perfectly located fishing camp complete with an in house fly tying kit for those times when you don't have the fly you need. Bob reminded me that the cabin can be rented by my guests. As Bob tied flies at the tying table, we compared notes. We talked about the high flows and finding fish in interesting new places. Then Bob mentioned that we should fish a lesser known nearby pond where he had caught close to fifty fish the day before. Bob said the fish were eager to take a medium sized red midge stripped across the surface. But when we arrived I soon spotted large pale yellow mayflies popping out of the water...HEX. The HEX hatch is ON. This is perhaps the most exciting pond fishing of the year and with the cooler rains the fish are still willing to take them off of the surface. I must have landed over 30 fish in under two hours before I told Bob I'd and enough. We then went to another pond that was a bit of a walk but we suspected would hold wild trout. It did. The fish in this pond were a bit more of a challenge with crystal clear shallow water you had to take your time and make long delicate casts to hook these perfect brook trout.
On Monday I had the day off and Bob wanted to fish. So after I finished my daily chores we met at my house to check out some of my favorite wild brook trout waters. Bob's friend Jeff Moore was in tow. We started at a spot I'd never shown Bob before. At the first pool I demonstrated the proper bow and arrow technique and promptly hooked a writhing brookie. At the next larger pool my companions were a bit nervous to step into the brown muddy looking bottom. So I gave it a try. Although the substrait looked like endless mud there was a firm gravel bottom only a few inches down. I managed three 6-9 inch wild brookies from this pool.
At our next spot I was determined to show Jeff what these wild trout waters are all about. I set him up at a good spot with a large rubber legged dry fly and told him to "Make it move." I moved downstream and when I returned Jeff was grinning, "That was awesome...that fish slammed it!" With a taste of wild brook trout fishing Jeff fished on with authority, landing a few more good sized brookies and then a true pig. The last fish was close to foot in length with a thick girth, it took Jeff a few minutes to land and filled my brook trout net to the brim. Jeff has the pictures and I'll be sure to update the post with them once I get them.
Yesterday I had a full day Andro Float with Rick Turcott. Rick and I have been trying to float the andro for three weeks now and we finally had the right flows. Although there was a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast we decided to go for it knowing we could always hunker down in the trees if the weather turned for a bit. Fortunately the weather held and the fish more than cooperated. As I readied the boat I showed Rick where he could dapple a small black caddis in the foam back-eddies near the put-in. On his first drop of the flies Rick landed a ten inch rainbow trout. This was a sign of things to come. As we floated into the second pool I noticed a golden stonefly flutter across the water. In my last post I believe I mentioned that when the Andro was back to fishable flows in July the fishing would be epic as the golden stones would be at their zenith...Well the golden stones are at their zenith. We landed over thirty rainbows and a brook trout on these big foam bugs. I showed Rick how to skate the fly and he preferred me showing him how the technique worked on some fish. The banks were so infested with trout that all I had to do to find the next fish was cast another few feet downstream or strip the fly a little closer to the boat. While we caught over 30 trout on these flies we must have missed even more. If you like fishing large dry flies to suicidal rainbows now is the time to book a trip! I have tomorrow and Friday open due to cancellations, if anyone is interested, let me know! I've got availability next week as well.
So what's to come? The golden stoneflies will be important on the Andro and Ellis rivers through September. Best fishing for these is in the evenings with cloudy days providing action all day long. Terrestrials like ants, beetles and hoppers will become more important as
July progresses. You can also expect light cahills on the ellis and pale evening duns on the andro. Don't be afraid to throw streamers throughout the season as well as they always work, especially after a good rain. Nymphing stoneflies and mayfly patterns will work well especially on the warmer days when fish go deep. Hope to see many of you on the water this summer.