What a year 2015 was! We had our busiest season to date here at HCG with 153 trips on the books. That's a better than 50% increase over 2014. We started things off with a brand new fleet of Orvis rods, reels and waders which armed us for a year of many successful days on the water. We began the season floating new stretches of water on the Saco and found some amazingly large brown trout and rainbows on streamers.
With a busy season under way we took on a second guide, Steve Bowman of Wolfeborough NH. Steve had a great season with positive feedback from all of his clients and many nice fish landed under his guidance. We look forward to working as a team again next season and hope to bring on a third guide to keep up with demand.
Trips in mid to late may were exciting ones. We had some epic days hunting for wild brook trout and our clients made it count on some gorgeous native fish. As a bonus some of our lake outlet streams provided some fast action for rainbows and LL salmon.
As the season got underway we got word that WMUR's show, NH Chronicle, wanted to do a spot on us. After two rain postponements we were able to get a shoot done on the Saco. Although we got a late start we caught fish from start to finish.. When it came to editing the piece, Cindy Cupp Jones and crew were spot on, and captured exactly what we are all about. If you missed it, see it HERE!
Late May through mid June provided us with some epic caddis hatches on the Andro. On some floats we only needed one fly to catch fish from top to bottom. Mid June Through early July provided ample trips on the Saco throwing streamers and dries to hungry browns and rainbows. With frequent rain events we were able to find, and then explore many new hot spots.
As July came around the Andro dropped to fishable flows and provided some of the best top water action on Golden Stoneflies that I have ever seen.. One memorable float accounted for over 30 rainbows landed on large foam imitations.
later in July we got the call to guide well known country Singer Luke Bryan and friends. Luke was a truly nice guy and one heck of a fly fisherman. I especially enjoyed working with his nephew Til and Til's friend Christian. We'd like to thank Luke for the concert tickets to his shows at Meadowbrook in Gilford. What a great performance!
Late July and August provided some banner dry fly and nymph fishing on the Saco. The rainbows seemed especially fat this season. And the browns were aggressive terrestrial eaters. We had some magical evenings fishing everything from flying ants, to Chernobyl ants and BWO's. It seemed that the fish chose new foods constantly, which kept us on our toes figuring out new strategies by the minute.
In Early August The Book 25 Best Towns: Fly Fishing For Trout hit bookstores. Written by Bob Mallard the book chronicles the authors travels to the Nations top fly fishing towns. The book is well organized with a national map of all towns included. Each chapter profiles a different town and includes: information on the towns fisheries, and how to fish them, points of interest, lodging, shops and guide services.. We are proud that our hometown of North Conway made the list and that the Saco, Ellis, and Andro all received worthy mention. We appreciate that HCG is listed as the recommended guide service and North Country Angler the recommended fly shop.
In August and September the Andro came alive with Isonychia and we had some epic days swinging soft hackles to capitalize on this large mayfly hatch. Flying ants and October caddis also provided excellent big river and small stream action late summer. As Fall progressed we had some banner days below some of the dams on the river and more successful floats using BWO's and streamers patterns.
In September we had the opportunity to help NH Fish and Game and USFS Biologists survey the Wildcat River. They were looking to see if the river would qualify for Wild Trout Management designation. The biologists were blown away by the number of wild brook trout they surveyed. The river proved that it produces more than double the number of trout needed to qualify for wild trout management! More on this in our next report!
A dry dropper combo was often all we needed to get tight in October and when that wasn't the ticket a white or off white streamer often was. We had some banner streamer fishing on the Saco. And we even used the boat to find some local LL Salmon just before the close of season.
As November came about fish began to key in on Egg patterns and streamers. On warmer days midge and BWO hatches were discovered. We had success with emergers and dries. With a mild December we continued to catch fish on nymphs and streamers right up until Christmas. Fish were found on the Andro and some of our local lakes before they froze over just before the New Year.
So what is to come in 2016? We are excited to announce that we will be spending March and April guiding on the White and Norfork rivers out of Cotter AR. These rivers have defined themselves as two of the best trophy trout waters in the nation. If you are interested in booking a trip please contact us asap as dates are limited (We have already booked a few). Look for our Cotter reports in March and April. Before we leave for Cotter we will be presenting at the NH Fly Fishing Show on February 27th in Manchester NH. This years presentation will focus on our unique drift trip opportunities on the Saco and Androscoggin rivers.
When we return from Cotter you can look forward to local reports to come frequently.. We plan to explore new rivers this spring from the boat, along with new stretches on the Saco and Andro. When not hitting the rivers we will be hiking into our remote brook trout ponds and disecting our rainbow and LL salmon fisheries. There is a lot to be excited about for 2016. It is nice to see that others are excited as well. We have been booking trips and selling gift certificates as of late. If you are looking to book a trip for 2016 let us know ASAP! We look forward to spending time wth you on the water this season!