Well I it is about time I wrote a report for NH again. Arrived back the last week of April and We've been guiding and fishing ever since. The three big stories so far have been lake rainbows, wild brook trout, and wild brown trout on the Saco. We've seen some very fat rainbows out of some local lakes recently with the biggest ones coming out of some of the tributaries. Every spring rainbows get washed out of lake outlets during high flows. This phenomenon can allow for some very big fish in small water.
Right now these rainbows are keyed in on caddis, but earlier in the spring they key in on sucker spawn and smelt. It is also possible to catch these big rainbows right out of the lakes as they cruise around looking for an easy meal. Yesterday we took three nice rainbows fishing Caddis from shore. We've also done well from the raft. Check the jumping rainbow video on or video page to see these fish in action.
After arriving home from Arkansas I was eager to try some new streamer patterns and techniques out on the Saco. With the Saco running low on my arrival home I knew we would need a good rain. Luckily our first big rain lined up with a day of fishing I had planned with my good friend Tom Freedman (Tom will be guiding for us this year.) Tom and I had been discussing streamers and strategies for browns over the phone while I was in Arkansas and we both had some theories that we wanted to test.
Since the Saco is such a slow clear river the bigger fish become extremely cautious when water is low and clear. This is why so few of these fish are caught on dry flies in the late spring. However when heavy rains raise flows minnows and smaller trout get pushed around and the bigger fish take advantage.
The biggest thing I learned while in Arkansas about hunting big brown trout is that these fish do not eat as often as smaller bug eating trout. Consider how many more potato chips you can eat than hamburgers. When these big browns chomp a 10" rainbow trout they may not eat for another few days.
So the key to targeting big brown trout on big streamers is to understand that even when you are doing everything right you may not hook a fish for hours. It takes confidence and persistence to find a big brown that is looking to eat. With this in mind Tom and I elected to fish a long stretch of river.
Our theories paid off as we were able to net a 24" brown towards the middle of the float and a 22" brown towards the end. We also landed a 10" wild brook trout and a 12" wild brown trout. I am fairly confident that these were truly wild fish as the river had yet to have been stocked for the season. It is looking like we may get some rain this weekend and I am hoping to find a few more of these fish on Monday.
As waters have been warming we have been seeing some great hatches on our wild brook trout waters. Depending on the streams substrate we have been seeing a mix of Caddis and Handrickson's coming off from mid morning through the afternoon. It has been an exciting spring as we've discovered a few new to us brook trout spots that are simply amazing. Some of these streams flow slowly through pristine meadows and bogs while others snake their way through old growth pine forests. All of these streams are spring fed which allows brook trout to grow to a larger size than in other New England streams. 8 to even 12" wild brook trout are not uncommon here. This fishing will is best through May so if you'd like to give it a shot give us a call soon as dates are limited! See the prehistoric brookie video on our video page to see this fishing in action.
With rain in the forecast we are looking to hunt big browns again on monday. On Tuesday temps will moderate and the wild brook trout fishing and rainbow trout fishing should be hot!
The Androscoggin River should begin to turn on as well with warming temps. Caddis hatches may only be a week away. Looking forward to seeing many of you this season.