Published Date Written by Bill ThompsonThe fishing season is off and running. Today, the fourth Saturday of April, is the opening day of the "trout pond" season. And the Saco River has already been stocked by Fish and Game — the earliest in recent memory. In a normal year the Saco is never stocked much before Memorial Day.
Lest you think I am letting the cat out of the bag, by letting you know that the river was stocked, you only had to look up the Fish and Game website. Every Thursday the department posts a stocking report. You only read it to be in on the secret. As it was I just happened to be down at First Bridge, taking the water temperature, when the stocking truck pulled up. Our local Fish and Game officer, Sergeant Brian Abrams, called me over and proudly showed me a net full of beautiful brown trout, that he was just about to put in the river. He had every right to be proud of them.
I asked Sergeant Abrams if it was not too early to be stocking. His answer was that he was worried about the low water levels. The Saco was running about 600 cfs that morning and looked like it was July. The difference, between now and July, was that the water temperature was a chilly 41 degrees. The good news is that since then it snowed up on Mount Washington and the river quickly rose to 1000 cfs. This morning after a weekend of rain the Saco is running a little over 5000 cfs.
Needless to say, after waiting a couple of days after the stocking, we went fishing. Now you would think that fishing over newly stocked trout would be like shooting them in a barrel. I read once that some guy, in an effort to prove the old adage of shooting fish in a barrel was easy, found out that it wasn't all that easy. As it turned out these fish were not all that easy, as well. Four of us fished over them for well over an hour with just about every fly we had in our arsenal. The best we could manage was one bump. After nearly freezing to death we retreated to The Moat restaurant for a hot meal and a cold beer.
For the last several days numerous anglers have tried their luck with these fish and all have come up empty handed. My guess is that, with water temperatures in the low 40s, and a lack of insect activity has kept these fish from taking flies. Given the warm days we have recently had, my guess is that these fish are going to turn on pretty quickly.
Despite the spike in river flow we desperately needed the rain. The topic of discussion, at the shop, has been all about what are our rivers are going to be like in July? If this pattern keeps up it won't be much of a summer for anglers.
As it stands right now the fishing season is well underway and with the trout pond season starting we are in full swing.
See you on the river.
Bill and Janet Thompson own North Country Angler in North Conway.