Published Date Written by Bill ThompsonThis is the moment we have all been waiting for. For weeks we have been saying: "You have to wait until Memorial Day for the fishing to start in the Saco." Well, the time has come. All of the things necessary for good fishing are in place. The good bugs have begun to hatch — along with some of the bad bugs — and most importantly the fish are where they belong: in the river.
Janet and I have been out a couple of times this past week fishing the Ellis. Both times we had some great fishing. Hatches have been all over the place making fly selection difficult. The first evening a soft hackle Partridge and Orange was the key. Trout were rising, but after a while it became apparent that they were not taking insects off the surface. The rises were very 'splashy" and not the genital sip associated with the taking of floating bugs. The other key to success was being able to reach them. A long cast and a good drift were essential.
The second evening was more of the same, but the fish were taking dries. Like the evening before, it was difficult to identify any single hatch. When in doubt try an Adams. A runner up to the Adams would have to be an Elk hair Caddis. Both of those flies worked for us that night. There were not a lot of fish rising, but when one did you could target him and most of the time, if the fly was placed right, you would hook him.
Like everyone else, we are looking forward to good fishing in the Saco. The water levels have been high, but as I am writing this, they are just about perfect. There have been several reports of Drake hatches already. A friend brought in two Mirus mayflies yesterday. I was a little shocked to see them, as they usually do not show up until the first week in June.
The condition of the mayfly hatches, this year, is of great concern to anglers. We are all waiting to see what will happen after the rearrangement of the river by the hurricane and the subsequent attempts by humans to "correct" the problem. It saddens me to read in this paper how some have so little respect for our river. I say our river because the river does not belong to anyone person, it belongs to the people of New Hampshire and Maine. Rivers are wild creatures and are best left that way. Rivers give and they take away. Any attempt by man to change that are doomed to fail. Those who wish to turn the Saco into a canal have no idea of what they are asking for. The Saco River has an enormous economic impact on this community and not just from fishermen and canonists.
I hope that everyone has a chance to take advantage of the long weekend and get outdoors. Take some time out to remember why we call it Memorial Day and if you have the time go fishing.
See you on the river.
Bill and Janet Thompson own North Country Angler in North Conway.