Published Date Written by Bill ThompsonWe have entered into the dreaded dog days of summer. However, all is not lost. Heat and warm water are not friendly to trout and for the most part trout anglers will put aside their rods during these hot spells. Trout caught in water with temperatures above 70 degrees rarely survive when released. The good news is that we live in an area where there are numerous small mountain streams where water temperatures remain cold even during the hottest days of summer. These streams provide good fishing all year long.
To be sure there is a trade off. If you are the kind of fisherman that demands big fish you will only be disappointed. Small streams hold proportionally sized trout; in most of these streams a six inch fish is just about the maximum size that you will find. On the plus size these fish are likely to be wild and demonstrate this by their fighting heart and brilliant color.
Last week, a woman called the shop asking if the White Mountains had wild trout. Janet answered that indeed there were wild trout to be found. The woman went on to ask if they were the size of the wild trout her husband caught in Patagonia? Janet told her that a six inch trout would be about as big a they get, she said: "Oh no, that would never do" and hung up. Her husband will never know what he missed.
This past Saturday, I ducked out of the shop and went fishing with friend and head guide at the North Country Angler, Nate Hill. Our intent was to find some wild New Hampshire trout. Nate had been doing some scouting recently and had uncovered a spot with a population of natives. I had to bribe him to take me, but eventually he gave in and took me to his spot.
Surprisingly, the spot was not that far off a major highway. Nate took the precaution of parking his car well off the road to divert attention. Both Nate and I have vowed to never again put any fishing related graphics or stickers on our cars. A truck or car parked anywhere near a stream displaying a any kind of decal advertising a fly fishing company or organization is a dead give away that a good fishing spot may be near by. In addition to pointing out that the owner of the car is a fisherman it also advertises that there may be expensive gear in side.
We crossed the road and followed a small feeder brook to the main stream. The little brook meandered through a thick forest. The heavy cover provided the brook with deep shade keeping the water cold even in the heat of day. This little stream was alive with wild brook trout. It wasn't easy getting a fly to them due to the thick canopy. The ever resourceful Nate used a bow and arrow cast to get the fly into the tight alcoves where the brook trout lay in wait for prey. I acted as Nate's cameraman until the mosquitoes found me.
Out on the main flowage the action began for real. Almost every pool held trout and they eagerly ate our flies. We continued up stream hitting every likely pool. Late in the afternoon we came upon the mother of all pools. The pool was about 200-feet long that started with a small falls accompanied by a stretch of fast water that gave way to a long deep flat section. The pool was well shaded with some very interesting looking dark colored water. The pool proved to be full of trout and both Nate and I caught dozens of them before we moved on to the next pool.
Around 8:30 I began to walk back to where we had entered the stream. It gets dark a little earlier now and I did not want to walk down the rock strewn stream bed in the dark. I left Nate happily casting away and catching trout. I had just about reached our entry point when I heard a voice and it was Nate who had caught up to me. By the time we entered the woods it was pitch dark. I was glad I had a small flash light with me. Nate, who apparently can see in the dark, bounded ahead. He announced that he could see the road and that it would be easier to bushwhack through the woods rather than follow the brook. "Easy for you I thought", but followed anyway. In a few minutes we reached the road and walked back to where we had left the car. We clipped off our flies and put the rods back into there tubes, marking the end of another great day of fishing.
See you on the river.
Bill and Janet Thompson own North Country Angler in North Conway.