This week in the valley brought back memories of Memorial Day. Daytime temperatures in the 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s. Most Veterans Day weeks are icy cold, and two years ago we had snow on the ground. Mother Nature sure can keep us guessing.
Trout season in rivers, streams and designated trout ponds ends Oct. 15. There is a loophole for those who like to pursue trout. Any non-designated trout pond can be fished for trout from “ice-out to ice-in.” Here in the valley, we are fortunate to have an assortment of these ponds.
In another stroke of fortune, some of these ponds are stocked by New Hampshire Fish and Game for the upcoming ice fishing season. Fish and Game takes the brood stock trout that are no longer needed in the hatcheries and puts those fish in ponds around the state. A wise use of trout that no longer can deliver prodigy.
All the planets aligned this week. Unseasonable warm weather, brood stock trout stocking, and the majority of anglers gone to deer camp (New Hampshire firearms gun season started Nov. 11). Perfect timing for a trout fishing adventure.
There was no surprise when I arrived at the pond. The parking lot was empty. There was a lone loon at the north end of the lake. The surface of the water was smooth as glass. With a loon at the north end of the lake, I was wondering if this water had been stocked yet. Loons love to eat hapless hatchery fish.
Sitting on the tailgate of the truck and lacing up the wading shoes, I heard a splash. Looking out on the water, a rise ring had broken the glassy surface. There was another rise. Then another. Fish were working the surface. With the warm temperatures, midges, those little black bugs, were in the surface film and the fish were taking advantage.
I opened my fly box looking for a good midge pattern. Staring me in the face was a White Humungous streamer fly. I took the fly, one that had not failed me all season, and tied it to the end of my leader.
Because I had packed all my fly gear away for the season, on this day, I was using my truck rod. A truck rod is a fishing rod that lies behind the seats of your pickup year round. You know, just in case.
My truck rod is a 7 foot 9 inch, five weight, full flex, Orvis T3 matched to a classic Battenkill click and pawl reel, and a sink tip fly line.
Wading out into the water, fish continued to swirl. I sent my fly on its way to the closest swirl. The fly landed softly and began to sink. Suddenly, the line went tight. Setting the barbless hook, it was game on.
The rod bent in an arc. The fish took line. The head shakes could be felt in the hand. This was a very good fish.
Slipping my hand under the 17 inch, 2-pound brook trout to remove the fly I wondered, “Wouldn’t a fall barbless, catch and release fishing season for all trout ponds be great?”
Fish and Game could have a $10 stamp to offset fall stocking costs and continue to bring anglers to New Hampshire instead of sending them to Massachusetts or Connecticut. Sounds like something worth exploring.
Tip of the Week
Fall stocking information is available from Inland Fisheries in Concord. This will let you know where to look for some exceptional fall fishing. The five fish or five pounds rule apply to these ponds. Don’t be caught with over five pounds of fish in your possession.
Steve Angers, a native to the Conway area, is the author of the book “Fly Fishing New Hampshire’s Secret Waters” and operates the North Country Angler.