The fall is a great time to fish our bigger rivers. Flows increase with the fall rains. Brook trout and brown trout don their spawning colors. Rainbow trout sit below the spawning trout redds and eat eggs that float free from their location. Landlocked salmon are also looking for places to spawn. It will seem like there are fish in every nook and cranny.
We are fortunate enough to have a river where we can catch all the salmonid species — the Androscoggin River.
When we are fortunate enough to catch all four of these great fish — brook, brown, rainbow and landlocked — in one outing, we call it the Andro Slam.
It is a rare feat but always something that is in the back of the angler’s mind when a trip to the Andro is planned.
With the Andro Slam in mind, we recently headed to Errol to fish the trophy stretch below the dam. This stretch of water holds all four salmonids.
Water levels were very fishable, so we headed up to the base of the dam. You can reach this water by taking Route 16 north out of North Conway. Once in Errol, take the Dam Road off of Route 16 and park at the Angler Parking area that is generously provided by Brookfield Energy.
It’s an easy walk from the parking area to the base of the dam. We start by fishing the dam area between the two outlets to the dam. We walk around the outlet that is constantly releasing water and get down on the rocks to cast. Keep an eye on your back cast. It’s embarrassing when your back cast ends up caught in the fencing that keeps you out of the restricted areas.
Once we set up in our casting area, we open our fly box to make a selection. There are fallfish and yellow perch on the river, and they make ideal feed for the salmonids.
We pick a Golden Humungous and attach it to the end of our line. We are fishing with our six-weight fly rods and sinking lines. The water here is turbulent, and you need to get the fly down to the fish.
After casting for awhile, we catch a monster yellow perch. It is not unusual to catch yellow perch over a foot long here. A delicacy for those who eat fish, we release the perch back to the river. We have salmonids on our mind.
Since the Golden Humungous is drawing perch strikes, we switch to the Golden Humungous sister fly — the White Humungous. We cast the fly into the depths of the dam outflow. Once we feel we are at the right depth, we strip the fly back with long pulls. This lets the fly flee and then rest. The perfect time for a strike.
On the third pull of the line, we are fast to a gorgeous brown trout. We bring the fish to hand and slip the barbless hook from his lip. The fish is a beautiful yellow color with bright red spots. A great start to our trip.
During the course of the day, we catch a leaping 15-inch salmon. The White Humungous is working its magic. We move over to the portage area of the river and continue to fish downstream. Soon we have a bright red striped rainbow on the end of the line. We are three-quarters of the way to the Andro Slam!
Unfortunately, the brook trout eluded us this day. The Andro Slam was not to be. But we will return again in the spring in pursuit of the quest.
Steve Angers is a native son to the Conway area. He has been consumed by fishing since catching his first wild brook trout at the base of Champney Falls.