June is known among the angling community as the Sweet of The Year. Water conditions have improved from spring’s cold and high runoff from snow melt. Water temperatures have stayed in the 50 degree range leading to an increase in aquatic life.
River anglers find a cherished spot on their favorite piece of moving water. Wading into the river and feeling the power of the water brings a sense of calm and anticipation. Lengthening the line for the first cast makes the reel purr. The whoosh, whoosh of the rod as the line moves forward and backward, loading the rod.
The release of the line as the fly heads toward its destination of the river. The quiet landing of the fly and the line on the water. Concentrating on the fly as it rides the water. Anticipating the fly disappearing, as an unsuspecting trout sips in the fly.
Water sprays off the line as the rod is raised and the hook is set. The rod bends in a graceful arc. The movement of the fish strums to the butt of the rod and into the angler’s hand. Angler and fish have become one.
With the fish drawing closer, the angler reaches for the rubber net and sweeps it under the fish. Placing the rod under the armpit, the angler reaches for the forceps to remove the barbless hook of the Red Quill. Releasing the fish into the river, a sense of calm comes over the angler. Thanking the fish gods, the process is repeated.
The pond angler hikes far into the White Mountain National Forest. The walk through the wilderness brings olfactory overload. The tree pollen. The dried, rotting leaves. The spruce forest. Crisp, clean water of a brook. The odor of a moose or a bear.
Breaking through the spruce to the shore of the pond, the water surface looks like a mirror. The mountains surrounding the pond look serene. An osprey’s calling breaks the silence. Looking for the same fish as the angler.
A loud splash can be heard. A mother beaver is aware of the angler and tries to draw attention away from her kits. A loon pops up to see if the angler will be entering the water and providing an easy meal in the form of a hooked fish.
Slipping into the float tube, the angler can feel the coolness of the pond’s water. It is in sharp contrast to the warmth generated on the hike into the pond. With a few kicks of the angler’s flippers, the time to cast the fly has arrived.
Fishing with a nine foot four weight Scott Centric and a Cortland Streamer Sink Tip fly line, the angler sends the Little Brook Trout Bucktail toward a fallen tree at the ponds edge. Counting to 10, the angler begins to retrieve the fly in a darting motion.
As the fly approaches the float tube, a fine wild brook trout hammers the Bucktail and heads to the bottom of the pond hoping to break the line on a sunken tree. The line pulled the Centric into the water and spun the float tube around.
The angler held the line tight and kicked the fins to steady the float tube and net the fish. While only 10 inches, the brook trout was a thing of beauty. As the fish was released, a flash of silver went past the float tube. While the angler wanted to return the brook trout to live another day, the loon had other ideas.
Tip of the Week
Fish early in the morning or later in the day when water temperatures are more fish friendly.
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.