August is the time year when it is best to head for the hills and seek out those small tributaries with deep shade and cool water.
At the moment, the Saco River is trending at about 74 degrees, which is too warm for trout fishing. In the evenings, the water temperatures do come down somewhat, but this does not generally occur until after dark and past the legal hour to be fishing in New Hampshire. The small mountain brooks of the White Mountains offer exceptional brook trout fishing even on the worst of the “dog days” of August.
A great many anglers pass up these streams in favor of larger trout and this may be a fortunate thing. For the most part, I am rarely bothered by other fishermen when I fish them. However, there is a growing legion of fishermen who much prefer to fish over wild trout It is in these small waters where you will find them. We are most fortunate to have dozens of these streams with in our valley.
These small streams are not hard to find. In an effort to be scientific, I drew a circle on my DeLorme map with North Conway as the center. The circle radius was a little more than 3 miles from my center. Within that 3-mile circle, I counted six wild brook trout streams. I admit that two of these brooks are speculative, but the other four I can personally vouch for as I have fished them, and I have no reason to believe that the other two are not as productive.
The other afternoon, I headed out to fish one of my favorites. As I was driving up the road along the river, I happened to spot an old friend coming out of the river. I pulled over and talked to him for a few moments. Of course my greeting was: “How was the fishing?”
Apparently, he had done well, and we talked of other things as well. He mentioned that a few days previous, he had caught a good-sized rainbow trout in this same place. He produced his cell phone and showed me a picture. The trout was a good 12 inches. In the photo, the trout stretched well-past the length of the net.
Normally, we both would have been excited about the catch, however, in this case we were both not as excited as we were alarmed. The question was how did a large rainbow end up in a brook trout stream and in a stream that has not been stocked by Fish and Game for two years?
Now, this stream is a tributary of a river that is stocked with rainbows, however, there is a natural barrier that in theory, would prevent any trout from moving up river. Rainbows are in fact salmon, and their natural instinct is to migrate. There is a good chance that he or she just found a way to negotiate the falls.
On the other hand, there is the possibility that some unthinking, but well-intentioned fisherman just changed his mind about keeping the fish and released him into the river. Another theory is that some land owner who has land along the river may have stocked a private pond on their property, and the fish simply escaped. Whatever the reason the fish did not belong there and was a threat to the stream.
Shortly after my conversation with my friend, I was knee deep in the river. There was no question in my mind as to whether the river was cold enough for trout. I was wading wet and the cold water came as a shock to my system when I wading in.
I have a lot of affection for this little river and coming back to it is always a pleasure. I have a lot of fond memories of fishing here with my wife, Janet, and of course my dog, Summer. When I fish here, I am never alone.
The fishing was only fair but I caught a couple and had a good time doing so. On warm days, I always leave a bottle of water in the river at the place where I started. When I come back up river at the end of the day, it is a small pleasure to retrieve it and have a cold drink.
See you on the river.