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2017 is here
While the rest of the US experienced weather extremes we experienced a good old fashioned winter in Northern New Hampshire. A good snow pack remains with more light snow yet to come bodes well for the upcoming season's water levels on both the upper Connecticut and Androscoggin Rivers. Ice break up occurred at high water minimizing ice scour and negative effects on both fish and invertebrate eggs laid last fall. The headwater lakes are full with the rainy part of spring yet to come. All of this has us at Osprey Fishing Adventures optimistic that the summer of 2017 will be an excellent one. We turn the clocks ahead an hour this coming weekend and days are getting longer. Watched an adult baldy hunched over in a tree on my way home this afternoon hoping spring gets here a bit quicker. Fishing for her is still among residual ice flows and cold water and it can't be easy but when the sunshine comes out tomorrow she'll be more comfortable. Its not to say that we can't get snow or have cold temps. but the days are longer, birds of prey that feed on fish are back, and all of us are getting our gear together in preparation for the upcoming season. New regs that were put into effect below Murphy dam this winter promises to find more big fish in the river from that point downstream than in the past. Both browns and rainbows, measured in pounds and not inches, have traditionally been harvested on a regular basis by spin fishermen during the winter months when their metabolism is low and are more easily landed. These fish are now protected by catch and release regs until the 4th Saturday in April when we revert back to the 5 fish limit. All of us (guides & fisherman alike) have longed for similar regulations for many years but had no success convincing the Fish & Game commisioners until both the fisheries biologist and campowners in Pittsburg showed strong support for these changes. With help from Tom Carron, co-owner of Tall Timbers lodge, Rod at Lopstick Lodge, and Dianne Timmins, region I fisheries biologist these changes came to fruition. What a fishery it would be if these regs were extended through out the season ! Nonetheless it is a step in the right direction and we at Osprey Fishing Adventures applaud the move.
All fish caught on the Connecticut last fall, and the majority taken throughout the 2016 were, and are, strong and in great shape which bodes well for a good growth and survival rate in the upcoming season. We should start to reap some rewards fromt he special regs and fishery management on the upper Connecticut during the winters of 2015-2016. Brood stock previously taken from the river during winter months when they are more susceptible to being caught are now protected with single barbless hook/ catch and release only from October 15th to the fourth Saturday in April. Good news for the entire upper stretch with more fish measured in pounds instead of inches. Kudos to Dianne Timmins Region I fisheries biologist.
One thing that I would like to relay to readers of this page is a tool that I have found to be fantastic in releasing fish unharmed to swim and propagate. I have been using the 'Ketchum release' tool, marketed by Orvis, for the past several years and am constantly amazed at how simple something can be and yet work so well in the release of fish while at the same time minimizing stress associated with handling the fish. It comes in two sizes with the larger size going over beads and streamers with no ill effects on the flys. I have even used the smaller one with small parachute drys resulting in no damage to either the hackles or post. As the old commercial use to say, "try it.. you'll like it".
Expectations for 2017
The predictions of the winter coming to a close were on the money and if they stay that way we should expect the upcoming summer to be superb for fishing. Sorry all of you sun lovers but overcast days bring out the nice browns and rainbow alike. No rises are yet to be seen out back but in three to four weeks spotty ones will begin as the water clears. Hendricksons, early caddis, and more will soon have ripples spreading rise forms that keep hope alive during the winter months but now they are for real .
Some of the adult eagles can be observed flying by the house and were numerous last summer. The Ospreys competed with them for the fish out back and I complained to my friend who has an osprey nest in his field. He frequently voices dislike for the 'fishhawks' but those nesting in his field are referred to as 'his birds' and he has thoroughly enjoyed watching both the parents and young. The Osprey population has rebounded incredibly with numerous nests here in the Great North Woods bordering both rivers. The Eagles likewise have had an increbible recovery with nesting pairs throuhout the upper watershed. Occasionally I wonder what kind of affect this has had on the fishery and more specifically fish density in any given section but then I remind myself that there is nothing wrong with this picture because as a famous naturalist once said only the fittest will survive to past their traits on to the next generation leading to a healthier population as a whole.
Another thing I wanted to pass on to our guests (and visitors to the site) is that you now have the opportunity to purchase your fishing license any hour of the day by clicking on the NHF&G link below. After connecting to the page scroll down the bottom of the screen to purchase your license. If this helps in getting you more time on the river and less spent waiting at the counter for the licensing agent to fill it out for you then it has served its purpose. All you will need is a driver's or previous license and a printer to print out the copy to carry with you on the river. After you receive the e-mail confirmation don't delete it as you can reprint another copy at no charge if the first one is lost. Simply click on this link and get started: nhfishandgame.com
last updated 3/8/17
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