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2017 Rolling along
Despite the continued rainy weather, and higher than normal water levels, fishing has been excellent. At the time of this writing we've hooked into several fish over three pounds with little surface activity. No wonder with the abundance of food sub-surface float by the fishes noses. We have taken at least four different age classes of brown trout which is fantastic to see. The alder flys have begun to wain on the Androscoggin and was light thus far. No large fish taken on top. The lakes at the headwater (of both rivers) are full promising some excellent fishing yet to come. All of this has us at Osprey Fishing Adventures optimistic that the summer of 2017 will continue to be an excellent one.
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 thus far and throughout the 2016 were, and are, strong and in great shape which bodes well for a good growth and survival rate in the 2017 season. We should start to reap some rewards from the special regs and fishery management on the upper Connecticut put in place 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 several dealers inclunding Orvis and Cabelas, 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".
The Green Drakes have arrived but the fish will move very little to take them. Some Hex are also showing as are some small blue wing olives but most feed continues beneath the surface. Caddis are all just about to hatch with a couple of different species set to explode onto the scene. The high water and cooler air and water temps. have led to this strange pattern of emergence no doubt. Fish are fat, and not just hatchery fish, as the wild and holdover fish are doing very well with water bank to bank. The fish are stronger due to this and work the fishermen with some anxiety that the hook will pull out before they are landed. Some nice fish have been lost due to the anxious nature of some of the fishermen. Ah well, those that get away have been educated, will be tougher to catch, and will go larger accordingly.
E.dorothea dominates the hatches thus far but few fish are moving to take them as well. They are not refused with a perfect drift by the larger fish. Everything moves at dusk. Known by fisherman as Light Cahills or sulfurs seemed much lighter than normal showing fewer numbers. July and August emergences of Isonychia, Stenacron, and Paraleps will benefit from the elevated water levels and fishing should be fantastic throughout the summer. Heavy rains, flooding, and yes even water spouts have plagued the rest of New England but we have thus far been spared the extremes. The banks show much slumping, a type of mass erosion where large chunks of oversteepened banks slide down into the river. Bad for the landowner but these provide some nice temporary trout cover.
Still yet to find the eagle nest Chris Martin, Audobon biologist, is sure to be in our area. In a recent float watched an immature female and a mature male fishing the same area giving conniptions no doubt to the Ospreys which nest in an adjacent area. Thus far neither seems to be negatively affecting the other. When the water drops and the young ospreys fledge that may change. 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 7/15/17
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