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Osprey's Final Season
It is with a sweet sadness that the upcoming season of 2022 will be my last guiding the magnificent waters of northern New Hampshire. We have had an offer to purchase Osprey Fishing Adventures and if this goes through we will pass on our 40 + years of experience guiding these waters to that individual or business. Personally I would have guided here another 5-10 years but I married a woman from Idaho and she wants to go back out West. She points out she's giving me 40 years of black flys and humidity so I guess I'll trade the hot dry summers of this incredible part of our country for what I'll always consider 'home'.
Large numbers of spawning age fish were caught in 2021 which bodes well for an excellent natural reproduction last fall despite the low water. Having caught three different age classes of trout in the Connecticut during 2021 is an encouraging sign for the future of this magnificent river in the upcoming season. The mighty fishery of the Connecticut and Androscoggin Rivers are becoming recognized by a mutlitude of anglers. Whether Covid issues or simply the greater interest in fishing local we saw many more fishermen this past year. For that reason and the benefit of the fishery it is highly recommended to handle all trout as delicately as possible.
One thing that I hope to relay to readers of this page is a tool found to be fantastic in releasing fish unharmed to swim and propagate. I have been using the 'Ketchum release' tool for the past several years almost exclusively and am constantly amazed at how simple something can be and yet work so well in releasing of fish while acting to minimize stress associated with handling the fish. Last season I watched an angler no doubt fishing a barbed hook stress the hell out of a couple of fish. Both fish were grappled while he struggled to get the hooks out. Most likely leading to fish mortality. The tool comes in three sizes with the mid sized 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. The tool has a slot that slides down the leader/tippet while keeping your fish in the water until the fly is inside the tube. At that point, the tool is inverted with a mild shake to release the fish. It can be purchased online at Orvis, Cabelas, and your favorite tackle store. It should be noted that fishing a barbless fly makes this easier and quicker. The fishery on all rivers would benefit incredibly from its use and larger more healthy fish would result.As the old commercial use to say, "try it.. you'll like it".
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The unusual low water conditions of the past two years are apparently at an end. With an excellent snow pack Tim Purrington, representative of Great Rivers Hydro, assures me that all the lakes are full promising excellent water levels in the Connecticut River. If near or at historical precipitation levels the river's water levels should remain that way through out the summer. The advantage of fishing from a drift boat will again reap it's benefits.
Unlike the Connecticut the Androscoggin is an ebb flow river at it's source. It is not a tailwater fishery except with discharges from the Azicohos dam some 25-30 miles above what is recognized by most anglers as the ideal trout water. All anglers should avoid fishing this river when water temperatures are 70 F and above. Playing fish in this water stress them to the point that mortality is inevitable. Any physical handling of trout is only detrimental to their survival. If this magnificent river keeps being fished like the past five-seven years fewer wild fish can be expected. We left the 'Scoggin in late June and didn't return until fall with varying results. Hopefully the future of this river will be as bright as it has in the past
Last season alone illustrated the bonus of drift fishing regarding wildlife sightings. While a client was casting their fly I sensed something in the water to my right. As I looked down I saw a yearling fawn swimming less than two feet from the boat. After swimming past us the fawn continued swimming downstream as seen in the photo above until it disappeared from sight some hundred yards below us. This incredible sight was most likely caused by a predator such as a coyote leading it to jumping in the river to escape and fear kept it swimming instead of climbing up the bank. I only wish that I had remembered the camera sooner.
A second even more incredible sight occured as I was floating a still water section in Columbia,NH. The clients were fishing when 30-40 geese charged into the river directly towards us from a farm field. Initially we were all dumbfounded as they honked loudly. Geese always have a leader and an adult rear guard following any group of geese and this was also the case as the later seemed to be pushing the others towards the river. Seconds later the largest red fox I've ever seen, maybe 30-45 lbs, charged down the slope and deftly caught this rear guard by the neck. It then turned and disappeared with the goose into a small gully. It should be noted that the geese are in full molt during July and can not fly so it wasn't an unusual situation. Unfortunately it happened so quickly that no photos were taken.
last updated 5/31/2022