Upper Connecticut River Fishing Update: 7/30
The fishing season plods along here on the upper Connecticut River in northern New Hampshire. The weather in July was a general improvement, compared to what we endured in June, and it has felt downright “fall-like” lately. Temps in the 40’s in the morning, warming to the 70’s during the day – perfect weather for enjoying sparkling days on the water …
What’s actually happening out there? The Trophy Stretch river flow remains constant at 153 CFS (same as it has been for two months now), and the stream of fishermen trying their luck also continues. Perhaps not as busy as it was in June, but this section is still receiving a lot of attention from anglers.
Reports from our guests and the guides that service them seem to indicate that nymph rigs remain the most effective method for catching our trout and salmon. While the combinations are literally endless, a tandem with a UV2 Soft Hackle Glitter Olive should be used at some point. You also might want to go really small right now – bring along some midge patterns and don’t forget the 6x tippet.
BH Pheasant Tail, Weight Fly, Hot Belly PT, BH Prince, BH Yellow Stone, BH Black Stone, Little Green Machine, TB UV Zebra, Micro Stone Beadhead, BH Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear, Copper John, Hatching Pupa, Sparkle Caddis Pupa, Barr’s Emerger, San Juan Worm, Goomie Worm, Mini Globug Oregon Cheese, UV2 Glitter Soft Hackle Olive, Pat’s Rubber Legs
At Murphy Dam below Lake Francis, the flow is now at 405 CFS, an optimum flow for pursuing the sometimes skittish and always wary trout in this section. In all honesty, I have not heard a lot about this section lately, but caddis patterns of all shapes and sizes should have a prominent place in your fishing pack when you’re down there. Water temps are a near perfect mid to upper 50’s below Murphy, and the caddis, stonefly and mayfly hatches can be impressive in this section.
Just remember that the lack of tree canopy in some stretches down there means that the fish will be uber tough to catch on sunny days – go slow and low if that is the case. It can be much the same on cloudy days down there (difficult fish) as well, but at least they’re coming up often and you can see where they like to lie.
The Connecticut River drifts from Canaan, VT to below Columbia, NH have been producing very well lately too. Our guides have been reporting lots of fish caught and released, with the occasional larger than average specimen as well. The method has varied somewhat, with nymph rigs being hot one day and dry flies being the ticket the next.
Who knows why it changes day to day like that, but caddis and mayfly nymphs are your best bet if you’re going under the surface, while mayfly dun and spinner patterns (Purple Haze, Rusty Spinner) seem to work best when fishing on top. Light tippets and very delicate presentations are required to be successful on the drifts.
For those that like to “throw the junk”, this is a hit or miss proposition lately. I have devoted a couple of sessions in the last week to throwing big a– articulated Chuck Degray patterns (by the way, his North Country Fly Shop is the place to go if you’re in to this style of fishing – stop in when you’re up), and have had mixed results. You have to commit to this type of angling and it can be frustrating at times, but can be rewarding when you move a big territorial brown trout that is defending his space. Sometimes the fish merely moves on the fly, but sometimes they eat, and that’s when you’re in fishing nirvana – the take is absolutely intoxicating.
And, yes, BenGay is usually necessary for your casting shoulder the next day …
This is also the time of year when our water temperatures can be inching upward to the danger zone for trout. If you’re planning on releasing your fish, crimp your barbs, play your fish quickly and release them quickly. They can get easily stressed at these temperatures and can die later on even if we think we’re releasing them properly.