Upper Connecticut River Fishing Update: 9/28
Finally, the temperatures dropped today in New Hampshire’s north country, and it began to feel like fall. Anytime is a good time to be on the water, but there’s something special about wetting a fly in the autumn.
Crisp fall days, a kaleidoscope of foliage cascading down from the trees, and energetic trout and salmon feeding hard prior to their spawning activities – it was that way today, and it quickly became a day to be filed away in the memory bank.
While nearly any fish tugging away on the end of my fly line is great, there’s just something special about salmon. Our specimens are of the landlocked variety, a fraction of the weight and size of their Atlantic cousins, but good sport nonetheless.
Charlie, Rich (pictured above) and I got in to them today on the Connecticut River’s Trophy Stretch, and just when we thought we had caught and released a large, exemplary salmon, another one, even larger than the last, would be on our fly lines. Most were landed, sometimes with the each other’s help, and some were lost – they were even larger …
Nymph rigs of various combinations did the trick today, and for a while the color red seemed to be the common denominator (Red Copper John, Red Serendipity), but the theory went out the window when Charlie landed a rotund brook trout on a Partridge & Yellow and then I landed a large salmon on a UV2 Soft Hackle Glitter Olive. Both were nice fish and perhaps better than we should expect, but those fish gods owed us one I guess.
We have more fall like weather this weekend, and then a bit of a warm up next week, but there are more changes on the way. The river flows in the Trophy Stretch will be raised to 325 CFS tomorrow morning and the flows will remain so for the weekend. Then there will be another raise in the flow on Monday morning to 450 CFS.
What will this mean for the fishing? Actually it might be beneficial for bringing even more salmon up river from Lake Francis, and 325 CFS, while challenging, can still be fished with sinking lines and streamers or nymph rigs with some weight on them. The fish will take some time to adjust to the new level, so plan on fishing the softer holding water where fish are conserving resources.
At 450 CFS, the Trophy Stretch will be difficult to fish, but not impossible – fish the slack water on edges – at that level, that might be all you’re able to fish anyway. And forget about crossing the river …
Murphy Dam at Lake Francis will also be raised from 300 CFS to 450 CFS tomorrow, which is an ideal level for fishing down there – nymphs, streamers, dries, take your pick. On Monday, that flow will go to 600 CFS, which is still very fishable – streamers and nymphs will probably be your best option at that flow. And don’t forget your sinking line and box of streamers.
Only 17 days left in our fishing season, folks …