Springing Into Action?

Posted by bs - April 3, 2018 - Upper Connecticut River, Winter Fishing - 6 Comments

Apologies for a slothful winter of blog writing, friends. The excuses are long and might not be believable, but they were all unfortunately true. A reservation system failure, numerous website updates, and the rigors of the winter snowmobile business led to a lack of play time on the river.

Ok, ok – enough with the b.s. … what’s been happening, you might ask?

Fishing conditions and river flows were pretty good overall in January and February (the brown pictured above was caught and released in late February), when the weather allowed. On days that were decent, a fair amount of fishermen were plying the waters below Murphy Dam, with some decent success.

In March, winter made a reappearance, making for tougher fishing days and a drop in the river flows, as the levels of the Connecticut Lakes had dropped a bit lower than anticipated. The river’s still running low now (182 CFS out of Lake Francis, 88 CFS out of First Lake Dam, and 58 CFS out of Second Lake Dam), but we’ll probably see a bump in the flows as the snow melts and the lakes fill.

Yesterday was my first day on the water in quite a while, and while the water is low and very cold, there was a much needed tug in my first few casts with a soft hackle streamer. A companion of mine also had a take on his nymph rig, but that was it for the two of us. Not a whole lot of action, but still nice to be out there, standing in flowing water, and observing a robust midge hatch when the sun was warming the water particularly well. A brisk wind from the west still kept winter just in the back of our minds however.

If you are coming up to fish, streamers of the smelt variety are probably still a good bet, as well as delicately presented nymph rigs – Pheasant Tails, San Juan Worms, Midges, small Black Stones – could do the trick. Fish the slow, deep stuff where fish might be conserving energy in anticipation of better days ahead.

There’s still plenty left of our snowpack in Pittsburg (grooming operations for the snowmobile trails just ended last weekend in New Hampshire’s northernmost town), so it definitely feels more like winter than spring when you’re out there. Back Lake will probably ice out in early May, as we are due for more cold weather this weekend (the ice depth was 23″ on Easter weekend), and getting out to the brook trout ponds seems like a long way off (at least mid-May). As you can imagine, fishing above any major tributary is required right now – too much silt coming in to the junctions with the Connecticut from those tributaries (Perry Stream, Indian Stream, Halls Stream).

Other, more southerly rivers may be in the forecast for next week – the Farmington? The Housatonic? Who knows … I’ll give it a little more time to melt and for the waters to rise here in the north country.


  • Hendrickson says:

    Hi Tom! Sorry about the problems over the winter, and good to see you back on the blog! And glad that you’ll have time for the river now!

    • bs says:

      Thanks Henry – will still be a little while before the fishing perks up in the north country, but it’s getting better every day. Hope to see you this summer!

  • Peter Mehegan says:

    Hi Tom: Anyone do any ice-out trolling up there any more?We did well with old pal Eston Spaulding eons ago. Best to all and will see you with grandson Matthew at some point.

    • bs says:

      Hi Peter –

      Yes, we still have our devotees of the ice out trout fishing experience, though probably not as many as way back when. Still good fishing to be had on the lakes though in May – we’re all looking forward to it, and seeing you and Matthew this summer …

  • Scott says:

    What’s the forecast for the spring smelt run

    • bs says:

      Thanks for your message Scott. The spring smelt run, which in turn causes the salmon run, seems like a mysterious thing, but we generally have seen the salmon fishing best beginning Mother’s Day weekend for about 10 days. Weather and water flows are big influences however, and usually dictate the duration of the run. Let’s hope for some warmer weather soon!

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