Springing Into Action?
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.