Fly fishing

NH Foliage and Fly Fishing

George Liset, left, is pictured with Steve Angers, owner of North Country Angler. Courtesy picture

ON-THE-FLY WRITE

By GEORGES LISET

Fly fishing in the fall is probably my favorite time to fish. The mornings are cool, but the days are soon warmed by the rising sun. Fishing is comfortable and sometimes successful. The highlight is the foliage which never ceases to disappoint.

I was waiting for news from my sources about landlocked salmon coming up the rivers of Lake Winnipesaukee, but all is calm. My son Reed had a few hours to fish so I asked him if he wanted to meet at Ossipee and drive to North Conway. I told him I didn’t know how the fishing would go, but the foliage wouldn’t let us down. I mentioned that we might scout a few places for spring.

Reed asked what fly rods I was bringing, and I mentioned my three-weight for the Ellis and the Peabody and my six-weight for casting streamers on the Saco River. I also mentioned that I wanted to stop by the North Country Angler fly shop to see owner Steve Angers and get the latest info on which waters were fishing well.

The drive to Route 16 was relaxing. Traffic wasn’t too bad and the colors and scenery were spectacular even on a slightly overcast day. Driving by Lake Chocorua serves as a greeting card for the Mount Washington Valley. Blood pressure starts to drop and you can start to relax. North Conway, due to its popularity and beauty, is always busy. It’s not just a winter destination anymore.

We arrived at the North Country Angler just as they were opening and there was a line of customers wanting to do the same thing we wanted to do, get the scoop and pick up some flies. Owner Steve Angers is as friendly as he looks on the Facebook videos he posts about the latest fishing conditions in the Mount Washington Valley.

After Steve and I reunited, I told him where we were thinking of fishing. Steve mentioned that the rivers have really slowed down with the onset of cold weather and Rainbows and Brookies are heading to the springs to spawn and Browns are coming down the river. Steve took me to the display where the flies were. Steve has clothespins with the names of the river on them. Around the pins are flies that fish well and attract a few fish.

Steve also offers free fishing maps of the area which is a great deal in itself. After buying some flies, Reed and I headed to the fly-fishing section of Ellis River. We strung our three-weight rods and tied size 18 Caddis flies with size 20 nymph droppers and started prospecting some fishy looking pools.

The rivers in the Mount Washington Valley are classified as free rock rivers, which means there are plenty of rocks to navigate to get where you are going.

I might add that if you have rock climbing experience it helps. I will also add that the rocks are slippery. I know because I fell. The good news is that I didn’t break my fly rod or my head, but my butt still hurts.

We weren’t having much luck so we picked up and hit a few more spots just to check them out.

Time was running out so we reached the confluence of the Swift River and the Saco River to launch streamers. We ended up under the Saco River Covered Bridge where I got to have my picture taken by leaf watchers. Reed said I looked pretty good. As we drove home the sun came out which magnified the colors and ended a wonderful morning.

gGeorge Liset of Dover is an award-winning outdoor writer and avid fly fisherman who shares insights from his time on the water exploring the streams and rivers of New Hampshire as well as those of New England. George is a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, and the University of New Hampshire. Her Writing on the Fly column has been honored by the New England Press Association and the New Hampshire Press Association.

Fall colors in and out of the water with this speckled trout. Courtesy picture