Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fly Fishing for Wild Brook Trout

Uff da!!! By the title of this blog you can guess that there is no kayak fishing for this journey. Being in Conway, New Hampshire you cannot ignore the fly fishing opportunities that this area has to offer for brook trout, rainbows, and brown trout in the Saco, Androscoggin, and the Ellis River. My resource for fly fishing the White Mountain valley is the North Country Angler owned and operated by Bill and Janet Thompson. They have over 40 years guiding experience in this area of New Hampshire.

Currently they have Nathan (Nate) Hill (Hill’s Guide Service) heading up their guide service at the shop. I’m not sure of the number of years Nate has fly fishing but he has been running the guide service for five years for Bill and Janet. So for this journey I have hired Nate to help Marian and myself on improve our fly fishing techniques and to get us on some wild brook trout maybe a rainbow or brown.
The trip was planned for Thursday morning but Wednesday evening a huge storm came through the valley. This resulted in the various rivers and creeks were flooded pretty good. According to Nate our chances of locating true wild brook trout would be very difficult. So he suggested that we travel south to Freedom, New Hampshire and fish a couple of spring fed ponds for some wild brook trout. According to Nate these ponds provide the opportunity to hook onto brook trout in the length of 12”.
We arrived to a parking area at a trail head. We put on waders, wading boots, put the fly fishing equipment together to prepare for the initial hike. We hiked in about a mile to the first pond. Nate positioned me at the first location at this pond. Marian and he continued to an area when the brush was sort of lacking behind them for Marian to start her lessons and hopefully some catching.
I made several cast and managed to hook into several six to eight inch brook trout. Then at one point when Nate wondered back to see how I was doing. Then a nice brook trout hit my dry fly; what fly Nate had tied on I cannot provide you with this information. Normally this time of the year you would be using flying ant imitations but that is not what he tied on for us to use. Uff da back to the catch; Nate got out his net and assisted me in landing a nice 10” wild brookie. This brook trout is my personal best. We studied the fish closely as he explained to Marian and I the differences between this trout and those brook trout that are planted by DNR. Also he explained that a brook trout actually is not a trout but actually a char.
At this first pond Marian also caught a nice brook trout. These are really beautiful fish. Close examination of a wild brook trout you will notice the reddish colored square fins with a sprinkling of red dots, surrounded by blue haloes on the sides. Besides these features the New Hampshire state fish is brown in color blending lighter in color towards the belly.

The action slowed down so Nate suggested that we hike to another pond. This seemed a little further but the hike was not too bad. Here at this pond both of us managed to catch some brook trout. These brookies from this pond also ranged between six to eight inches as well. We did observe some nice brook trout that might go to 12”. The day was coming to a close so Nate suggested that we hike back to the first pond to see if there was any feeding action going on.
When we arrive back to the initial pond the surface did not have any activity from an insect rise off of the water to no feeding activity. So we headed over to fish near a beaver dam in the hopes of a large brook trout. A few cast and I managed to land an 8” brookie. Nate suggested a couple more cast and in no time; uff da, I had the fly well up in an aspen. The leader broke so we decided that the day was over and made the hike back to the truck.
The half day trip was great. Marian and I learned more about fly fishing and the wild brook trout. If you are interested in fly fishing the White Mountain area and are looking for a guide; I highly recommend the North Country Angler and their guides. If you are interested in fly fishing check out their web site at for more information about trout fishing in this area. You can also contact Nathan Hill at 208 Quint Street, Conway, NH 03818 or email him at
Tight Lines.

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