InDepthNH.org welcomes George Liset of Dover to our stable of fine columnists. Liset is a man who knows his fly fishing and lots more and is willing to share it with us.
By George Liset, Writing on the Fly
When I moved to New Hampshire many years ago to begin teaching, I couldn’t believe it. I would get up every morning and think how lucky I was to live here. The mountains, rivers, the Big Lake (Winnipesaukee) and the ocean. I couldn’t wait to get out enjoy them.
Mowing the lawn, raking leaves and shoveling snow gives you a reason to be outdoors. Fly fishing gives you a reason to enjoy the outdoors. For me, fly fishing is more than the act of fishing. Fly fishing is traveling throughout the state and country.
At a recent Great Bay Chapter of Trout Unlimited meeting a gentleman spoke about fishing Southwest Montana and some of the famed rivers like the Jefferson, Madison, Beaverhead and Big Hole.
All rivers I have been to, but not with a fly rod in my hand. Sometimes we forget that New Hampshire has some of the best fishing anywhere. My son and I have planned a trip up to Pittsburg, NH to fish and watch moose. We will fish the Connecticut River and Lakes, the Androscoggin River and any other stream that looks fishy.
In order to get ready for the trip and do a little planning I had to search out some maps and info. I have a friend that has fished the area quite extensively. We pulled out an old atlas of New Hampshire that broke down all the counties and towns and began circling all the good spots with a pencil. Mind you, these are just the good spots. You don’t share the great spots unless you can be there with them. Then you have to wear a blindfold for the ride in and you take away their phone so they can’t use their GPS. you might think I am kidding, I’m not.
Each fly fisherman has their favorite places where at one time or another they have had some luck. These spots are not readily shared other in generalities. For example, instead of saying I caught a big one below the dam on the Merrymeeting River in Alton, one would say “I caught a big one on one of those rivers that go into Winnipesaukee.” When pressed for which river, one would feign ignorance of the area.
Fly fishermen will readily share info on equipment and casting technique, on what type of fly to use and even areas they might not often fish such as in Alaska or Patagonia. They will not readily part with favorite areas close to home or areas often fished.
Fly fishing is accumulating equipment. I was recently in Union Street Antiques in Rochester looking for fly fishing reels, rods, flies and other sundry equipment when a dealer wanted to know if i was interested in an Orvis fly rod. I happened to be wearing an Orvis sweatshirt my youngest daughter gave me for Christmas. With an affirmative nod he went out to his car and brought it in. It was a beautiful vintage Orvis mid-flex fiberglass midge rod. To the uninitiated that must sound like a foreign language, which it would have sounded like to me when I first began in the sport. The short of it is he gave me a great deal and I went home with it.
When I got home I had to go through all my reels to get an idea of which one fit and felt the best. Then I put some new backing on the reel with some new line I “had” to buy along with some new flies. Then I put on some leader and tippet. Two days later I took it out to the Cocheco river to try it out. I would like to tell you that I caught a bunch of fish, but I got shut out. So you see, fly fishing is so much more than just fishing, and I look forward to sharing that and much more with you.
A writer from Dover, George Liset writes about all things Fly Fishing. George has worked as a lobsterman, lifeguard, wrangler, boat captain, fishing instructor, and has traveled in most of the lower 48 states. Upon graduation from Wheaton College, Illinois, George began his teaching career and currently teaches in Dover and has coached Track and Field most recently at UNH. Liset has been published nationally and internationally in the area of track and field and coaching.