By GEORGE LISET, Writing on the Fly
If there is one resource that we have an abundance of in southern New Hampshire is small streams.
As I drive around New Hampshire I always have my eye out for fishy looking water. I usually make a mental note of any stream I pass and then check it out on Google Maps to see where the stream begins and ends and if there is any access to the fishable water.
In talking to some of the more “mature,” note not older, fly fishers, they tell me about how there was access to many of the small local streams. With the population growth and development in southern New Hampshire, some of the best small stream fishing is now in other people’s backyards.
I was following a local stream that I knew had some fish because the state stocked the body of water it flowed into, however, all along the stream were posted signs for No Trespassing/ Fishing/ Hunting. As a property owner, I can understand, since there are people who sometimes abuse the privilege. I have found that most property owners will allow use with permission.
I had a couple of local small streams on my radar to fish the next opportunity I had. Checking the weather, I chose a day that was supposed to be cool and overcast with rain predicted in the mid-morning. Small streams can warm up rather quickly in the summer heat. A cooling rain and a cold front will help the fish to be more active.
I packed my 3-weight rod which is a lot of fun when fishing for panfish. I had my sling pack with a couple of boxes of small flies ready to go and headed out. When I reached the first stream, I tied on a # 20 Bead Head Nymph to 7x tippet. I started fishing at the head of a small pool. The line slowly drifted down the current into the pool. After the third swing through the pool I hooked into a 4” chub. The little guy put up a fight. During the course of about an hour, I picked up two more chubs and two small Sunfish.
I then drove about 10 minutes up the road to another river. This time I tied in a #20 midge which drifted through a little larger pool. With the small flies I have the best luck just letting them drift through the pool. During the course of the day, the natural flies get caught up in the top layer of film on the water so that is where the fish are looking for them.
This particular stream was coming out of a big lake which had a little cooler water. So, as the Midge drifted down through the pool the tip of the rod began to flex and soon I landed a nice 5” Sunfish. A couple of more passes through the pool and I was into another Sunfish. I can’t overstate how much fun these little fish are on a light rod. They put a smile on your face.
I moved a little further down the pool and the rod let me know I was into another fish. To my surprise, expecting another Sunfish, I pulled in a 4” Rainbow Trout with some great color. Before I left, I had picked up another 5” Rainbow and two more Sunfish. The Trout were unexpected but were encouraging on a conservation note. They were too small to be stocked fish and looked to be wild, which is a good sign for the river.
So, as the summer wains, take notice of those small streams you drive by. Give yourself an opportunity to have some fun and grab your small rod and some smaller flies and enjoy.
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.