Heading for Strafford In Search of New Waters

Print More

George Liset of Dover writes about his love for fishing, especially fishing with his family.

WRITING ON THE FLY,
By GEORGE LISET

    It is easy to fish the same spots all the time.

A familiar spot is comfortable, usually easy to get to and allows you to spend more time fishing than bushwhacking through the woods. I have my easy, quick go-to spots that I use when time is limited, or the spot is actually a honey hole.

 However, I try and find new waters every year. This pushes me out of my comfort zone and makes fishing a little more interesting. Mind you, these waters are new to me. These waters are maybe someone else’s go-to spot, but there is something exciting about fishing somewhere you are not familiar with. 

    I am always asking other flyfishers about where they fish. Some are more forthcoming than others when it comes to sharing their fishing holes.

Some replies are evasive such as, “I fish the So and So River.” When you inquire about where, you get the, “Oh, there are lots of good spots on the river.”

Lately, I have been checking out my map collection and then using Google Maps to verify what I think might be fishy water.

    After my latest map session, I found what looked like fishy water in the Barnstead/Strafford area. I have a friend who has some property in the area, and he had mentioned the river in the past and that it was occasionally stocked.

That piqued my interest and I checked it out and planned my trek the next morning. When consulting maps, especially older maps, there is the possibility that a river might have two different names. A local map maker might have given the river one name and the state Department of Natural Resources gave it another.

The Hidden Cemetery. George Liset photo

    The next morning, I grabbed a coffee for the ride over to Strafford. As I was driving over Blue Job Mountain, I had to stop to take in the view.

As I came down off the mountain, I was driving slowly to find the dirt road that would bring me close to the river. From the map, I knew I would have to hike in a way. When I got to the end of the dirt road, I saw a gate across the road. I parked the truck, grabbed my fly rod and sling pack and headed down the trail into the woods.

    The trail began to narrow the farther I went. After five minutes of walking I came across an overgrown cemetery surrounded by a stone wall. I was amazed that this area was probably at one time cleared and used for farming, but you would never know it now.

I kept on walking and began to hear moving water and came upon a large pool of water that was slowly moving downstream and tailing into a small waterfall which became a beautiful brook.

    I stopped to watch the water to see if there were any fish rising. There didn’t seem to be any action, so I decided to try a small ant. I tried floating it down the pool with no luck, then I tried it with a little action, but again, no luck. I then tried a Foam Grasshopper and then a Wooly Bugger and again no takers.

I then walked down to the bottom of the falls and tried a midge and a small nymph since the water was warm and shallow. This part of the river was in shade which made me think there should be a few small fish holding up some place, but alas, no bites.

     I walked through brush down the stream for awhile scouting out future fishable spots. It was a beautiful area that might be a little more productive in the fall. As I headed back toward my truck, I once again stopped at the overgrown cemetery and wondered if the previous owners had fished the river and if they had any luck.

I wondered if they chose this spot to be buried because it was near the river. I wondered if they ever envisioned people stopping by their graves with fly rods in their hands paying their respects. I wonder.



WRITING ON THE FLY,
By GEORGE LISET

    It is easy to fish the same spots all the time.

A familiar spot is comfortable, usually easy to get to and allows you to spend more time fishing than bushwhacking through the woods. I have my easy, quick go-to spots that I use when time is limited, or the spot is actually a honey hole.

 However, I try and find new waters every year. This pushes me out of my comfort zone and makes fishing a little more interesting. Mind you, these waters are new to me. These waters are maybe someone else’s go-to spot, but there is something exciting about fishing somewhere you are not familiar with. 

    I am always asking other flyfishers about where they fish. Some are more forthcoming than others when it comes to sharing their fishing holes.

Some replies are evasive such as, “I fish the So and So River.” When you inquire about where, you get the, “Oh, there are lots of good spots on the river.”

Lately, I have been checking out my map collection and then using Google Maps to verify what I think might be fishy water.

    After my latest map session, I found what looked like fishy water in the Barnstead/Strafford area. I have a friend who has some property in the area, and he had mentioned the river in the past and that it was occasionally stocked.

That piqued my interest and I checked it out and planned my trek the next morning. When consulting maps, especially older maps, there is the possibility that a river might have two different names. A local map maker might have given the river one name and the state Department of Natural Resources gave it another.

The Hidden Cemetery. George Liset photo

    The next morning, I grabbed a coffee for the ride over to Strafford. As I was driving over Blue Job Mountain, I had to stop to take in the view.

As I came down off the mountain, I was driving slowly to find the dirt road that would bring me close to the river. From the map, I knew I would have to hike in a way. When I got to the end of the dirt road, I saw a gate across the road. I parked the truck, grabbed my fly rod and sling pack and headed down the trail into the woods.

    The trail began to narrow the farther I went. After five minutes of walking I came across an overgrown cemetery surrounded by a stone wall. I was amazed that this area was probably at one time cleared and used for farming, but you would never know it now.

I kept on walking and began to hear moving water and came upon a large pool of water that was slowly moving downstream and tailing into a small waterfall which became a beautiful brook.

    I stopped to watch the water to see if there were any fish rising. There didn’t seem to be any action, so I decided to try a small ant. I tried floating it down the pool with no luck, then I tried it with a little action, but again, no luck. I then tried a Foam Grasshopper and then a Wooly Bugger and again no takers.

I then walked down to the bottom of the falls and tried a midge and a small nymph since the water was warm and shallow. This part of the river was in shade which made me think there should be a few small fish holding up some place, but alas, no bites.

     I walked through brush down the stream for awhile scouting out future fishable spots. It was a beautiful area that might be a little more productive in the fall. As I headed back toward my truck, I once again stopped at the overgrown cemetery and wondered if the previous owners had fished the river and if they had any luck.

I wondered if they chose this spot to be buried because it was near the river. I wondered if they ever envisioned people stopping by their graves with fly rods in their hands paying their respects. I wonder.

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.

Comments are closed.