WRITING ON THE FLY
By George Liset
Most New Hampshire fishermen know that the last Saturday in April (Opening Day), and the fifteenth of October (closing day) are the dates to know for fishing season. Those are the dates for fishing lakes and ponds and being able to keep fish until the water ices over.
When I first started fly fishing, I would get despondent at seasons end. On good days I would drive around after the season ended and check out the rivers and streams for new spots to fish for the following spring. Then it happened!
I was checking out a favorite river and came upon someone fly fishing. I watched him for a while when finally he turned around and noticed me. I greeted him with a wave and then walked over and asked if he was having any luck? Then I quizzically asked him about the season being over.
Now I will admit right up front, I don’t always ask for directions and most times don’t read them to the chagrin of those around me. I could pass it off as being a “Guy Thing,” but it is probably more than that, and Freud might have a field day figuring it out.
So, when the gentleman mentioned that there were certain rivers and ponds that were open year around for “Catch and Release only,” I got excited. He mentioned there was a list in the magazine you got when you obtained your fishing license.
I started thinking to myself, you mean that magazine that was lying unopened on my desk at home? Or the one that I could access on the State Fish and Game site online? Yes, that one! I thanked him for the new information and headed home.
The state of New Hampshire Fish and Game Department puts out the New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing Digest every year. It contains everything you need to know about fishing in New Hampshire. The digest contains a list of rivers and streams with special rules. Many of my favorite rivers here on the Seacoast allow fishing, catch and release with a non-barbed hook, all year round.
Later that day, I layered up, put on my waders, and headed to a favorite spot that had easy access, since there were only a few hours of daylight left. I was soon to learn that fly fishing when it’s below 32 degrees is a special beast. I figured that out after my second cast. I was drifting my always dependable wooly bugger down stream when I picked up the line to make my second cast and the line was like one long icicle. The guides on my rod were frozen and my fly was like an ice cube once it hit the air.
I have since learned a little more about winter fishing. I have learned that days where the temperature is above freezing work the best and that you may need to keep your vehicle close by to thaw out you and your line. I also learned that nymphing works best since you are working with the same length of line and the guides on your rod freezing over are less of an issue.
So, grab your Freshwater Digest and check out the special regulations on your favorite river or stream. Then check out the weather for the week to come, dress real warm and enjoy fly fishing at its finest and coldest.
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.