A New Year’s Perspective on Fly Fishing Resolutions

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George Liset

McDermott Covered Bridge Spanning the Cold River in Langdon.


    The coming of a new year is a cause for reflection as it quickly approaches. Who could have predicted the trials and tribulations of this last year? Most people were ready for the same old same old.

As most of us who have had any life experiences will tell you, life has a way of throwing you a curve, and I guess that is what makes life interesting. My mom used to say that what didn’t kill you, made you stronger. Let’s hope.

    As I look back on last year and my New Years’ resolutions, I was surprised about how well I did. I am a big planner. So much so that sometimes a change of plans, to the consternation of my wife, drives me crazy. But I also know that sometimes those changes in plans present some wonderful opportunities.

George Liset is pictured with the little brother of the big one that got away.

    One of my resolutions was to be more flexible. I have found that it has been a little freeing to be able to say “Yes” more to change of plans and especially fishing opportunities. I had some great unplanned days fishing. One was on a bass pond up north. I was catching them as fast as I could get the fly on the water. I have never laughed so much on the water in my life, and we caught some monsters.

    Another resolution was to fish more. More is a relative term, so I would define more as enough to make me feel like I didn’t need to go more. I think that was achieved even with all that went on this year. Fly fishing is a wonderful social distancing sport. Combined with all the social functions being cancelled, it was the perfect storm for more fly fishing opportunities.

    Fishing new water was a resolution that I was able to keep this year. There is so much water in New Hampshire that one could never fish all of it. But it is fun to try. I hit some great little ponds in the Lakes Region. Float tubing is like sitting in your easy chair with a fly rod. It is also easy on the knees.

    I also fished some different rivers and streams that flow into the Connecticut River. The Cold River and the Ashuelot River were some enjoyable rivers to fish. Fortunately I got onto them in the spring before they started to look like low tide at Hampton Beach. They are both very diverse and offer dry fly and nymphing opportunities.

    One resolution I had this year was inspired by W.D. Wetherell, the author of Vermont River. In his book he chronicled fishing on the same river for a year. Although he doesn’t tell you which river, fly fishers speculate the White River. I chose the Cocheco River and I was able to manage getting on the river a couple of times each month. It is amazing what you learn about a river when you are on it so much.

    I have decided this year to keep all of last year’s resolutions and add another. My new resolution is inspired by writer David Van Wie. Van Wie wrote a book titled Storied Waters, where he shares his experiences fishing some of the most famous fly fishing waters in the Northeast United States. David fished Walden Pond, the Battenkill in Vermont, as well as the Beaverkill in the Catskill Mountains and the Spring Creeks in Pennsylvania to name a few. I have fished a couple of the waters he mentioned but would like to add another.

    As we enter this new year of uncertainty, and you are pondering the year ahead, I hope I have given you some things to think about. Set realistic goals and enjoy the unplanned opportunities ahead. Tight Lines for the New Year ahead.

 George Liset of Dover is an outdoor writer and avid fly fisherman who shares insights of his time on the water exploring New Hampshire streams and rivers as well of those around New England. George is a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois, and the University of New Hampshire.

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