WRITING ON THE FLY
By George Liset
Another year has come and is just about to leave us. This is the traditional time to wax a little poetic. This last year went fast. As I like to say, “Time flies when you are having fun.” And I had a lot of fun. One of last year’s resolutions was to fish in new water. I chose this because it is so easy to fish the same familiar waters, especially when you have success catching fish, but I know the clock is ticking.
I have been watching some great fly fishing videos on YouTube. Fishermen that are hiking into remote rivers and streams, sharing the beauty of their surroundings and catching native wild Cutthroat or Brook Trout. I watch these videos and feel like that old war horse that hears the battle and wants to join the fray, but the body tells me something different. So anytime I can fish new water I do.
I fished a number of new small ponds with my float tube this last year with pretty good success. I’m fortunate that my son Reed enjoys fly fishing as much as I do, and between him and his friend Mike, I am not at a loss for finding new water and new adventures. If I have learned one thing this past year, it is that we all need a little Bilbo Baggins in our life, and that sometimes adventures find you.
I have met many new friends, young and old, that are passionate about fly fishing. Even though I have been fly fishing for many years, what I have learned from being in education, is that you are never too old to learn, and to that point, learn from some of the youngsters. These “Young Guns” are passionate and good. I love meeting them on the river and fishing with them. It is energizing and a ton of fun, and they catch fish, and they can help me tie on those size 20 and 22 flies.
This last year I realized that it is much easier to catch fish if there are some in the water. The fisheries in Southern New Hampshire can be a tough go. Many rivers are stocked by the state and a number of great organizations like Three Rivers Stocking Association. For many reasons, but not due to the lack of effort, many fish don’t hold over and the rivers do not become sustainable fisheries. So when one fishes a river that is sustainable and holds fish, it is nice to finally know that you really don’t stink as a fly fisher.
This year was a slow year on the new equipment acquisition front. Part of the reason is that I have acquired a number of rods and reels over the years and I have realized that I need to thin out my collection. I must have at least twenty landing nets. They are all made of wood and all are different. My fly rods come in a variety of makes and models. They are neatly stored in a couple of pack baskets in my closet. Every once in a while I go in and check them out. It’s like Christmas when I find one I forgot I had.
As far as New Year’s resolutions go, I have decided to keep some of my old ones and make some new. I’m going to keep trying to find and fish new waters. New Hampshire has some great waters that I would love to see and to go along with that, I would like to fish some new Wild Brook Trout waters. Native Brookies are what New Hampshire is known for and why many anglers come to our state. I love my three weight rod and enjoy the action the little Brookies provide.
As you are pondering your resolutions, make some fun and realistic ones. Fly Fishing Patagonia might be a dream trip, but sometimes all it takes to have fun is to see old waters with new eyes. So when you go to buy your new license, pick up the New Hampshire Fishing Digest that comes with it and check out some new water. It is not as expensive as Patagonia, and with the money you save, you can buy a new rod! Happy New Year and thanks for reading my column.
George Liset of Dover is an award-winning 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. His column Writing on the Fly has been honored by the New England Press Association and the New Hampshire Press Association.