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Friday, May 29 2015 @ 09:57 AM EDT
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Love Affair with the Hornburg

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
New England's Love Affair with the Hornberg

by Bill Thompson

 

 

Classic Hornberg
Classic Hornberg
  Quite a few years ago, when I was just starting out as a fly fisherman I used to fish a small pond  almost every evening during the first part of the season. There were two older gentlemen who also fished the same pond. These two fellows amazed me with their ability to catch trout when I could not. They fished from an decrypted old wooden boat which they kept chained up near the boat landing at one end of the pond. One afternoon I had stopped at the landing after work and was contemplating whether or not to fish for an hour or two before going home to supper. I happened to notice that the boat that belonged to these two men. One of them had left his fly book on the deck of the boat. The two old anglers were no where in sight and so I decided to take a peak at their flies. I sheepishly picked up the well used leather fly wallet and gingerly opened it up. Expecting to see an assortment of flies I was surprised to see that there was only one pattern in the book. There were a few different sizes and a couple of variations in color, but every fly was a Hornberg.     

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The Case for Wild Trout

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
The Case for Wild Trout

By Bill Thompson
 

 


 Fish any little back water stream in New Hampshire and you will most likely come across a few wild brook trout. Old timers often refer to these trout as “natives”.  Conventional wisdom dictates that because of over a hundred and fifty years of stocking hatchery raised trout it is impossible to find a true “native”. That may have held water up until a few years ago when Dianne Timmins, the state cold water fisheries biologist discovered a true “heritage” Brook trout; a trout that arrived in New Hampshire right after the last ice age.

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Bigger Isn't Always Better

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Bigger Isn't Always Better
by Bill Thompson   

 

 


 I was able to sneak away from the shop for a couple of hours the other afternoon. Needless to say I took the time to fish one of my favorite small streams. I was pretty confident that I could find trout without a lot of effort, turned out I was wrong. I did scare up a few trout, but none of my usual pools produced a single trout. 

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Another Good Opening Day

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Another Good Opening Day 
by Bill Thompson

    Opening day of trout season has passed into history and as always it was another memorable event. As in past years we were the first to arrive at our special unnamed pond. At precisely 0500 hours we arrived at our destination and began to put on our waders and assemble our rods. In a nearby tree a couple of roosting turkeys announced their displeasure at being awakened at such an early hour. A few moments later a pair of headlight appeared on the dirt road and our friend Clay Groves pulled in beside us. Clay had arranged to meet us to do an interview for his weekly fishing podcast for NHPR. 

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Opening Day

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Opening Day Today
by Bill Thompson

 

   

Opening Day trout
Opening Day trout
The fishing season is finally getting under way. The real opening day is this Saturday, when the trout pond season officially opens. We have been keeping an eye on several ponds in the area, waiting for the ice to go out and this morning the lakes and ponds along Route 153, from Freedom to Eaton, are almost ice free. The southernmost coves were still covered, but for the most part it is possible to circumnavigate them by boat. Even our favorite pond is ice free, although one road in is closed and the other one dicey. You can bet that Janet and I will be fishing at first light even if we have to walk in.  

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Ice Out Fishing

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
 Ice Out Fishing 
 
by Bill Thompson

 

   

Alto bay
Alto bay
I don’t think I will take the snow tires off the truck right away, but I think that the worst of the winter is behind us. The last few days of warm weather has got me thinking about fishing for real. Yesterday I went out in front of the shop to cast for the first time since last fall. Casting a fly line on the lawn in the spring is a little like digging out your baseball glove for the first time and playing catch. I didn’t last long as the shoulder gave out pretty quick, but it was gratifying that I still remembered how to cast. 

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End of an Era

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
End of an Era

by Bill Thompson

 

 

 

Jim outside his shop.
Jim outside his shop.
 New Hampshire is losing another landmark and a part of its angling history. At the end of May the Opechee Trading Post will be closing its doors for the last time. The current owner Jim Makris has reluctantly come to the conclusion that the time has come to call it quits. A few months ago Jim had some major surgery and although the outcome was positive he decided it might be time to spend some time with his family and go fishing. Fly shop owners rarely get much time to fish on their own.

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Opening Day and FF3T

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Opening Day and The FF3T

by Bill Thompson  

 

 

Wolfeboro Docks Opening Day April 1st
Wolfeboro Docks Opening Day April 1st
 In case you missed it April 1st was the opening day of fishing on New Hampshire’s big lakes for salmon and trout. If you missed it you are excused. Lack of open water kept most anglers home, although there were those diehards who, after a long winter, could not stay away. Good fishing on the lakes may be a week or two away, but it is hard not get out and cast a line.  Longer days and some rain and wind will take the ice out quickly and the trout pond season is only twenty-two days away, so better days are in sight. 

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State Fly Anyone?

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
State Fly Anyone?

by Bill Thompson

 

 


A few weeks back I was at the New Hampshire Fly Fishing Show.  Casting for Recovery had the booth next to ours and I had the pleasure of meeting two ladies from Vermont that were on the CFR staff. In the course of conversation one of them mentioned that the State of Vermont had just passed a law recognizing the Governor Aiken as the Official State Trout Fly. 

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Tying the Maynard's Marvel

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Tying the Maynard's Marvel
by Bill Thompson

  



I never have and I never will consider myself to be a commercial fly tier. I love to tie flies and tie all year, but to set down and tie several dozen of the same fly has never been my thing. My hat is off to those dedicated professional tiers who turn out hundreds of dozens of flies each year. I met a tier in a shop in Canada a few years back who told me she had tied three thousand Bombers the previous year. I can’t begin to imagine the dedication it took to tie those flies; and the Bomber is no easy fly to tie.

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