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Saturday, July 30 2016 @ 08:58 AM EDT
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The Gift

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
The Gift
by Bill Thompson

 

    The truck came to a stop in grassy area just off the road; I have been here hundreds of times before but tonight was a special event. I opened the trucks passenger side door and lifted my old dog out and on to the ground beside the truck. She sniffed about for a moment or two before she remembered where she was and then headed down the path to the river. 

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Getting Started

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Getting Started
    by Bill Thompson   


A happy camper.
A happy camper.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of working in a fly shop is introducing new people to the sport. Helping prospective anglers getting started is something that most fly shops do right. Sadly a great many people make the assumption that they are getting something for less at a big box store. They might save a buck or two on a rod but what they lose in personal attention and expertize is a net loss. Taking into account my personal prejudice, I firmly believe that box stores are a detriment to our sport. 

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Bamboo Gets Under Your Skin

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Buying Bamboo
by Bill Thompson


It happened again and I am ashamed of myself; I am a man obsessed. I just can’t help myself every time someone shows me a bamboo fly rod I have to own it. For some unknown reason I have seen a lot of old rods in the last few months and although I exaggerate a little, I have purchased a few of them. I have been trying to break the habit, but there is just something about bamboo that gets under your skin.

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Interesting People on the River

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Interesting People on the River
by Bill THompson
     

 


Henry Winkler, better known as the “The Fonz” wrote a book titled “I Never Met an Idiot on the River”. I wish I could say the same thing, but by in large Henry is correct in his thinking. I guess, from my point of view, a better title might be “I Meet the Most Interesting People on the River”. Time and time again I meet people on the river that in any other situation I might never have taken the time to talk to. 

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Fathers and Sons

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Fathers and Sons
by Bill Thompson

 

   


 Many years ago, while fishing the Androscoggin, I came across a family fishing near Seven Islands Bridge. An old man was setting in a lawn chair surrounded by several younger men. The young men represented at least three generations; sons, grandchildren and maybe great grandchildren. The old man in the chair was holding a fishing rod and his eyes were focused on a red and white bobber a few feet in front of him on the water. A young woman was standing by and I said hello as I approached her. She returned the greeting and I mentioned that it was nice to see a family out fishing together. “It’s Father’s Day” she said, “and the boys always take Dad out fishing on Father’s Day”. She went on to say that it was a long standing family tradition and this year the whole family had come because they thought it might be the old man’s last time. I wished them a good day and went on my way. I have often wondered if they still carry on the tradition today and if grandpop had managed one more good year.

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Fishing in the Rain

Valley Angler

  Valley Angler
Fishing in the Rain
by Bill Thompson
 

 

   A rainy day often crates opportunities that might not be available on a sunny day. This was the case for me last Sunday. Thanks to Mason working the shop for me I have been able to take Sundays off; thankfully giving me some needed time away from the shop. I had a number of things planned to do around the house including mowing the lawn, however because of the rain I put that project on hold and decided to go fish instead. Just so you don’t think of me as a total slacker I did manage to get in a dump run before taking off to play.

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Alders

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Androscoggin Alders
by Bill Thompson

 

 


 Rivers are often defined by anglers by their hatches. The Saco is widely known for the Gray Drake Sinner falls. Mention the Alder Fly, to any area fly fisher, and they will immediately say; “Androscoggin”. The Alder is not really an alder at all, but a member of the caddis family.  The other alias that the Alder goes by is the Zebra caddis. When they are on you will have no problem identifying them. They are a large, size 10 or 12, bug with a typical caddis tent shaped wing. The wings colors are what give them the name Zebra. The wing is a dark purplish gray and tan stripped camo pattern. The other give away is that they hatch in biblical proportions. It is not uncommon to see clouds of them moving up river. When they move into the vegetation along the river bank the simple act of shaking a tree can cause a feeding frenzy of trout.

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A Night of Debauchery

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
A Night of Debauchery
by Bill Thompson

  

 

Gray Drake
Gray Drake
It has already started and it will likely continue all summer long; however the next few weeks we will experience the worst of it. Those who dare venture to walk along the banks of the Saco, in the early evenings, will witness astounding displays of lust that would put a Roman orgy to shame. Most of the good church going residents of this Valley will never know what happens, on warm spring nights, on the river, unless they are fly fishermen. I am, of course, speaking about the mating rituals of the mayfly.  

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Get Away Spots

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Get Away Spots
by Bill Thompson

    The fishing, in the Valley, has finally started to heat up. Considering snow flurries locally and a couple of inches of snow on the ground up in Pittsburg “heating up” may be an overstatement. The warm weather in April set us up for disappointment in May. However, all of the right signs are in place; buds on the trees are the size of a mouse’s ear, fiddleheads and swamp cabbage in the damp places, and the fishing has been fair to good depending on who you talk to. 

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Learn to Fish

Valley Angler

Valley Angler
Learn to Fish
by Bill Thompson  
 

 

 


The fishing season is in full swing now and there are a lot of upcoming events of interest to anglers of all ages. I say “of all ages” because there are several events aimed at young fishermen. On May 7th Saco Valley Anglers TU will be holding a “Kid’s Only” Fishing Day at Cranmore Mountain. This event is part of New Hampshire Fish and Game “Let’s Go Fishing” program; both NH F&G and Saco Valley Anglers pitch in to stock the snow making pond with hundreds of catchable trout for eager young fishermen to cast to. The Let’s Go Fishing program is geared to teach aspiring anglers how to go about catching a fish and there will be instructors on hand to do just that. Rods and reels will be available for those that need them and there will be a supply of worms as well. If you have a youngster who is interested in fly fishing there will be instruction and gear also. This is the third year that Saco Valley Anglers has held this event and it has grown in size every year. Come join us for a fun, free day of fishing and free you kids from the shackles of the Internet. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

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